Sunday, May 25, 2014

‘Saved by the Bell’ star draws large crowd to patio opening at Novi club

NOVI — Disco is making a comeback to the Metro Detroit area.

At least that’s what Vladimir Mirkovich, owner of Staying’ Alive, 44325 W. Twelve Mile, Unit H-160, is hoping for. The club, which opened in November, is a celebration of everything from the 70s, 80s and 90s.

Sitting atop the Lucky Strike bowling alley within the Twelve Mile Crossing, the club overlooks the Fountain Walk.

“There was a need for this type of venue on the west side,” Mirkovich said. “ It came from my desire to created something that would bring crowds from 25 to 45 years-old.

SLIDESHOW: Photos from Dustin Diamond's visit to Stayin' Alive.

“Boogie Fever in Ferndale just closed, so this was a niche that was needed in the area.”

The club has a custom dance floor filled with LED-lights that are controlled by a computer to play along with the beats whatever song is playing at the moment.

Saturday night the club expanded when a 4,000-square-foot outdoor patio opened for the summer months.
Former “Saved By The Bell” star Dustin Diamond, known affectionately on the 90s television show as “Screech”, was the guest of honor for the patio opening.

“Stayin’ Alive is probably the coolest club that I have had the chance to be a part of,” Diamond said. “I was born in the 70s, but I didn’t get a chance to be a part of the 70s.

“I like disco music and I like the scene, this is like vacation for me for a night.”

Diamond — who spent 12 years as “Screech” on four different television series and in two made-for-TV movies — was 23 years old when the shows ended. After the shows, Diamond released an adult video, titled, “Screeched”, where he says he hired a stunt actor, but used his face. In 2009, he released a book of behind-the-scenes stories of his years on the show, called, “Behind The Bell”, and has since appeared as a guest actor on several shows and movies.

He is currently working on a Reality-TV show called “The Reel Deal”, in which celebrities are paired with up-and-coming-actors and others to make short film from scratch in four days, according to
Stayin’ Alive is one of Oakland County’s largest outdoor spaces of its kind, said event organizers. The new patio has a 50-foot full-service outdoor bar, hi-top tables and sofas with umbrellas. It also boasts sound and lighting for outdoor dancing.

(Oakland Press Staff Writer John Turk contributed to this report.)

Friday, May 23, 2014

Marvel's Avengers Assemble - "The Final Showdown"

With the Tesseract now in the hands of the Cosmic Skull, the world is in a catastrophic peril unlike anything the Avengers have seen. Tony realizes teaming up with the rest of the Cabal might be their  only chance for victory - if only they can learn to work together in order to defeat the Cosmic Skull who has gone insane with power!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

“Humanity Bomb” diffused; Motor City Comic Con celebrates 25th anniversary

The 25th annual Motor City Comic Con is officially in the books.

Huge stars from both the comic book industry and the pop culture world attended the show over the weekend, many for the first time.

“This weekend was my anniversary with my wife,”  Power Rangers star Jason David Frank said. “But the fans in the Motor City wanted me to be here. ... I’ll never let a fan down. My fans are my friends.”

Frank, the most popular Power Ranger in the 20-year history of the show, had massive lines all weekend, but the longest lines belonged to John Barrowman, who recently was promoted to a series regular on “Arrow.” He plays comic baddie Malcolm Merlin on the show. He is most famous for his role as Capt.  Jack Harkness on “Doctor Who” and the spin-off, “Torchwood” — though he also is an accomplished singer and stage actor.

SLIDESHOW: Final day at the 25th annual Motor City Comic Con

The show this year was as big as it’s ever been, expanding into the entire Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, giving fans more space in the aisles and making it generally easier to move around.

This was in direct response to the “Humanity Bomb” as it was deemed last year when more than twice as many fans showed up than ever had before. Lines were shorter this year, and there were many more options for food and drink, giving fans more time to enjoy the show.

Gone was the amateur wrestling that has plagued panel rooms for years. Instead, the panels were moved to the attached Diamond Center, giving even more room on the show floor.

SLIDESHOW: Saturday at the 25th annual Motor City Comic Con

As I wandered around the convention all weekend, along with co-worker David Komer most of the time, I was surprised to find how many people from Downriver and Dearborn were there, not just to enjoy the show, but also as vendors, artists and writers.

Allen Park businesses were well represented, with Big Ben’s Comix Oasis, which had the largest booth of any vendor; 734 Designs, a maker of vinyl signs; and The Tech Shop, all with displays. There also were Tiffany Payne of Woodhaven, a face painter, and Dom Riggio, who co-owns the recently opened Penelope’s Venue in Southgate and Mess Bucket Comics. About a dozen local comic book creators also had booths set up. It was really cool to chat with most of them over the course of the show.

Then, of course, there were the fans. We snapped close to 1,000 photos of just about everything the show had to offer, and of people at the convention in costumes. Always making sure to ask who they were and where they were from, I was pleasantly surprised to find many people from across the region at the show.

SLIDESHOW: Friday at the 25th annual Motor City Comic Con

A Taylor school board member, Norm Stachulski, attended the con Saturday.

“I come every year,” he said, adding that he collected “Alien” and “Terminator” comic books while growing up.

A couple of Bane costumes and Deadpool costumes caught his eye, he said.

 “The last few years they’ve been getting a lot better,” Stachulski said. “I’m excited to be here again.”
Growing up, Stachulski’s favorite hero was Superman, he said, joking that it was “forced on” him by his father and he then adopted it at a young age.

As an adult, he said, his favorite hero is Batman, “hands down.”

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Reality star, Rich Pyle, throws out first pitch at Tigers game

Baseball is a time-honored tradition in many families, but ties to the sport run even deeper among Rich Pyle’s relatives.

The Woodhaven resident, who gained fame on TruTV’s reality show “Hardcore Pawn” and now appears on National Geographic’s urban treasure hunter series “Meltdown,” is part of a Detroit Tigers legacy.

His grandfather, Raymond Pyle, played for the Tigers in the 1930s, and his father, Rich, was just 16 years old and still in high school when he was on Detroit’s minor league team.

Pyle had the honor of throwing out the first pitch Wednesday at the Detroit Tigers baseball game.

“I’ve been like a kid in candy store since I got the invite,” Pyle said. “This goes back a lot farther for me.

“I played all the way through high school, but I’m thinking the professional part skipped a generation.”

His son, Nicholas, 12, is carrying on the Pyle baseball tradition by playing for his middle school team and the Down River Hawks travel team. He’s been invited to play in Cooperstown, N.Y. for the 12-year-old national championship tournament this summer.

Throwing out the first pitch allowed Pyle to continue the family tradition with the Tigers, even if it was just for one pitch.

“I played baseball from T-ball, Little League and through high school with the likes of Steve Avery, who went on to be a professional pitcher for the Atlanta Braves when they won the pennant,” he said.

“The year the Braves won the championship Steve came back home and called my dad and asked him to meet him at the baseball field. When he got to the field he said he wanted to thank my dad for teaching him how to pitch the correct way all those years ago. I can still see my dad’s head swelling every time he tells that story.”

His wife, son and daughter attended the game with him — and his father came along to relive his memories as well.

Currently Pyle is consulting and is fielding offers for a new TV show while playing in his band Superlast, working on launching his clothing line called RPM Gear, finalizing an endorsement deal and enjoying time with his family.

He’ll also judge a DJ contest sponsored by Cabresto Tequila May 17 at Pier 500 in Wyandotte.

Keep up with his latest work online at

*This story originally appeared in the May 11, 2014 edition of The News-Herald Newspapers. Reprinted with permission.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Amazing Spider-Man: Family Business

Someone has Spider-Man in their crosshairs and the only person in the Marvel Universe who can save him is...Peter Parker's sister?! As the web-slinger meets family he never knew, will she end up becoming his greatest ally...or the one who damns him? And what does the KINGPIN have to do with it? This all-new, original graphic novel, written by Eisner Award Winning writer Mark Waid (DAREDEVIL) and acclaimed author James Robinson (Superman), and fully painted by the legendary Gabriele Dell'Otto (SECRET WAR) comes to you in a high-end, oversized format to give you the web-slinger's darkest hour - and greatest triumph!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Dearborn native is first woman to write ‘Transformers’ comic

*Editor's note.  This was written April 20 for the Press & Guide Newspaper, and never placed online do to an oversight. Date references use that as a focal point.

There is “more than meets the eye” when it comes to the newest “Transformers” comic from IDW publishing.
The book, first in a four-issue miniseries called “Transformers Windblade,” is helping introduce the titular character into the canon that includes HASBRO toys, comics TV shows and movies. For local fans, though, there is more than just fandom or nostalgia to draw them to the book.
Writer Mairghread Scott is a Dearborn native.
“Windblade” was created in a recent fan vote to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the toy line.
In 2011, Scott co-wrote the miniseries “Transformers Prime: Rage of the Dinobots,” with Mike Johnson. She followed that up with another miniseries, “Transformers Prime: Beast Hunters,” which she wrote on her own. Both miniseries tied into the “Transformers Prime” TV series she wrote for before it went off the air.
Scott made “Transformers” history Wednesday when “Windblade” was released, becoming the first woman to pen a book in the main line of the “Transformers” universe.
In the latest miniseries, she writes the story and dialogue, with artist Sarah Stone doing the pencils, ink and coloring — making them the first female team to work on a book in the main continuity of the “Transformers” line.
 Stone is the first woman to ever draw a book in the line, making them both pioneers in their own right.
“There’s definitely a certain amount of pressure that comes with that,” Scott said. “She’s a character made by the fans, and you really want to do right by the fans. Sarah’s art is amazing, which helps to make it not a paralyzing anxiety.
“I wanted to do my best. I would try to raise the bar with writing, and then Sarah would raise the bar with her art. We spurred each other on. HASBRO has been nothing but supportive.”
It’s not just the creative team that is blazing new ground in the universe, though. The character, Windblade, also is unique. Windblade is only the second female character in the universe; the other is Arcee. Before Arcee’s introduction, the robots had no official gender, but were perceived by most readers as male.
Scott credits Russ Gibb and the video program he ran at Dearborn High School for her success in comics and TV today.
“He convinced my mother that I should try for New York University,” she said. “That’s where I really shaped my career, from a little kid just sort of writing student film to someone who could write a decent script.”
Her career lies mostly in TV these days, but she’s open to more comic work as opportunities present themselves.
“TV is definitely where I have the most formal training, largely because it’s really hard to get any formal
training to write comic books,” Scott said. “I love comics. I would never say no to a comic.
“Since I specialize in action cartoons, I write a lot of the same characters on both platforms.”
Writing for TV is completely different from writing for comics with still images, though.
“It’s especially difficult with ‘Transformers,’” she said. “Since I started writing them in television, I always think of them being primarily characters of movement. Trying to translate that to comics can be really difficult, but also rewarding.”
Scott grew up watching comic book characters in a bevy of animated series based on the comics, but didn’t actually start reading the books until high school when she wandered into Green Brain Comics.
“She was a great customer when she lived in the area,” said Dan Merritt, co-owner of the store. “She still has family in town. Her mom actually is still a customer here.”
Merritt said he is very happy to see a local person being successful in the industry.
“It’s another great talented name on the long list of quality creators that have come from Michigan,” he said. “I like that it brings up the profile of these local creators.
“We have a lot of great colleges, a lot of great art schools and a lot of great weather that keeps us indoors for eight months a year to obsess about our trades.”
Scott credits Merritt and his wife, Katie Merritt, with fostering her love of comics.
These days Scott is finishing the final issue of the miniseries and working on the newest animated series in the “Transformers” line, which doesn’t have an official name yet.
“They were super great to me,” she said. “They did a great job of introducing me to the whole range of what comic books could be. I haven’t stopped reading since.”
Book one in the “Windblade” series went on sale Wednesday. The remaining three will be sold monthly.