Ken Gale producer, co-host, interviewer and eventually engineer for 'Nuff Said!, is also a professional comics writer and editor. His first professional sale, an interview with Jerry Robinson, was published in DC Comics' Amazing World of DC Comics #4 in late 1974. During this period he started personal relationships with many comics professionals, which has been a great asset in obtaining the quality and diversity of guests for 'Nuff Said!. His first fiction appeared in Creepy #106 and he has also written for math textbooks (those questions at the end of the chapters, "Practice Your Skills"), numerous magazine, e-zine and newspaper articles, and a number of other comic book titles including The Good Guys #7-10 for Defiant and wrote the comic strip Miranda for Puritan magazine from 1996-2000. His first radio experience was via Ed Menje at the now-defunct WHBI-FM in NYC.
He conducts and moderates panels at the Big Apple Con in New York City. Those panels usually become episodes of 'Nuff Said! He's been a member of several apas and is still a member of Interlac. More recently, he's put out a dvd version of his radio show. Look for an environmental horror story he wrote in Psychosis #2 (2007). And he was on the Board of Directors of the Celtic League American Branch for quite a while.
By the way, Re-animator fans, he also happens to be the nephew of actor David Gale.
Saturday's Face the Fiction - what to say....awesome wouldn't begin to cover it. But, before I go into details - Steve and Jim left before the end so they didn't get to hear themselves being thanked. It was their generosity that paid for the night - thank you so much. We have thoughtful people in this group!
As Steve mentioned, I had to let them in when they arrived. Why? We were told to lock the door after the museum volunteer (who was named Annmarie oddly enough) left. Her words were, "you may want to lock this after me - in case." In case?! In case what?! Of course, Aubrey's lovely reminder of the movie Dawn of the Dead immediately jumped into my mind - my already overactive mind! Did museum lady know something we didn't? Is this why the Bergen Mall has no shoppers? Zombies eat them all!! Great - I tried not to think about it - tried being the operative word. During the course of the night, you couldn't avoid thinking about it. Creepy things did happen.
People started arriving before 7 - our guest, his wife and a friend included. What a nice man Ken Gale is. He was approachable, friendly and downright nice. Todd and I noticed the refreshments going quickly and took a run to ShopRite - the long way. Todd took a wrong turn and then grumbled how he always does that on that particular road. He wasn't joking either. He knew everything coming up and exactly where he had to turn around to get to where we needed to be! I didn't laugh - much. When we got back, walking toward the doors were Brian O and Kat, as well as Aurelia and Remi. The six of us went downstairs to find a VERY full house patiently waiting. The house was so full that we had to drag chairs out of a small TV room in the back - we used not only all of the 32 available chairs, but the 8 from the back room, a rolling desk chair (Bill swiped to play on!) and Steve H and I were standing!!
Ken Gale started his what turned out to be a 2 and a half hour presentation, with the "usual how I got into this business introduction". He provided fascinating tidbits, gossip and history. He discussed the ban on comics in the 50's and hearings about how immoral comics were. He talked about the drought of "good" comics in the 80's and that was his inspiration to do something about it. The timeline he presented was informative and had many members nodding their heads in agreement. He was also very funny - the man had a sense of humor and used it. One such moment - he proudly told us how interviewers got angry Harlan Ellison, or irate Harlan, but he got SAD Harlan! It was easy to see how he became so popular both on air and in the comic business. He then showed us his DVD with the disclaimer, "I hate the music and had nothing to do with it." The DVD included interviews, out-takes, etc. from his radio show "Nuf said".
As Steve pointed out, Ken went through the various artists, editors, inkers, etc. he worked with (Alexei Kondratiev, Ed Menje and many others). He told us who to avoid and never work with. He offered suggestions to those who may be thinking about entering the field. He told us never get into comics for what they're worth - it's about what it's worth to you. He talked about different forms of art, how to practice drawing and what books would be beneficial. He said he didn't have favorites and would name hundreds if asked. He discussed the frustration of raising over $10,000 in less than three weeks for the radio station and still getting cancelled because of politics. Mr. Gale has strong feelings about the innate "wrongness" of those who abuse power and do only what is right for them. He points out - and the whole room agreed - that with power comes responsibility. To abuse that responsibility/power is wrong. His show was cancelled because "someone" (Bernard White) didn't like comics. It didn't matter that the public had spoken, that he had raised more money than any other show, and that this was a personal bias - the man with the power did what was what he wanted to do - no explanation! Wrong! The whole time he frantically waves his arms and makes disgusted facial expressions - he's very dynamic as a speaker. He warned us of the politics involved with radio and how sad it is.
We took a short break, went touring the mall with laughable hijinks, and had a lot of fun. Sandy Schlosser joined me and group of intrepid curiosity seekers to explore the bottom floor. Her next 10 books could come from this one night alone! We laughed our way through the Village Mall peeking into empty rooms, scaring the heck out of each other and creating stories as to what happened. We then moved down the hall the find freaky holes in the walls and a set of steel doors with a padlock - the doors also had what looked like bullet holes. We looked through them - ok, I didn't because I wasn't tall enough to reach. I had to try to look under the doors. What was back there? Bill took a picture through the holes, but, alas, no clear image. He jokingly said there was an eye looking back - we left him there! At this point, it was getting late and a few members headed home. We went back for the rest of Mr. Gale's presentation.
Ken talked about a few other things and opened the floor to questions. He was floored by not only the amount of questions, but also the quality of the questions. One in particular was Remi's question about killing off characters only to bring them back, like Superman, but then added the caveat of "would you have done that?" Ken's "oh, that's a goooood one," was too funny. Bill and I were in the back of the room at this point, when we heard three distinct taps on the door. I assumed it was a member who couldn't get out of the mall and was coming back. When Bill and I went to go look – no one was there. I am very serious. Trust me when I tell you 1) there is no place to hide in the hall to the right and 2) if you go to the left, you'd have to run pretty darn fast to get there so we would've heard something. We looked askance at each other, locked the door and went back. At 10:20 the museum volunteer returned (she had to make sure nothing was broken, missing, and lock up). As the presentation was still in full swing, I stood in the main gallery with her, as did Bill, and chatted. All of the sudden we heard a crash from the kitchen area. I looked at Annmarie, she looked at me and at the same time said, "you heard that?!" The three of us went back to investigate although every one of my horror-movie-watching-senses was saying, "NO, do not go back there - run!" We found nothing out of place and all doors locked back there. Creepy. I asked if stuff like that happened often and the response was, "well, I avoid being here alone if I can." Hmm.
Mr. Gale begrudgingly finished up a little after 10:30. People went back up to buy more of the items he provided. Clean up began complete with a fun "chair brigade". A quick check found all in order and we headed off to the Surburban Diner for more fun. This is when Bill and I had chills run up our spines! As we stood in the lobby waiting for seats, Chris H walked up and asked us "who the heck was that tapping on the windows trying to get in?" Creeeeepy! We were joined at the diner by Liz M and her friend Hannah. It's a good thing Sam (host at the diner) likes us and turned a blind eye to Brian K swiping, moving and adding a table to our group. Topics of conversation at the diner ranged from Spider-Man 3, Hot Fuzz, a giant bosom rampaging through the countryside (thanks Woody Allen), music, art, OATMEAL & Ted, Brian's "youth group" days and more. We left the diner after 2am to only continue talking in the parking lot. Bill pushed Sandy into a puddle! Brian showed us his armor that he made himself - then Brian and Steve H made like hooligans and sparred. I behaved. An awesome location, awesome guest (who wants to come back - they all want to come back!!), and fantastic night. Thanks to all who helped with set- up, clean up, and everything in between. Please join us next month for best-selling author Jack Ketchum.