October 30, 2004

A Few More Thoughts on Bill Liebowitz

When I started my publishing career in 1998, Golden Apple was one of the first stores to carry my books. In the following years, Bill invited me to sign at his store regularly. I was a guest at the Golden Apple booth at various con. Bill was instrumental in helping me establish myself as an independent creator. He went out of his way to call his friend retailers all over the country to promote my work. I remember getting a call from Jim Henley in New York who said that Bill had called him praising my work!

The last time I saw Bill was last summer after the San Diego Comicon. I went to LA on a business trip and stopped by Golden Apple to do some shopping. Bill was very busy with customers, so I said a few words to him and was on my way out. He immediately got someone to replace him behind the counter, and shouted, "Hey Michel, don't go now. Come and sit outside with me". There were two chairs outside in front of the store. We sat down and chatted for over half an hour. I showed him some of the stuff I was currently working on. He particularly loved one piece I was doing for Image and told me "When that comes out, we'll have to do a signing. This is going to do very well for you". He then added, "When ever you want to do a signing or be a guest at our booth, let me know. You're always welcome. You're family."

I'll miss him.

October 27, 2004

Bill Liebowitz (1941-2004)

I just learned the sad news about Bill's passing. I'm shocked. I received an email from him yesterday and didn't realize he was sick.

Bill has helped me tremendously in the past by promoting my work to fans and other retailers. He was a good friend and will be missed.

Bill's bio from the GoldenAppleComics.com site:

Golden Apple opened its first 400 square foot store in July of 1979. It was opened as an extension of a hobby and a chance to learn more about the comic industry. Bill Liebowitz, the owner and founder, cites his early heroes and influences: Flash Gordon, Conan the Barbarian, the Sub-Mariner, Jack Kirby, and P.T. Barnum. Bill was originally a CPA with twelve years experience with the international accounting firm of Deloite & Touche. He left accounting in 1974 and became Vice-President of US Operations for Trizec Corporation, the largest developer and operator of commercial real estate in North America. In 1984, he was director of Entertainment for the athletes at the Olympics. After the Olympics he decided to pursue comic book retailing full time.

After fifteen years in business, Golden Apple operates a two store chain in Los Angeles, including the Melrose Avenue mega-store, which is arguably the best known comic book specialty store in the country.

Golden Apple, Liebowitz, and the entire comic book industry have changed and grown significantly during the last sixteen years. Golden Apple is now a multimillion dollar business that offers a wide, eclectic mix of products. Liebowitz has become a "point man" for the industry, appearing in virtually every electronic and print media outlet available. He has been seen by millions, extolling the virtues of comic books as an entertainment media. Golden Apple has staged promotions with attendance in the thousands, generating international news coverage. Liebowitz is currently spokesperson for the Direct Line Group (DLG), an organization of the most influential comic book retailers in the country.

"My goal," said Bill, "was to develop Golden Apple as the world's greatest comic book store... and more. Our expansion has been fueled in large measure by promotion and merchandising geared toward attracting new customers from outside the hobby. At the same time, we have also worked hard to accommodate both the traditional comic collector and the newly attracted customer. We have promoted mainstream comics, but not to the exclusion of alternative product. We are constantly changing and experimenting with new ideas, and we don't intend to stop. We're very proud of what we've achieved, and where we are today."
Liebwotiz was also a pioneer of the model for comic book “events” and perfecting working with the local media to bring people into his stores – something which, before Liebowitz was fairly small scale, but under Liebowitz became media events, with lines of fans stretching for blocks in the heyday of Image. Hand in glove with the events, Liebowitz also led the way for showing how comics could be marketed properly, and seen as media that is on equal footing to virtually any other entertainment medium.

As one of the established stores in the early days of the direct market that still opeartes today, Liebowitz also was among the first retailers to adopt the direct market to a multiple store chain, and had earned him a place of respect among retailers nationwide.

Liebowitz's stores, in recent years, had turned into havens for actors, producers, directors, and many other Hollywood types to get their comic fix, or collect research materials for an upcoming role, or find a property to pitch to a studio. The stores are also the occasional hangouts for comic creators in the LA area.

Bill is survived by his wife and business partner Sharon, their children Damon, Ryan and his wife Kendra. He was 63.

October 27, 2004

Press Release from Golden Apple Comics


Los Angeles - On Sat. Nov. 20, 3-6PM, Golden Apple (7711 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles) will host A celebration of the release of the special edition DVD of “The Iron Giant”.

“We’ve assembled over two dozen members of the creative team responsible for this much loved Animation Feature” said Bill Liebowitz of Golden Apple. “These are designers, animators, artists and special guests who haven’t seen each other in years. They are coming from all over, New York, Hawaii and Northern California just for this Event. They’ll be bringing rare production drawings, tests, models and all sorts of treasures for the fans to see.”

The afternoon will feature autographs, photo ops, lively Q&A and presentations. Ramin Zahed, Editor of Animation Magazine will moderate. This may be the ONLY chance to get this many of the Creative Team together to interact with fans.

The Iron Giant is a highly regarded, award winning animation feature that never quite found it’s audience when it was released theatrically in 1999. It has since become a favorite of animation fans world-wide. It was written and directed by Brad Bird who is the Director on “The Incredibles”. Voice actors include Vin Diesel, Jennifer Aniston and Harry Connick, Jr. The Special Edition DVD release (available Nov. 16, 2004) gives the fans much requested insights, deleted scenes, outtakes, commentaries, extras and entertainment features they have waited for.

Admission to the Event is FREE with the purchase of the Special Edition DVD at any Golden Apple location. Pre orders and guaranteed admission will be available Oct. 15, 2004. All attendees will receive FREE with purchase an Iron Giant Commemorative mini-figurine.


Here's a list of Participants so far ( in no particular order):
-Jim Van der Key
-Adam Dotson
-Grace Blanco (Dotson)
-Kevin O'Brien
-Kevin O'Neil
-Matthew Maners
-Michel Gagné
-Mike Nguyen
-Ryan Woodward
-Carla L. Fallberg
-Holger Leihe
-Scott T. Peterson
-Tom Knott
-Alan Bosner
-Darren Holmes
-Mike Murphy
-Mark Whiting
-John MacFarlane
-Victor Haboush
-JD Kenney
-Jennifer Cardon Klein
-Mike Tracy
-James Austin (Music consultant and producer of Rhino soundtrack album)

Moderator: Ramin Zahed, Editor Animation Magazine
Special Guest: Jerry Beck ( additional Q&A)

For more information please contact:

Golden Apple: Bill Liebowitz, (323) 658-6047

Warner Home Video:
Ronnee Sass, (818) 977-6439
Karen Penhale, Carl Samrock PR, (818) 260-0777

October 26, 2004

A Sneak Peek at my Upcoming Book

This is it! I just sent the digital files and mock-up of ODD NUMBERS to our printer.

Take a peek inside the book.

Despite the fact that the new book will be hardcover and full-color, it will retail for a mere $9. To do this, we've had to increase our print run by quite a bit over our previous releases. We're confident that this new price point will have a positive effect all around.

Since the book won't be available until the end of April 2005, I though I'd give you a peek at the first 11 pages. Enjoy!

October 18, 2004

Sideshow/Gagné Statues Reviewed on AzogsCollection.com

Our Website Gets Animated

Here's an animated banner I just added to our Banner Page. The animation is actually from a project I did way back in 1986 at Sheridan College.

Now that I finally figured out how to do animated GIFs, I intend to start spiffing up the site with bits of animation here and there. Just have a look at the home page with the animated atom.

October 7, 2004

Visit to Vancouver's Prince of Wales High School

A few months ago, I was contacted by Brigitte Patenaude from Vancouver's Prince of Wales High School. She asked me if I'd be interested in participating in an interactive Q&A with her students. The only catch was that all the questions would be asked and answered in French! Well, since French is my first language and I'm in great need of practice, I thought it would be fun and agreed to do it.

The visit took place last Friday, October 1st, and it was loads of fun. Each of the 23 students asked one question and I tried answering the best I could. Since this was a "Core French" class, I was not allowed to say a word of English! Fortunately, Brigitte helped me out whenever I got stuck and the whole event went just great. I brought lots of visual material for the students to look at and they seemed very interested. The Insanely Twisted Rabbits sculptures were a huge hit!

Here are a few pictures.

Photos by Raymond Lum


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