So what do the Punisher, TNT’s The Last Ship and Hager have in common?
As one poster on our Facebook commented “They are all bad@$$”. Well that’s true but read on…
Smoke swirled around the dimly lit table as three guys told jokes, discussed politics and BS’ed among each other. A tweet went out to 176K followers that simply said “Wish you were here.” The cabin-like ambiance was warm and inviting. The dim lighting and comfortable seating provided the perfect place for someone to remain incognito. That was until… but I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning.
I met Nathan Edmondson at the DC Awesome Con about two months ago. My son had always wanted to go to THE Comic Con in San Diego but he knew that was out of the question. So when I told him DC was holding a comic con he was thrilled and begged to go. Not for the comics but to see Billie Piper; Whovians know who she is. So we made the trip down to DC and were pretty impressed with what we saw before we even got in the Con. After walking down each row and checking out all the artists I stopped at Nathan Edmondson’s table to check out a comic that had finally caught my eye. Don’t get me wrong, I love comics. I have 25 boxes in my basement and a very fine issue of X-Men 137 to prove it. They are what occupied my days throughout my childhood, however by the time I reached college the cost per issue for 20 pages fluffed up by ads made me call it quits. After all I had to eat. It was either read a comic or eat ramen. Every now and then when my kids are running around the local comic shop I’ll peruse the shelves and back issue boxes to see if there’s something that might pique my interest. This time, the comic that caught my eye was Nathan’s book, illustrated by Mitch Gerads, titled “The Activity”.
The Activity, short for the organization it’s named after, the “Intelligence Support Activity,” focuses on a group of highly-trained covert operatives sent on missions to provide support for special forces operations. The book is very realistic with real world like ops. The writing is tight and the art- fantastic. It reminded me of a the first Mission Impossible movie with Tom Cruise. High Octane– see for yourself and peruse the pages here If you like the Activity you’ll also love Nathan’s other espionage thriller titled “Who Is Jake Ellis?” and the sequel “Where is Jake Ellis?”. The story follows Jon Moore, a former analyst for the CIA who is on a quest to discover his identity. 20th Century Fox has picked up the movie rights to the film with David Yates, director of many of the Harry Potter movies, attached to directing and Peter Chernin producing. Seth Lockhead will write the script for the film.
Nathan and I started chatting and I discovered he was also a watch lover which led to many other discussions and emails over the past two months. So where does the Punisher come in? Nathan and Mitch teamed up again back in October to reboot the Punisher, but this time in LA. Check out the digital issue here. Nathan also writes The Black Widow (Marvel), The Grifter (DC) and now Deathlok for Marvel. Check out his website here
Nathan like his characters, is larger than life and also has an alter ego. Click on the links. He’s called “Chip” on ‘Rizzoli & Isles’
FANTOM COMICS: Fast Forward to June 1st, when Nathan reached out to tell me that he would be in town for a signing at Fantom Comics, currently located in Union Station. We agreed to meet up for lunch before the signing. Nathan also shared with me that he would attending the premiere of Michael Bay’s The Last Ship with one of my favorite actors from two of my favorite shows: Firefly and Chuck… Adam Baldwin. Well, this led to a number of questions, like how they knew each other and even stupid ones like was Baldwin’s personality like his characters Jayne Cobb (Firefly) and Col. Casey (Chuck)? “Arrr..You’re wasting my time moron.” Nathan laughed and I tried not to sound like the weird fan. I don’t watch a lot of tv and those are my two of my favorite shows. Sad to say I still haven’t finished Chuck. I’m only 6 episodes away so don’t ruin it for me. I just couldn’t bring myself to finish the series, kind of like Psych. I’m still trying to figure out what the heck they were thinking when they canceled that show, maybe they were smoking more than cigars in Colorado when they made that call… as Col Casey would say “Morons”. I digress. Love the hat below BTW.
On June 4th I hopped the metro and trekked into DC where Nathan and I met up for lunch and caught up on the latest of what was happening in our lives. Towards the end I pulled out a Hager Commando for Nathan which I had promised him earlier (with some additional swag I picked up along the way for Nathan to draw some inspiration from for his next book) and one for him to give to Adam. Nathan and I then went up to Fantom where they pulled out the red carpet for him. I was super impressed with the displays and the reception that he received. If you haven’t been to Fantom yet make the trek to Union Station before they move. They have great employees who are easy to talk to and joke with as well as a wide variety of books. Below: Nathan and I outside FANTOM. As a Marine I have a hard time smiling so don’t hold it against me. This photo motivated me to restart my workout routine.
THE LAST SHIP: Later on that day I received an email from Nathan inviting me to meet him and some friends for drinks. I left work rather late and made my way back into DC to meet up with him at one of the top 100 hotels in the world. Who would have thought? I’ve stayed at some 4-5 star hotels before in my career but never had I been down to one in DC. So I walk in and I notice it’s rather crowded in the bar section for a Wednesday night. Then it hits me, this is the after party for the cast of TNT’s new series “The Last Ship”, directed by Michael Bay (who by the way can sell anything with action, even a turd as long as it’s blowing up). The Last Ship is based on William Brinkley’s popular novel by the same name. It’s a post-apocalyptic drama about the crew of an unaffected U.S. Navy ship, the Nathan James, who must try to find a cure in order to save humanity after a pandemic kills 80% of the world’s population. Check out the trailer below it’s going to be on par with the Walking Dead, and again it’s a Michael Bay flick so think lots of action… BOOM
As I wander in I see Nathan and he introduces me to Adam, who to my surprise was sporting the classic Hager Commando on his wrist and had actually worn it to the premiere. I soon discovered that Adam is one of the most down to earth guys out there. I found it easy to engage with him about anything as he was well versed in current affairs and foreign events and well read to boot. If you don’t believe me check out his twitter feed. He’s definitely not a Jayne Cobb but I did see bit of Col. Casey come out. He has a great sense of humor. Not wanting to monopolize his time I thanked him for the drink he bought me and moved about the room meeting the other actors and invitees there. Normally events like this I’ve attended I end up socializing with CEO’s, heads of states and other diplomats, so this wasn’t a big difference. Being an outsider to Hollywood I didn’t know what to expect though. I can tell you I came away with a real positive experience after meeting some of the cast. I met some great folks there, such as Steve Kane, Executive Producer for the show. Also a watch aficionado BTW. Tony Mark (Series Producer) who told me a great story about his grandfather’s Gruen watch; John Pyper Ferguson who has a great sense of humor; Charles Parnell who I enjoyed talking with and discovered performs classical theater and off Broadway. If you missed him he will be back in DC performing this summer in a play if I heard correctly; I’ll be checking out his performance. Two of the actors that I really enjoyed chatting with were two of the youngest actors. I think we will be seeing a lot more of in the future: Chris Sheffield and Tommy Savas. I had a good time conversing with them. I guess because they reminded me of me when I was younger. Like I said, I expect to see them more on the screen in the future. I was also introduced to Meredith Dake, multi-media editor at CQ Roll Call; she knows just about everyone. I recognized the name as she was involved in the radio production of one of the shows I listen to in the morning on the way to work. I also enjoyed chatting with Capt. Brian Quin, executive officer of USS Essex, LHD 2. It’s basically a big USMC school bus to get around in so we MARINES can spread controlled chaos to the four corners of the globe. He served as the Navy surface warfare expert for the show and received high praise from all the actors. There were many others that I haven’t named here that I also enjoyed socializing with. Hats off to all the Navy personnel who attended. You deserved this premiere. BTW we better see some Marines in this show. SEALS don’t count… “a ship without Marines is like a garment without buttons”.- Adm David G. Farragut. “If the Marines are abolished half the efficiency of the Navy will be destroyed. They are as necessary to the well being of a ship as the officers.” RAdm David D. Porter.
So by now you’re probably wondering where the heck Shelly’s comes into this. Well, I’m getting to it. After about an hour or two, or three…I lost count. The funny thing is I only had two drinks. Anyway after some period of time a bunch of us go out on the hotel patio to smoke cigars. Well more specifically Adam’s cigars since no one else had the foresight to bring any, including yours truly. As we were wrapping up we all agreed that we had a lot of fun and that we should do it again…the next day. Although I couldn’t make the invite for lunch, I did agree to come to dinner. Who wouldn’t? It’s Adam freaking Baldwin, (imagine me saying this like Wood Harrelson said Bill Freaking Murray in Zombieland) and Nathan Edmondson, currently one of Marvel’s hottest writers.
CONCLUSION SHELLY’s BACK ROOM CIGAR AND LOUNGE (a local DC watering hole known for its inviting character):
It’s about 830pm when I walk into a swanky restaurant in NE D.C. Adam, Nathan and Meredith are in the middle of drinking a bottle of red and laughing. I pull up a chair and join in. For the next hour we pick up where we left off the night before regaling each other with jokes and stories. After dinner we decide to pile into my SUV and head off to Shelly’s. If you’re in the area and you’ve never been it’s worth going just to experience the ambiance of the place. As we are seated Nathan and Gary (more friends of Nathan E.) arrive. Nathan breaks out a stash of his own cigars and passes them around. We are two short but we soon remedy that as Shelly’s has a great assortment of sticks to choose from. So as we are smoking away I notice that the t.v. in front of us has changed to hockey. That’s when I discover that “Cop Face” is a HUGE Kings Fan as he yells at the television during the last two minutes of the game. He then takes a picture of his glass and cigar (pictured at the top) and tweets “Wish you were here.” I think the message was more for his wife as he mentioned to us he wished she was there. As things start to settle down and we start pitching storylines and plots to one another, someone from another table recognizes Adam. Then the floodgates let loose as they realize who Nathan is as well since there was a comic collector among them who’s nephew is a serious Punisher collector. Instead of being aloof towards their fans, these two guys embrace the situation and take it to a whole new level of joking and laughing and picture taking. They even try and draw the rest of us in but we aren’t biting. I’m pretty sure there a couple of pics of yours truly out there as Nathan and Adam are showing off their watches and telling people I’m the owner of a hot up-and-coming American watch company. This goes on for what seems like an hour. In the end we close down the lounge, but we aren’t the last to leave. Everyone, especially the fans that got a chance to meet Adam and Nathan up close, were happy. Nathan even writes a long note to the guys nephew and draws the Punisher logo on the bottom. As we said goodbye to each other we all agreed we should meet up as a group and do this again, maybe next time in Jaynestown (LA). So that’s it, that’s what the Punisher, The Last Ship, and Hager Watches have in common. Three guys, a bunch of cigars and some great memories. I guess the question that Hager Watches fans have on their minds is will we see the Classic Commando or the new Professional Commando on the Punisher or the Professional GMT on XO Mike Slattery in the future? Who knows, I know Hager Watches made an impression on the folks at TNT. Send them an email and let’em know. In the end though it wasn’t about the watches, it was about making new friendships and I even got to hear Adam’s trademark grunt once or twice. All the best Pete
Typos by SIRI
(Below two pictures: Adam and Nathan lighting up with their classic commandos. Third picture: Nathan and Adam with a fan)