Public Domain: Now With 100% More Awards, Mr. Bill, and RealLies

public domain blog very inspiring blogger award michael allan leonard

So what, exactly, is cult clay comedy icon and former Saturday Night Live regular Mr. Bill doing presenting yours truly and Public Domain with a Very Inspiring Blogger Award?

The truth is — as par for the course in these parts — much, much stranger than fiction.

It all started back in December, when fellow blogger and author Daniel Pike nominated me for the VIB.  You can see the original post here (and while you’re at pikeknight, kick your sabatons off and stick around a while, there’s some fantastic and fun posts to be had there).

And Daniel, knowing that I’m a huge comics fan and superhero nerd, pulled some strings — because that’s how he rolls — and arranged to have none other than genius billionaire philanthropist playboy Anthony Stark to present the award to me.

Daniel snapped this photo when Tony showed up at his place to pick up the fancy VIB award statuettes:

tony stark public domain blog very inspiring blogger award 2013

(As understand it, I also won a completely different award that also goes by the initials VIB, the Very Inane Blogger, under the category of ‘Overuse of Memes Instead of Actual Posts’ category, so those organizers just figured they’d kill two birds with one Iron Man and have Tony drop that one off, as well.)

I was pretty excited, as you might imagine.

Turns out that Tony being Tony, he just . . . well, kind of assumed the awards were for him, and after profusely thanking Daniel and not letting him get a word in edgewise, took off for an extended European vacation over the holidays.

The last anyone saw of either of the VIB statuettes was a very exclusive nightclub in Barcelona on New Year’s Eve, where Tony was using them to massage a supermodel’s bare foot while explaining to her the inherent aphrodisiacal qualities of the crystal’s molecular vibrations while plying her with mass quanties of Cristal.

Oh, that kooky Stark.  I was very disappointed not to get a chance to sell Public Domain to him in exchange for some old outdated Iron Man armor meet him, but who can stay angry at that loveable billionaire scamp?

Certainly not I.

The only problem was, since I’d already contacted the local media and kind of promised them a celebrity would be stopping by, they wouldn’t let me off the hook for the photo op.

They connected me with Mr. Bill, who, as fate would have it, was actually living underneath one of the local bridges just down the road from my residence, and I hired him to be my celebrity award presenter.

very inspiring blogger award michael allan leonard public domain blog comics humor nerd writing

As it turns out, Mr. Bill had fallen on some hard times as of late, having blown though all his royalty money from his 2010 iPhone game on some ill-advised real estate deals, and there was a whole thing between Sluggo and Mr. Hands that he’d signed an NDA not to discuss.  He just said, sighing, that the troupe was broken up, and you’re more likely to see a Led Zeppelin reunion before they’d all bury the hatchet and work together again.

There was a bright spot when he heard that the producers of Two and a Half Men wanted someone who was just as ‘clay-clay’ as Charlie Sheen to replace him, but it turns out Mr. Bill misunderstood, mostly because he doesn’t physically have ears.

Turns out his agent actually said “cray-cray”.

The worst thing, as Mr. Bill explained, was that “kids don’t want Claymation no more, thanks to James @#$%ing Cameron and his fancy-schmancy 3D CGI.  Thanks for sinking my career like the Titanic, Jimmy!”

Still, I’m happy to report Mr. Bill is very upbeat, and said that he, Gumby, and Grommit are talking to MTV about a new reality TV show they’re going to co-star in, as soon as producers nail down which one of them will be an unwed pregnant teen mom-to-be and which one will be from the Jersey Shore.

Apparently the sticking point is none of them can get the accent down.

And that, dear readers, is the absolutely 100% true story of why it’s taken me so long to accept Daniel’s very gracious nomination.

BUT, the timing is fortunate, because Daniel’s got a new work coming out as part of an anthology from Zharmae Publishing Press, RealLies, entitled ‘The Wolf of Descarta’.  RealLies will be available February 1st, and I encourage all you Domaineers (of which Daniel is one) to hop over to Amazon and snag yourselves a copy.


‘The Wolf of Descarta’ is, as I understand it, a cyberpunk tale with a fantasy theme (which had me fumbling out my wallet at the mere mention of the c-word, as I sit with a near-complete set of William Gibson hardcovers to my back on the bookshelf behind me, and just recently came across a cool little Johnny Mnemonic mini one-sheet at a collectibles shop a couple weeks ago and tacked it on the wall above my monitor) and Daniel talks a little about the influences behind the story in a recent post on his blog.

If you like The Matrix, then you’re probably going to dig Daniel’s story.  If anyone’s a bit gunshy, don’t sweat it: I’ll be reviewing RealLies here on Public Domain ASAP.  And then you’re going to probably feel dumb you didn’t jump on the bandwagon faster because now you’re not the first kid on your block to brag and say, “hey, check out this awesome writer I discovered” to your friends.  Way to miss out on that nerd cred.

Seriously, I thank Daniel for the award nod . . . I’ve been writing for quite some time and this is the first time I’ve gotten recognized like this for my efforts, and it means even more coming from a peer.  (And I also apologize for turning the acceptance into a 2.5 ring circus with the above ridiculousness.)

So, the rules for accepting the Very Inspiring Blogger award are:

1. Display the award logo on your blog.
2. Link back to the person who nominated you.  (Just in case you missed it: it’s pikeknight .)
3. State 7 things about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award and link to them.
5. Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements.


1.  Bats seriously freak me out.  I wouldn’t go as far to say to have chiroptophobia, but yeah, not a fan.  Indiana Jones doesn’t like snakes, I don’t like bats.  And yet Batman is one of my favorite characters.

Welcome to the conflict of interest I call a psyche.

2.  As a writer, I pay tribute to my muse with Pez, which I keep in handy superhero-related dispensers on a shelf directly behind me, so when she sneaks up and digs her fingers into my brain to pump in sweet, sweet ideas, she can get her choice of delicious oblong rectangular candy as a sign of my gratitude.  What civilized deity doesn’t like Pez?

pez public domain blog superheroes comedy humor parody satire michael allan leonard

Also, I believe from the glimpses I’ve caught of her from the corner of my eye, that my muse is the spitting image of pin-up queen extraordinaire Bettie Page.

bettie page public domain blog

I tend to procrastinate . . . hence the riding crop.

Left to my own devices, this blog would probably get updated once a month.

3.  I have the absolutely most awesome, cool, fantastic, patient girlfriend in the entire world, by the name of Jen.


She is a very talented artist, clearly my better half and will probably not kill me for #2.  Or, #4.

4.  I have recently developed a severe addiction to coin-op claw machines.  You know the kind with the stuffed toys?  I think this is because I’m too busy with this blog, as well as other projects, to play videogames much anymore, so this is my way to keep up my hand-eye coordination.  Screw Achievements and Trophies, I want more tangible rewards for my skillz.  And bonus: hard-earned trinkets for my beleaguered GF.  (See above.)

5.  I’ve written and had published several comic books in my career as a writer, and have had the opportunity to work with a number of very talented artists.  Beyond getting some new projects on the racks by my regular creative partner, James E. ‘Doodle’ Lyle, the three artists I would dearly love to work with — and would likely sacrifice a minor appendage to do so — are: Mike Allred (Madman, iZombie, X-Statix, currently Marvel’s FF), Becky Cloonan (Demo, Wolves, Conan The Barbarian, upcoming: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys) and Adam Warren (Dirty Pair, Empowered, Livewires).

6.  Coolest famous person whose personal space I have been in and have the evidence to prove it:  Stephen King, at a signing at George Mason University in Virginia in 2011.  Protip: If you ever have the opportunity to go listen to the man talk about writing in person, DO IT.

stephen king michael allan leonard public domain blog

Coolest person I whose personal space I have been in but don’t have photographic evidence: Stan Lee.


This was maybe fifteen years ago.  My first major comic con where I was actually a guest was in Pittsburgh, and I stayed in the official convention hotel connected to the convention center.  I’m already nervous as hell to take my first turn at sitting on the other side of the table, and so I trundle out of the hotel room at like 8 A.M. to go have breakfast.

The elevator stops at my floor, the polished doors part, and inside, there’s Stan — who, exactly as you might imagine if you’re at all familiar with the man, offers up a boisterous “Hello!”

Keep in mind I am a HUGE Marvel geek and have been since I’ve practically old enough to read.  If you asked me to list the top three people who were responsible for me writing comics in the first place, Stan would be in there.

I had enough presence of mind not to make too much of an ass of myself (I think, anyway, as about every neuron in my head seized up simultaneously so that’s a little fuzzy) on the ride down to the lobby.  I didn’t pester him for an autograph but I did tell him what a huge fan I was and what an impact he made on my life and my decision to pursue a career as a writer.

And of course, his reaction is a genuine look down at the floor, shuffle feet “aw, shucks”.

Bonus: coming back from breakfast, still in a daze, I’m crossing the lobby and Stan is sitting doing an interview with someone, being videotaped.  As the crew musses around, adjusting lights or some such technical tomfoolery, I look over and Stan looks up, smiles that big beaming Stan Lee grin and gives me a jaunty wave-slash-salute.  Totally didn’t have to do that, spent an entire maybe three minutes top with me, but he did it anyway, because he’s THAT awesome.

7.  On a rare tongue-out-of-cheek moment, I am extremely grateful for anyone taking the time out of their busy schedule to sit and read my work, and doubly so if they paid their hard-earned cash to do so.  Whatever you’ve invested in me, I try my best to make it worth your while.


(Keeping in mind that these are the fifteen I feel are most worthy of recognition, but I also tried to determine whether or not a particular blogger had already gotten the VIB award from someone else in order to give new voices a chance to get in the spotlight a little.  Cutting the list to just fifteen was a lot harder that I thought it would be — I think at some point in the future I’ll have to do a spotlight post or something to spread the love around even further.)

The L. Palmer Chronicles

Emilie Rouge

Mythic Bios

The Return of the Modern Philosopher


The Light of Day


Cristian Mihai

Diary of a Teenage Nobody

The Madman’s Mind

Game Delver

The Religion

Tongue In Geek

The Nerdy Paige (will definitely check out Non-Compliance as soon as I get through RealLies, sounds interesting)

Nerd Maids

Give these blogs a look if you’ve got a spare moment or two, I think they’re certainly worth your while.  And I’ll keep trying my best to live up to the ‘inspiring’ designation.

Well, I think that about wraps it up.

Oh, and by the way, I’ve decided to let Mr. Bill crash here for a few days as a show of thanks for jumping in to help me out at the last minute.  He’s got some really good and juicy showbiz stories to tell, and it’s been really cold out here latel–

— hey, Mr. Bill, watch it.

Don’t climb around on that shelf, that’s where I keep all the really big, oversized, heavy thousand-page-plus books —


public domain blog humor satire parody

— mal

Thanks for coming by Public Domain and helping celebrate my award, as well as encouraging this sort of behavior, because let me tell you, not many other people do.

Oh, and the lawyers want me to pass on the following legalese: Mr. Bill  ©2013 Dreamsite Production, Inc.  Pez ©2013 Pez Candy, Inc.  Batman, Superman, and Catwoman ©2013 Warner Bros.  All Marvel characters, including the ones in that near-lethal 1096 page, 7.4 pound Fantastic Four by John Byrne Omnibus © 2013 Marvel Entertainment.  Daniel Pike ©19XX Mr. and Mrs. Pike. Stephen King and Stan Lee’s souls ©2013 Beezlebub, because we all know no one can be that prolific and successful without a little ‘help’, right?  (Beeze, call me.)

And last but not least, the inadvertant manga cleavage I just now realized was in the opening photo and I’m not gonna bother reshooting because of: ©2013 Masamune Shirow.  I think that covers it.

doorman michael allan leonard james lyle public domain blog webcomic



  1. Aaaand all the nominees have been duly notified. Mission complete.

  2. Congrats on your award and thank you for nominating The Return of the Modern Philosopher! I am honored and will put on my formal toga now to celebrate. 😀

  3. Thanks for the nomination and the shout out for Non-Compliance. I shall be having a celebratory beer tonight.

    • You’re welcome, and I’m looking forward to reading Non-Compliance, that sounds right up my alley. I celebrated by actually sitting down to finish playing through Halo 4 in one marathon session with a friend.

  4. Great blog, I linked over from moviewriternyu. It’s hard to find good material out here so I’m glad I wandered in. Anytime there’s someone referencing pez dispensers, claw machines and Betty Page, I’m kind of hooked right there. Best of luck!

    • Thanks! It’s kind of like a casserole here, you never know what sort of stuff gets pulled out of the mental fridge, thrown together and baked in.

  5. I’m sensing a collaboration here…

    Thanks for everything, Michael. It sounds like your New Year’s non-resolution is going well.

    I am insanely jealous that you’ve met both Stan Lee and Stephen King. That’s like dancing in the garden of the gods.

    • Collaboration? Now you’re really flattering me.

      You’re welcome — I’m glad to see one of us make it through a barbed wire and up over the wall to get published. And yeah, I’m super energized . . . I’ve have so much stuff planned in the near future, along with keeping up and building upon things here, that’s it’s going to be a challenge to stay on top of everything.

      King was extremely gracious at the event. He was given an award from George Mason University, so the deal was that he was going to talk for a while, then do a limited signing — ‘golden tickets’ were randomly given out with the free admission tickets, and my girlfriend Jen was lucky enough to snag one of those. I think the auditorium held maybe 3 or 400, and only 100 or so signing tickets were passed out. I’d have been willing to drive the 600 miles just to see him talk but knowing that I’d get a chance to get something signed made it worth it (although I’m going to admit I’ll never, ever drive on the D.C. beltway again if I can help it).

      We were told at the outset that King was probably only going to talk for a half-hour, then they’d get the signing underway. He ended up on stage for almost 90 minutes, answered questions, and gave the first-ever public acknowledgement of Dr. Sleep, his sequel to The Shining, and he read a few pages from it. He could’ve been in and out of there, but he clearly loved answering the questions and talking shop.

      There’s a video of the event up on YouTube, people were allowed to film it, and a couple of them are pretty good quality. Just search for George Mason University and King and it’ll come up.

  6. congrads dolly you deserve it. love you

  7. OMG! congrats, that is so unbelievably awesome! and the grren jello oozes from eyes, you met stan lee!!!

    and thanks soooo much for the nomination xD!

    • Thank you. And I really like the comics work you’ve been showing on your blog, so keep up with that and get it out there into the world.

  8. Thank you very much for the nomination. I will graciously accept and get the award up on my site as soon as i can figure out how. i’m still really new to all this and when it comes to html and css i’m a bit of a dumbass. Thank you again, i’m really glad you are enjoying my blog.

    • You’re welcome, really like the stuff you’ve been covering on your site — won’t lie and say I haven’t bookmarked a couple of the science / tech articles as possible idea to look into further and incorporate into stories somewhere down the line.

      Don’t feel bad, I’m still fumbling in the dark with the technical aspects myself . . . I just set up a webcomics site this week and now I *have* to start drilling down a little and learning the ropes, as well as CSS to make it useable for what I want to do with it. If you need any help, let me know.

  9. […] “good job”. Hell, as a human it’s nice. So when I got nominated by fellow blogger Michael Allan Leonard for the “Very Inspiring Blogger” award, tears welled up in my eyes as I contemplated my […]

  10. Congrats with the award, I adore your PEZ dispenser collection and your addiction to the claw machine (have spent way to much money on them things!). I do love reading your blogs, so I think the award is much deserved.

    And thank you very much for nominating me, I am very chuffed and I am currently writing an acceptance speech, organising a podium and gathering that will best the Oscars, with a showstopper cake 6 layers high this very moment. Haha, a thanks again I will look foward to showing this award on my blog when I get round to it, so cheers.

    • Ah, the claw machine . . . classic battle of man vs. machine. Sadly, the PEZ collection has not expanded much since I’ve got most of the superheroes, but I did find a collectibles shop nearby that has some vintage Star Wars ones, so I may have to expand my scope.

      Thanks for the compliments on this sideshow, and I very much enjoy seeing your work on your blog.

  11. […] guys! I have been a busy bee of late, so when the lovely Michael Allan Leonard (Awesome Name is Awesome) presented me with this award back in late January I was very chuffed at […]

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