Comic artist Bob Hall interview EP 8

February 9, 2018

I was at the Behind the Glass Comic Art Gallery event and had the honor to interview Bob Hall.  He has worked for Marvel, DC and Valiant during the 70's 80' and 90's. I really enjoyed our brief conversation, I hope you like it too.  If you like it please share.  Visit for more episodes and information.

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February 8, 2018

Your Why EP 7

January 8, 2018

Today we will discuss your why, then more Tolkien talk and finally a podcast I think you will enjoy. Plus stick around at the end for a giveaway.


What is your why?

Why do you work where you work? Why do you live where you live? Why do you enjoy the hobbies you enjoy?

Your why is so important because it’s the reason your are doing what you’re doing, it’s the reason you are in a relationship with someone. Whether your why is good or bad you have to be self aware and honest enough to know your why. What do I mean by self-aware? Definition Aware of oneself, including one's traits, feelings, and behaviors.  Knowing yourself so well and honestly admitting to yourself your why.  I thought I would tell you Why do I do this podcast?


  1. I enjoy other podcasters.  It makes my day when a fellow podcaster sends me a positive message about my show.
  2.  I love the medium and enjoy listening to podcasts.  There are multiple podcasts about any particular subject you are interested in.  Whether you are new to podcasts or have listened for the last decade you can always find something new and interesting.  Or if you have a podcast you have listened to for years most shows get better and better. That’s why each episode I recommend a podcast I enjoy, hoping you will too.
  3.  The listeners giving you the listener something that will inspire you, teach you something or make you laugh is what I aim to do.  This journey for me is new and I look forward having you along as I learn and grow.  Nothing give me more joy in hearing from a listener.  I know this sound cliché, but if one person is impacted by what I say, then it’s worth it.  If you have a podcaster, indie author or artist you enjoy please reach out to them and let them know.  It gives them a lot of energy to keep doing what they do.

 I want this podcast to be more positive than negative.  The world has enough negative in it already and I don’t want to add to it.  If I comment on a person, movie or book, I try to keep the criticism to a minimum, someone else can do that.  You will most likely hear me say, “it’s just not my thing.” That’s all doesn’t me it’s horrible and needs to be burned, just not my thing. For someone else they may love it, that’s fine. I will try to focus on the good.

 If you are struggling with whether or not you should start a podcast a book a charity group or whatever it is start now.  It doesn’t have to be perfect, just start.  You won’t get any better until you start.

 I am not smart, I barely passed high school and college. But I like to try new stuff especially techie stuff.  I like the journey, I like to tinker and perfect things.  I had to admit that things don’t have to be perfect to be complete.  Sometimes things just have to be good enough.

 My wife and I did foster care for 9 years, and adopted 4 kids from foster care.  I heard from other parents who said they didn’t think they wouldn’t be a great parent for these kids.  I would always say, You don’t need to be a great parent you just need to be a parent. No one is a perfect parent, just being there for a kid is where you start.

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.” Norman Vicent Peale Which means you have to start.  You can do it, you are stronger than you think.

No matter what you start you will be among the elite. For example I am in Toastmasters a group that helps you become a better public communicator.  Speaking in front of a live group of people is something most people are terrified of doing.  I have seen individual’s physically shake when they get in front of a group of people, but they did it anyway. And they will admit after it was over it wasn’t as bad as they thought. I’m not a great public speaker, but the fact I can do it puts me ahead of a majority of my peers.  I’m doing something a vast majority of people can’t or won’t do, that gives me confidence and it should give you confidence too.

If you write and publish a book you are among the elite.  If you publish a comic book you are among the elite.

For example I have heard of many people who take the writing challenge. Every year writers are encouraged to write two pages per day for year and at the end of a year they have a novel.  It may not be a best seller, but they can say they have written a novel.

I have a great amount of respect for my friend Carl Smith, he has published comic books and several books. He has done something most people haven’t done.  I am sure you know someone like Carl too.

If you start something let me know I would love to hear from you.  I just want to encourage you to start, you can do it.

Tolkien Talk

Last episode we talked about Sauron from JRR Tolkiens LOTR.  If you have only watched the movies I would encourage you to read the books.  I have read the Hobbit and LOTR twice.  I know you die hard fans would say lite weight.  I’m a very slow reader so it take a while to get through a book. Anyway I finally am getting around to reading the Silmarillion.  I’m going backwards and reading the shorter stories in the back first.  I just finished the story about the beginning and fall of Numenor.  For those that haven’t read the books Numenorian are the race of men Aragorn was descended from.  They have a much longer lifespan given to them by the Valar for helping defeat the great enemy Morgoth in the first age.

It’s a fairly quick read, but it’s a very fascinating tale of intrigue and deception.  There’s betrayal by lifelong allies and battles.  It would make a great mini series in my opinion.  If you do read the Silmarillion I suggest you get the complete Tolkien companion by JE Taylor. There are so many names and places in the book it makes it easier to have the guide handy to explain who is going where and doing what.  At least for me I find it easier to understand.  It does slow down you reading, but it will make more sense in the end.  Plus I find the guide fascinating to look up details from the stories.

I hadn’t played in the Tolkien world in a while so it feels good to get back into the realm of Middle Earth again.  When you are reading his literature you can feel the world come alive like other authors can’t do.  You see the places and characters in your mind and feel how old everything really is.  It’s hard to explain. Tolkien's books are everywhere and easy and inexpensive to find.  I would start with the Hobbit then LOTR then Silmarillion.  There are many other books his son put together from his notes that delve into even more obscure details of the lengendarium I hope to get to those someday too.


Podcast you need to listen to

I try to recommend another podcast in each of my episodes and today is no different. This one is That One Time I was Abducted by Aliens.  Bri and Jaime are two young ladies who talk about all things alien and the supernatural.  They are layed back with their conversation, like sitting at the bar talking with your friends about something weird you saw on your way home.  They are very active on Instagram and you may catch them doing a live show. Simply put they are fun.  Check them and give them a try.

Please subscribe to the podcast on your favorite podcast app, we are on Apple podcast, Stitcher, Google play music, Sound cloud.  You can also easily listen using you Alexa, simply say “Alexa play Covert Nerd Podcast.” And it will play the latest episode.  You can follow me on Instagram and Facebook at covert nerd or on Twitter @thercovert_nerd.  Email me at  Go to the website for all the details.



Lastely our contest is going on through the end of the month.  We will be giving away a copy of the game Mintworks a cool game by five24labs.

To enter in the drawing email me, put in the subject line mintworks, then include your full name in the body. Or on Instagram DM me with mintworks and you full name.  Either method will get an entry into the contest. Please only one entry per person.

Thanks for listening I really appreciate your time.

The Soul of Sauron EP 6

December 26, 2017

Today we will look at Tolkiens villain Sauron and then a comic book called I kill giants, finally we will look a great free audio book app. Plus stick around for the giveaway you can win.


Soul of Sauron:

Is anyone beyond redemption? That’s a question I thought of when I read a passage from of the Rings of power and the third age at the end of the Silmarillion about Sauron. Which we will get too in a minute but first let’s take a brief look at Saurons early origins.

Sauron has far more history than what the LOTR films tell, and we will explore some of his history before the trilogy.

Despite being the title character of The Lord of the Rings, Sauron is notable in that he never directly appears during the events of the trilogy. Nowhere is any detailed description given of what he looks like, other than in vague terms.

He is one of the Maiar spirits originally named Mairon, meaning "the admirable, the same “race” as Gandalf, Saruman and Radagast. However he is by far the most powerful of Maiar spirits.

Thousands of years before the events of the LOTR Sauron was corrupted to evil by Morgoth the brother of Manwe king of the Valar. Sauron liked order and perfection which made him the best candidate to be in charge of the army of Morgoth which included the Balrogs Orcs and Dragons to name a few.

In The Silmarillion, Sauron is described as being a shape changer, and took many forms, including that of a serpent, a vampire, and a great wolf. After Morgoth's fall, Sauron appeared in fair form as "Annatar", the Lord of Gifts, and maintained this appearance until the Fall of Númenor, in which he was unable to ever take fair form ever again. The History of Middle-earth includes a passage vaguely describing how the Númenoreans saw him: "Upon that ship which was cast highest and stood dry upon a hill there was a man, but greater than any even of the race of Numenor in stature...And it seemed to men that Sauron was great; though they feared the light of his eyes. To many he appeared fair, to others terrible; but to some evil."

In addition to his physical appearance, Sauron also apparently had an aura of incredible malevolence. A passage in The Silmarillion describes him as having a "dreadful presence," and daunting eyes. Furthermore, his mere presence could bend all but the strongest wills.

Mentioning his eyes again

…And some hold that this was not at first falsely done, but that Sauron in truth repented…, …Therefore when Eönwë departed he hid himself in Middle-earth; and he fell back into evil, for the bonds that Morgoth had laid upon him were very strong.”

After the fall of Morgoth it is said in the Silmarillion, Sauron came before Eönwë who was a Maia serving Manwë, Eönwë was referred to as the "greatest of arms in Arda," meaning that he was the best with weapons.

Sauron renounced his evil deeds, but it was not in Eonwe powers to forgive another Maia, he would have to petition to Manwe himself. Sauron was unwilling to do this.

After the fall of Morgoth Sauron hit rock bottom and hid for centuries in Middle Earth. I found this fascinating, why? Because it shows a human side of Sauron and no one is beyond redemption. Tolkien gave us glimpse into the soul of Sauron. Even though Sauron ultimately chose to stay evil, for a brief moment he did consider the move to good. However he didn’t want to face judgement and rehabilitation Manwe would bestow upon him. Maybe because of his love for perfection he couldn’t face his own imperfection. Like I said for brief moment there could have been redemption. A glimpse at the world which could have been if Sauron would have repented. But this didn’t happen and the dark lord spend many millennia causing chaos and death try to force order upon middle earth.

Regarding Sauron's personality, Tolkien had this to say from his letters:
In my story Sauron represents as near an approach to the wholly evil will as is possible. He had gone the way of all tyrants: beginning well, at least on the level that while desiring to order all things according to his own wisdom he still at first considered the (economic) well-being of other inhabitants of the Earth. But he went further than human tyrants in pride and the lust for domination, being in origin an immortal (angelic) spirit. Sauron desired to be a God-King, and was held to be this by his servants, by a triple treachery: 1. Because of his admiration of Strength he had become a follower of Morgoth and fell with him down into the depths of evil, becoming his chief agent in Middle-earth. 2. when Morgoth was defeated by the Valar finally he forsook his allegiance; but out of fear only; he did not present himself to the Valar or sue for pardon, and remained in Middle-earth. 3. When he found how greatly his knowledge was admired by all other rational creatures and how easy it was to influence them, his pride became boundless.
—J.R.R. Tolkien

Among Sauron's chief powers were deception and disguise: he trick the elves into making the rings of power and he trick the Numenorians to take on the Valar

There is more to Sauron that I haven’t touched on here, maybe another episode we can dive deeper. If you have watched the movies, but haven’t read the books I encourage you to do say if you don’t like to read try audio books, which leads to my next section

With Amazon buying the rights to Tolkien literature I hope they explore each main character like Sauron and tell their stories. Maybe a 12 episode series on Sauron exploring his origin and early years. Up until the fall of Morgoth. Who would you like to see them do a series on?


Application Station:

Hoopla is free at most public libraries. Sometimes it’s easier to listen, that’s why you are here now. With driving or running or working around the house audio is easier to help pass the time.
Most public libraries give you access to these, the selection is mediocre IMO. Audible is going to give you a much bigger selection. Along with the audio books you also get access to ebooks and comic books too. This is how I found the Mark Milar Jupiter series. Avaiable for IOS and Android.


Comic Book

Image comics I kill Giants comic book Barbara Thorson, a girl struggling with life by escaping into a fantasy life of magic and monsters. Released July 2008. Barbara is a confused girl dealing with trauma in her life. This causes her to be overly blunt with people in her life even people who want to be her friends. This may be a bit foreign to readers, but for me being around kids who have been traumatized I can understand the confusion, maybe you can too. However Barbara does have some witty comebacks to the mean people in her life and she’s obsessed with DND. At first it is difficult to tell if Barbara is out of touch with reality or not. She dresses weird with bunny ears. Many readers can relate as we all want to escape real lifes struggles and stress even if it’s only for a short time. However eventually you have to face them and you find out you find out you are stronger than you think. It’s a B/W comic book and the writer scribbled the entire story line in less than an hour on a yellow legal pad while his dad was going through physical therapy. To find the perfect giant the writer Joe Kelly asked Jim the artist for about 50 versions of giants before he settled on the one he wanted. The entire story is great, it shows as nerds we like escapism, and like Barbara we can be a bit snarky and crass.


Podcast shout out:

Day Dream instruction Manual Eddie and company look at all things nerdy and not so nerdy.



We will be giving away a copy of the game Mintworks a cool game by five24labs. Mint Works is a light and straightforward worker placement game. Its compact size makes it easy to put in your pocket and take it anywhere. Its simple rules make it easy to introduce new players to the genre of worker placement.

The reason I wanted to give this away because it’s a simple compact game and I know the creator personally.

To enter in the drawing email me, put in the subject line mintworks, then include your full name in the body. Or on Instagram DM me with mintworks and you full name. Either method will get an entry into the contest. Please only one entry per person.

Find me on twitter @thecovert_nerd or Instagram and Facebook at covertnerd website

You never forget your first… comic books EP 5

December 12, 2017

Today we will be talking about your first comic books, next an amazing book called the inevitable and lastly a great e-reader app. Lets dive right in.

You never forget your first... comic books

We always remember ours firsts:
First date, First car, First kiss, First job, First podcast…

Search on Twitter and Instagram about first comics I saw a lot of responses:
“Best purchase ever!”
“Several people said totally dating myself because it was 30 plus years ago”
“The holographic cover drew me in and I haven’t left since.”
“Read it so many times the staples fell out”

One guy purchased his first comic book, years later had it framed and is now hanging in his office.
Many people could say the exact issue and where they bought it too
For many it was most defiantly a walk down memory lane

Some nerds are passing it on and buying there kids first comic book. And documenting it on Facebook, Instagram or twitter

I had read a few comics from the spinner racks at the small grocery store my mom bought from. Never bought any. My mom wouldn’t let me. And of course being a child of the 80’s I watched Saturday morning cartoons with the Super-friends on the DC side and Spider-man and his amazing friends on the marvel side. My older brother was buying a few before I started collecting so I read a few of his. Then Christmas of 1991 he gave me one of those comic grab bags from I think Wal-mart that had a number one then 3 other random titles. And they were:

Guardians of the Galaxy #17 Jim Valentino
New Warriors #16 Fabian Nicieza
Dark Hawk #8
X-Men #1 Chris Claremont and Jim Lee

Can’t tell you how many times I have read these. Living in a small town we didn’t have a comic book shop so I had to order by mail any of the back issues. Because since all but one of the four was a number one I had to fill in the story gaps and learn more about these characters.

I still have these four and every time I see them or a cover pic of them online I instantly go back in my mind to being in my basement bedroom reading each line, analyzing each panel. Harkins back to a simpler time in my life. Do you do the same? When you see the cover of your first comics do you get flashbacks? When you see an artist or writer of your first comic books you can instantly remember the specific book you lover that they worked on. You have the emotions of the wonder at the combination of art and story telling. Thats why comic books are such a great medium, they amalgam two formats into one. It’s your first love all over again.

Times have changed in the comic book industry some good some bad, in my opinion. Still over all it’s the books I read that first year that still draws me back. It’s the excitement of seeing what they are going to do next with this character or story arc.

I don’t collect for value or money, I collect for the story and art. It doesn’t have to be first edition number one. I am content if it’s a TPB of the first 7 issues. If you want to be a collector for the money that's fine too, it’s your thing. For me again its the love of the medium. They group of people it takes to assemble the art with the story telling is genius, not to mention the lettering, inking getting the panels to look correct, it’s a lot of work. My hat goes off to them. Carl Smith on the Goad kicker podcast published his own comic book and has an episode where he talks about the work it takes to make a comic and how he finds it difficult to criticize comic book companies about quality after seeing first hand all the work it takes to put a book together.

Once in a while I will pull out these first comic books and it reminds me all over again why I love the comic book medium. It gives me the energy to dive in again, because life does tend to get in the way of our hobbies. That’s just the way it, is we have bills to pay kids to get to events etc. But picking up first comic books is a fresh reminder to escapism for just a little while and experience the wonder of these characters and their adventures.

If you haven’t done it already I strongly encourage you to go to that long box you have in a closet or drawer you keep your old issues and find some of your first comic books. They might be faded and tattered, but read them. Remind yourself why you kept them all theses years. Remember the fascination and wonder they brought you. Then go get some newer issues from the same titles or find some new firsts. I did that recently with Rai and Ninjak over at Valiant. Remember seeing these titles back in the early 90’s when they were first released. I was a bit of snob towards Valiant, and didn’t give them a looks. I checked out a reboot of both titles they did recently and found they were very good. Art and story were great, I encourage you to give them a look.

Being a father and husband I don’t have a lot of money and time to buy a lot of comics so I have to be a bit selective, but I still enjoy getting old issues of titles when I was young and picking up some new stuff too.

I hope your firsts both from the past and present are great. I am on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook chime in on your first comic books. What were they? How and why did you get them? Do you still like them? What would you recommend to readers now? If you have a first you are hesitant go ahead and take the plunge, I did when I started this podcast. Lets talk.

Next segment is what I call Book Nook and I briefly take a look at a book and recommend to you.

The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly who was the founding editor of Wired Magazine

According to Kelly, much of what will happen in the next thirty years is inevitable. The future will bring with it even more screens, tracking, and lack of privacy. In the book he outlines twelve trends that will forever change the ways in which we work, learn and communicate:

1.Becoming: Moving from fixed products to always upgrading services and subscriptions
2.Cognifying: Making everything much smarter using cheap powerful AI that we get from the cloud
3.Flowing: Depending on unstoppable streams in real-time for everything
4.Screening: Turning all surfaces into screens
5.Accessing: Shifting society from one where we own assets, to one where instead we will have access to services at all times.[5]
6.Sharing: Collaboration at mass-scale. Kelly writes, “On my imaginary Sharing Meter Index we are still at 2 out of 10.”
7.Filtering: Harnessing intense personalization in order to anticipate our desires
8.Remixing: Unbundling existing products into their most primitive parts and then recombine in all possible ways
9.Interacting: Immersing ourselves inside our computers to maximize their engagement
10.Tracking: Employing total surveillance for the benefit of citizens and consumers
11.Questioning: Promoting good questions are far more valuable than good answers
12.Beginning: Constructing a planetary system connecting all humans and machines into a global matrix

He also talks about possible new minds that will occur because of AI like a Hive mind or Borg mind.

His prediction is By 2026, Google’s main product will not be search but AI

The first genuine AI will not be birthed in a stand-alone supercomputer, but in the superorganism of a billion computer chips known as the net. It will be planetary in dimensions, but thin, embedded, and loosely connected.
The greatest benefit of the arrival of artificial intelligence is that AIs will help define humanity. We need AIs to tell us who we are.
Yet the paradox of science is that every answer breeds at least two new questions. More tools, more answers, ever more questions.

Our inventions allow us to spy into our ignorance.

Many are worried about robots taking jobs, but he gives us hope that we will be okay
even though our knowledge is expanding exponentially, our questions are expanding exponentially faster. science is a method that chiefly expands our ignorance rather than our knowledge.
We have no reason to expect this to reverse in the future.

Application station:
Bookari is an ereader that was Mantano reader and why I love it over the half dozen I tried is the fact I could highlight and export.

Shout out to Make Eternia Great Again Podcast

Contest coming soon stay tuned

Please rate and review me on itunes

Find me on

Parallel Movie review EP 4

November 27, 2017

The movie Parallel is an interesting and psychological concept. If you ever wondered how would my life have diverted if I would have made a different choice on my job or partner or other decisions? This movie tries to answer that question.

I really like the concept of experiencing yourself from another universe and how you may act differently good or bad. If you have seen the movie sliding doors with Gwyneth Paltrow, this movie has a similar concept. This movie however takes a more dark, sinister and erotic twist.

Neil and Heather meet Machlis a mysterious old man who claims he can show them their parallel selves. When they see their parallel selves they become addicted to seeing their alternate lives and can’t stop revisiting their alternate universe. Their visits progressively darker and darker and the lines become blurred for the main characters between their real lives and their dark counter parts.

Overall a good movie a short run time and the movie moves a good pace without staying too long in one scene. The scenes are exactly the right length. It has a good mix of thriller, erotic and horror without excessive gore. Which I am not a big fan of.

The movie does a good job of shooting the film distingushing between the real life and the parallel lives of Neal and Heather. The “real” lives are in color and the parallel lives are in black and white. Excellent way to show the viewers which part you are watching.

This isn’t a big budget film with big name actors. However the acting is very good, I think the main characters Neil and Heather are well done. They deliver their lines well.

My only criticisms are a few scenes the dialogue is too quiet. Also one scene feels like it was accidentally cut too soon and should have been held a little longer. Both are something that can be easily fixed in another project.

I think Amazon, Netflix Hulu and other streaming services are giving budding directors and producers the chance to sharpen their teeth with movie projects. Just like podcasting is giving me a regular guy a way to distribute content to the masses. We should try to support newcomers to the medium of choice. As a producer this is Alex first production and does very well for himself. Please give him some encouragement on Twitter his handle is @alexcooper81.

I have a face for radio as they say and chose to go with podcasting.

Overall I would give this movie 7 out of 10. If you like psychological thrillers you will like this movie. If you are an Amazon prime member you can watch it as part of your subscription. Director Ieva Makselyte and written by David Magowan Producer Alexander Cooper


Read more details about the movie and the cast or watch on Amazon here

What you need to know about Thanos and the Infinity Gems EP 3

November 15, 2017

 Imagine with me for a moment anything you wish to be you are… anything you wish is…nothing in this universe dares challenge that claim, there can be only one word to describe you GOD


That’s what I want to talk about today is marvels Infinity Gauntlet


This topic has been slowly brewing for the last few years because of the MCU movies and the underlying thread of the infinity gems and Thanos. Where and when did all these stories and characters come from? That’s what I want to explore today.


Specifically the 1990’s iterations of the gems and Thanos, yes he had gathered 5 of the six gems previously, but this is the first time he obtained all 6 and this is where Disney/Marvel got there inspiration for the MCU.


This was the start of the decade’s long Infinity saga that we are still exploring today in the MCU


Complete show notes

EP 2: Nerd Awkwardness

October 22, 2017

Do nerds feel more or less awkward now than they did 10 years ago?  Today we explore the way nerds feel in society today compared to years past.  Do you sometimes feel awkward around a certain group of people?  Take a listen and see if you can relate.  If you like the Covert Nerd Podcast please share. 

EP 1 Hero Quest what brings you back

October 6, 2017



Do you have an activity you did when you were younger that you have fond memories of? If so what was it? What makes it so appealing? What is it that you put down then pick up again later? Maybe its a hobby like fishing or an activity like running.


What do you go back to and why? Have you shared it with someone?


What makes Hero Quest so appealing?


For Hero Quest it is:


Fun to share, give more than I get






The original quest book

The original instruction manual

YouTube video showing how to play

Original commercial

Funny video explaining why Hero Quest is so awesome

Information about Les Edwards

Fantastic Hero Quest online community at Ye Old Inn

Hero Quest for Tabletop Simulator

Hero Quest Fonts


Places to buy Hero Quest:



Thriftshops and garage sales


 Hero Quest Wiki


Hero Quest Cards:


Hero Quest Furniture:


Hero Quest Expansions:


Hero Quest Main System:


Introduction to Covert Nerd podcast

September 23, 2017
Nerd culture podcast that aims to bring out the inner nerd in all of us! Celebrating your inner nerd by uncovering books, video games and comic book gems from the past and present and analyzing them from a nerd perspective.