Friday, February 05, 2010

FAMILY

Hello All -

Drew Gaska here. Some of you know me very well, others will know much more after this post. I am the creator of Archaia's upcoming sci-fi comic series "Critical Millennium", lead author of the impending "Conspiracy of the Planet of the Apes" illustrated novel, and writer/director of the "SPACE:1999" relaunch coming in fall 2010. I created BLAM! in 2004 to do the creative things I love - developing new characters and concepts as well as work on the licensed properties that helped shape me into the person I am - and to share all that with others.

BLAM! is a small multimedia company that is built around the concept of family -- people working together who love what they are doing and love working with each other. While many people believe that business and family should not coalesce (Mafia excluded), I have always felt that if your work and coworkers are the same as your pursuits and friends, it really isn't work at all - its living life to the fullest. While BLAM! has strayed from that mission statement at times over the past few years, and recently had to part ways with former members who did not see eye to eye on this concept, we have at our core remained a family (one rife with dysfunction at times, but a family none the less).

I am known to wear my intentions, emotions, and views on my sleeve - I have always felt that full disclosure was the best policy - be it in personal situations or business. Due to developments this fall, I have been somewhat negligent in answering emails, updating our blogs, speaking on the message boards, and completing requested interviews - and for this I severely apologize. BLAM! has a responsibility to our fans and friends to keep you in the loop. I felt it was time to bring all of you up to speed - and its family matters I need to share with you.

Last September, my father had to have emergency surgery due to an aneurysm of his aorta in his abdomen (something the medical profession calls a triple 'A').

We were told that he only had a 50% chance of survival - and even then he could become paralyzed due to the closeness of the operation to his spine, need a colostomy bag for the rest of his life due to the closeness to his kidneys, and due to his chain smoking for the past 48 years, need a tracheotomy. If we hadn't rushed him to the hospital when we did, he would have been dead by morning. He was in surgery for almost eight hours, and finally we were told that he survived the operation -they successfully replaced a portion of his Aorta.

The next night Dad had to go back into surgery - part of his colon was showing up as dead due to the blood loss when his blood collecting in the aneurysm before it burst. They thought they were going to have to remove parts of the colon and give him a bag.

Luckily, when they went in they discovered that it was a thin layer of dead flesh that will likely regenerate, so no surgery was needed. They closed him up in a way that was not final - they had an "easy access" closing on him so that they can reopen him quick if there was a problem (think of it as surgical Velcro).

My mother was a wreck and we didn't find out that his colon tissue wasn't permanently dead until around the next morning. We really got lucky here - apparently usually in these cases blood loss leads to colon death.

The worst part about all of this is that because they had to reopen him up, there was a chance that his aorta graft could become infected, and we could have had to go through this over and over again. Luckily that was not the case.

Next he was swollen to three times his size due to fluid retention, on a ventilator to make him breathe and unconscious for two weeks. When finally he did wake up, he was not himself - one minute he thought he was meeting someone at the helipad in New York City, the next he was going to a party he went to in the 1960s. When asked where he was, he was sure he was at the airport - not the hospital - but he could identify every one of us who came to visit him. I began to fear that he had suffered blood loss to the brain when his blood was pooling in his abdomen, and that he was going to be like that permanently. Again we got lucky - it turned out to be the effect the knock out drugs and pain killers had on him due to the long amount of time he was kept under. He has since regained his wits and is 100% himself.

After being in ICU for almost a month, they moved him out of the hospital and into a physical rehabilitation center, where he had to learn to walk and sit up again - not all his muscles wanted to work. The physical therapist gave him a rag and told him to wipe down a table 10 times, to get his muscles working again (although there is a suspicion on my part that the trainer just wanted the table clean - but I digress). By the end of the eighth time he was exhausted - his body was extremely weak. He had lost over 50 pounds from going three weeks without any solid food - and looked more than somewhat frail.

Shortly thereafter, the attendees (nurse assistants? janitors?) put my father in a chair and wheeled him out to the hall while they cleaned his room - and promptly left him there for two and a half hours! He was not supposed to be sitting upright for anywhere near that long a time. When they finally got him, they whirled the chair around and his blood pressure had become so low, he passed out! He was taken back to the hospital - and was kept in emergency for eight hours - his blood pressure stabilized, and he was kept at the hospital under observation for the next few days. Just when you think you have gotten through the trials, something has to swim up and bite you on the ass.

Now, Dad is home and doing much better, he is walking with the aid of a four legged cane and is (for better or worse) mostly his old self again - his prognosis is more than good.

Right before this all happened I moved into the upstairs apartment in my parents' house - something that was intended to be a temporary situation but one that seems to have become more permanent: I will be taking care of my parents from now on. The stress of this situation on my fiancee, myself and our relationship has been overwhelming - so much so that as of this past January we are no longer together.

About my father's health, the doctors tell me that this issue is genetic and that I likely have the same problem growing in me - it is a byproduct of the blood issues I already have and my father's father died from this. They told me I needed to go get an ultrasound ASAP to check it out - I did and as of right now I'm in the clear. The only good thing about this part is that I am young enough that it can be stopped before it happens if it is caught now (my Dad is one of those people who hadn't been to the doctor in literally 30 years - they could have stopped this in him as well).

On top of it all, my long time feline companion Lyric passed away this Christmas, as well - just as his younger brother Judas did the Christmas before.

All in all, this past year was a challenge for BLAM! and myself.

I am asking all of BLAM!s friends and supporters to bond together as a family as we push ahead and through these trying times. Obviously, all this has caused a delay in our projects over here at BLAM! - as I have been struggling to balance personal crisis with business.

BLAM! Ventures is now in the process of restructuring: Assistant Editor Nina Kester and I are organizing it into a well oiled machine with a solid release schedule. Rest assured, all our lines are still moving forward - Planet of the Apes, Space:1999, Critical Millennium and the BLAM! Comics Anthology Graphic Album Volumes - just expect these thing to show up for order three to six months later than originally projected.

The Conspiracy of the Planet of the Apes Illustrated Novel is in the process of its final draft revision with most of the art for the book already turned in, I am scheduled to fly to the UK next month to discuss the future of Space: 1999 with ITV/Granada Ventures, and Artist Dan Dussault is just about done with the pages of the first three issues of Critical Millennium: Dark Frontier. I promise to update you all as there is more information to give.

I thank you in advance for your support in these crises and for our upcoming product lines- and look forward to being able to entertain you with psychosocial/political tales of high adventure soon.

Yours,
Drew
Andrew E. C. Gaska
Creative Director/CEO
BLAM! Ventures LLC
FEBRUARY 5th 2010

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