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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Aquaman Birthday Pop-Up Book

sgThis past Sunday, I "took the day off" from the Shrine and let my pal and F.O.A.M. member, Russell Burbage, do a Guest Post.

It was an idea I had a few weeks ago, and when Russell asked me when I'd like to run his piece, I thought, why not run it on birthday? A good a day as any.

Little did I know that I unwittingly became part of a huge scheme Russell had been planning for months, to give me an amazing, stupefying birthday present, one that I will never forget.

Russell told me he was sending me something for my birthday, which I thought was generous but wholly unnecessary. Somehow, Russell thought my birthday was August 18th, not August 16th, but I assured him that was okay because many of my friends make the same mistake.

Anyway, Russell wrote his post, sent it to me, and said to let him know if the present arrived before the post went up. It did--it arrived Saturday the 15th. As I broke open the envelope and saw what I was inside, I was stunned.

It was a custom-made, 16-page Aquaman pop-up book, telling the story of how Aquaman and Mera are on their way to a birthday party in my honor, when they are stopped by Ocean Master.

Below is the entire book, page by page. Take it all in like I did...and prepare yourself for the surprise ending!

Not only did Russell put together this amazing book for me--a one-of-a-kind keepsake--but he got together with ten other friends of mine--F.O.A.M. members all--and coordinated with my LCS, All Things Fun, to order for me the super-cool (and super-pricey!) Aquaman and Mera busts from DC direct, coming out in October! Great Neptune!!

There's even more to this story, but I'll let Russell tell it:

In the spirit of this post and of this day, where we come together and celebrate all that is Rob Kelly, I'd like to announce that a group of us has banded together in order to help make some of Rob's wishes come true.

When he wrote several months back about how cool the upcoming DC Direct busts for Aquaman and Mera were but as a freelance artist he didn't think he could ever afford them, I contacted Ed Evans at All Things Fun! to see if it was possible to order them *for* Rob. Ed agreed to help out immediately, and gave me the details: the price, and the date I would have to get the money to him by in order to place the order.

I knew exactly what to do next: I took a page from Mary Bailey and sent emails to all the Aquaman Shrine "regulars" I could find, spreading the word: "Can we pool our money and get these great gifts for Rob?"

Well, much to my surprise, not only did we collect enough shells for Arthur and Mera, we also got enough to buy the upcoming Ocean Master action figure, as well as an Aquaman t-shirt Ed had already ordered on Rob's behalf, and we had some money left! I suggested we tip Ed for all the help he had given us, but I think he went ahead and put it into a gift certificate to the store.

We talked about several "plots" to surprise Rob, such as making up a treasure hunt or some sort of puzzle, but when I hit upon the idea of creating a "pop-up" story-book card announcing our gifts, everything came together pretty quickly. The rest, as they say, is history. The card was delivered to Rob today, and he had no idea that it was coming. Until he read this, he had no idea what we were doing.

So, Rob Kelly, I know I'm not the only one out here who loves what you do. Here's hoping we have many, many years of celebrating Aquaman sightings with you as our host.

Your friend,

P.S. Are you *sure* your birthday isn't August 18th? :-)

...yes, Russell, I'm pretty sure my birthday isn't the 18th, but after this I might be persuaded to change it!

Needless to say, I was left utterly speechless at the time, effort, and generosity everyone put into this. I called Russell as soon as I got the book and thanked him, but had a tough time saying anything more clever than that.

Thanks to him, Ed, Charles, Brian, Glenn, Joe, Steve, Richard, George, Rick, and Vince, this birthday will rank as one of the best I've ever had. And it was all thanks to The Aquaman Shrine, which makes it that much more special.


Russell said...

You're welcome. :-)

As the leader (?) of FORK, and on their behalf, I tell you (again) that it was our pleasure. Keep up the great work.

And Happy Birthday!!! ;-)

Wings1295 said...

Russell really pulled this all together, for all of us to say a big "thanks" to you!

Glad you were surprised and happy, and Happy Birthday!

Can't wait to see the post when the statues arrive! :)

Richard Duncan said...


I was very impresssed by Russ's creation (and creativity) and I just want to publicly thank him for "channeling" my feelings (and the feelings of of many others I'm sure) to you with this gift.

I think we all feel the same: the Shrine brings us a lot of enjoyment and we appreciate your efforts so much. In our hearts, we know it can't last forever, but while it does, we just want to encourage you and support you in whatever small ways we can.

Honored to be both a FOAM and a FORK,

P.S. I humbly report that it was my idea to include the Phantom Stranger in the card, in recognition of your PS blog. (If it included Hawkeye and Trapper John we could have covered all the bases. ;)

rob! said...


Yeah, now I can't wait for those statues to come out, knowing I'll be getting them! Sa-weet!


Nice idea, adding the Stranger to the mix! :)

Anonymous said...

What an amazing birthday surprise. Happy Birthday Rob. Love the Shrine!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Rob from one of the newest and proudest F.O.A.M. members.


Orin's Dad said...

How totally cool! What an amazing, awesome and thoughtful gift. Rob, you are truly a lucky man to have friends like this. Happy Birthday!

Brandan said...

Happy (belated) Bday. Best post ever!

Unknown said...

Happy belated Birthday, Rob!

Russell did most of it, but we just wanted to give back for all you've done with the Shrine and your other blogs.

And I still love "It's as if we're being ...ordered!" Best. Line. Ever. :-)