Archive for the ‘Appearances’ Category

SPX memories 2009

October 6, 2009

100_8143 Doug Bratton and John Kovaleski by mgrhode1.

Doug and I bumping elbows while we sign books.
Photo courtesy of
comics scholar Mike Rhode, from his ComicsDC blog.

Had a great time at the Small Press Expo last weekend. (Well, it was really the weekend before last. You know how I like to be timely.) Just a couple of bulleted points:

• My table partner was Doug Bratton of Pop Culture Shock Therapy and we couldn’t have had a nicer time. (And his wife Pam tracked down lunch for us both days. Extra points.) We had a couple of moments of near-disaster as we set up Doug’s jerry-rigged PVC pipe display. It fell over three times. I swear our neighbors started a pool about when it would fall and kill a hipster.

• Speaker of hipsters – it looks like handlebar mustaches are making a comback. Can straw boaters and sleeve garters be far behind?
• Got to have dinner with R. (but you can call him “Bob”) Sikoryak and Marek Bennett and finally got to put face-to-name of Chris Mautner (of Robot Six) and Johanna Draper Carlson (of ComicsWorthReading).

• A very nice lady flipped through one of my Bo books and I did my spiel, “It’s about a talking monkey in the human world.” She said she didn’t see any monkeys in the book. I said I personally guarantee that there is at least one monkey in each and every strip. (Doug said maybe she thought my monkey drawing was a dog. I told him that my friend Chuck often jokes that I’m actually drawing Alf.)

• We were talking in depth about comic strips with a very nice guy and then all of a sudden I said “I gotta go to the bathroom” and lit off. I had no choice. (I believe it was a roast beef wrap I had. It didn’t smell or taste bad but I must confess, the meat was kinda gray.)

• I brought a book with me by a certain cartoonist who was a SPX special guest to have it signed for a certain little boy (who occasionally read this blog so I’m being cagey). It didn’t seem like the certain cartoonist had any times listed for signing and I didn’t want to be one of “those guys” who stalks a certain cartoonist, then pounces for an autograph. I was bitching about this to Doug when, low and behold, the certain cartoonist came right down our aisle. Case closed.

• There was only one time that I was away from our table for an extended period. When I came back Doug told me that a woman wearing a t-shirt that said “math is delicious” stopped by. She was very excited because she recognized Bo from the Washington Post and said she would come back. Guess what? She never did. My faith has been shaken – I no longer believe that “math is delicious.”

Comic Con- Part 6 – Dress-up

August 5, 2009

And what would Comic Con be without costumes?

• My hands-down fav was the bunny suit my friend/colleague Rich Moyer specifically bought to pick up another friend/colleague Sean Parkes at the airport. Then he wore it the rest of the day.

• I think the most common costume was Wonder Woman. I saw it on a toddler and a 70+ year-old woman.

• While sitting in our booth two brothers dressed as Superman came from the left while another guy dressed as Superman came from the right. The three Supermans (or “mens”) met, chatted for a moment, then couldn’t go anywhere because everyone wanted to take their picture. (Which seems to be the reason why one dresses up for CC.) I wanted to pool our money and pay them to fight it out to see who was the real Superman.

• Saw a number of Steampunk adventurer outfits – sort of Jules Verne-y with ol’ timey gadgets – that were impressive. I liked the guy who wore a running clockwork on his chest.

• A few Slave Girl Leia costumers had a little trouble, uh…keeping it all PG rated

• I was proud that I recognized three guys as being dressed as extras from the zombies-as-pets horror comedy “Fido” complete with light-up, don’t-eat-the-humans control collars.

• Saw a couple of “husky” guys dressed as film maker Kevin Smith – baggy shorts, long coat, backwards baseball cap, beard. But, considering the possible nerd wardrobes, maybe it wasn’t a costume at all.

• People took all this very seriously. There wasn’t a lot of ironic costumes. No really skinny guys painted Hulk green, holding up stretched-out purple pants. Although one guy had a superhero costume made from found objects including a towel for a cape. He had a piece of notebook paper on his chest that read “Budget Man.”

• And to finish up my Comic con round-up, here’s another funny pic of Rich. Isn’t he cute?

Comic Con- Part 4 – Doin’ stuff

August 3, 2009
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Not a pic of me and Tom Richmond and me signing at the DC Comics booth, but since it's a bald guy (actually Grant Morrison) and a non-bald guy at a DC comics booth, it is a reasonable facsimile

• Spent a fair amount of time at the National Cartoonist Society’s booth (whose number I had screwed up on the blog – hope you all found me). I was selling my books and pimping some NCS t-shirts and bags leftover from our last two conventions. I’m pretty good at selling other people’s merch (having honed my skills doing so for Witches in Bikinis).

• On Thursday, before opening, I was walking around, noticed that DC had stacks of free MADs out (DC owns MAD, BTW) so I mentioned that Tom Richmond and I had flexible schedules and, faster that you could say “usual gang of idiots,” we were scheduled for a signing that day. We signed MADs and drew sketches. (I did my “Me, Myself and My Puppet” characters. I did one very poor Alfred E. Newman). It went great – lots of people, all very appreciative. It went so well they scheduled another one on Sunday. (Can anyone find any photos of it out there on the web? There were a number of people clicking away.)

• At the end of the day on Sunday, R. Sikoryak and I were part of The Cartoon Art Museum’s Third Annual Sketch-A-Thon. Some people had ordered drawings of their own character (we both drew a clothed mermaid), some requested a specific famous character (I did a Spiderman) and some bought one that were already done (like the Flash-with-walker I drew.)

Comic Con – Part 3 – People, famous and otherwise

July 31, 2009
Cartoonists at dinner...

From bottom left clockwise: Daryl Cagle (Cagle.com), Jenny Robb (Ohio State Cartoon Library), Jeff Koterba (Omaha Herald editorial cartoonist), me eating, Glenn McCoy ("The Duplax," "The Flying McCoys"), Sean Parkes (illustrator/cartoonis), Piotr Walczuk (caricaturist/voice actor), Rich Moyer (animator/cartoonist), Jeff Keane ("The Family Circus"), Young Tom Richmond, Original Tom Richmond (MAD), Susie Cagle (cartoonist). (Photo courtesy Tom Richmond the Elder)

• Not going to any wait-in-line-for-hours panels nor being in the part of the exhibit hall where the big media play, I didn’t really see any famous people. Some of my friends (above) are kinda famous yet attract little in the way of paparazzi.

• I did catch of glimpse of Jennifer Love Hewitt. She was in a booth that was surrounded by counter, which in turn was surrounded by fanboys six deep. She looked like a scared deer.

• I was at the panel of editorial cartoonist Pat Oliphant. The live drawings he did of priests, Bill Clinton and Sarah Palin (not all together) would not be considered “safe for work.”

• Went to the Pop Perversity panel featuring my friend R. Sikoryak. Afterwards Bob invited me out to dinner with his friends, who are some high-end folks. To my right was the amazing cartoonist Carol Lay. To my left was screenwriter Ted Alcott (“Ants”). And across from me was Bob’s-former-roommate-now-actor James Urbaniak (Robert Crumb in “American Splendor”).

• I only heard about this: At the Stephan Pastis (“Pearls Before Swine”) panel someone asked him what other cartoonists’ reactions are when he makes fun of their well-established features. From the back a cartoonist of a well-established feature yelled, “Screw you, Pastis!” (Told to me by the aforementioned  cartoonist of a well-established feature.)

Comic Con – Part 2

July 30, 2009

• Did you hear that there were a a lot of people at Comic Con? It’s true. I lived to see it. Unfortunately, there often times would be so many people that browsing seemed impossible. Actually, seeing seemed impossible. The Ironman suits above? Didn’t see them on Preview Night. “Couldn’t see them” is probably a more appropriate phrase. With my exhibitor badge I could walk around before the show opened up and that became my MO.

• There were a number of pre-recorded announcements that were played in the exhibit hall including, “There is no running at Comic Con.” When I first heard that I though, is that really necessary? It was. At opening time there would be a mad dash of people looking to get freebies before they’re gone.

• One the the most prevalent freebies was the giant tote bag (emblazoned with advertisements, of course.) It’s basically a couple of feet tall by a couple of feet wide to carry all your booty. I saw a woman who had taken a couple from a year past (pimping “Smallville”) and had sewn them into a dress.

• I got a regular-sized tote bag from some horror movie booth that is white with blood dripping all over it. I can’t wait to tote my groceries in it here in my small town.

• There was also a fair amount of promotion going on outside of the convention center. Billboard trucks, a “Heroes” carnival, fliers galore. A restaurant I had breakfast in had been completely “branded” by the Scyfy network. Signs, menus, tabletops, TVs everywhere playing commercials for their shows. I was a little suspect that it wasn’t even a real restaurant. Figured it might be an empty storefront by Monday morn; a few typoed logos strewn on the floor .

Comic Con – Part 1

July 29, 2009

(photo by "my only fan," Jeff Keane)

Well, I’m back from San Diego Comic Con, a bit richer and a bit poorer. I’ll post my thoughts over the next few days, probably in bullet points since my brain can hardly be called upon to create a cohesive narrative after the red-eye I took home Sunday night/Monday morning.

• I got an insanely small amount of sleep the night before traveling on Wednesday. I needed to be up by 4:00 am but was awake by 2:00. I fooled around with repacking my luggage since I was checking one bag filled with books to sell and carrying-on the one with clothes, etc. and had limited space. (I actually took the book bag to the gym to weigh it to make sure it was under 50 lbs.)

• Had a couple of hours to kill when I got there before Preview Night so I wandered around by the pier. Two grown men were trying to remember all of the Green Lantern oath. I though it was very funny seeing my first evidence of full-scale geekery and called a couple of friends to report such and wallow in my superiority. Then I realized that it says something about me that I would recognize just part of the Green Lantern oath.

• I’m impressed that CC actually has shuttles that run 7:00 am to 3:00am…or any shuttles at all. I often fell asleep on the Pink Shuttle on the way back to the hotel. (Not partying, just jet lag.)

• Getting inside the exhibit hall, I expected it to be bigger. I had heard all the “you can’t walk the whole thing in 4 days” legends and though it would be as big as the Javitz Center in NYC.

• On Preview Night I was working my way through a mob when I heard something that sounded like my name. I turned around to find one of my former cartooning students, Val Hochberg. I asked was she was doing there and she said she had a booth with some friends and was self publishing. We went to her table and she gave me a book and I gave her one of mine. A day or two late yet another cartooning student, Bob Rutan, stopped by the National Cartoonists Society booth to say hello. He’s working as an animator in LA. Seeing them really did my heart good.

My travels – Part 1 – MoCCA

June 17, 2009

Man, have I been traveling a ton this last month. As a matter of fact, I was on the road (or in the air, or on train tracks, or sleeping on an air mattress at a friend’s apartment) for 15 out of 19 days. Just too much. I’m happy to be home till Comic Con.

In order, these were the events I went to: The National Cartoonists Society’s Reuben Weekend, Book Expo and MoCCA. Since MoCCA is the most recent (two weeks ago), I’ll hit that first and the others (hopefully) next week. (Yep, I’m not very timely and thus a bad, bad blogger.)

I mooched a place to stay off of my friends Bob (professionally known as “R.”) Sikoryak and Kriota Willberg. Bob is quite well-known in the “alternative comics scene” and it was fun to tag along with him and experience an area of comics I don’t know nearly enough about.

And now the bullet points:

• MoCCA moved from the Puck Building to the Amory on Lexington. It’s big joint where you could systematically see every table but, man, was it hot.

• Got to sit near my friend Marek Bennett who just put out a new book on a Xeric grant. A “block” away way was Brendan Burford whose newest edition of “Syncopated” was just published by Villard Press. Marek, Brendan and I all play ukulele (me just barely). Brendan even had his with him. It seems to be a popular instrument among cartoonists, which leads me to…

• Sunday night’s “Comic Strip Serenade” at a joint out in Brooklyn. Put together by a couple of comics historians, it was a performance of early 20th century sheet music inspired by comic strips like Pogo, Barney Google, The Gumps and Krazy Kat. And, my oh my, were there are a lot of ukes involved. As a matter of fact, the last piece was music that was an integral part of a comic strip called “Them Days Are Gone Forever” and featured not one, not two, not three, but four, count ’em, four ukuleles!

• And a big shout out to Gocomics.com reader Dorian, who I’ve christened the “MoCCA Weekend’s #1 Bo Nanas fan” for coming to the show to see me. (I am always shocked and amazed when anyone comes specifically to see me at these things, such is my humbleness and meager level of fame.). She was kind enough to pick up a Bo book and the new Great Scott book. Unfortunately I’d forgotten to bring Bo buttons with me so I mailed her one with a sketch as a “thank you.”

I’ll be at MoCCA

June 5, 2009

MoCCA fest

Sure, I got back from NYC just about 45 minutes ago (or so it seems) and I ‘ll back this weekend for MoCCA – Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art Festival. (According to the poster above, we’ll all be sharing space with various sea creatures.) I’ll be at table 230 with various books – Bo Nanas, Jack N. Box, and my new Great Scott one (which I’ll have for purchase online when I get back…I promise.)

Your guide to identifying the North America Cartoonist

May 26, 2009

SPACE photo by Ron Corby

If you always wondered about my appearance in the wild, here I am. This is what I and my table look like (minus the surly look cuz of my hurtin’ back). Now it’ll be oh so easy for you to find me at MoCCA next week.

Kid #!!$?!ing safe

May 15, 2009

Jack_HanFavColor.gif

So I’m at Comix Connections on Free Comic Book Day a few weeks ago. I’m signing prints and drawing, mostly for kids. People occasion purchase one of my books, mostly the “Jack N. Box” comic book, probably because it’s the least expensive thing on the table. Then I realize that many of these people are parents buying it while I draw for their kids, probably buying it for their kids…and I remember that the word “crap” is in it* and it might not be considered “kid friendly.” So I immediately whisper this to the parent who’s buying it and she thanks me and passes on it. The next parent didn’t care (the kid was way to young to read anyway.)

Oddly enough, in a couple of the comic books – specifically published for Free Comic Book Day and, thus, available for any kid to pick up – there were a few derivations of the word “ass.” (I think one was “badass.” The other might have been “dumbass.”)

*  “Crap and a half” is sort of Hanniball’s catch phrase.