Archive for the ‘Conventions’ Category

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.

Random pics…

July 8, 2009

Wanna confuse cartoonists? Just put them in a restaurant where they have to “input” all the food and drinks they want on a touch screen. Daryl Cagle, Betty (barely seen) & Greg Evans, an equally-confused waiter trying to help us, Rick Kirkman and me. Chad Frye took the pic and it’s up on his blog with a very substantial recap of the NCS Reuben weekend. (Puts mine to shame really.)

Wanna see even more pics of the SPACE comic strip panel I did with Jeff Stahler and Steve Boreman where my bad back is making me grimace? Look no further than here and here.

My travels – Part 2 – I’m not dead yet…

June 26, 2009

One thing the internet is great for is embarrassing photos. Here’s one of me from the National Cartoonists Society’s Reuben weekend in Hollywood. (You’ll find more at the Hogan’s Alley site.) It has this caption:

“Bo Nanas” creator John Kovaleski either needed a nap or had too much to drink. Or both.

To clear up this scandal-to-be, it was the first. I was worn out going to the Rubes and got sick while there. I got directions to a drug store, dodged my way around many costumed characters hoping that I’ll pay to take a photo with them (but how do you pick between three Spidermans?) and bought some Airborne. I was late to a seminar panel on the future of newspaper comics, the place was packed so I sat on the floor in the back and had myself a anti-sickness cocktail (see empty glass at right). I was way in the back and figured, I can listen just as well laying down. That’s when David Folkman came around the corner on snapped this pic. It was later that I fell asleep.

(At left you can see one of my collection of “Man Purses of Many Lands.” This one is from Nicaragua.)

SPACE recap – Part 5

April 26, 2009

Yeah, I know I said the last SPACE recap would be the last SPACE recap but, heck, I met a lot of nice people. Please click on their art below and visit their sites.

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Joey Jacks

Hermit Hill | Volume 1

Nate Bramble


SPACE recap – Part 4

April 25, 2009
Click to view back cover

Ryan Claytor

(I’m going to do my SPACE recap in random posts throughout the next few days, as well as show art from some of the cool people I met there. Please click on it and visit their websites.)


Since SPACE is now a week-old distant memory, it’s time to wrap up my recap with some tidbits:

• Since I live in a small town without a bookstore, I asked my friend Jenny if there was a cool one we could go to in Columbus. We went to Half Price Books. This is the kind of economic model I like: spend money and get twice as much. (Notice that I didn’t say,” Pick out the books you want and pay half as much.”). Yep, I spent a lot there. Here’s what I got, in no particular order and from memory (since it’s a big heavy bag of books, it’s downstairs and I have a bad back.) Frank Miller’s Ronin, a James Sturm book, couple issues of Mome, Tank Girl, Anthology of Graphic Fiction, a collection of Stan and Jan Berenstain’s non-bear cartoons, a DVD of Flash Gordon movie serials and probably a few things I’ve forgotten

• I proved my unmanliness at dinner when Jenny pointed out that Payton Manning was sitting a couple of tables over. I know the Payton Manning is some sort of football guy, but you could point out any person short of a 12-year-old girl, tell me it is Payton Manning and I’d have to agree. Luckily, Jenny’s boyfriend Chris was the same way. Because of our collective lack of testosterone, Jenny had to call one of her “real man” friends who would appreciate such an occurrence.

• On Sunday night we watched my Flash Gordon DVD and another movie Jenny had that no one else would watch with her – “Comicbook-The Movie.” (Straight to DVD, directed my Mark Hamill, filmed mostly at the San Deigo ComiCon, starring a load of cartoon voice talent.) Y’know, how one’s interest in certain subject matter can carry one through a piece of entertainment more so than “regular folk”? That didn’t happen here.

SPACE recap Part 3

April 24, 2009

James Anderson

(I’m going to do my SPACE recap in random posts throughout the next few days, as well as show art from some of the cool people I met there. Please click on it and visit their websites.)

I was part of a panel last Saturday called “The Adventures of a Working Class Syndicated Comic Stripper” along with Jeff Stahler (“Moderately Confused” and editorial cartoonist for the Columbus Dispatch) and Steve Boreman (“Little Lost Dog”). I was actually sort of “hosting” it since I’d proposed the panel, so I felt responsible for it and, thus, came up with questions/topics for us to talk about and the like. So, I was a bit disappointed when the three of us walked into the panel room and there were only two people there. I’ve never seen it written down anywhere but I’m guessing a key guideline might be that the panelists shouldn’t outnumber the audience.

But a few more people dribbled in and in the midst of it we probably had around twenty-five. Not too bad.

I was a bit worried that we’d run out of things to talk about rather quickly but that didn’t happen.

Jeff talked about being offered to take over the “spot” left by the “Berry’s World” panel with only weeks to spare. He also talked about his “Dear Dudley” strip which he did with a partner for only a year.

Steve talked about how he designed his strip so the production end of it would be relatively quick to balance his 60+ hour regular job.

I talked about a monkey or something.

We yakked for over 50 minutes and got to squeeze in some Q&A before getting kicked out for going too long. But, better too long than too short.

John Read from Stay Tooned Magazine will be transcribing the panel for an upcoming issue so keep your eyes peeled for that. (We’re going to edit out all the swearing though. Sorry.)

Next time: Why I am not a real man.

SPACE recap Part 2

April 22, 2009
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Pat Lewis

(I’m going to do my SPACE recap in random posts throughout the next few days, as well as show art from some of the cool people I met there. Please click on it and visit their websites.)

Saturday morning starts with my bad back fighting me. I get moving enough but only after quality time with a hot bath and a muscle stim device. (Not at the same time, though.)

After driving to the SPACE place I get my books into the joint via a New York grocery/laundry cart. (It is an item I have never seen in “the wild.” My wife had one from her Brooklyn days.) It is cool candy apple red but has no steering capabilities whatsoever. Gotta point it where you want to go the first time or you’re out of luck.

I get set up…and then my memory starts to embarrass me. I meet my next-door neighbor Marek Bennett. The thing is, I’ve met him before at MoCCA. At least, that’s what he tells me. When he mentions that he had a beard at the time, the rusty tumblers of my brain fall into place. Same thing happens in almost the same way with neighbor-down-the-way Pat Lewis. (It was SPX instead of MoCCA, and there was no facial hair involved.)

It’s slow early on so we’re all “preaching to the choir” (in other words, it’s mostly exhibitors looking at each other’s stuff). One guy brings over a “Monkey Meets World” book that he carted with him just to have me sign. I’m truly touched. Another person bring a “Stormfeld” book I was in (edited by the late great Wes Alexander). A couple of people (well, two) read Bo online and bought my books, which made me feel great….

…until I walked into the panel room.

Next time: There’s quite an echo in this here panel room….panel room……panel room……..panel room……

SPACE recap – Part 1

April 21, 2009

Marek Bennet

Well, I’m back from SPACE (the Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo, not, y’know, the place with all the planets.) Since it’s a busy week ahead, I’m going to do my recap in random posts throughout the next few days (as well as run art from some of the cool people I met there. Please click on it and visit their websites.)

First off, I have a spectacularly hurting back. It’s been bad for a couple of weeks but really flared up just a few days before SPACE, which includes two things that backs just love: long hours of driving and lifting boxes of books.

I actually packed the car before going the chiropractor Friday morning then took a nap after my appointment but, in the end, the drive just about crippled me. Pain, walking crooked, not being able to support my own weight. (The last symptom resulted in my not shaving the whole w-end and looking like Gabby Hayes.) But the drive itself was OK. Fueled by Advil and Mountain Dew, I chatted (via cellular technology) with my parents and sister, a colleague and a former student. Took me about eight hours to get to Jenny Robb’s house. (She is the assistant curator of The Ohio State Cartoon Library & Museum.) As always, good to have friends is strategic places around the country for guest-room mooching

Next up: My memory fails me.