My super-talented pal Rob Harrell’s first graphic novel, Monster on the Hill, is out. And he’ll be at the Top Shelf booth at the San Diego Comic Con next week. If you picked up Top Shelf’s comic on Free Comic Book Day in May you saw a snippet of the story (plus Ron did the cover). Stop by and say hi.
Archive for the ‘San Diego Comic Con’ Category
This truly amazing signed copy of MAD magazine that showed up on the web (it supposedly fetched $1,500) reminds me of last year’s San Diego Comic Con. Tom Richmond and I had signed some MADs at the DC Comics booth and, after, took a bunch back to the Nat’l Cartoonists Society booth. A fan came up but didn’t want the free, recent issue we had. He had his Star Wars issue for the 70s that he had been having MADsters sign over the years. I felt that I lowered the value by signing it.
Way back in July I wrote about R. (but I call him “Bob”) Sikoryak and I being part of The Cartoon Art Museum’s Third Annual Sketch-A-Thon at the San Diego Comic Con. I mentioned that a guy asked me to draw Spiderman. I’d told him that I wasn’t a superhero artist and he said it was fine to draw it in my own style. I was actually quite surprised how well it came out (and I made $10 for the museum). It was just a shame that I didn’t take a picture of it.
So I’m cleaning out my man purse (the one I use for teaching) and I found some notes from a class I was sitting in on, on which were a number of doodles, including an attempt at recreating Spidey. (BTW, he’s drawn vertically cuz he’s crawling down a wall.)
The nice thing about being around for a while in “the biz” is that you start to know people. Now when I thumb through MAD Magazine I do a lot of “I know him…and him…and him…” Let’s go through the most recent issue, shall we?
Sam Viviano (a sweetheart of a guy and I’m not just saying that cuz he’s the art director at MAD and, thus, my boss.)
Paul Gilligan (the creator of the comic strip Pooch Cafe that I met through the National Cartoonist Society)
Bob Staake (have met in person, but beforehand he patiently explained his PhotoShop coloring techniques to me via e-mail. I still use them today.)
(met Tom via the NCS about 10 years ago. Last time we were together was at Comic Con, signing MADs and he showed me up again and again by drawing Alfred E. Newman well…something I could not pull off.)
(met them only a couple of times when I was the chair of the Upstate NY chapter of the NCS – John and I still exchange Christmas cards.)
I’m on page 51, by the way.
And what would Comic Con be without costumes?
• 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?
I wasn’t planning on buying much at Comic Con besides my friend R. Sikoryak‘s new book Masterpiece Comics. I was looking for a trade paperback of this odd British superhero comic called “Jack Staff.” I found a place that had half-price trades, and this was my downfall. The next day they had marked them down to $5, which was even more my downfaller. And not only did they have Jack Staff, they had way too many trades of another character by the same author. Here’s what I got:
• Jack Staff Vol 2 by Paul Grist
• Five books of “Kane” also by Paul Grist
• Six Mike Mignola books (Hellboy, BPRD, Lobster Johnson) Stupidly I bought two of the same.
• Three Windsor McCay reprints
• A Sin City I didn’t have.
• League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Vol 3, I think)
• A bio of Will Eisner
• Rocketo Vol 2 by Frank Espinosa
• Joss Wedon’s Fray for my wife
• And a rare DVD collection of the Steve Canyon TV series put together by Milt Caniff’s estate.
I bought so much I had to make sure I sold/gave away/burned enough of the books I brought to balance out the weight of books I was bringing home.
• 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.)
(On Fridays – if I remember – I’ll tell you what cartoon-related books, comics, articles, children’s menus, etc. I’ve been reading this week.)
I did get a fair amount of free comics at Comic Con, almost all DC. None of them rocked my world, but I was touched by the love story here. I think it was meant more for people who knew the characters (Elongated Man and his normal wife). I didn’t and it was still moving.
• 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.)
• 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 .