Hey, everybody! First off, I want to congratulate my good friend Hunter Clark for finishing his first book last week, an Oni project called The Return of King Doug. It's an amazing looking book, with a lot of buzz going for it already (Ben Stiller already optioned it to make it into a movie), and it should be out on shelves fairly soon... it's really gorgeous, and it's been great seeing how incredibly good Hunter has gotten over the course of its execution. He'll be at Heroes this weekend, so if you know him, flag him down and give him a pat on the back, or buy him a congratulatory drink. He's already started on his next project. I was going to post a panel from it (he's been using my scanner lately), but he dragged all the files to the trash, so you'll have to use your imaginination.
Later this morning I'll be heading off with fellow professors Nolan Woodard and Pat Quinn to HeroesCon, one of my hands-down favorite shows. And for those of you who've never been to a show, I want to talk a little directly to you.
Before I started trying to make a career in comics, I did read them. Not a ton of them, but a select few - Bone by Jeff Smith, any number of comic strip collections (especially Foxtrot and Zits), whatever graphic novels might be showcased by NPR or an independent music magazine, a couple of webcomics like PVP - but of these, I was a passionate reader. I enjoyed them a great deal, would have bent over backwards to get to have a conversation with any of the creators...
...and yet I never, nor did I ever have any inclination to, attend a comic convention.
It's not hard to guess why. Films and television have conditioned us to view comic conventions as being full of overpirced toys and people dressed up like Klingons or Spider-Man. And, to be fair, there are a lot of shows where that seems to be the norm, including San Diego Comic Con. But there a few - all of the indie comic shows (SPX, MOCCA, APE, STUMPTOWN, etc) and a few of the bigger, more encompassing shows (Heroes being a good example) where there are few to no costumes, few to no toys, no video game displays, no third-stormtrooper-from-the-left bit actors charging for autographs... just comics and the people that make them. People that are, more often than not, happy to talk with you for a little while, to answer your questions.
Some shows are more akin to literary conferences. There are panels and lectures by many really amazing artists, writers, cartoonists, and critics. Think about it - if, say, Diary of a Wimpy Kid guy was doing a lecture and reading somewhere, and you were a fan, would you be willing to drop 10-15 bucks to go? A comic show offers that sort of thing, PLUS the chance to talk with that cartoonist afterward or before, to get a sketch, to get a book signed, etc. It doesn't have to be a full-blown nerdfest, and often isn't (be careful, though... the majority of local shows ARE, as are any of the WizardWorld shows), so if you're a fan, give it a try!
Speaking of sketches, I thought I'd post my sketch "rules" here, for anyone going this weekend.
• SKETCHES are free. Rough drawings, the sort I do in my own sketchbook. I'll do these in people's sketchbooks, or on paper, or whatever.
• Finished, inked drawings that look ready for publication? Those cost money. Not a lot, but some, usually fifteen bucks, sometimes a little less, sometimes a little more, depending on the subject matter. I do these on my own board that I bring 4x6 inches. This may seems small, but it's roughly the size of one of my panels, so I can get a good amount of detail in there. I do them this way for two reasons.
1. People usually have toothy paper in sketchbooks that they bring themselves. This paper is not only incompatible with my style of inking (I need smooth paper because I draw quickly, and have a slick line), it also has a tendency to fray my brushes, making the following five drawings I do look terrible.
2. When a lot of people want drawings, it seems unfair for me to neglect them to spend time on a larger drawing for a single person, even if the money comes out being the same. People made the effort to come out to the show, and I want to be sure that anyone who wants a finished drawing has the chance to get one. If anyone wants a larger, more intricate drawing, then they can contact me via e-mail and we can work out a comission that way.
That said, I'll also have a lot of other 4x6 drawings that I've already done available for sale! What you lose in the magic of seeing it drawn before your eyes, you make up for in an assurance of quality, knowing what you're gonna get.
Here are a few examples... I've got about fifty or so. These are going to be ten bucks each. For those of you unable to go to cons, I will eventually set up a mail-order store on my site, but that won't be until probably December.
A couple of the many portrait-style pics.
Also, I'll have a few bigger pieces which will cost more. Here's one (click on the zoom-in to see the real one, which is 17x5"):
Oh, and panels! I'm doing two panels and attending three more. Here are the ones I'm in, so swing by!
12.30 pm MAKING COMICS FOR ALL AGES | Room 217A
Join moderator Andy Mansell as he sits down with Jeff Smith (Bone, Rasl), Roger Langridge (The Muppet Show Comic, Fred the Clown), David Petersen (Mouse Guard), Chris Schweizer (Crogan's Vengeance) and more as they discuss making comics that kids and adults alike can enjoy! Sure to be a can't-miss conversation.
3.00 PM A IS A+: A STEVE DITKO CELEBRATION! | Room 213BCD
Midnight Sun cartoonist Ben Towle and Thought Balloonist blogger Craig Fischer host an extensive tribute to one of the most creative and enigmatic figures in comics: Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko! The first hour will be a screening of Jonathan Ross’s provocative BBC documentary In Search of Steve Ditko (2007), featuring interviews with John Romita, Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, and other high-profile Ditko fans. Following the documentary, two comics legends who worked extensively with Ditko--writer/editor Roy Thomas and artist/editor Dick Giordano--will share their memories of the man and his art. The tribute ends with Ben, Craig, and cartoonist/educator Chris Schweizer (Crogan's Vengeance) analyzing their favorite Ditko pages and dissecting Ditko’s contributions to comics history.
Also, a good number of my students will be there shelling their wares and meeting people, at the Temple of Cartoon Mojo booth. There's some great works from them, and I think three or four guys from Savannah, so it should be quite the table to check out!
That's it! I'll have pictures this time around (I always forget to take any). Have a great weekend!