Thursday, February 19, 2009

New York, Sergio Aragones, and Awesomer Pages

Sorry to have been absent for so long! It's been a ridiculously busy few weeks. First, New York Comic Con happened, the highlight of which was probably a relaxing get-together with the gracious duo of Raina Telgemeier and Dave Roman and a number of their amazing friends - a nice change from the gereally hectic con dinners.  I got a four-fingers-worth-of-meat Corned Beef and coleslaw sandwhich at a deli called the Stage with my editor James not once, but twice in the same day (I'm salivating just thinking about it), I picked up the five published volumes of the new Terry and the Pirates set for half price (my big find, especially great because the first volume is out of print even though the other volumes are still coming out, so I wasn't going to buy THOSE until I could find #1... come on, IDW, that's about the most moronic publishing strategy I've heard), plus lots of other good-looking stuff, and really enjoyed palling around with my Oni buddies.  

We were ridiculously busy the whole time, owing primarily to the justly deserved mania (and it was mania) for Mal's new Scott Pilgrim book.

I spent a chunk of Friday and the majority of Saturday working at the Wacom booth, doing demos on the Cintiq.  I use a Cintiq at home, and stand by their merits; it was nice getting to answer questions about them.  Most of the time it was just people coming up and telling us how much they love the one they already have.  The Wacom rep, Adam Wetzler, was my host while I was in New York - he let me stay at his place, showed me around the city, and filled my ears with all sorts of great New York factoids - he's a real knowledge fountain.

I did a couple of panels - one a kid's draw with Jay Pisopo, Ruben Procopio, and Jamal Igle, which was lots of fun and had lots of kids out there (it was sort of like a "Who's Line" thing, with kid's calling out suggestions), and one, by myself, called "Pillaging History for Story Ideas," which was a little trickier.  It was a kid's day panel, and so I designed it around reaching eight-year-olds... and guess what?  I had sixteen adults show up, and no kids, wanting to know about research and ethical practices for doing historical fiction.  Needless to say, the first fifteen minutes or so were a little rougher, with me trying to wing it with a stream-of-conciousness type rant about approaching historical fiction, but after that it smoothed out, and by the end, when there was a Q & A session, everything was great.  Still, it threw me for a loop!

After New York, I went down to Athens, Ga, for a presentation by the inestimably briliant Sergio Aragones.  He's an incredibly gracious and friendly man, and a heck of a raconteur, and it was a huge pleasure getting to meet him. 

His lecture made me and everyone else there feel like throwing our pens and brushes out the window.  He would ask for suggestions - people would call out "Giraffe," or "Ninja," or "Racecar," and he would do a pantomime gag cartoon, right there, on the spot, drawing in the "punchline" part of the cartoon last.  And they were always funny. And beautifully drawn.  And he would start drawing the SECOND someone called something out, and would be finished - FINISHED - in less than a minute.  I've never seen anything like it.  The man's synapses must be atomic. 

I know this has been a long post, but I've been off for a while.  Another part of this was trying to finish my story for the Awesomer Anthology, which will be coming out in May.  It's a Crogan Adventure story, so if you're a completist, make sure you get hold of a copy. 

This one was tricky - I couldn't use my regular layout style, because the story is seven pages long, so I had to work with a tighter grid, with ten-fifteen panels per page sometimes, rather than my usual three-to-seven.  I also got to practice more with my new lettering, which I'll be employing in Crogan's March.

Anyway, here are a few panels to keep you from getting too bored:

Oh, some of it's in Japanese.

Anyway, sorry for the lateness... and I know a few people are respecting e-mail replies, so I'll get to those today or tomorrow - thanks for your patience!