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How I Spent My Comic-Con 2010 Vacation

So, vacation’s the wrong word for it, because it’s very much work-work-work, but who am I to deny the playful flow of a post title?

But yes, Comic-Con 2010 ended on Sunday, 7/25, and as always, it was a whirlwind.

Many sketches were sketched, among them a “Punisher being annoyed by SpongeBob and Patrick”, a series of Batman related head shots (I was particularly pleased with the Clayface; hopefully I’ll get a scan of that soon), and interestingly enough, two separate requests for me to draw people’s dogs.

I’m happy to say a nice number of people picked up copies of the X-BABIES paperback collection, and I got to meet a nice bunch of folks who’d read and enjoyed the series when it came out at the end of last year. On the flip side, there were those two “industry” dudes who in one conversation passively mocked the X-Babies, but the less said about them the better (save for the fact that, if they read X-Babies they’d see that we were taking jabs at them, so ha-ha indeed!).

It also looks like the DC Super Hero chapter books I illustrated for DC Comics Licensed Publishing (published by Stone Arch books, available in hardcover and paperback) were a hit. Just goes to show, there’s a demand for all-ages, kid-friendly superhero stuff out there…and it doesn’t HAVE to be in comics/panel-to-panel form. I know a few retailers and librarians are planning to order copies for their stores/libraries, which is pretty great.

NOW IT CAN BE TOLD (Part 1): despite the demise of Nickelodeon Magazine, for whom I’d done a great deal of work on SpongeBob SquarePants comics, those aforementioned SpongeBob SquarePants comics are coming back, this time via Bongo Comics (publishers of Simpsons and Futurama comics). The bi-monthly series is currently slated to launch in December of this year.

I had the opportunity to meet and chat with Ramona Fradon, a legendary comics artist who surely doesn’t get enough attention and acclaim. She co-created Metamorpho (the Element Man) for DC Comics in the ’60s and was also the artist on many, many Aquaman stories from that time (check out her work in the DC Showcase collections of both those titles). As it turns out, Ramona and I will be working “together” on a story for the aforementioned SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS COMICS. In a story where SpongeBob reads a Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy comic book, I’ll be drawing the SpongeBob parts and Ms. Fradon will be drawing the comic within the comic. All of that said, it was great to meet and talk with her, as well as pick up a piece of art featuring two of the characters she’s most known for:

I also stopped by and chatted with Jimmy Gownley, creator of the very lovely, very entertaining, and now very successful AMELIA RULES! books. It’s always  a pleasure chatting with Jimmy as he’s a guy who’s “made it” in a way most world think isn’t possible: making all-ages comics with a female lead in an industry that isn’t typically so keen on all-ages comics or female leads…but he has and while it might sound like hyperbole, he’s an inspiring guy for cartoonists like me. Plus, he’s super-nice. Learn more about his AMELIA RULES! books here.

NOW IT CAN BE TOLD (Part 2): Last year I worked on a project for famed regional fast-food restaurant, Chick-Fil-A, drawing a comic book featuring one of their famous cows as a superhero. That comic, along with several others, will be available at Chick-Fil-A restaurants in late September/early October.

Chick-Fil-A was at Comic-Con handing out copies of one of those comics, DECIBELL (written by Brian Smith (Stuff of Legend, Finding Nemo comics, The Basics) and illustrated by Jason Howard (The Astounding Wolf-Man)), to promote the comics (and of course, their restaurants). I worked on THE SWATTER, for all you Gregg Schigiel completists out there.

I had a very brief exchange with very funny comedian and noted comics fan, Patton Oswalt, who stopped by my artists alley spot and got a kick out of my puppet super-hero prints. I’d have liked to talk to him more, ask him if he knew anything about Comedy Death Ray Comics announded/teased at last years Comic-Con (for that matter, as much as I kept my eyes peeled, I didn’t catch sight of Scott Aukerman, who would be the better person to ask), but someone else was talking to me and I didn’t want to be a jerk. In light of that conversation, I should have been a jerk.

To that end: on more than one occasion I was approached by someone with some kind of pitch/inquiry/solicitation for work or potential work, and in all cases but one, the pitches were so vague and so ill-explained I couldn’t help but think they were all smoke and no fire. Suffice it to say, that’s a red flag, at least to this guy.

Otherwise, it was great seeing so many people I don’t get to see regularly, especially those times where it’s just a handful of us sitting around a hotel lobby working on commissions and goofing around…or enjoying delicious ribs or corn tortillas. It’s also always fun to see folks year-after-year at the show…to think some of these people were literally children none years ago and are now full-fledged young adults…it’s pretty remarkable.

A good, but exhausting time, for sure. Maybe by next year I’ll figure out a way to lessen the exhaustion…


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