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San Diego 2011: Puppets and Podcasts and Pictures-a-Plenty!

Comic-Con International 2011 in San Diego, CA has passed us by, and as in years past, the show is a bear. I survived…and I’d call it successful, but for getting sick on that very last day. Suffice it to say I flew high while I flew but it was a rough landing.

That said, the show was not without highlights and plenty of sketches, so let us talk about that!

Before the show even started, as I walked to the convention center for Preview Night, I happened to see and recognize Scott Aukerman and Kulap Vilaysack, host and co-host, respectively, of the podcasts “Comedy Bang Bang:The Podcast” and “Who Charted?”, also respectively. These are both great shows to which I listen regularly, so that was, at least for me, a celebrity sighting worth mentioning. Scott’s the man behind the must-see comedy show at LA’s UCB Theatre Comedy Bang Bang: Stand-Up (formerly Comedy Death Ray). There is a definite linkage between comics and comedy, and if you listened to Episode One of MY podcast, “Stuff Said”, you’ll know it’s a thing I’m sort of fascinated by (heck, I even did this comic (contains mild language), the closest I’ll come to “performing” stand-up).

The point of all that being: hey, listen to those shows, they’re great!

But surely you’re asking, “Gregg, what’s the story with that puppet at the top of this post?” That is Wally Wackiman, guest and occasional substitute host of “The Best Show on WFMU”, a radio show (which is also great) also available as a podcast (and a best of “Best Show Gems” version as well). Wally’s…handler, Zach, approached my Artists Alley table as someone who recognized my reference to “The Best Show” in X-BABIES #4*. He then revealed himself to be the man behind Wally and produced him before our very eyes (the “our” in this story is myself and my friends, Artist Alley neighbors, and fellow Best Show-listeners Chris Giarrusso and Jacob Chabot). I’ll tell you, it was more entertaining and fun that I’d have imagined…and if you’ve never talked to a puppet it’s wild; you actually find yourself look at the puppet’s eyes while thinking, why am I doing this, the guy actually talking is over there. It was great fun and we all took photos with Wally (below)…and Wally was nice enough to allow me to photograph him admiring my tribute to puppets AND superheroes (above):

Wally & I

Wally & Chris Giarrusso

Wally & Jacob Chabot

Celebrity sightings and meetings aside (“Yeesh, Comic-Con isn’t even about comics anymore!”), there was much sketching done this year, almost all of it of comic book characters (and even when it was a drawing of pets, I comic booked ’em). Thanks to everyone who got a sketch from me. It really does help mitigate the cost of the trip, even if it does sometimes add to the totally exhausting nature of the show. And with that, the parade of sketches (at least those I remembered to photograph or was able to grab scans of off the internet post-show)!:


Guinea Pigs as Power Man & Iron Fist
(this sketch got one of the greatest reactions (by the requester,
a big fan of her pet Guinea Pigs) of any sketch I’ve ever done)

The Flash

The Joker & Harley Quinn as Puppets


A Dragon
(the specific request was “draw a dragon doing anything)

The Flash
(another one, commissioned on the same day as the previous one)

The Legion of Substitute-Heroes
(L to R: Chlorophyll Kid, Color Kid, Fire Lad, Stone Boy, Night Girl & Polar Boy)

The Thing

The Teen Titans
(all grown up)

That last sketch was a “sequel” of sorts, to a sketch I did for the same gentleman just over a month prior at Heroes Con in Charlotte, NC…a show for which I didn’t post any of the sketches, so here now, as a special bonus, the sketches I have record of from Heroes Con:

The Teen Titans

The Vulture

“Planet Hulk” Hulk

Galactus & The Silver Surfer

Red Star

(reading, as requested by a Library Sciences student)

The Beast & Wonder Man
(created for the Heroes Con auction)

As it turns out, the person who bought the piece apparently had it colored (by Matt Wilson), as I came across this online:

Very cool!

So there you go…a doubel shot of con sketches, puppet talk…podcast talk…

Speaking of podcasts, the next episode of “Stuff Said” is currently in the editing bay and should be out mid-August. Remember to subscribe either at or via iTunes, that way you’ll never miss an episode!

Thanks to everyone who came out to any shows and for stopping buy, buying books, prints, sketches, original pages…I appreciate it. See you next time!



*for those curious, the reference to “The Best Show” in X-BABIES #4 happens on story page 17, where the [SPOILER ALERT] revived Planet Terry encounters the planet Gorch (a reference to “The Gorch”, a character on said show):

(artwork by Jacob Chabot)

Now go pick up the X-BABIES: STARS REBORN paperback reprinting all four issues…at your local comic shop,, etc. It’s good stuff!