Another fun day. Getting weary, though, and glad things wind down today. Spent more time this morning walking around the con floor, enjoying all the fine art. I could have taken dozens more art pictures, but they wouldn’t really do it justice, you have to come see for yourself. And the breadth of it is astounding: from original Alphonse Mucha art nouveau prints circa 1900 like the one above at the Century Guild Gallery to the hottest fantasy and science fiction illustrators and print-makers of today. From illustration and early comic strip art through the cool oversize comic pages of the golden and silver ages to art by every contemporary comics artist you can think of, all spread out or in large portfolio books for all to see. It’s one of my favorite parts of the con.
William Stout is a perennial favorite, with lots of great art and sketchbooks for sale. A new recent deluxe hardcover of his dinosaur mural paintings for museums is just out from Flesk Publications.
Comic art legend Neal Adams is here once again, and every time I went past his booth he was busy doing commission sketch art for fans. He’s been a regular now for a number of years, and is one of the very few Hall of Fame artists available at the con for commissions.
Artist Michael Allred posed for me with his son, whose name I’ve unfortunately forgotten, sorry Michael. I’m looking forward to beginning work soon with him on a new Vertigo series : I, ZOMBIE, written by Chris Roberson, announced at the con.
Another fine artist I’m enjoying working with is Cliff Chiang. It’s a graphic novel with an interesting musical connection, but I don’t think anything has been announced about it yet, so I won’t say more.
Artist Darwyn Cooke was kind enough to give me a signed copy of his new hard-boiled detective graphic novel from IDW, PARKER, which looks terrific and I can’t wait to read.
I wandered over to the DC booth, where the FABLES gang was signing again, and I was asked to join them, which I was happy to do. While there, artist Andrew Pepoy gave me a copy of his new sketchbook celebrating his 20 years in the business. From his looks, he must have started at about 14.
Then it was off to the Sunday Bill Willingham panel, which had morphed into the FABLES panel part 2. The whole gang went up on the podium again, and Bill asked us all questions. I talked about my signed prints, and gave one away as a prize. Everyone seemed to enjoy another helping of FABLES talk. Afterwards a few people asked to buy some of the prints I’d brought along, so that was nice, and made carrying them around all con worthwhile.
For lunch, I’d been invited up to the mysterious DC Comics Green Room. I’d heard rumors about this refuge, but never been there. Secret instructions were given to me, and by following them, I arrived at the hidden haven, where box lunches and drinks are available to the faithful. The room has a few windows looking out over the con floor, always a fun thing to do. I have taken a solemn oath not to reveal the location of this fortress of fortitude, and I shall honor that oath until my dying day.
Mark Buckingham was also there having some lunch, and we talked a little about the best news story of the con that I’ve heard: Marvel comics believes they have acquired all the necessary rights to bring Marvelman (formerly Miracleman) back into print! All that fine work by Alan Moore, with Alan Davis and other artists, and then the unfinished saga by Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham, some of which has never seen print, will, hopefully, begin coming out next year. Bucky was equally surprised by the news, but delighted, and though it’s early days, hopes he and Neil will be able to finish the story they were working on sixteen years ago when the then publisher, Eclipse, went out of business. I really hope it happens. Wonder who they might get to letter any new work…? Hmm.
Back on the con floor, I had a brief but nice chat with writer Steven Seagle. I really like the logo he and his friends had done for their writers’ group, Men of Action, by Comicraft’s John Roshell, somewhat visible behind him (and I’m sure easily found on their website).
I’ve only covered a small portion of the folks I met and chatted with over the days of this con, another of my favorite things to do. For instance, asking Len Wein how things are going with the rebuilding of his house, destroyed recently by a fire. The answer was: glacially. Or chatting with artists Mark Wheatley, Gary Gianni, or Zander Cannon, editors Karen Berger, Ben Abernathy, Scott Dunbier…then there are the fans who stop me to chat, too. The list could go on and on.
My last event of the con was a panel by writer/artist Bryan Talbot about his upcoming new graphic novel, Grandville. Here he is holding an advance copy, it will be out this fall. Of all the new projects I heard about at the con, I think this is the one I’m most looking forward to reading. As Bryan described it, imagine a detective along the lines of Sherlock Holmes, but in turn of the century France, and in a story that might have been directed by Quentin Tarantino, but with the lush, detailed art no one can do so well as Bryan. And, the characters are anthropomorphized animals. Bryan’s talk was on all the influences and similar approaches that inspired him, from 18th-century political broadsides to Beatrix Potter, to Rupert the Bear, and right up through Dave Sim’s Cerebus. Bryan’s work on the 98-page story is incredible, and I urge you not to miss it.
So, the con itself is now over for this year. I’ll be out to dinner tonight with Heidi MacDonald and some of her friends, then at a small wind-down party after that with the FABLES gang. Tomorrow will be another long travel day home, and now the time change works against me. Hope you’ve enjoyed these reports as much as I’ve enjoyed preparing them.