Lots of fun today, not as many pictures. It’s often said the San Diego Comicon is a media circus, but the folks promoting the TV show “Heroes” took it literally, setting up this small carnival in a park across the trolley tracks from the convention center. Winning any of the games got you tickets to Heroes signings, events and merchandise. Very clever.
In the morning I wandered the con floor for a while, as usual meeting and chatting with friends. Eric Shanower, above, and his partner David Maxine always have lots of cool Oz stuff for sale at their Hungry Tiger booth. New this year is a lengthy and fun-filled program book for the 2009 west coast Oz convention. I’ll review it eventually.
And every year I run into folks I haven’t seen in ages. Keith “Kez” Wilson was a staff designer at DC in the 1980s when I was also there, and I worked with him often on cover lettering and logos. He’s been out of comics a long time, working in advertising in Texas, but is at the con this year promoting a new horror comics anthology he’s publishing, BELA LUGOSI’S TALES FROM THE GRAVE. They have some cool creators involved like John Cassady and Steve Niles. Should be worth a look.
Went up to one panel I never miss, the annual Quick Draw event hosted by Mark Evanier, where three artists working on overhead projectors have to draw all kinds of impossible and silly things at Mark and the audience’s commands. Scott Shaw is always one of the artists, the third spot changes every year, this time it was filled by former Disney animator Floyd Norman, but the star and source of the most hilarity is artist Sergio Aragonés, who had us in stitches as usual. Some of the more difficult things they all had to try to draw: “BLANK”, and “HUMIDITY.” These were to be guessed by Len Wein, who had a tough time, very amusing.
Had lunch with Scott Hampton at a cafe across from the con center, and ran into and joined up with some of the Fables guys. Just can’t get away from them this year! Above are Brad Thomke and writer Chris Roberson, who I’m working with on a Fables CINDERELLA miniseries. Brad is not one of the Fables creators, but a friend, and he has a cool job in another venue. He runs the poker room at Binion’s Casino in Las Vegas. Scott and I had fun talking poker with him.
Back inside I ran into another old friend from my staff days at DC, Nicola “Nick” Cuti. Nick was the co-creator and writer of my favorite Charlton superhero and comic E-MAN, along with artist Joe Staton, and when we were both on staff we had a lot of fun. Among other things we used to play fantasy board games that we created using stock hexagonal grid maps and little lead figures for characters. I still have mine somewhere.
Mick Gray, inker on PROMETHEA, has a new kids’ picture book out, shown above, a funny ABC book. Look for it on his website if you’re interested, or at his table at the con if you’re here.
Artist/writer/creator of HELLBOY, Mike Mignola was kind enough to give me a copy of his latest sketchbook, shown above. I have to get back to reading more HELLBOY stuff, it’s all great.
Master artist Steve Rude has just published the rest of the NEXUS epic I lettered for him, “Space Opera,” shown above. His self-publishing efforts have been worthy, but apparently not very successful financially, so Steve has turned to doing more commissions and fine art to pay the bills. He does want to get back to doing more comics, but is not sure when that will be feasible. Do check out his NEXUS publications, they’re great stuff.
No picture, but I wanted to report that Danish super-fan Henrik Andreasen finally caught up to me this afternoon with some books he wanted me to sign. Usually he finds me on the first day I’m here. You’re slipping, Henrik! I kid, he’s a good friend and it’s always nice to see him.
Late afternoon it was time for the annual FABLES panel, and for the first time, the media presence at the con interfered with my con experience. Many people complain at the way Hollywood films and TV shows have taken over much of the con floor and programming. I think that’s all fine, and have no trouble finding the kind of con I want, you just have to look for that. But the panel following the Fables one this year was to be for the Cartoon Network animated show, “The Venture Brothers,” and the line to get into the Fables panel, already at capacity before the start, was partly filled by Venture Brothers fans who wanted to get into the room early, thereby leaving less chairs for Fables fans. After some heated discussions with con programming, we were unable to resolve the issue, so some Fables fans were shut out. Editor Shelly Bond and writer Bill Willingham have vowed to try to figure out a better plan for next year. Meanwhile, as they told the audience and fans outside, Sunday’s Bill Willingam Spotlight panel would become the Fables panel part two.
These are my usual audience shots from the podium, I never have a chance to get one from their angle. Much new information was given out, new projects were announced, and you can read about that on the CBR site, among others. Once again this year Bill, Mark Buckingham, Shelly Bond and I prepared a new, exclusive one-page story to be given out to the fans. This year’s is not just a gag, it’s full of hints about upcoming storylines. They were given out at the exit door to fans, and will also be at Sunday’s panel, I think. Artwork and other items were given out as prizes to some fans, too. If you’re a FABLES fan, this panel is always a must.
Dinner this evening was sponsored by Vertigo and Shelly, and was mainly attended the the FABLES crew again, though with the addition of Trina Robbins, Mike and Laura Allred and others. The restaurant, Chianti, in the Gaslamp District, had good food, but was extremely noisy, so I could barely converse with my seated neighbors, inkers Andrew Pepoy and Steve Leialoha, and Trina, and missed most of what the others were saying. But it was still fun.
That was my Saturday. More tomorrow.