On Friday I went to two panels, but mostly walked around the con finding friends and talking with them. In the evening I went to the Eisner Awards. I see all the pictures I took are of artists, writers, panelists and friends, I neglected to get any of the con at large, so I’ll have to do more of that today.
The first panel was one of several focused on Will Eisner, and it was moderated by Paul Levitz, above. Paul has written a book coming out from Abrams in the fall, “Will Eisner, Champion of the Graphic Novel,” for which I did chapter heading illustrations, and I’m looking forward to seeing it.
Other panelists were Jeff Smith, of BONE fame…
…cartoonist Sergio Aragones…
…Eisner’s friend, publisher and agent, Denis Kitchen…
…and former Marvel editor Danny Fingeroth. All told of their discovering Will’s work on THE SPIRIT or in his pioneering graphic novels (in Sergio’s case in the 1940s in Mexico), how it impacted their own work, told stories about Will the man and creator, and considered Will’s place in comics history, which is an important one. Great panel.
Back on the Con floor I talked to Mark Wheatley, who was about to announce a new project he’s involved in, a multi-media theatrical show, “POW! BAM!” which will bring to life classic characters like Dick Tracy and Tarzan on a 3-D CGI stage, so I think a combination of live actors and digital sets. Sounds intriguing! We also talked about the art show he put together of art from his and Marc Hempel’s BREATHTAKER that will be touring at least 6 museums around the country.
Here’s Richard Starkings and his daughter (afraid I didn’t catch her name) at the Comicraft booth, had a good chat with him about his own book ELEPHANTMEN. He has most of the run for sale in collections, but said his best sales these days come from digital downloads on Comixology.
Gary Gianni continues to work on “Game of Thrones” projects with George R.R. Martin. Last year it was a calendar, this fall will see the publication of a new book of short stories in the “Game of Thrones” series illustrated by Gary that looks great. The stories have seen print before, several were adapted as comics, but I still want to get and read this new version.
Taking over as PRINCE VALIANT newspaper strip artist from Gary is Thomas Yeates, and here he is with one of his pages. Looks great, and Tom is enjoying the strip. I don’t see it, but hope to find it collected at some point.
Artist Steve Lieber was doing a Thor sketch in someone’s sketchbook when we talked, it was good to see him.
Here’s artist Mike Zeck ready for a commission.
Writer/artist Mark Schultz with a book from Flesk Publications that he wrote and drew, a combination of text and full-page illustrations. Looks terrific, I bought one and will enjoy reading it. He said he’s also working on a new XENOZOIC TALES.
Talked to Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett about what they’re working on next. Paul is doing a new comics story for the first time in a long time, one on Aztec history, and is also preparing for another quasi-historical volume similar to his very popular BOILERPLATE.
In the afternoon I attended a comics history panel, “Twisted Roots of the Comics Industry,” which I enjoyed. Moderating was Nicky Wheeler-Nicholson, granddaughter of Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, the founder of the company that eventually became DC Comics, and someone I’ve corresponded with but not met, so it was nice to meet and listen to her. Her slide show included photos from my blog with my permission. Also shown here are Michael Uslan and Gerard Jones, Brad Ricca was also on the panel along with Danny Fingeroth. I knew most of the material covered, but it was fun to hear about it from these folks, comics historians all.
Back in Artist’s Alley, Bernie Wrightson was signing prints and talking to fans. It was good to see him there, he’s had serious health problems recently.
I talked to former DC Comics workmate Anthony Tollin about his reprints of “The Shadow” pulp magazines and many other things.
It was good to see Chrissie Zullo, we talked about the end of FABLES, where we worked together occasionally, and I love her charming artwork.
In the afternoon I was dragging, so went back to my hotel room for an hour’s nap and some down time. I now had it to myself, as Gene and Andrew had checked out. Gene was heading home, and Andrew had another room of his own lined up for two nights, so I now got this great room at the Marriott, right next to the convention center, to myself. I enjoyed rooming with them, it worked out well, but am also glad to still have this room until I head home Monday.
Around 6:30 I changed and head over the the Bayside Hilton for the Eisner Awards. I thought I could walk there in 15 minutes, but forgot the con’s main hall would close at 7 PM, and the crowd outside I had to get through was massive. I made it eventually by around 7:20, and found a seat at my table next to Steve Leialoha and Trina Robbins, as well as Michael and Laura Allred, and Vertigo chief Shelly Bond. Our table was not close enough to the podium for me to get pictures, so I just have this one of some of the winners being photographed afterwards. The lettering category was first up, and the award went to Stan Sakai, who is a fine letterer, and still doing it all by hand. I was happy to see him win. Stan has had a rough year, losing his wife Sharon, and I wish him all the best. I was kind of relieved not to win myself, it allowed me to enjoy being there as a nominee, feeling appreciated and part of the comics world, but I’ve won plenty of Eisners already and don’t need more, really. The awards went smoothly for the most part, the presenters and recipients were generally entertaining, with perhaps the funniest moments from the final presenter, British talk-show host and comics fan Jonathan Ross, and the show wrapped up in about two and a half hours, which makes it a relatively short one.
Walking back to my hotel later, this was something I hadn’t seen before, people allowed to camp out in front of the con center. I thought maybe it was part of the line for the big media events the next day in Hall H (for which people wait for days, something I can’t fathom), but I asked one person, and he said he was just waiting to get into the show on Saturday. Perhaps these are folks with passes but no hotel room, I don’t know, but it was kind of surprising they’re allowed to camp there.
Okay, time to wrap this up and head out for more adventures, I’ll write about them tomorrow.