Monday, August 07, 2006

Busy Weekend!

It was a busy weekend! First there was my twenty-year high school reunion. It was actually two reunions in one as a good number of people that I graduated high school with I'd also graduated elementary school with. I think my entire elementary school student body was around three hundred and my high school graduating class was over three hundred. Big change. In a way, seeing some of the old grade school kids was more special. But that's not to say it was great seeing some of my old high school chums, some of whom I literally haven't seen since graduation twenty years ago.

Then there was Wizard World, Chicago. I didn't set up with Nik this year. I've got a love/hate relationship with this show. It's a great convnetion to buy stuff, but they treat us small press guys like leppers when they should be kissing our feet. Artist Alley, the home of small pressers and day-jobbers like myself help keep the show afloat. Some of the finest books you'll ever read can be found in Artist Alley. We put everything we've got into our work and it shows. I'll have reviews soon, I've just a lot more of 'em to read.

I got a lot of really cool stuff, including an autographed picture of Joyce Dewitt, the nicest celebrity I've ever met. My wife Barbi and I met her last year at the Motor City Comicon. It was great seeing her again.

I got to reconnect with a few very talented friends of mine like Ryan "Sarge" Sargeant, Mike Indovina (a fellow OTF conspirator) and Rafael Navarro.

This year the costume themes were (as usual) Storm Troopers & pirates, but I was totally blown away by the girl in the Power Girl outfit. Who the hell dresses up like Power Girl?! I was told by Nik that she's also been known to dress up as Poison Ivy and Shanna the She-Devil. She told me she liked to portray the more obscure characters.

Totally commited. That's how I'd describe the boys at the Ape Entertainment booth, particularly Ben Lichius, co-creator of The Black Coat, A Call to Arms. These guys rock and I wish them every bit of success. Ben was cool enough to do this sketch card of the Black Coat for me and signed it to my good friend Billy, the only guy I know who enjoys the series even more than me!

One of my missions whenever I go to a convention, be it Wizard World or a glorified fleamarket, is to hunt down cheap comics from the 1970s, particularly those drawn/written by Jack "The King" Kirby. Marvel Comics in particular hold particular interest to me due to the characters and the grandeur of their scope and the dynamics of their action. That's not to sell short Kirby's New Gods or Demon, but Kirby's work for Marvel just bursts from the page. The best part about collecting Kirby comics is I could spend my whole life collecting them for a buck a piece and never run out of books. The guy drew dozens of titles and did hundreds of issues of them in some cases. As a burgeoning comic book artist, I can't comprehend doing that big of a body of work!
I talked with Rafael about the artist's role as "director of photography" in a comic book. We'd both agreed that Darwyn Cooke is a master of this philosophy. It's more than just moving a story along, it's dropping the ready smack dab in the middle of a bloody frey. It's making the reader feel all the emotion of the scene. Cooke can do this without a single caption or word balloon. Cooke is a master, but Kirby is a pioneer, a maveric and a legend because of his ability.

And let's not forget his monsters...

Killer androids...

And of course, robots, robots, ROBOTS!

Well, that pretty much wraps things up this time around. See you around the funny books...

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