What’s SHOOT THE MESSENGER?
Well, AICN COMICS: SHOOT THE MESSENGER is your weekly one stop shop for comic book news that’s dropped in the previous week. Thanks to Newsarama, CBR, Wizard, etc. for reporting it as it breaks. Click on the links for the original stories. This column cuts the crap to run down all the vital information for those of you who don’t follow it as it comes in, and serves it all up with that special ingredient of @$$y goodness. It’s also the place for interviews, previews, and special reports.
Humphrey Lee talks with THE APOCALIPSTIX’s Cameron Stewart
Heyo! Humphrey Leehere to take a crack at one of the latest Original Graphic Novels to come from Oni Press (Publishers of the hit SCOTT PILGRIM) called THE APOCALIPSTIX from Ray Fawkes and superstar artist Cameron Stewart. THE APOCALIPSTIX is being described as "Josie and the Pussycats meets Mad Max" as it is basically a very sort of over-the-top action with tongue-firmly-in-cheek comedy book about a trio of Rockettes in your standard post-apocalyptic setting. Mr. Stewart was nice enough to give me a look at the book and to answer a handful of questions about it as well. So, here's a little bit of a Q&A with the man himself, followed by a review of THE APOCALIPSTIX VOL. 1 by yours truly. Enjoy...
CAMERON STEWART (CS): The idea originally came to me about 5 years ago while I was working on CATWOMAN for DC. I was nearing the end of my run and getting a little burned out from drawing Gotham City all the time, and so I jokingly said that if I ever did my own comic it would be set in a desert. That then got me actually thinking about what kind of comic I would like to draw, and I decided that it would be something that allowed me to draw cute girls, and something involving music. The image of a girl band roaming a desert popped into my head, and that's where it all started.
HUMPHREY LEE (HL): So, where exactly does the idea for a book like The Apocalipstix come from?
Back then I wasn't too confident about my writing ability (these days I do write and draw my own comic here), and so I asked my friend Ray Fawkes if he wanted to have a crack at it. Ray is a really talented guy, he had written and drawn an amazing supernatural spy thriller called "Spookshow" that I really liked, and so I knew he was the guy for the job. Ray took my rough, one line idea and with astonishing ease fleshed it out into a full storyline, with a back story and fully-developed personalities for each of the girls, and really nailed down the tongue-in-cheek tone of the book. We did a few short APOCALIPSTIX stories that appeared in various anthologies, and eventually Oni Press came calling and asked if we wanted to develop it into a full length book.
HL: Do you see comics with a band or musical centerpiece slowly becoming sort of a bigger genre in the medium these days? I mean, you've got Oni showing off all these books like SCOTT PILGRIM, where his band is a bit of a plot point, the BLACK METAL book that came out last year, now THE APOCALIPSTIX, and then stuff like THE AMAZING JOY BUZZARDS and PHONOGRAM from Image - it just kind of appears to me there's becoming a place for material like this. Of course, I've been known to read too much into things.CS: There's an undeniable "cool" factor associated with rock music, and I think stories about popular rock bands are every bit the escapist fantasy for some people that superheroes are to others. I never learned to play guitar so this is the closest I'm gonna get.
HL: Now, last time we (or at least I) had seen your pencil work was on the very gritty and ultra-realistic THE OTHER SIDE mini-series. How much of a change is it to go from a style like that into something a little more kinetic and "cartoony" I guess is the word like on this book?CS: It's definitely a different approach but an entirely appropriate one, and it's surprisingly not that difficult for me to shift gears like that. I don't actually think all that much about "style" when I'm drawing, I tend to just draw by instinct and what I put down on the page is what feels right to me for that story. I enjoy switching it up and tackling projects that are so different, it keeps the work interesting.
HL: Is there a particular allure to doing a project like this in a series of digests or OGNs rather than over X amount of issues?CS: The biggest advantage for me as an artist is freedom - this book was originally intended to be a six-issue series in the standard 22-page format, but when I was starting to lay the first issue out I was finding it difficult to compress everything I wanted to draw into such a short page count. I wanted to do big splashy panels and double page spreads to emphasize the action, which would have been impossible to do without eating up all the space, so I proposed that we restructure the story as an OGN to allow me the freedom to draw as many pages as I needed. Once the page limit was thrown out the window I started to really cut loose and have fun, and I found I was doubling or even tripling the number of pages as written in the script. So that Ray and Oni Press wouldn't be waiting forever for me to deliver a 400 page book I suggested that we split it in two and start a series of OGNs, much like their wildly popular SCOTT PILGRIM series. I also just really like the "manga" digest format - I think it feels thick and substantial, far more than a flimsy pamphlet comic book.
HL: How far ahead have you guys planned for this series? We talking just a couple more volumes or will you just keep going as long as you have ideas for the trio?CS: The first tour concludes at the end of Volume 2, and if the audience wants it we have plans for an encore where the girls go on a world tour to see what's intact after all the bombs fell. Oni Press have been very supportive and have assured us that they'll publish as many volumes as we want to create, so hopefully there's a long road ahead.
HL: And now this is where I say thank you to Cameron for giving me the chance to check out this book as I wait for my copy to show up at the LCS and for taking the time to answer that handful of questions I had. I’ll leave you all with a trailer Mr. Stewart put together for THE APOCALIPSTIX! Check it out!
Ambush Bug talks with FREEDOM FORMULA writer and new President of Operations of Radical Comics Edmund Shern
Hey folks, Ambush Bug back again with Q & @ #2 of the week with Edmund Shern. Mr. Shern was recently named President of Operations of Radical Comics and he also has a comic coming out on Wednesday from Radical called FREEDOM FORMULA. The comic has already been picked up by Bryan Singer’s production team to be adapted to film. I had a chance to read the book and found it to be a fun mix of some of the coolest sci-fi films of the last 20 years with production design and art that is downright mouthwatering. Here’s what Mr. Shern had to say about the comic, his new job, and the delicate relationship between comics and film.
EDMUND SHERN (ES):FREEDOM FORMULA is a futuristic street racing story about a boy who discovers his whole life has been a huge lie manipulated by his father to be a champion to a group of eugenic "slaves". So the story tracks his discovery of this and how it impacts the people around him who are then forced to be part of his journey. It’s a question of individual freedom versus societal freedom.
AMBUSH BUG (BUG): I just finished reading FREEDOM FORMULA. Man, that was a very intense book! For those who aren't familiar with the book, can you give us a brief description of it?
Structurally, FREEDOM FORMULA also represents a crossing of genres between Film Noir and Sports in a Sci-Fi context. I often refer to it as my Sports Noir story for a couple of characters. For example, the main protagonist, Zee, isn't so much actively pushing the plot along but reacting to various circumstances and often when he does take action, it leads to things getting more f*cked up.
BUG: The book seems to be kind of like a cross between BLADE RUNNER, ROLLERBALL (the original, no the crappy remake), and a little bit of SPEED RACER tossed in. Is that a fair comparison? Were there any other influences that inspired you during the creation of this book?ES:Many films and books were influential in my early conception at least on a surface level. However, being Singaporean, my main direct influences include drawing on Asian history, such as a historical Chinese General called Yuehfei whose mother stitched a patriotic poem on his whole back and sent him to war for the sake of the country. That might have made sense in Ancient China but what if that happened today? I also pushed various contemporary concepts to extremes to create the world of Los Petropolis which itself is modeled after Singapore, a port city which is very much run like a super efficient corporation which engineers practically every aspect of its citizen's lives with good and bad results. Bio-engineering is also a major industry here in Singapore and I imagined a society where the rich could be as physically and biologically perfect as they wanted to be while the poor could not and ironically perfect workers could be genetically engineered for every task.
BUG: Who did the designs on the VXS racing armor? That's a pretty original look.ES: Kai Lim, my designer friend in Singapore was the maniac who did that one. We went through several iterations before arriving at this one. I have to admit I wasn't crazy about it at first but it’s since grown on me tremendously!
BUG: You were a part of Imaginary Friends Studios, a production company that is providing a lot of art for Radical. Even though you were the writer of FREEDOM FORMULA, how much input did you have on the art?ES:The overall look of the story including even the idea to do graphical touches in the comic book gutters was something I had pushed for. I worked closely with the team to create a look that reflected who we are as Asian storytellers brought up in an English speaking environment dominated by American entertainment, so you'll see touches of manga but also more painted looks at times. We really wanted to have a comic that genuinely reflected ourselves creatively.
BUG: Why do you think every time someone writes a story about the future, it's always this stark, desolate, and miserable place?ES: Haha, well every sci-fi writer has a choice between a nice super-clean future and a BLADE RUNNER future. I'd like to think we went for both since Los Petropolis is a utopia at the upper levels but a real melting pot of cultures at the street level. I loved Joss Whedon's SERENITY ideas that the future will see two great cultures dominating the world--American and Chinese. Logically, the way China is emerging as a juggernaut both culturally and economically and just in terms of its population size alone, it’s not hard to imagine. Brave New World to me represented the best mix of the positive future and the "realistic" underbelly.
BUG: The story of FREEDOM FORMULA was recently picked up by Bryan Singer's production company. It looks like this book will be three for three for Radical as far as comics to film projects go (with John Woo's CALIBER and Peter Berg's HERCULES). There are comic book companies that have been trying to bring their comics to film for years without success. What's Radical's secret?ES: It sounds arrogant but I truly believe that Radical's books have focused so much on creating quality comics, stories, and art that its easy to inspire filmmakers (and even game companies) to imagine these properties come to life in different media. But in order to do that we have to remain true to ourselves as comics creators firstly. If I made a crappy comic and it got made into a crappy movie, I would never live it down!
BUG: Most of the comics I've seen so far from Radical have had a broad cinematic scope. Coincidentally, so far, every one of the books have been picked up to be future films. When you guys sit down to put a book together, in that back of your mind, are you thinking about how it would look on the big screen?ES: I believe many artists do so naturally. All of us, as children, remember drawing cars and robots and uttering sound effects as we draw. Artists paint static images but we see things in motion and communicate an idea that is greater than the image itself. Even photographers and still life painters strive for their works to convey more than what is literally on paper. I am also strongly inspired by use of cinematic storytelling techniques such as Dave Gibbons' cinematic sequential storytelling in the WATCHMEN comics. But ultimately I don't create movies as comics. I just want to create a comic which inspires ideas rather than just be a technical exercise in visual storytelling.
BUG: I know the film is just in the production stages, but are you going to have some input into the film adaptation of your story?ES: While I am an executive producer on the film, I am really looking to bring in people much more experienced and smarter than I am to make a great movie. I am a big fan of Bryan Singer's work so this is a dream come true for me! I intend to just shut up and learn and enjoy the ride!
BUG: It's rumored that when Mark Millar's WANTED was picked up to be made into a film, only the first two issues were made. The film, although fun, veered off greatly from the original book, probably because the screenwriters didn't have the finished product to reference by the time the film had to be produced. Was FREEDOM FORMULA finished as a miniseries when Singer's people saw it or did they see the first issue and fall in love with it? I guess, I'm wondering if the FREEDOM FORMULA I am reading and loving is the one that's going to make it to the big screen?ES: When Bryan Singer and Alex Garcia of Bad Hat Harry first saw it, we presented Issue 1 drawn up and a 100 page presentation half of which was concept art, cover art, selected panels we had painted, environments and even how drivers would get into their Vicious Cycles. The entire outline was written up as well as at least 30-40 pages of character back stories and ideas about the world. So while they didn't have the actual comics in its entirety, they probably had even more details of where everything was going than the average person reading the entire series! I don't expect every detail to be translated into film, although my ego would love that!
BUG: There are quite a few companies out there who are making comics simply as launching pads for film properties. There's nothing really wrong with that, but some of these cross-promotional companies put a lot of effort in one area (such as film) and little into others (such as comics). How is Radical trying to avoid this?ES: Anyone trying to convey a screenplay while scripting a 22 page per month comic is doomed to frustration! The medium is really completely different. To do so would result in a something that inspires nobody. A great comic will inspire everyone to see it as an idea that is more than what is literally printed on the page! All of Radical's titles are developed as great comics. Our philosophy is if we build it well, they will come!
BUG: You were recently named President of Operations at Radical. What does that job entail?ES: I love my job. I get to come in and help ensure everything from marketing to logistics to printing and publishing and editorial go smoothly while seeing these great titles come together during my work day. My approach to creating my own title is a very involved and draining one so I prefer to only deal with one personal title at a time while facilitating others in a different way. It’s really the best of both worlds!
BUG: You started out with Imaginary Friends Studios. What skills from that job are you bringing to this new position at Radical?ES: When I founded Imaginary Friends Studios, my main objective was to show that if you think big enough and commit yourself to only doing quality work and focus on your goal, you can get to the international stage. I'm proud of Imaginary's achievements as a studio that in 3 years, has worked with clients including Square Enix, Sony, Top Cow, DC, Marvel, Electronic Arts, Games Workshop and more. These clients came to us because of our commitment to differentiate ourselves by the quality of our art and our attention to creativity. I'm glad that these are the same principles that Radical was founded on by Barry Levine and so I'm hoping to continue leading the team in the same way.
BUG: What do we have to look forward to from you and Radical Comics?ES: Personally, I have a second story arc already planned if we do sufficient sales of the first arc to justify it (please go tell your friends to give FREEDOM FORMULA a try!) and I would love to collect all our designs and paintings and research material into a hardcover guidebook or something! As for Radical, I just read an amazing outline by Steve Moore for the second HERCULES series, HOTWIRE by Steve Pugh and Steve Nile's CITY OF DUST are really going to top the art quality that our first titles have been doing and also I'm hoping I can get to work on Amano's next two projects with Radical having had a great time with the first, MATEKI: THE MAGIC FLUTE. And all that is just the stuff I can talk about!
BUG: Can’t wait to see those titles! Thank you so much for answering these questions.ES: Thanks for having me! AICN is one of my daily web destinations because of how passionate you guys are--it’s my honor and I hope I don't screw up!
Look for FREEDOM FORMULA #1 (of 5) this week at your local comic shop. And now that we’ve given you a taste of a preview in this interview, it’s time to unveil our brand new Previews section. Something I like to call…
Hey folks, Ambush Bug back again with a few previews this week with out newly named Previews section…SPINNER RACK TO THE FUTURE! Like the logo? Eh? I threw in some racing stripes which I think makes it look pretty sharp! Look for our souped-up spinner rack for previews of comics YOU should be looking for the next time you hit the comic shop!
First up is a preview of this week’s issue of GREEN LANERTN CORPS #27. The book is written by Peter Tomasi with art from Luke Ross & Fabio Laguna. This new arc has ties to the upcoming “The Blackest Night” event running through the Green Lantern books and the rest of the DCU very soon. Check it out.
Nice! All of this attention on Johns main GREEN LANTERN book, but I believe this one is just as strong. Can’t wait to see what happens next.
Next up is Devil’s Due’s ODD SQUAD #1. This book is described as a comedic story of government agents in search of the paranormal a la X-FILES and GHOSTBUSTERS. The book is written by Todd Livingston with art from THE KNIGHTS OF THE DINNER TABLE’s The Fraim Brothers. This is an advance preview and the book won’t hit stores until September. And here it is...
Looks to be fun. Look for ODD SQUAD #1 in September from Devil’s Due.
Next stop on the Spinner Rack to the Future, we have a treat from Vertigo. Jason Aaron is proving to be one of the most up-and-coming-est of all of the up-and-coming writers out there right now. SCALPED is his Vertigo baby. It’s drawn by Davide Furno. I haven’t checked out this title yet, but from this preview, it looks to be some pretty nice stuff. I’ve been looking for something to take place of the hole Y:THE LAST MAN left when it finished its run. Maybe this title is the one to do just that. Be sure to check out the four page preview below and look for this issue to hit the stands on Wednesday, August 20th. Inukchuk it out!
Get it? Because the book is about Native Americans…er…never mind, here’s the preview.
Not bad at all. Nice suspenseful scene there. Looking forward to seeing how it all turns out. Look for SCAPLED #20 Wednesday, August 20th from DC Vertigo.
For our fourth and final trip ‘round the ol’ Spinner Rack To the Future takes us over to BOOM! Studios for a descent into Lovecraftian Madness. FALL OF CTHULHU: GODWAR #1 creeps to the shelves this week. The book is written by Michael Alan Nelson with art by Mateus Santolouco. Scroll down and be damned by Ancient Squiddly Gods…
Oh, no he di’int! Why yes he did! Be sure to look for FALL OF CTHULHU: GODWAR #1 and all of these books previewed this week at your Local Comic Shop.
THE 2008 SAN DIEGO COMIC CON
THROUGH THE EYES OF ONE LONE SUPERHERO!
Hey folks, Ambush Bug here and still green with jealousy that my good pal superhero got to go to the 2008 San Diego Comic Con. And he’s not letting me forget it either. This week, we have Part Two of his Con Report detailing all of the happenings he encountered on Day Two (that’s Saturday). Be sure to check out his Day One experience from last week’s column here. Then come back and read about what happens next below. Click the pics for a larger image. Check it out.
Saturday starts early. My friends and I get up for breakfast at the B & B we’re staying at. While we eat we meet an artist named Tony who’s also in San Diego for Comic-Con. Looks like the convention has its tentacles everywhere. Tony’s enthusiastic while being tired at the same time. It seems that he’s attending the con for professional reasons. Apparently he’s published a book through Approbation Comics and now Image may be interested in publishing some of his stuff as well. Good for Tony. I let him know that I’ve reviewed books for Ain’t It Cool News in the past and if he wants to get me something I’d love to read it. He gives me his contact info.
- Saturday -
It takes us a while to get our stuff together and within a half an hour after eating we’re on the road. We find some overpriced parking in downtown San Diego and make our way to the convention center. As we walk I notice it’s getting past 10 a.m. and I’m scheduled to attend an interview with the creators of the new animated Wonder Woman straight to DVD release at 11. Where the hell did the morning go? I cannot be late to this.
I separate from my friends and make it to the press room just in the nick of time. Security almost doesn’t let me in because I don’t have a press badge. I explain to them that I got this interview after I had registered for the con so I wasn’t signed up for a press badge. They finally let me in when I show them the printout of my e-mail exchange with Gary Miereanu, the publicist in charge of this shindig.
I get into the room and introduce myself to Gary Miereanu. Looks like a round table interview has already begun with Andrea Romano. I get set up at another table with some other interviewers and we wait for Ms. Romano to be done with her first session. I’m pretty nervous here as it’s my first time interviewing anyone for anything. I fill the others in on the fact that I’m a first timer and beg them to have patience with me. Everyone is extremely nice and the interviews go smoothly. I get to ask Andrea Romano, Lauren Montgomery, and Bruce Timm some questions. Bruce Timm! Did I say I got to meet Bruce Timm??? Bruce Timm!!!!
That’s Bruce W. Timm to you mister!
After the interview is over a couple of us walk out of the room together discussing various geek stuff. Turns out one of the interviewers from Fanboyplanet.com, Derek McCaw, is also doing some marketing and publicity for Catastrophic Comics…William Katt’s new comic company. He invites me to come down to their booth and meet Mr. Katt as well as Robert Culp when I get the chance. They are promoting a new GREATEST AMERICAN HERO comic book series that they are publishing. Holy cow! I tell him I’ll come around in a bit and see what’s what.
I’m on my own again and I head down to the floor. A crew dressed as the cast of the Adam West Batman show is in the outer hall. I have to get a pic of these guys. Great outfits. Although Harley Quinn was never part of the 60’s TV show, obviously. I head out onto the floor and am just wandering around. At this point I’m starving and I need something to eat. I actually didn’t eat a lot at breakfast and I’m starting to get a headache from my hunger. I run into Captain America: Truth on my way to get some convention food. He looks fantastic and that is a great costume. I hit the Mattel booth as it seems like they have some Kung Fu Panda plush on display. For some reason my daughter loves Kung Fu Panda. Just goes nuts at the sight of him. Apparently they only have the plush on display and none to sell. Bummer. As I’m leaving the booth I see a statue of the “Masters of the Universe” villain TrapJaw. Or at least I thought it was a statue. But it turned out it was a guy in an amazing costume. He was just standing really still to, I dunno, freak people out or something. Well, he succeeded. He was creepy and impressive at the same time.
I get to the line for eats and it’s actually pretty short. I order a pizza and my luck increases in the fact that I find a small table and chair that no one else is sitting at. The pizza is horrible. Eight bucks and it can’t be better than this? UGH. As I’m eating a woman with a baby in a stroller asks me if one of the empty chairs nearby me is empty. I tell her it’s all hers. Poor thing. She looks wiped out. I ask her if she’s OK and she’s just having a hard time with her 5 month old at the con. I tell her I completely understand. I tell her my wife and I tried to bring my daughter to the con last year when she was six months old and we almost got a divorce! That makes her smile. I finish my awful pizza and then let the woman know about some quite and secluded spots at the con that my wife and I discovered last year to help calm our baby down and get a break from the grind. I head off hoping that she’ll be OK. If there’s anything I learned last year it’s that Comic-Con is no place for babies. The thing is, I’m seeing more and more parents with little babies at the con this year. That’s just crazy.
As I take off I realize that I never picked up my copy of the second ROSE AND ISABEL book from Ted Mathot’s table. Hopefully I can still get it. I wander around searching for his table. The con is so huge that it seems like nothing is in the same place as it was yesterday. My search gets me just to the edge of frustration until I accidentally stumble across his booth. Luckily, Mr. Mathot held onto my book and it has a beautiful sketch inside of it. Fantastic!
I check the time and notice that the DC Animation panel is about to begin. I head upstairs hoping that the line to get in isn’t too long. When I arrive there is no line and another presentation is going on. I get into the hall and plop myself down. My feet are getting a well deserved break. The panel begins and it consists of Gregory Novek, Paul Levitz, Bruce Timm, Lauren Montgomery, Andrea Romano, and Nathan Fillion. It’s a pretty fun panel and everyone seems to be having an OK time with it. Fillion is on his game and is able to charm the crowd straight from the get go. They take questions, eventually, and most of them seem to consist of fanboys making requests for their favorite character/comic-book arcs to be adapted. The panel pretty much said from the beginning that they can’t talk about upcoming projects but that doesn’t stop the crowd from lining up to ask. After a while it actually gets pretty pathetic. They screen the trailer they have for the upcoming Wonder Woman DVD and it looks really neat. Lots of action. And while it still looks like a lot of other stuff from the Timmverse (not a bad thing) there is some difference from the WW on the Justice League show. I’m pretty much sold.
I leave the panel and head back to the lower level. SHAZAM/Captain Marvel is posing for a picture out in the hall. I take a shot as well. Not too far from him stands Doctor Who. I’m impressed with his dedication to wearing the outfit…especially with how hot it is outside.
When I get onto the floor there is a pretty girl dressed in a Tank Girl outfit in front of the Titan Books booth. She looks better than Lori Petty ever did. I head over to the booth because they seem to have some information as to when the CREAM OF TANKGIRL book is coming out. I’m a lover of all things Jamie Hewlett and I’m dying to get this book. I ask the people at the booth a ton of questions and they answer every one. Guess the book comes out in October and they’ll be reprinting all of the Tank Girl trades in the original black and white. That doesn’t stop me from scoring a deal on the old Tank Girl trades already at the booth. I ask if they might be working on a deal to publish a Gorillaz art book but they say no such luck. They have lots of great stuff that they’re promoting at this booth…one of which happens to be a WATCHING THE WATCHMEN book that looks pretty sweet. I’ll have to get that as well when it comes out.
I wander around a bit and come across the HALFPIXEL.COM booth. Kris Straub, Dave Kellet and Brad Guigar are all there. Only Scott Kurtz is missing. I say hello and thank them for doing the Webcomics Weekly podcast and writing the HOW TO MAKE WEBCOMICS book. It’s a great podcast and a great book and I let them know it. They all seem really nice and act like they are having a great time at the con.
It’s in this same area that I come across the Catastrophic Comic booth. I meet the writer of William Katt’s new comic SPARKS. His name is Christopher Folino. He tells me a bit about SPARKS and Derek McCaw gives me copies of the first two issues. William Katt and Robert Culp are at another booth doing a signing. No big deal. Mr. Folino suggests we should get together with Mr. Katt when we’re all back in Los Angeles for an interview. I tell him I’d be happy to. Just finished my first interview ever and already got another lined up. Not bad.
Head on down the way and run into Catwoman and Harley Quinn. They pose for a picture and I’m off again. I catch The Midnighter as I’m walking and get a picture of him as well. Is he hitting on me? Probably not.
Continuing on my wanderings I find Art Adams’s table and he is sitting right there! He has lots of beautiful prints for sale, one of which happens to be a bunch of Marvel heroes attacking Galactus. The detail is astounding. I tell him rather stupidly that he is an amazing artist. He looks at me like he’s been told that a million times before and says thank you. He’s working on what looks to be a headshot of Superman but I can’t tell for sure. It’s a nice drawing.
I head over to artists’ alley and see some really great stuff. I run across an artist named Sergio (can’t remember his last name) who worked on the new CLONE WARS animated series. He’s very friendly and talks to me for quite a bit about how much he enjoyed working on the show and how great it’s going to be. I’ve heard some good things and am curious to see the new animated feature. His artwork is beautiful and he’s selling some sketch cards that are very cool. They’re a little pricey so I don’t get one but it already looks like he’s sold a ton of them. I have to say that after the prequels Star Wars was pretty much dead to me. But after talking to Sergio I’m sold on the series and the new animated film. I’ll be checking both out for sure now.
Leaving artists alley I come across a booth selling some DOCTOR WHO toys. They have a life sized Dalek at the booth and I cannot resist taking a shot of it. I keep walking and come across a girl at a booth dressed as a devil in a bikini. I hope she got paid extra for the makeup job. I see another woman in equally impressive makeup at the Cartoon Network booth. I don’t know the character but I know it’s some sort of Jedi so I take a shot. I also take a shot of a cartoon Anakin statue at the actual Star Wars booth not too far away. I hate Anakin but I know some friends who might like this shot.
I head off toward the indie section of the floor. I pick up some mini comic offerings from some of the animation artists in the area, particularly stuff from artist Ronnie Del Carmen who seems to be here every year with new and impressive artwork. I come across Sean Galloway’s table, or at least the table he’s sharing with friends. Galloway is otherwise known as CHEEKS and was a character designer for the “Hellboy” animated movies and the Saturday morning “Spectacular Spider-Man” TV show. He’s actually one of the people whose sketchbooks I wanted to find at the con this year. Unfortunately, he’s in a bit of a rush to get to a signing at the Capcom booth so he’s unable to sign the sketchbook I buy from him. No big deal. A couple of years ago at Wizard World L.A. he did a sketch for me for free, so I’ll call it even. I love this guy’s work and the sketchbook is fantastic.
I wander around some more and pick up an Uglydoll for my daughter. Since I can’t get any Kung Fu Panda plush I’ll get her an Uglydoll. These things are sort of semi-cute and I just hope it doesn’t freak her out or anything.
I keep walking around and come across Scott Kurtz’s PVP booth. He’s there signing books so I decide to pick one up. He draws a quick sketch in the book and I ask him about TRUTH, JUSTIN, AND THE AMERICAN WAY. He says he has some ideas but that the artist is very busy and nothing may happen for a while. I let him know that I reviewed the book for Ain’t It Cool and he thanks me for giving it a good write up. I thank him for his sketch. He thanks me again and poses for a picture. Very nice guy.
I head over to Dark Horse as there was some stuff I wanted to get there. I ask if they have any copies of the third Hellboy trade, THE CHAINED COFFIN AND OTHERS. They ran out yesterday. Crap. I’ll have to look elsewhere. As I’m leaving the booth I see a couple decked out in Dharama Initiative coats. The girl is looking at an UMBRELLA ACADEMY shirt and asking what the Umbrella Academy is. I tell her it’s a fantastically weird super-hero book and that she should read it. It looks like she’s sold on the idea but when she asks a booth staffer if they have any of the trades left she says no. Crap again. In any case I end up getting an Umbrella Academy shirt for myself.
And before I leave I get a picture of the Dharma couple.
On my way out I catch a very good Bryan Singer Superman and come across the leadership of COBRA posing for pictures. Cartoon terrorists apparently aren’t so much into terrorizing anymore.
I head over to the Image booth again as I want to get a copy of the first GODLAND trade. Never read the book but I keep hearing it’s great. At the Image booth they’re out of stock except for the hardcover. Is anyone going to have anything to sell for Sunday? I end up picking up a DYNAMO 5 trade instead. I read and reviewed the first issue and loved it but decided to wait for the trade as I do with most stuff now. Glad I was able to pick it up here. Leaving the image booth I come across a vintage Captain America. Very cool costume along with a great shield.
I head over to the MAN OF ACTION booth to see if they have any GODLAND stuff. No on the first trade. But they do have a book that looks pretty neat…I KILL GIANTS. I pick one up and writer Joe Kelly is nice enough to sign it for me. I’m eventually able to find GODLAND VOL. 1 and THE CHAINED COFFIN AND OTHERS at one of the various comic book dealers on the floor. Too bad the actual publishers or creators of the books didn’t have any copies themselves. I would have loved to have given them my money directly.
It’s getting late in the day and I decide to do a bit more meandering before I head out. I come across a young lady dressed as Atom Eve from INVINCIBLE. Have to get a picture of her. I also come across an animation dealer that has actual production cells from the old ROCK ‘N RULE animated movie. Wow. How often do you come across something like this? That’s gotta be some rare stuff…and too expensive for me. Still, it’s great production/cell art. I’ve got to see if I still have the Marvel Super Special for this movie when I get home.
At this point I contact my friend Todd to hook up get something to eat. It’s getting towards 6:30 and I’ve got to catch the 8:20 Amtrak train back to Los Angeles. On my way out I catch some anime characters ready to do battle. I take a pic. I meet Todd and Chazz outside of the convention hall and we go eat at a great sandwich place called the Cheese Factory. Chazz orders a PBJ with a side of potato salad. That’s just enough of a bizarre meal for me to want to take a picture of it. Once we’re done eating they give me a lift to the train station and another San Diego Comic-Con is over for me. I’m tired and can’t wait to get home to my family but I can pretty much guarantee that I’ll be doing this again next year.
I’m looking forward to Comic-Con ’09 already.