Tuesday, October 12, 2010
NEW YORK COMIC CON 2010 _ HIGHLIGHTS
I've only recently started attending comic conventions over the past few years and this was my first year behind the table at big cons. The thing that jumps out at you, the thing that I believe this medium has over any other, is the sense of community. At a con, every niche has a fan group. In comics, every novice has a mentor. There is a patient and generous exchange between fans, pros, and aspiring creators. And, for me, NYC was the place to find so many of my friends and co-workers doing their own thing and supporting each other in the process. Here are a few of my highlights and insights from NYCC 2010.
DON'T LOOK BACK!
The LAST MINUTE COMICS table was our second home at the Con. We were proud to be a part of the DON'T LOOK! horror anthology and to be able to chill out with editor/artist Rick Ritter and artists Paul Zdanowicz and Dan O' Conner. Along with THE GATHERING anthology, this was a year of friends striking out and creating despite dreary day jobs and a saggy economy. A review in Wired magazine communicated the "We've got a show to put on!" spirit of new creators.
THE SWIFTY LANG EXPERIENCE
Sure, it's pretty cool that there's a Michael Jackson dancing game. But, I'm the one hanging with the guy rocking the wolf hat AND dancing to "Smooth Criminal." I'm lucky to be partnered with him on this and with Chris Mangun we make for an unstoppable two-limbed Voltron. See also, Spider-Wolf.
MY BEST/WORST COMPLIMENT
A woman at our signing table was staring intently at a number of FEEDING GROUND pages, flipping back and forth through them. When I asked for her reaction, she stated that the art was incredibly depressing but she couldn't stop looking at it. Turns out, she has traveled through towns much like the one depicted in our book and that the color and character of my art communicated their spirit. All along, we've tried to create a comic that is more evocation than illustration and her feedback let us know that in some part we hit the mark.
Beside many creators, there is a support team that allows them to do their thing. At the Con, many a wife, boyfriend, and pal sat for hours on end and helped facilitate table work and manage crowds. So, cheers to the unsung heroes. I love it when I can pay a compliment to a favorite creator and there's that wash of pride over the face of their significant other. Cheers to our own lovely ladies as well as Scott (Gail Simone), Michael (Jim McCann), Colleen (Sean Murphy), and Big Bird's wife.
Over a year of working on the comic, I have amassed a virtual school of advice and anecdotes on the craft and creation of comics. At the Con, I was psyched to be able to personally thank a number of these influences.
I've been listening to the interviews of John Siuntres' WORD BALLOON Podcast for years now. Even when I am unfamiliar with the work of the guest, they never fail to reveal the humanity behind a creation and the nuts and bolts of getting it done.
While Stan Lee may be the literary godhead of modern superhero comics, Jim Steranko is one of the medium's greatest visual linguists. Beyond his cool surface style, he created a language for the medium that isn't mere cinematic storyboarding. In person, he evokes every bit of the escape artist, secret agent, cool-coiffed guy of his work. His flattering two-word (and a shoulder slap) review of my work: "It Moves."
Thanks too to CB Cebulski who has scoured the globe shepherding new talent and was still up for a quick hello at the tail end of a long Con weekend. And, RM Guera, artist of Scalped, whose advice needs a whole blog post dedicated to it.
I cannot stress how fortunate we were to meet the guys at Archaia when we did. Editor-in-chief Stephen Christy said in our panel that at every Con there is one property they want to sign on the spot. In 2008, that was us.
Now, as part of the family, I am in awe of the directions they are growing in. They are simultaneously enlivening major franchises like those of the Rodenberry and Henson universes while founder Mark Smylie also continued to meet with new talent for hours in their snazzy booth lounge.
They publish an out-of-the-box classic modern fairy tale like THE RETURN OF THE DAPPER MEN while also pushing the boundaries of genre fiction with work like horror books MOON LAKE and THE AWAKENING, or sci-fi like CRITICAL MILLENNIUM. Stephen said (I'm paraphrasing here) that their goal is to publish books that are events in themselves, artifacts that are crafted to justify their purchase. And, the energy, talent, and good will of their creators and production team were in full effect for the duration of the Con.
Tomorrow, FEEDING GROUND #1.