(photo by Pat Loika)
Without getting too romantic about it, Comic Con at its best is all about the porous divide between fan and celebrity and creator and creation. Fans are inspired to become the creations they admire, aspiring creators learn can directly from the pros, and pros get to see the immediate reaction of their work on the face of a fan. For me, the experience that best summed it up was first seeing fans appreciate Mike Mignola and his work at the Tr!ckster Con and then seeing him back across the street poring over the linework of Toby Cypress, commenting that he'd like to bring the same elasticity to his own interiors.
Below are a few pics of my experiences of the Con as fan and novice professional.
FEEDING GROUND at SDCC
The Archaia booth is like a bookstore in the middle of a convention floor. Thanks to their staff and awesome interns for doing so much for a small company. Their fans and creators really appreciate it.
A FEEDING frenzy! Honestly, talking with and meeting strangers is one of my favorite things. T-Shirt by Fast Custom Shirts.
OH NOES! ISSUE 6 available at the Con, still not sure when they are in stores. Also, the floppies are the only way to get FG as an English/Spanish flip book.
FEEDING GROUND co-creator and hotel buddy (Out Demons!) Chris Mangun working Archaia's Satellite Booth.
Among the many great meals I had in San Diego (Burgers at HODAD's, Fish Tacos at TIN FISH, Steak at MORTON's) one of the best was the Frozen Mojito and Pulled Pork Taco lunch at LA PUERTA.
RETURN OF THE DAPPER MEN wins an Eisner!
(photo by Pat Loika)
I had the great pleasure of meeting Jim McCann at a Con when he was still working PR for Marvel and we discussed Dazzler's crotch-burst costume. Since then, we have both published books through Archaia and seeing him, artist Janet Lee, and his husband Michael is always a Con plus. Even better, their book RETURN OF THE DAPPER MEN won an Eisner (The Oscars for comics) for Best Graphic Novel! It is an utterly unique tale and package, a modern fable illustrated in decoupage on wood, that is a great example of the best comics have to offer.
My SDCC Haul
WOLVES by Becky Cloonan - The book I most eagerly sought out. Becky's inking has become a story in itself.
CORA by Ted Mathot - I discovered this at the Tr!ckster Con as a book of great space and pause.
RODD RACER by Toby Cypress - The book I mentioned in the opening paragraph and possibly the best comic car chase ever.
BLUE ESTATE by Viktor Kalvachev, Andrew Osborne, and various - The lynchpin of my current comic tastes, this crime book features art by Toby Cypress, Nathan Fox, and others. Viktor is a massive talent and one of my major Con discoveries.
Postcards by Nathan Fox - One goal of mine is to create art and comics that feel as spontaneous and outrageous as a song. With his line and palette, Nathan does just that.
HULK by Jeff Parker and Patrick Zircher - This was a black and white ashcan given away by Marvel. As such, the inks show off an artist doing the work of his career and a writer tapping the potential in a character (Red Hulk) that at first seemed like a gimmick.
International Cities Playing Cards by Bill Presing and Josh Cooley - Another Tr!ckster discovery and a gift for a friend. I worked with Bill at my first job at Jumbo Pictures. Since then he's gone on to work for Pixar and, on the side, has spent years drawing some of the most accomplished and charming pin-ups.
TR!CKSTER Artist Workshop
If one goal of the TR!CKSTER counter-Con was to bring attention back to comics and comic artists, this artist workshop, in which attendants gathered around a table as asked questions as several professionals (Thompson, Moon, Crosland, Francavilla) was a chill, direct, way to do that. Coincidentally, Francisco Francavilla (above) was doing layouts for the IMMORTALS book for Archaia.
San Diego, where even the municipal buildings are comic book-themed.