Not much to report, really. Comic-Con is always hectic but this year I saw and participated in less than usual because I was trying to get work done on the last of MAD‘s parody of “The Avengers”, with mixed results.
I did not have my own booth this year like I did last, frankly because the Comic-Con people are not very good at informing their vendors how to do things like reserve their booth spaces for the next year.¬¨‚Ä† First, I found out after the fact that had I paid my 2012 booth fee before the last day of last year’s Comic-Con, I would have gotten a discount of several hundred dollars. No one told me of this there were no flyers or information of any kind at the booth or when I picked up my exhibitor badges. Likely it was buried deep in the phonebook-sized mountain of documents in the vendor packet. Second, there is apparently no notification to renew sent out to previous year’s vendors. You either know when the deadline is and send in your fees with the proper paperwork on time, or you lose your space. No reminder, no notification, nada. This I also learned after the fact, which was then too late. I’m not very upset about it. It was really nice to have my own booth space last year, but it was also very expensive and my location was pretty bad. I was very far away from where other artists like myself were located. I had a giant double-space seller of swords and knives next to me last year, who had a wall that extended to the very front of the booth (something the phonebook sized mountain of documents told me I was not allowed to do), blocking any sightlines of my space on one side and very effectively hiding me from the main traffic flow. Finally, next to me on the other side was someone selling really bad “fine art” sword and sorcery paintings. That’s an odd place to put a cartoonist. Oh well. I feel a little badly in that I got that space last year thanks to the efforts of some friends of mine…I was very appreciate of that and I am concerned my not coming back looks like I was not. Maybe I can get a spot in Artist’s Alley next year.
I did do some signing at the National Cartoonists Society booth, but that was also very limited as a lot of NCS members showed up to make appearances at the booth, and there was less time available than usual. That’s a good thing, though! Next year I will have to be more hard-assed about limiting some people’s time at the booth, however. I want to be sure every attending NCS member gets their chance to spend time appearing at the booth. Since I needed to get so much work done, I gave up sitting at the NCS booth and doing it, and retreated to my hotel room instead.
The only panel I got to see was the Spotlight on Stan Goldberg, and that only because it immediately preceded a panel I was on. Stan is one of the most underrated comic book artists I know, he has had an amazing and varied career. Good presentation. There were so many others I would have loved to have caught. . . even some of the half-dozen or so not moderated by Mark Evanier.
Sketching at the DC booth– Photo by Steve Kuhn
I did have a few appearances of my own here and there. On Thursday and Sunday I had an hour-long signing appearance at the DC Comics booth. Unfortunately the copies of MAD that were supposed to be there to give away never showed up, so I spent the time doing free sketches for fans. We played the “Draw Alfred as…” game. Lot’s of Alfred as Batman, Spider-Man and Harry Potter. Nightwing was a popular one too. The weirdest ones I did was Alfred as a “Day of the Dead” character (the Mexican holiday, not the film), Alfred as a Minecraft character (should have taken a picture of that one) and Alfred as Groo, which I do have a picture of courtesy of Steve Kuhn (who asked me to draw it!):
Sergio drew and signed it as well sometime later. I really cranked those out as there were a lot of people in line.
L to R: Sam Viviano, Ryan Flanders, John Ficarra, Peter Kuper, Sergio Aragon?¬©s, Angelo Torres, me- Photo by Tom D. Richmond
Saturday I was on the MAD about MAD panel with editor John Ficarra, art director Sam Viviano, associate art director Ryan Flanders, Sergio Aragon?¬©s, Peter Kuper and Angelo Torres, who was a special Comic-Con guest. The panel went well, with John, Sam and Ryan having put together some funny bits including opening with a special “product placement” version of the Pledge of Allegiance, and many other goodies. John debuted the big 60th anniversary “Totally MAD” book I mentioned the other day. I saw an advanced copy and really it looks great. He also announced the upcoming next edition of “Legends of MAD ” collections… this one of the work of the great Mort Drucker. You can read a blow-by-blow feed on the panel here.
On Sunday I did something new. DC has a new booth setup and part of it is a giant screen that allows them to conduct “DC University” drawing sessions with various artists, where they can demo their craft and do a little drawing lesson. I did a few drawings and talked about my process, even doing a little sneak peek of the art for the spoof of “The Avengers” I am working on.
Later that day I was added to another panel, this one teaching kids to draw called “Drawing DC: DC Kids Edition”. My fellow panelists were Art Baltazar and Franco of Tiny Titans fame, and Dustin Nguyen, who does Batman Beyond (among other things). Very talented guys and it was fun to draw with them.
My two youngest kids came with me this year, The Effervescent Gabrielle and Number One Son Thomas. They had some fun, saw a lot of cool stuff and helped their dad out selling a few books and taking some pictures. It was great having them there.
So, that was my Comic-Con. Pretty low key. I really have to try and avoid needing to work when there next year. Totally unavoidable this year, though. Thanks to everyone who came up and said hello.
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