I’m not covering the convention, but I am taking lots of pictures there. Here’s the famous voice actress, Karen Kahler I met on the metro on the way to AX.
And then cosplay:
Tuna Bora had two books at WonderCon: a sketchbook mostly of pen and ink work from two years ago and an illustration book of the past year in various media. She had prints of both books and a few independent prints on her table. Tuna graduated from Otis College of Art and Design and has been working in many different fields for the past five years. She works for feature and TV animation, as well as print advertising and music videos to name a few other things she’s done. This is Tuna’s second WonderCon, she also did APE last year, and every year she is at CTM (Creative Talent Network) show in Burbank.
Tanya Bjork has been making comics since 2003 and it was a guest spot in a printed webcomic anthology edited by comics artist Robert Tritthardt. Tanya has studied art, but is mostly self-taught. As far back as she can remember, she’s written stories so she could illustrate them (and bind some of them together with yarn). She remembers making a story about a fairy and using lots of glitter for the fairy dust and magic. She said it took her a while to twig that if she shifted her emphasis to comics, she could do more stories with pictures. So she’s been gradually ramping up and is working on her first long-form project. She’s doing small print runs, working with a local printer, SGX, who sponsored Artists’ Alley at the Long Beach Comic last year, and they’ve been fantastic to work with. Tanya’s top three artistic influences are Edward Gorey, Ross Campbell, and Becky Cloonan. Like Hillary Bauman and Jordon Montsell, WonderCon is Tanya’s second convention; her first was at the Long Beach Comic-Con last September. Her comic formerly known as Runaway, but now called Havenhurst, was conceived on 24-hour Comic Day last October. She liked the idea she came up with so much that she finished it and expanded it into the two issues (so far) she had on her table. The story is about a runaway and her magical familiar hiding out in the human world. Tanya also did a t-shirt collaboration with a clothing designer named Kambriel. And a lovely t-shirt it was, alas, it was also the last known t-shirt of its kind in existence or something.
Shing Yin Khor is a comic artist and sculptor. Most of her work is about a crypto-zoological institute that studies them. Her background is in theater scenic design. This is her fifth year of doing conventions. WonderCon was going great for her. She said things are busier when there are several issues of a comic on the table for sale. Every year it gets better.
I spoke to Ron Bassilian the writer of Inferno Los Angeles, which is an updating in comic book form of Dante’s Inferno. The mouth of hell is in Westwood, and the underworld is full of LA characters, like movie producers and their ilk. Y’know, all the jerks one wants to see in hell without actually having to go to hell to see them here. Or something. The book was published in 2013, the project started in 2008, and really took off with a successful Kickstarter in 2010. Inferno Los Angeles is a beautiful hardcover Ron and the artist, Jim Wheelock, are self-publishing, printing it though Tri Vision in Los Angeles, who also print for IDW. Jim found Ron on Craigslist.com. WonderCon is the second convention for Inferno Los Angeles, the first was the Alternative Press Expo in San Francisco, where the book sold very well.
Jordon Monsell makes silhouettes. Really, seriously, I am not making this up. He will even cut out a portrait while you wait for $20. I would like to now take this opportunity to publicly retroactively apologize to Jordon for standing at his booth with my mouth hanging open in AWE of what he does. And he does it with surgical scissors! Gah! Okay, down fangirl, down. As you can tell, I was seriously impressed by this. He card reads “The artform may be dying, but I’m very much alive.” Jordan is one of the six practicing silhouette makers in California. Three years ago, he learned the art from his mother, who is self-taught and has been making silhouettes for over 30 years. She is one of the two practicing silhouette makers in New England. Jordan filled me in on the history of silhouette: they were most popular in the Victorian era and were a less expensive alternative to having an oil portrait done. The rise of photography was the decline of silhouette making, alas, but technology does that. Scissors are the traditional tool for silhouette making (I was amazed by the control and detail he gets with scissors. Yes, they are swanky scissors, but still…) Jordon’s background and education are in theater, but he picked up a paintbrush before he picked up a pair of scissors. His mother is portrait painter as well as silhouette maker, and travels all over the country and Canada to ply her art, so it runs in the family because Jordan does special events and commissions as well. I asked if he was ever going to do a narrative wordless series of silhouettes, a sort of silhouette comic, but he said he hadn’t considered it. Too bad because that would rule so hard. Jordan uses silhouette paper (very thin; black on one side, white on the other) and spray adhesive to adhere them to the cardstock backing. Like Tanya Bjork and Hillary Bauman, WonderCon is Jordon’s second convention as an exhibitor; Long Beach Comic Con in 2013 was his first exhibiting experience. Jordan is silhouette making at the Renaissance Faire in Irwindale until May 18 and for those of you who attend Comikaze, Jordan will also be exhibiting there this year. Jordan has an illustration website well worth a visit as well.
Cartwright Comics are written by James Cartwright and illustrated by Pelligre (Rocky Mountain Fire Lizard) and Mike Ratliff (Hamsters), whom he found online through message boards. He’s never met them in person, but the art turned out fantastic. James chose Pelligre for Rocky Mountain Fire Lizard because he (Pelligre) is from Colorado so the landscapes are especially apt and lovely. Mike Ratliff illustrated the story of two hamsters attempting to escape their nine-year old mistress and the art is adorable. James has been writing comics since he was in college, where he started his own comics magazine, but has been busier with it over the last four or five years. WonderCon is the first big convention he’s tabled at. You can buy Rocky Mountain Fire Lizard and Hamsters at IndyPlanet.com.