Ryan Claytor‘s father had a saying about any big project: It’s like eating an elephant, just do it one bite at a time and before you know it, you’re all done. Sage words for anyone trying to get a big or small project done. In honor of this wisdom, Ryan named his company Elephant Eater to publish his series of autobiographical. He’s been making comics since 2004 after he got his art degree from UC Santa Barbara and then a MFA from UC San Diego. His thesis on autobiographical comics was on sale at his table. His table had thinky words, comics, prints, and cool bookmarks.
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This is Paul Roman Martinez‘s first book and his first booth at Comic Con. “The Spirit of 19XX” takes place in the 1930s about a group of adventurers who are trying to prevent WWII from happening. Another alternate timeline of things that never happened that’s been well received. The book is has magic, adventure and history. PRM said he didn’t try to stray too far from history with it. PRM is nominated for the Russ Manning award for Most Promising Newcomer. Decorating his booth were historic posters from the era. However, the girl on the tank is his original poster. He’s only been making comics for a year and a half, but he’s loved comics all his life and has been attending CCSD since 1997. I was somewhat surprised he wasn’t in Artists’ Alley, but he ran the book through his graphic design company thereby making him a Small Press. He’s looking for a publisher for his next book, but he didn’t divulge any details.
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Kirstie (rhymes with thirsty) Sheperd is the writer on “Finding Frank and his Friends,” the Eisner nominated Best Graphic Album New. These are the lost images for everyone’s favorite comic that never existed. These images were hidden in a garage that never existed for the past 60 years, so no one has ever seen them. Kirstie is co-owner of Curio and Company, which creates entertainment memorabilia for books and things that never happened. (I have mucho simpatico with that idea; the idol of our parent company, Fabrice Eugene Wapshott, is the most fabulous gay man that never lived.) Kirstie is an American living in Vienna (I’m so jealous), she and her partner came over for Curio and Co’s second Comic-Con. Curio and Co is a new company, only a year old. Last year they debuted “Frank and his Friends.” This year they are debuting “The Gadabout GM 10-50,” which is user’s manual for a time machine. “Everyone says they need more time,” Kirstie told me, “We’ve finally got the book that gets it.” Kirstie is originally from San Diego. She and the artist, Cesare Asaro (sp?), met at the Discovery Science Museum in Santa Ana, where the Gadabout idea sparked and gelled. They share an interest in science and making sciency things more accessible. Now that they live in Europe, they have that “the farther you get from home, the better you see it” thing, so a lot of their products are based on Americana. One such item is “Spaceman Jax,” a 1950s TV spaceman show that never existed. They’ve been in Vienna for 10 years, so, she mused, maybe this is a way of dealing with voluntary ex-pat homesickness. They had cool stuff; I’ll keep an eye on the webpage to see what they’re up to next year.
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I headed out of Artists’ Alley for the long walk to the Small Press area and came across the half end-cap booth for Steam Crow. Steam Crow was mostly prints and a few books (I didn’t see any actual comic books), but, interestingly, as I was talking to Daniel Davis of Steam Crow, I realized that I read his Web comic Marketing blog (Webcomic Marketing). I read this blog because it’s unlikely that I’d ever put the words web comic and marketing together, but he does have some interesting ideas on how to generate buzz for your web comic, how to managed your convention exhibitor forays and more marketing stuff like that. Steam Crow is a personal brank that he and his partner dreamed up to illustrate the things they wanted to see illustrated, like monsters and things they like. They’ve done five books so far: Hot Creatures, a monster haiku book; Clawberry, like a Grimm fairy tale; After Halloween, what monsters do after Halloween to make a living, and two volumes of his web comic, Monster Commute. They’ve been doing Comic Con for six years. They started in Small Press, but found it easier to get more attention with their own booth. He studied art and became a graphic artist. He paid his dues as a screen print artist and worked his way up to his own company. The larger prints are glecee prints, there were a few prints on canvas, but most of them are what he called color process. I don’t know what color process means, and I couldn’t ask because the booth got busy and I never stand in the way of commerce.
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This is Ben Henderson‘s first Comic Con ever! He’s from Orlando, Florida and has always wanted to come to Comic Con and decided that this is the year to do it. He’s been an illustrator, but this is his first comic book. His comic book is about a retired superhero coming back into the spotlight out of necessity. This is his first comic book and first attempt at comic drawing. Found it a lot of work and has new respect for comic book artists now that he realizes how much goes into it. He came up with the art first (elderly superhero) and then wrote a story about it. He printed his books himself due to time constraints. He has been reading comics all his life.
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Sabrina! I was fascinated by her eyes, her eyeglasses, and her highly stylized cosplay/belly dancer bra. So much so I had to apologize for staring at her breasts. She’s nice; she said it was okay. Sabrina is an award winning dancer, teacher and a craftsperson. She was having a panel on how to make a cosplay bra that fits and won’t hurt your boobs on a long hard day of cosplaying. Looking, once again at her upper torso, I’d say she knows what she’s talking about. She has two new books out: “How to Build a Better Bra for Cosplay” and charity book for the Hero Initiative of belly dance themed comics (hotcha!). I can’t find links for either of these books, but if Sabrina! sends me links, I’ll add them. I should have taken a picture with her, but she’s so gorgeous, she just wipes the floor with me and would lower you readers’ opinions of me. If that’s possible. Anyway…Sabrina!
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After talking to Anson Jew, the next artist I spoke with was Ron Brown. He’s mainly an illustrator and fine artist (one of his paintings was on a cover of Harlan Ellison’s “Dream Quarters”), but he has self-published his own comic. He’s tabled at Comic Con six times, but he was on a five year hiatus getting a masters in fine arts at the Laguna Collage of Art to go with is undergrad from Art Center. Attention aspiring artists: Ron is teaching art at Mount San Antonio in Walnut, California. You could learn something.
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This year was my first preview night. In the past, I’d always turned up no earlier than Thursday to get the most bang for my buck because a hotel night for 3 hours at the con seemed wasteful to me. After the crush last year on Thursday, suddenly that didn’t seem so wasteful. Even preview night was intense, but it was easier to talk to people in Artists’ Alley and I started the con right by talking to Anson Jew first. He’s busy as usual, more with storyboarding commercials than making comics, but he did have a copy of his latest 24-hour comic “The Hand of Fate.” Anson said it’s loosely based on Oedipus Rex. I haven’t read it yet, but I still think Anson is a Noir wunderkind, so if he says it’s based on O. Rex, then it must be based on O.Rex. He’s still drawing comics, but not working on a comic book at the moment. He is working on a non-fiction book on storyboarding, which will be useful for those interested in such things. Anson didn’t say what it’s based on, but I’m sure it will be a Noir book on storyboarding and it will be wunderbar.
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So, Comic Con 2011, yay! As usual I took the train from LA to SD, but this was the first time I did preview night and I loved it. So, I think I’ll do preview night from now on. I got to talk to a lot of artists under less stress than the usual Thursday through Sunday show. Anyway, as you can see from the list below, those reports will be up in the next few days.
While waiting for the train at Union Station, I talked to Martin McIntosh, who owns Outre Gallery and Publishing in Melbourne, Sydney, and Perth. He was going to Comic Con because many of the artists he carries would be there. Starting in a small storefront in Sydney, he’s been handling “low-brow” and comic art for the past 10 years. He said if he’d thought too hard about going into the gallery business, he wouldn’t have done it, but he’s glad he did. He must be doing something right because it’s 10 years later and he’s not only still in business, he’s in triplicate. Later that day I was talking to a fanboy on the wonderful Comic Con shuttle about this gallery owner from Australia I met, and it turns out that the fanboy had ordered art from it. Small world, ain’t it?
The show was as crowded as ever even though I learned later that several big studios (Disney, Warner Bros, and some others [I didn’t even notice because I was only in Artists’ Alley and Small Press area]) didn’t exhibit this year and that there’s a 125K cap on tickets. It still felt like there were way too many people in the hall, but maybe that’s just me.
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