Part Four: In which Timothy buys some art and nary a giant Pikachu is to be found
Saturday's adventure began with, you guessed it, more "Watchmen." This time, it was book-variety Watchmenery as television's Ryan Callahan and I scoped out the "Watching the Watchmen" panel to see what secrets Chip Kidd had unearthed from the Dave Gibbons vault.
Plenty, it turns out, but we only got a teeny, tiny glipse of it at the panel. Just like Kidd's Bat-Manga stuff we saw on Thursday, it just makes me want to rush out and buy the book. Nicely done, Mr. Chip Kidd.
Also: Dave Gibbons is a maniac.
Not a raving, belligerent maniac. But a maniac of artistic preparation. We saw some of his pre-sketch sketches and some of his diagrams plotting out the trajectory of the spinning perfume bottle. This guy did more work before he started drawing a page then most artists do in their entire lifetimes. "Watchmen" is good for a reason.
After the panel, we hit the convention floor like two dandies on the way to an all-frills show. I didn't have any specific agenda. I already own enough comic books, honestly. Not that I'm going to stop buying them, but I probably have a longbox worth of comics on hold at my LCS after being away for so long on my cross-country comic book excursion.
So, the first thing I did was buy a comic. "Kid Beowulf," the story of best buds Beowulf and Grendel, when they were kids. It's the first in a series of graphic novels, as the two scamps travel across the globe, adventuring into the wilds of epic poetry. Watch out, Song of Roland!
After caving in to the comic book jones I finally got a chance to meet up with my internet rival, Comics Should Be Good's Greg Burgas. CSBG's Greg Burgas, television's Ryan Callahan, and I broke out of the convention to grab some greasy pub burgers and chat about comics and life. Topics of conversation: why Greg is wrong about everything and why I am right. And why I may also be wrong.
After lunch, it was time to part ways as the three of us ventured onto the convention floor and headed in different directions. I wanted to check out the corners of the convention, since my few brief hours on the floor had mostly focused on the center. The corners are bastions of t-shirt towers, cheap toys, and bootleg DVDs. I wasn't interested in any of that stuff, but I did find a slice of brilliance: the artwork of Michael V. Bennett. Bennett, who worked in animation for years, had literally hundreds of full-color illustrations for sale at $20 each. Billed as a "Hallucinatory Pop Artist," Bennett produces crazed, cross-genre works of Kirbyesque splendor, except with even less restraint.
Bennett's work thrilled me so much, I bought three pieces, and I know just the spot to hang them when I get home. I asked him if he was working on any comics, but he said the animation business really soured him on the whole thing. "Look what they did to Kirby," he said. If they treated the best among them like that, what chance do any of us have?
With my art in hand, I journeyed to the "Fables" panel which was full of announcements my wife would probably care a lot about--I reported them all here on CBR. I think she would have liked the panel a lot, actually. Bill Willingham was a great moderator: quick-witted and funny. And the crowd really seemed to love "Fables" passionately, which was pretty true about almost everything I saw this week. Say what you will about negativity in comics fandom, but you just don't see it at the conventions. It's like the worlds dorkiest pep rally, but in the best imaginable way.
I finally got to hang out with my pal Kevin Colden, the guy who draws the covers of my books and the guy who infamously turned down the Xeric grant to publish his "Fishtown" comic online. That very same "Fishtown" book will be out this November, and the IDW booth had a giant enlargement of the cover on display. Kevin couldn't have been more proud, and I hope the book sells a million copies. I'll review it for CBR and let you know if it's any good. If it isn't, Kevin and I can't be friends anymore. I can't put up with anything less than greatness, and who would want to?
Television's Ryan Callahan tracked me down on the convention floor and we hung out with Kevin at the IDW booth for a while, chatting with editor Justin Eisinger about a top secret project that I've been developing. Not for IDW, but you never know. We also got to meet Andrew Tunney, who television's Ryan Callahan and I hung out with for quite a while in the early hours of Sunday morning. The Hyatt bar was packed, and Andrew was charming. I think you'll be seeing some great comics from him someday soon. Once he draws them and all.
Before we left the convention floor that night, television's Ryan Callahan picked up a print of a bear with a gun. Because it's inherently funny to see a bear. With a gun. He also regaled me with tales of his solo adventures during the day, when he stumbled into a Lettering panel, and the burning question was "what's the smallest size font you can use in a comic book?" I believe the answer was 5 and 3/4 point font. If you care. And that information may be incorrect, as television's Ryan Callahan tends to lie. He may have invented the whole notion of a Lettering panel, now that I think about it. Maybe comic books don't even exist.
Disappointed that we didn't even see Pikachu today--and therefore had no chance to take the necessary action (i.e. punching)--we exited the convention and began a night of debauchery that was unmatched, except by every single person walking the streets of San Diego that night. Seriously, how do the girls not break their ankles as they stagger in those high heels?
NEXT: Sunday is really that last chance for that pesky Pikachu, and will the real Earl Somerlath please stand up?