Pipeline In Pittsburgh: Part 2


…A self-indulgent look back on the previous 24 hours of con-going life, deep in the heart o' Western Pennsylvania, a land for whom the opening of "Kennywood" is considered the first sign of spring.

I just got back from the big mega-auction tonight. The prices were, in many cases, painfully low. But that's the problem with these auctions as compared to eBay. Your audience is terribly limited. And while there were a couple of fans with deep enough pockets to make a few items interesting, there were also a lot of bargains. If I were a more enterprising and less lazy person, I would have picked up a bunch of items and resold them on eBay for a 100% profit.

I bid on a couple of pieces for myself but got quickly outbid. (That included an Erik Larsen page of Peter Parker and Aunt May that went over $100 pretty quickly. I bid on a page of Mike Wieringo MERIDIAN art, and one from TELLOS. The former page topped out just over $100, while the TELLOS page went, I think, for close to $300.) There were also some scripts and hardcovers and tons of original art that went up for sale, all to benefit the Make A Wish organization. Part Two of the Auction is tomorrow afternoon, but I doubt I'll make it over there. Tomorrow is get away day, so there's no time to waste at auctions I can't afford.

Spent a lot of time in bars in the past day. I can blame that on Larry Young, though. Every time I go to one, he's there and offers to buy me drinks. After the Harvey Awards wrapped up last night - at close to midnight - a ton of people came pouring in. Everyone was sneaking peaks at the table in the far corner of the bar, where Frank Miller held court with the likes of Bob Schreck, Jeff Smith, Chris Oarr, Steve Lieber, and others. I spent most of the time at the bar talking with Pipeline regular and Comic Book Legal Defense Volunteer Marc Deering.

(Oh, speaking of which - in case you needed further clarification on yesterday's column, Danielle is not Steve Lieber's traveling companion. She's the friend who "tagged along" with me for the con. And, yes, she does read comics.)

This afternoon included a couple of hours at the bar with such luminaries as Larry Young (never to be seen at this con without a Bud in his hand), Ed Brubaker, Joel Meadows (from Tripwire magazine) and Jim Valentino.

But enough of the social pages. You probably want some comics stuff, eh?

There are a few select convention freaks to be had here. If I weren't so shy about asking people to take their pictures so that I could rip on them here, I'd show you what I mean. But a new phrase was coined this weekend: "He's happy like Space Ghost." There was a man in a Space Ghost costume. For those of you who need it spelled out, a Space Ghost costume involves lots of white spandex. And this particular con-goer was happy to the left, if you know what I mean. He was pointing in the direction he wanted to go. He was Happy Like Space Ghost. Space Ghost Happy. Spread the word.

That's to say nothing of the man walking around with a red bucket on his head, or the Generic Anime Boy and Girl. (Well, we can assume they were dressing up like someone, but nobody I pointed them out to could tell.) But, heck, every convention has its freaks and this one was no exception.

Booth Babes were here in force again, too. There was the generic cheerleader-attired chick with "Dream Girl" written across her chest. The Hooters Girl has a progressively tighter and skinner shirt with a pair of bright orange shorts which progressively rode further and further up her ass during the day. There were no Dot Com Booth Babes. Methinks they're on the endangered species list these days.

Across from the Hooters Girl was the DC booth and Ed Brubaker. Imagine my surprise as I felt a bear hug embrace me from behind. Yup, CBR's own con mascot, Larry Young, was back again. Attached here you'll find a wacky picture of the three of us. Bru disowned the picture, so we're blotting his face out. Pretend you don't see him there. But aren't Lar and I just looking cozy? ;-)

Bru showed me the pages from the upcoming CATWOMAN series. To put it mildly, they are drool-worthy. The pages are from Darwyn Cooke, who comes from the world of animated series storyboards. His influences from there are obvious. He's working in a strict grid format, which could almost be likened to Chris Ware's stuff. There are lots of small panels on these pages, but none of them are looking crowded. It's laid out beautifully. The storytelling is spot on, very easy to follow without the lettering on there. This book should be huge. It looks amazing.

Larry brought me over to meet Mike Brennan of ELECTRIC GIRL fame. Larry's t-shirt sold me on the series. It's a pic of Blammo, the talking dog of the series. I haven't read the book yet, but I'll be getting to it soon. The trade paperback collecting the first four issues of the series is nicely designed, with a simple sparse cover that really stands out on the shelves. You can see it in Larry's column from this past Friday. The photo here shows Larry Young with Mike Brennan. Larry is showing off his patented trick of sucking out Blammo's brain from within, after sticking his hand up the puppet dog's butt. And he was sober at this point.

(Aside to Larry's wife, Mimi: He's doing fine. He's not getting drunk and calling people names. He's not getting into stupid arguments with people. He's even sharing beers with them this weekend. And he misses you.)

Meanwhile, over at the Image Booth, I got the chance to talk to the artists of Image's upcoming NOBLE CAUSES. The one shot the book is slated to start with won't be debuting now until September. But the sample pages they had there made it look to be worth it. It's too early to judge yet, obviously, but the high concept and ideas are interesting. The trick will be in seeing how they are pulled off. Main story penciller Billy Dallas Patton is on the right in this picture, with his inker, Damon Hacker, on the left. Jay Faerber was off in DC Land when I took this pic, so I missed the chance to get the whole team in one shot.

That booth was a hotbed of activity. I also got to meet Beau Smith today. He's got the great image of the world's toughest guy. He's a man's man. Yet when you meet him and talk to him, it seems like a whole different thing. He's just completely affable, and has enough of a southern accent to redirect your attention away from that gruff persona you think you're looking for. The guy's a sweetheart. Oh, and he's also a CBR fan, so he gets points for that, too.

Tom DeFalco was at the Image booth signing all sorts of stuff. Just seems surreal seeing him in the Image Booth. Ron Frenz and Pat Oliffe had their own booths just down the way.

There's more than just all of that, though. Much more. Not the least of which is the tirade against Quebec. Be sure to come back on Tuesday for more thoughts on the con and the adventures therein.

Did you miss Augie's report on the first day of the Pittsburg Comicon? Read it now!

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