WIZARD WORLD PHOTO PARADE
You've read all the commentary. You've read all the news. You've called the Rosemont, Illinois fire department to ensure that WizardWorld never happens there again. What's left?
But first, a thought: Beatlemania once again took place at the same time as WizardWorld. The Hyatt Hotel and Knuckles sports bar were thus filled with a strange union of comic fans and Beatles groupies. However, I saw very little intermingling going on between the two groups. All those comic virgins and all those free love 60s hippies Beatles fans, and never the twain did meet...
As an attendee at a comic book convention, I can't rank on the Beatles fans. However, can someone explain to me the draw of a midnight Beatles Puppet Show?!?
THE CON FLOOR
We'll start with the traditional overhead shot. There's only one place to take such a picture and you can only look out in the one direction. Sorry I can't get more. This picture is of the back part of the hall on the side with all the companies. You can see Marvel with the biggest presence here.
Near the front entrance of the hall was a bank of PlayStation2 machines, running different videogames. Just behind it -- but not related to it -- is the traditional DC booth with its plush carpeting. (Only CrossGen can compete for plush carpeting.) The Marvel booth also had a small bank of PlayStation2 machines right behind it.
The Image booth had a ton of free goodies again in Chicago, along with Founding Father Erik Larsen often in attendance. (Jim Valentino was at the convention, too, but a very hard man to track down often.) You may insert your own joke here about the upside-down Image banner.
I don't often look at the display cases and the toys therein. However, two based on LONE WOLF AND CUB characters caught my eye at the Dark Horse booth. They're beautiful. Too expensive and produced in far too limited a supply for me to ever consider buying, it doesn't take away from their craft. On the left is Yagyu. On the right is Ogami Itto with Daigoro.
I've been catching up on my LONE WOLF AND CUB reading. It's amazing me how much the series improves over time. What on the surface looks to be an episodic samurai story, quickly turns into a mythical adventure with a strong background, a strong sense of cultural politics, and a strong emotional punch to the gut.
Dark Horse has published 11 volumes in the series so far. They're all available for re-order. Start at the first and enjoy the ride.
From those same people comes the BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL figure. This is the lead character of that artistic series, Manji. (You can safely ignore the Apes in the foreground. A lot of people did after the movie's opening weekend, so you won't be alone.)
ONE ARTISTS ALLEY ENCOUNTER
One of my big regrets in San Diego is that I never caught up to YOUNG JUSTICE artist Todd Nauck. I've been following his career since he started at Rob Liefeld's Extreme Studios a whole bunch of years ago. (Judging by an issue of NEW MEN I just pulled out, it would have to have been 1994. I'd feel old if it weren't for the fact that Nauck still looks about 21.)
After a near miss at a signing at the DC booth on Saturday, I finally caught up to him in Artists Alley on Sunday afternoon. Special thanks in finding him go to the all-too-kind DC Booth attendant who helped me out. Everytime I passed the DC booth that day, she pointed at my ELECTRIC GIRL shirt and yelled, "Blammo!" The second time around, I was going to point back at her PLANETARY shirt and yell, "Drummer!" but I realized John Cassaday was standing right behind her. I should have. It would have made for a much funnier con story.
Anyway: Nauck's line in Artists Alley was short but persistent. And on Sunday I became a hypocrite. I waited in line something close to two hours to meet him. I hereby apologize to everyone I questioned over the weekend who would wait in line for anyone.
Nauck talked to everyone in line, did nice head sketches of any character from YOUNG JUSTICE that was requested of him, had a nice display of original art, and did it all with a friendly and contagious smile. The line was predominantly young. I was probably the oldest one in the line, at the ripe old age of 25. It was good to see teenagers following a book that is aimed at them. (The CAVEWOMAN artist sitting next to Nauck seemed wildly out of place, with art of characters whose nipples are larger than their heads. He puts Jim Balent to shame.)
What was also good is that in addition to the free sketches, Nauck had a large stack of original art pages with him priced so reasonably that anyone on that line could have afforded a page. I picked up two myself. (YOUNG JUSTICE #27, pages 5 and 10)
In a day and age with agents picking up runs of artists' work and Internet auction houses causing furious bidding wars on the oddest lots, it's nice to see an artist whose work is so affordable to his audience.
Another interesting think Nauck did with his art: The pages were boxed up behind the table. There was a pair of 3-ring binders with photocopies of all the pages in it, organized by issue. Just point to the page you liked, he'd tell you the price, and if you wanted it, they'd pull out the page for you. This decreased the chances of all those grubby hands flipping through stacks of art damaging anything. It also is a heck of a lot easier than sorting through heavy stack of unwieldy art pages.
One last odd DC Booth story: By the end of the day, I was having a bad enough hair day that I picked up a CrossGen baseball cap to cover it up. Standing around in the DC booth with my Mighty Gremlin-issued ELECTRIC GIRL shirt and CrossGen cap, I ran across J. Torres, who I stopped to sign my copy of Oni Press' ALISON DARE.
Nobody batted an eyelash at the sight. That's why I love comic conventions.
Saturday was close to being a complete loss of a day. It started out badly. The con floor was so overcrowded that I got pushed into the dealer's area. I was wondering if I'd have the chance to see or talk to anyone. Things cleared up a little bit in the afternoon as a couple of thousand people were preparing to riot near the Kevin Smith/Star Wars panel debacle. I got back to circling the floor around Artists Alley and the big companies. The thing that saved the day was Brian Bendis' kind offer to sit down at his booth. I successfully sold someone a copy of JINX while I was there. Yee-ha!
As detailed here Sunday, Bendis' birthday party spontaneously broke out when Image's Anthony Bozzi showed up with a POWERS birthday cake. Here, as promised, are a couple of pictures from that event. (That's Bendis' bald head in the foreground and Bozzi's long hair in the background center.)
Special thanks go to the unwitting Image Comics company. Before they came, I was about to leave the booth to hit the snack bar. My diabetic low blood sugar was starting to kick in. What better way to remedy that than to have a slice of birthday cake? Delicious.
Come back on Friday for the rest of the Photo Parade. I'll have looks at some more of the people in Artists Alley (including the ubiquitous Steve Lieber), a couple of CrossGen pictures, something from the Oni booth, and a MiracleMan picture.
More than 250 columns are archived here at CBR and you can get to them from the Pipeline Archive page. They're sorted chronologically. The first 100 columns or so are still available at the Original Pipeline page, a horrifically coded piece of HTML.
I'm also going to hit the Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland this September for a Saturday.