Feb 272011
 

For the EMERALD CITY convention in Seattle this week, I have a “new” book to sell; a 56 page collection of all the Rocket Rabbit stories that I’ve published so far.

Rocket Rabbit

KENESS has really come through with yet another fantastic print job. At 8.25×10.5 inches, this format is much bigger than any of the earlier Rocket Rabbit books and the print quality is much better too. Some of the earliest stories were out of print so this was a way of bringing them back to light and they have never looked better.

Rocket Rabbit

I still plan on getting NEW Rocket Rabbit stories done by the end of 2011 but frankly it has been hard to find the time in what has been a busy work year so far, so this collection is a good place-holder till I generate some new pages.

Rocket Rabbit

Starting this Friday 4th of March and through Sunday the 6th, I will be sharing booth Space #606 with the same two gentlemen who gave me a spot last time around; DEREK THOMPSON & TED MATHOT. Emerald City is a wonderful show and I hope to see some of you there!

Oct 142010
 

I just bought some portable lightweight stands to hang my CONVENTION BANNERS from. It was a bit of an intelligence test trying to figure out how they work but I prevailed and will use them for the first time at the Alternative Press Expo (APE) this weekend. Mostly these book-shows and conventions provide a backboard behind the exhibitor spaces to hang stuff from, but not always. So I thought these would be a good investment. I also bought a velcro banner to display my PRINTS, of which I will have a couple of new designs. The SEPHILINA book I launched at COMIC CON will also be on sale. This year my booth Number is #108 and looking at the exhibitor map, I am surrounded by some pretty awesome neighbours: Julia Lundman at #102, Derek Thompson & Ted Mathot at #106, John Hoffman (Anthology 451) at #107, and Steam Crow (Daniel & Dawna) at #100. And there are many other friends exhibiting as well in OTHER parts of the hall (Jennifer Chang, Ghostbot, Charlene Kelley, Michael Aushenker, Rafael Navarro, Ben Walker and many more!!). I hope to see the REST of you there too!

Mar 102010
 

I have exhibited at a few Comic Conventions in the past decade but most have been in San Francisco, where I live, and all have been in California. When exhibiting out of town (so far, only at COMIC CON) there has always been a VAN to load my stuff into (driven by Rhode). But this weekend, for the first time, I will be exhibiting out of state, at EMERALD CITY CON in Seattle, so I had to pack my books for a FLIGHT, which I have never done before. My thinking was that making the kit as portable as possible would be the way to go, as the easier it is to take the show on the road, the more likely I will be to do it again in future… and I like that idea.

I recently bought a rolling trunk for away-teams to long shows out of town (such as Comic Con) but I don’t really sell much in two-day shows so, while I was tempted to use my new trunk for this trip, I opted for a roll-aboard carry-on bag stuffed full of my wares. This thing is designed to carry about 8 pounds of socks and undies but at the moment it is jammed with about 55 pounds of books and is definitely the heaviest carry-on bag of all time.

Other than the rolling brick, I have a small duffel bag and a folio-case containing my new vinyl BANNERS. It is strange that I have never made these before. Rhode and I usually hand-make the booth-decorations for each show, but having a more portable and durable display will be key from now on.. To make my kit complete, I still need to buy some lightweight banner-STANDS for those shows that do not provide a backboard. In the past, I have used an EASEL for this purpose but they are bulky and have a huge footprint that is inconvenient in cramped booth spaces.

If you are in Seattle this weekend (March 13/14) come by the EMERALD CITY con where I will be sharing a booth with TED MATHOT and DEREK THOMPSON. It would be nice to find out that I needed to pack more stuff to sell. Selling out would be a GOOD problem to have.

Apr 082009
 

Last weekend I flew from Portland to Seattle for the Emerald City Comic Con. It was the first time since around 2002 that I have gone to a comic Convention as an attendee rather than an exhibitor and I had a lovely time. The inspiration for the trip was to see my pals Ted and Derek, (exhibiting at this particular show for the first time) but I was also keen to meet up with my old pal Brian who lives in Seattle and whom I had not seen in many years.

emeraldcity

Everyone agreed that this was wonderful show. Bay Area exhibitors claimed that their sales were much more than they were expecting and that they all preferred this con over recent experiences at Wondercon… Apart from that, it was just pleasant to attend; lots of great costumes (Hellboy Jr, and Kid Abe Sapien were highlights) and a fun, cheerful atmosphere.

emeraldcity

Cons are a great chance to catch up with people, even those whom I see often. I regret not being able to spend more time with everyone but you can only fit so much socialising into a weekend… In fact, we were already talking abut the logistics of socialising at COMIC CON which is only a few months away… Chris Turnham (a co-worker at LAIKA) was also exhibiting with his friend Kevin Dart and their booth was right next door to Ted & Derek’s. It was great to see their work. There were some also some OTHER familiar faces on deck:

emeraldcity

Like all my exhibitor pals, Ted & Derek were pretty much chair-bound at the con. I saw them for Breakfast and dinner each day but in between times I wandered about the city, SOLO. The weather was so unbelievably pretty that I simply HAD to get outside (working in Portland has taught me to make the most of sunshine when it comes my way). A highlight of these explorations was the Science Fiction Museum, which houses the impressive memorabilia stash of Paul Allen (of Microsoft). The collection includes Captain Kirk’s chair, A full size Spinner (from Blade Runner) and blasters, phasers, and laser pistols from every Sci-Fi movie and TV show you could name. Luckily for me, Every nerd for a 500 mile radius was at the Emerald City Comic Con, so I more or less had the museum to myself and was able to take my time perusing a Billionaire’s geek-stash at my leisure..

emeraldcity

Finding dinner without walking all over the place is hard at cons, and Saturday was no exception to that rule. I take some of the blame for it his time, as the first place we entered was wall-to-wall punch-able faces and I decreed that we would have to eat elsewhere… Thanks to Brian & Heather’s local knowledge, we were taken to a very cosy pub with great food. We all agreed that the long walk to SMITH was well worth it. The quality of the appetisers (Deep fried pork shoulder with chimichurri and a serving of Sweet potato fries) hinted that we’d be in for a treat when the main courses showed up… and indeed we were.

emeraldcity

Seattle reminds me of other Bayside cities that I love; San Francisco, Vancouver, Sydney, Hong Kong, Macau… there is just something about Harbour Cities… Perhaps the rhythms of the tidal water gives these places a special vitality… When on the ferry to Bainbridge Island I had a visceral memory-flash of riding the Manly Ferry across Sydney Harbour… a journey I often made when I first moved to Sydney from my home town. But while the journey from Sydney’s Circlular Quay to the Northern suburb of Manly takes the passenger towards sandy white beaches, the Bainbridge Ferry is headed for snow capped mountains…

emeraldcity

It also occurred to me, while wandering around Pioneer Square on Sunday, that it is EXACTLY 20 years since I was last in Seattle. March/April 1989… when I first came to the USA as a back-packing traveler. I hadn’t thought of the time-line until seeing some buildings brought some memories back to me. After tracking down one or two familiar places, I headed back to the CON to reconnoiter with my cronies. Selling out of their stock allowed Ted & Derek the luxury of an early departure from the CON and made it possible for us to have a leisurely FEAST OF CON-OVER with Brian and Heather at The Alibi Room down by the Pike Place market, before our respective flights left that evening. The delicious pizzas (Grape & Blue Cheese, and Chicken Sausage & Basil) were a very tasty end to a satisfying weekend.

emeraldcity

May 202007
 

Yet another Maverix Studios art-auction fund-raiser has come and gone and I think this may have been one of their best yet. I certainly had a very good time. You can see here the 5 pieces that I won in the bidding (From top to bottom: Ted Mathot, Ronnie Del Carmen, Mike Murnane, Louis Gonzales, and Bill Presing). I am VERY happy to own each of these, and I certainly wasn’t the only person grinning from ear to ear while clutching recently acquired artwork, at the end of the night.

Despite being on the same day as the famous Bay To Breakers Marathon, the auction was well attended, and there were a great number of quality art donations, which inspired some pretty heated bidding over certain pieces. I have no idea of the amount of money raised (they were still adding it all up when I left) but I predict that it may have been one of the more financially successful Auctions that Maverix has yet held.

Most of the artwork was sold to whoever had written the highest bid on the bid-sheets beneath each piece. However, a few hot-properties were selected for the BIG BID-BATTLE SHOWDOWN at the end of the event; a live auction hilariously adjudicated by Auctioneer extraordinare, the mighty Mike Murnane. Being a natural born button-pusher well qualified Mike for the task of needling a few extra dollars out of bidders who had their sights set on the most contested pieces, which in this case were by Rhode Montijo, Patrick Awa, Tadahiro Uesugi and Steve Purcell.

But these shows aren’t only about the artwork and the fundraising, they are also for having fun, socialising and meeting new people. This time I got to meet someone who I had only known before as his avatar in online forums and through his blog; mr John Hoffman (AKA MonkeyFeather). He had done one of the art pieces that I had targeted, but in that case I was out-gunned by some other lucky bidder.

To make a great night even better, someone suggested going to Mitchell’s Ice Cream in the Mission District. Their tasty, exotically flavoured ice cream is made on the premises and they are open till 11pm. Despite it being a chilly Sunday night, plenty of other people had the same idea, and there was a line out the door (you should see the line at Mitchell’s on a HOT day). I have a pathological dread of waiting in line, but I will make an exception for Mitchell’s, only because Mexican Chocolate ice cream served in a chocolate-dipped, nut-encrusted waffle-cone is just such a civilized way to end the day.

Jul 102006
 

Normally at this time of year, leading up to Comic Con, I would be powering up my personal Hype Machine and trying to whet your appetites for one of my own books. This time however I haven’t cooked anything new (or rather, it is still baking) but you don’t need to go hungry as I have some recommendations of other tasty treats that will be on sale this year…

MelvinMELVIN BEEDERMAN books 1 & 2, Illustrated by my booth-buddy mr Rhode Montijo. These are the first in a series (lots more on the way!) of chapter books, which are lavishly illustrated novels designed for young readers not yet ready for “Harry Potter” but already growing self-conscious about reading “picture books”. The MELVIN books are full of Rhode’s charming black and white illustrations for the stories (written by Greg Trine) about a boy who is trying to be a Super Hero in Los Angeles (because LA hasn’t had a hero since Kareem retired).

MelvinThese books are SUPER appropriate subject-matter for Comic Con, and perfect for any young kids (I plan to get some for my nephews). For your even younger readers, Rhode will also be selling his colour picture book Cloud Boy which he both wrote and illustrated himself. I already have my copy, (which I have raved about before), but if you don’t have one yet, then I suggest that you come by our booth and pick one up. (Plus, we both have left over comics and sketchbooks from years gone by… or you could just come by to say “hi”).

ROSE AND ISABEL Book 2, by Ted Mathot. The conclusion to an epic story of two sisters who join the American civil war to find their brothers who are missing in action. Ted is a master storyteller, who normally uses his considerable skills in the service of animated feature films (I bet he has even storyboarded some of your favourite sequences). It is a real joy now to see him do his own thing. There is a lesson for me in every drawing I’ve ever seen of Ted’s and this book is like college; it has 160 pages of them.

DEREKMONSTER ANNUAL 2oo6 by veritable art-monster Derek Thompson. Derek is yet another friend who constantly inspires me with his upbeat energy, productivity and his always amazing artwork. He has a broad range of things that he can do artistically, but his passion has always been for designing monsters and I don’t think anyone draws them better. This book, like the first, contains 365 monsters, so you could snack on one for each day of the year, but my bet is that you’ll want to gobble them all down the minute you turn the first page.

MASSIVE SWERVE by Robert Valley. If you enjoy seeing the human form drawn with both an eye for figure drawing and a flair for stylization (which don’t always go together, let alone so well) and aren’t squeamish about unbridled sexual fantasy, then you should get this book, just don’t show it to your kids, your grandma or anyone with Victorian sensibilities. The stories can be raunchy, but are truly hilarious, drawing upon Robert’s real-life booze-addled adventures in club-land, but placed in a more extreme, fun cartoon-fantasy world.

GHOULASH by Sam Hiti. Instead of an epic graphic novel or a charming mini comic, Sam now serves up an art book; a stew of monsters, deities, cowboys (and Rambo!) all rendered in Sam’s fearless brushmanship. An aside; Have you noticed how many sketchbooks have a food-themed title? “Scribbles and Bits”, “Ice Cream”, “Candy”, “Croquettes”, “Gourmet Gruel” and now “Ghoulash”… Surely this proves that art satisfies some kind of hunger? I find artbooks pretty tasty myself, and I can’t wait for a hearty plate-full of Sam’s cooking.

SKETCHCRAWLINGS vol. 2 By Enrico Casarosa. The creator of the worldwide art craze that is SKETCHCRAWL has another of his charming Sketchcrawl books in the pipeline, due to pop out in time for the comic-con feeding frenzy. These books feature a 50/50 blend of Enrico’s superb, “on the spot” pencil and watercolour sketches, and hilarious autobiographical comics co-starring his two tiny alter egos, Nude Angel Enrico, and Nude Enrico Devil and starring full-sized Enrico himself, fully clothed (sorry, ladies) though emotionally naked.

AFTERWORKS 2, by a collection of artists from Pixar Animation studios. I have seen the galleys for this beautifully produced book. there are 360 full colour pages just chock filled with gorgeous artwork by artists whose names you may not have heard of before but whose work you have been seeing for years in all of Pixar’s films. The book has stories by artists from the story, art, and animation departments so it represents a broad cross section of the creative community of that powerhouse studio. And for only $25.00 how can you NOT pick this up?

OUT OF PICTURE by artists from Blue Sky studios, including my buddy David Gordon. I have seen (thanks to super-talented contributor Daniel Lopez Munoz) this beautifully packaged (big format, hard cover) and reasonably priced ($25) book and it is a “must have”. Is this a new trend of anthologies of personal work by animation artists? (How ’bout it Dreamworks artists? Disney artists? Sony? ILM?). It’s a sign of a healthy studio when the artists have surplus creative energy to spare for their personal projects.

And of course, I want a copy of FLIGHT 3 (to keep the first two company on my bookshelf). The Flight collections have probably inspired this recent spate of beautifully produced, bargain priced, colour comics anthologies; a trend I hope will continue for some time. It could be the beginings of a new way to distribute comics and get them to a wider audience… Comics can be cool! Plus, apart from this list, there is bound to be stuff that I don’t know about YET but will crave when I see it…

Anyway, I look forward to seeing all of that and all of you (plus pudgy people in purple spandex) next week at the NERD PROM: Comic-Con!

May 252006
 


This is a pinup for my friend, (and constant source of inspiration) Ted Mathot, the creator of the splendid Rose and Isabel graphic novel. I have to confess that getting this picture done kicked my arse… I did a million thumbnails trying to decide on a composition, and the one I liked most I simply was unable to draw… Drawing “cool” or “bad ass” doesn’t play to my strengths (“Dumb ass” is more my line). I have seen some other lovely pinups of Ted’s characters done by the likes of Sam Hiti, Rod Guen, John Hoffman and Scott Morse, and of course Ted is an art-monster himself, so perhaps I was feeling the pressure a little… In any case, I am looking forward to seeing the finished book and glad that a pic of mine will be in there someplace.

Rose and Isabel is the story of two sisters who run off to join the Civil War in order to find their missing brothers. Book One was out last year, and Book Two featuring the conclusion of the story, will be on sale at Comic Con in San Diego this July. In addition to Doing 160 pages of Rose and Isabel, Ted also wrangled the production of, and did a short story for, Afterworks 2, the 360 page colour anthology of comics done by Pixar artists being released by Image comics later this year. Oh, and when he isn’t cranking out quantities of superb comics, Ted also excels at his very demanding day job as a story artist.

Afterworks 2 is fantastic by the way. I’ve seen the mock-up and it will absolutely be one of the “must buy” comic books of 2006. I didn’t have a chance to read any of the stories but I saw a great variety of cool art styles; it’s a visual feast. Contributors come from the Animation, Story and Art departments at Pixar. Some of them (Ted Mathot, Mark Andrews, Scott Morse) may be familiar to comics readers already, but there will also be a lot of new faces to the comics scene (Pete Sohn, Jennifer Chang, and Jeff Pidgeon for example). This book gives animation artists, who largely work invisibly behind the scenes, a chance to show what they can do as individuals. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. It seems a few years ago “anthology” was a dirty word in comics, and yet lately some of the best books are anthologies…