Posts Tagged ‘comic con’

emerald city map

My tablemate Tyrell posted this handy map on his blog. Here’s where you can find us this weekend at Emerald City ComicCon:


VanCAF header

In one week I will be exhibiting at my very first international comics festival in Vancouver, British Columbia! Next Saturday and Sunday you can meet me at Vancouver Comic Arts Festival. Matt Ocasio, celebrated author, will be my tablemate for the show. Another first! We’ve never shared a table before. Find us both at table G5 at Roundhouse Mews. We will be two of the Americans self-consciously adding “u” to the words color, favor, and honor in our books.

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VanCAF 2013

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vancaf sign
vancaf roundhouse
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vancaf roundhouse sign
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vancaf steam clock

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vancaf public library

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VanCAF was a wonderful experience. Vancouver is truly a city of the future. Bike paths, easy access to the most startling mountains this blogger has seen outside the Front Range, community art centers that host comic festivals, kind attractive people. The Festival itself was small yet yielded great interest, in no small part due to the free admission and location along a busy pedestrian thoroughfare.

Among the exhibitors I found extraordinary talent. A small sample of the work is presented below:

VanCAF trades
Brett Williams – Laura Knows Best
Renee Nault – Witchling
Trevor Waurechen – mini-comics, including his 24-hour comic Open Bar
Laurenn Stipes – mini-comic
Bettina McEntyre – Noid
Laura Bifano – postcards of paintings of geometric animals
And of course, my gracious tablemate Matt Ocasio, without whose generosity I wouldn’t have been there at all.

You were a wonderful hostess, Vancouver. I hope to visit again someday.
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san diego bound

sdcc-2013-josh-shalekThis month is July, which means the San Diego Comic-Con is a-comin’.
From July 17-21, you can find me stationed at table O-6 in the Small Press Pavilion.
If, like last year, Joss Whedon trudges by my table, I’ve got a great pitch for AVENGERS 2.
I don’t want to give it all away just yet, but it involves both a surprise 90th birthday party for Captain America and the Hulk’s favorite stretchy sweat pants.
In 3D!


For the next five days, you can find me here:
San Diego ComicCon, Small Press table O-6.
Here’s a map!
small-press-joshshalekSay hello, check out the two new issues of Falling Rock National Park, let me know how many zombies you’ve seen so far. It’ll be fun!
Feel free to ask about my small but pivotal role in the documentary Dear Mr. Watterson. I can talk about Bill Watterson all day.

friday robots

Even though I’m at Comic-Con, Friday Robots will go on. Here’s a bicycle-themed robot to take you through the weekend. Happy travels!
friday robots 7-19-13By the way, if you are in San Diego, look me up. I’ll be at table O-6 in the Small Press Pavilion.

SDCC 2013

My second year exhibiting at the Greatest Show on Earth was a raging success. I did my best sales ever, beating last year’s record. I saw lots of old friends and met a few new ones. I wasn’t devoured by zombies. I’ve already applied to next year’s show, so with luck you can find me back in Small Press, row O, same time next July.
Are You There Thor? It's Me, Margaret #sdcc
Frequent table-mate Reid decided to take a year off, so I had a whole table to fill.
Are we ready? Yes we are. #sdcc
Although I was technically tabling alone, I had plenty of help. My friend Rachael, a San Diegan and a biology student, was my official assistant for the show. She gave me lunch breaks and allowed me to get away to see cartoonists and illustrators I’ve long admired. William Stout was back – I think he’s been attending every ComicCon since the beginning – and he drew me a stegosaurus and told me of the new discoveries regarding its famous plates. Rachael rode her motorcycle to the convention center, which was bar none the coolest thing anyone did that whole week.
Trek Otter #sdcc
Portrait of #grumpycat #sdcc
Once again my neighbors made the show for me. Four full days plus one evening is a marathon. You’re handing out cards, shouting greetings to strangers, rattling off the same pithy phrases about your books over and over again until you lose your voice. Without the good humor and support of those tabling around me, I’d never make it.
Neighbors #sdcc
Jeff was my neighbor for the second year in a row. Although we didn’t get into a heated Twitter battle like we did in ’12, we joked around plenty. I also got to meet Jeff’s mom and sister. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Jeff’s mom, who stood behind my table when I needed to take bathroom breaks. She became as good, if not better, at selling my books than me.
Neighbors #sdcc
Corey and Yomi were new to ComicCon but you’d never know. They are naturally friendly; every time I looked over they were surrounded by a new and exciting mix of people. I can’t wait to read the books I traded them for.
Homemade #beemo #sdcc
Sweeping out the mouth. #sdcc
Ben was once again on my right. Unfortunately I forgot to get a picture of Ben, but trust me, no photograph would do that man justice. He came with the second volume of his mighty work Pang: The Wandering Shaolin Monk. If you are unfamiliar with Ben’s work, I would highly suggest tracking down his zine about a boy who grows a cloaca when he hits puberty.
#tmnt #sdcc
Occasionally the river of people running in front of my table yielded a familiar face. Palle Schmidt, my friend from a country where the government supports the arts, was back in San Diego. This time he was plugging his latest graphic novel for the English-speaking market. Palle interviewed me for his podcast. He grouped me with Nate Powell, which is as huge a compliment for me as it must be a dubious distinction for Nate. Listen if you want to hear me expound on self-publishing for three minutes.
The night I tried to steal Neil from @amandapalmer
Henry Barajas. This guy. We first met at last year’s Con, but he’s from Tucson. We tabled next to each other at last year’s Tucson ComicCon, where I realized that he is the most outgoing, networkingist cartoonist I’ve met. He is quite literally a Renaissance Man. He does stand-up, writes for the daily paper in Tucson, writes comics, and knows just about everyone in the business. For some reason, he took time out of hanging with Neil Gaiman to help me sell books at my table. Henry gave me the energy boost I badly needed on Friday afternoon. I was in a bit of a rut, caffeine loosing its effectiveness, and he shook off my cobwebs and got me back in the game. Can I throw any more metaphors in there? He was my con coach.
Ask me about my involvement in #DearMrWatterson #sdcc
Joel Schroeder, director of the documentary Dear Mr. Watterson. If you asked me what sort of movie I most wanted to be a part of, I would have said, duh, a movie about Bill Watterson. Well kids, I’m here to tell you that dreams really do come true. Joel emailed me last fall, requesting permission to use a Falling Rock strip in his documentary. I held off responding for a good ten minutes before mashing all the keys on my keyboard until I typed YES OF COURSE. Now the film is complete and Joel is preparing for a nationwide theatrical release in November. He sent me a poster for my table and stopped by on Saturday to deliver a stack of postcards. Turns out, everybody at ComicCon loves Calvin and Hobbes. People walking quickly by my table would stop in their tracks when I handed them a card to ask about Dear Mr. Watterson.

Mr. Watterson, if you happen upon this blog, I want you to know that people dressed as zombies, people in capes, women, men, young, old…every single person who goes to ComicCon loves Calvin and Hobbes dearly. There is no other single comic (or movie, or TV show, or viral video) as universally loved as that strip. If you ever want to come to ComicCon, even in disguise so nobody will bug you for a snowman drawing or whatever, I think you will have a great time.

Also, I think you should make a Spaceman Spiff graphic novel. Think about it, get back to me later.
Hello old friend #sdcc
I figured out that people on panels had a special badge, so I began asking everyone with a Panel Badge what they did. It always yielded interesting answers. I met a scientist who works at Jet Propulsion Labs. He is a consultant on an upcoming film about a mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa. I hadn’t heard of Europa Report before, but based on his description I am 100% going to see this movie – especially given my longstanding dream that NASA will devote a mission to the ocean moon.

I also saw Lawrence from Office Space! I had no idea what to say to him as he walked by. I just said “Heyyyy!” He turned, smiled, and said “Hello!”
There was, inevitably, talk among cartoonists about the watering-down of ComicCon. I’ve only been attending for the past five years so the crazy crowds are all I know. With the movie and television and video game and toy companies comes a much broader audience. The people who are there to see Game of Thrones or Hunger Games are not necessarily going to spend any time at Small Press or Artist Alley looking at self-published minicomics. I understand the need to sell well at this show. It is expensive to stay for five days, it is difficult to stand up all day shouting the same pitch to passerby. It can get tiring even if you do well. I come back exhausted. If you don’t do as well as you’d like, it can be disheartening. That’s true for any show. But I disagree that ComicCon is less good because of all the hoopla. If anything, people can get exposed to more pop culture than they ever would have anticipated. I have personally sold comics to people who say they don’t read comics. At ComicCon, it’s all about discovery.

For me, ComicCon is more than just another show. The jarring cocktail of pop culture produces something bigger than any of us. Fans, cartoonists, Stormtroopers, publishers, butchers, bakers, candlestick makers all share space in the sprawling convention center. I’m certainly glad I’ve done we’ll the two years I’ve exhibited; it has made it worth coming back. But more importantly, it exposes me to a phenomenon. ComicCon is the epicenter of popular culture. We come out knowing what the trends will be for the next year. We are part of the zeitgeist, a moving target that perches in the Gaslamp Quarter for a week before heading for parts unknown. It feels good to know that my work can fit into that huge swirling mass.

Until next year, ComicCon.
#lego Iron-Man #sdcc

tree of life

I made this drawing using a new kind of marker called TOUCH. These markers were free samples I got at ComicCon. One of the coolest things about ComicCon, which nobody told me about beforehand, was the free art supplies that were handed to me just for being there.

I recommend these markers for anyone who likes COPIC or PRISMACOLOR. They have a more brush-like tip, and the colors are vibrant and deep.

SPX 2013

Literally hundreds of cartoonists descended on the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center last weekend. This imposing portrait of the Marriott Brothers hung near the ballroom like a stained glass portrait of Jesus and Mary in a cathedral.

I still had a few Dear Mr. Watterson postcards, which were a great conversation starter. It was a great joy telling people that there is a movie about Bill Watterson coming out soon. Everybody loves Calvin and Hobbes. If you happen upon this post during your nightly Googling of your name, Mr. Watterson, take note: you would be welcome at SPX any year. If noted misanthropes Seth and Chris Ware made it out, you can too.

By far the coolest thing to happen was my inclusion in the Library of Congress. Three of my Falling Rock comic strip collections (Great Wave of Falling Rock, Scenic Byways, and Falling Rock National Park 2012) will live forever in the LoC until the Psychlos have driven us from our cities and strip-mined our planet for precious gold.

I was seated at table A1. This, I thought, must have meaning. While I searched for this elusive meaning, I stared across the aisle at Jeff Smith, who signed approximately 5,482 books during the course of the weekend.

A large part of my success at SPX is due to one man: Nick Offerman. In addition to being the genius actor who portrays Ron Swanson on the genius show Parks and Recreation, he built his own canoe and filmed an instructional video so any of us non-Offermans can join him on the lake. BYO Scotch.

I was given a very cool foldy comic about the age-old question of chicken/egg. Which came first? You’ll have to decide.

The day after SPX I made my way into our nation’s capitol, where I saw but was unable to ride one of the Wright brothers’ custom-made bicycles. I think it says something that the guys who built the first airplane were also bike mechanics.

Thanks to the SPX team who put together another great show. A big thanks to my comic book buddies, including (but not limited to) Kenan & Cate, Neil, Tyrell, Jason, Cara, Kevin, Alec, Greg, as well as the new friends I made. Your energy and bone-deep enthusiasm literally took my breath away. Literally, it took my breath. I can’t wait to have a similar yet refreshingly unique experience at the Bethesda Marriott next year.

friday robots

This is another one of those cases where I kept messing with the elements and couldn’t quite decide which design I liked best. Since this is a blog and not a professional publication with editors and the like, I’ll show you all three of my ideas. You can pick your favorite.
friday-robots-11-1-13-2 friday-robots-11-1-13-3 friday-robot-11-1-13If you happen to live in Southern Arizona and want something fun to do this weekend, stop by the Tucson ComicCon! I’ll be there with Falling Rock comic strip collections, Falling Rock comic books, Tomb of the Zombies and Jack Ketch and foldy comics and screenprints and all sorts of good cheer.