In My Mailbox Today! – Wally Wood IDW Artist Edition

Well, not really in my mailbox, because it’s much too large to fit. More like, on my porch…

As I’ve mentioned in recent posts, I’ve been reading, perusing, and acquiring more comic-related art books because I’m currently working on a comic series and I’m always looking for new sources of inspiration. IDW has turned me on to artists’ work everyone in the industry is familiar with but which I never really appreciated until I was able to see in the Artist Edition series. This series reproduces artist’s work at their original size after having been shot/scanned in color from the original pencil/inked art, retaining the actual color of the aged pages with all of the blue pencil and correction marks. It’s the closest thing to holding the original art in your hands. What’s really nice about these editions is that they allow you to see the black and white work without any coloring to distract you from the beautiful pencil or ink work. It also gives you a better insight into the creative process.

IDW started producing these books around 2010 or so, the first being Dave Stevens Rocketeer Artist Edition, which is the first one I acquired a few years ago because I’m a big fan of Steven’s work. The second Artist Edition IDW produced was an edition of Wally Wood’s EC work. It immediately sold out and was so popular that IDW released a second edition, however, both editions have out of print out now for years and can cost over five times their original retail prices on those rare occasions they pop up on the market (which is why I’ve never purchased one).

Because of its popularity, IDW has released an Artisan Edition which is a small, soft-cover edition with a different cover and a little less content (for about a third of the original retail price of the Artist Edition). I had this in mind to eventually get since I never thought I’d find an affordable copy of the Wally Wood Artist Edition. Recently, however, a first edition popped up on ebay at a little over the original retail price so I nabbed it.

I’m not going to review it because it’s been thoroughly reviewed online since it came out in 2011, but I’ll link to a couple videos. I’d also encourage you to check out this excellent review of it (as well as other Artist Editions) HERE.

I’m savoring this tome as I study it (it arrived this morning and I haven’t gone through it all yet).

To give you an idea of the size of these twice-up editions, here’s a pic of the book next to my guitar. Yes, it’s huge (the book, not the guitar)!

The following are from YouTube (i.e., not produced by myself). But they’re interesting to watch if you want a quick flip-through of the book.

And another review for our Spanish-speaking friends…

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Comics – Dandelion Odyssey

For those who’ve never bothered viewing my website, here’s a cover I did some time ago for a comic called Dandelion Odyssey (actually, I illustrated the entire issue, not just the cover).

This style was a departure of what I normally do, but it was fun trying something what for me would be out of the ordinary. I hate feeling like I do the same thing all of the time, so attempting to do different styles is a good change of pace. Falling into a creative rut or settling on doing one thing over and over tends to stunt creative growth (or perhaps is a symptom of some other issue).

Dandelion Odyssey

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MORE SILLINESS…

Life is too short to take oneself too seriously…

Spider-Lizard

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Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo 2014

A lot of my work is done under a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) which precludes me from posting such work publicly on my blog or elsewhere. This leaves me with little to post here. Consequently, every weekend I’m left scrambling to throw something quick together for a Monday morning post, and, being lazy as I can be, I decided that I’d use this Monday’s post to share my experience at Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo which I attended with my wife several weeks ago. So here I goes my rambling…

Comikaze01

In my last post, I shared about the Rocket Men poster I did for the Comikaze Expo. Well, John Semper, the gentleman for whom I did the poster, suggested that I attend. While the San Diego Con is really enough pop-culture-convention-time for me, I figured it couldn’t hurt to check out the Spider-Man panel to say “Hi” to John in person, as well as check out this Expo which I’d never attended. The thing is, I really didn’t want to attend this show badly enough to purchase tickets, so I went on their website to register as a professional and try to acquire complimentary passes.

With the show being less than a week away, I really didn’t think I’d get in. Furthermore, the registration page indicated that it could take up to four weeks to be approved for professional status. As it happened, it only took a few days to get my professional status approved, and they offered me complimentary passes to the current show. That whittled my cost down to gas, parking, and lunch. Not too bad.

I went online to pre-order parking and, as I expected, parking for the convention center was sold out. Fortunately, there are surrounding lots which still had some available spaces, so I pre-ordered my parking. When my wife, Cristina, and I arrived downtown, the parking lots were not accurately marked, and as there were many little lots on the same block, we had to circle around and inquire at a few lots to find where we were supposed to park. When we finally found the right lot, it was full… Wait, huh? Isn’t that what pre-ordering tickets is meant to avoid? I suspect the persons of dubious character who were letting cars in were probably just doing their own parking business on the side. I was naturally bent out of shape at having to pay again to park. Anyway, we did the driving version of musical chairs, hoping we could squeeze into a parking lot somewhere before the music stopped. Fortunately, we found parking at a lot across the street of the Staple Center. As we drove into the lot, the attendant at the entrance was changing the sign and raising the cost to park another fin, so we just avoided the price-hike.

Comikaze02The convention floor of the Comikaze Expo was pretty full. I though the energy and buzz there was much larger than the Wonder Con in Anaheim. It actually felt like the San Diego Con, only with all the big-money booths absent (i.e., no big film studios or comic companies seemed to be present). We were only on the floor a few minutes, after which we headed upstairs to the Spider-Man panel to see John Semper talk about the series and announce the Rocket Men project. He also announced that the entire cast of the Spider-Man series committed to doing the Rocket Men series, so that’ll be interesting if the crowd-funding comes through.

Comikaze03

That’s John Semper on the far right. Everyone else were voice actors on the 90’s Spider-Man animated series.

After the panel, Cristina and I went back downstairs and walked the entire floor. While the excitement of the show was there, I have to be honest in saying that most of the smaller exhibitors that interest me at San Diego were absent. The crowds were certainly enthusiastic, and there were lots of people in costume, but there wasn’t much that caught my eye at the booths. To be fair, I’m only referring to things that interest myself, so others might have a different opinion on that matter. I’m sure there was plenty to interest others. Because few booths interested me enough to stop in them, we pretty much were able to cover the entire showroom floor in a couple of hours.

Comikaze05One thing that I thought was really cool while we were walking the aisles is that they held a large panel with Stan Lee and various artists right on the convention floor, along the back wall. It was projected on giant screens so that people walking the aisles could watch it. I thought that was a clever way of letting people enjoy the panel without wasting half of their day in a line and having to crowd into a panel room. I wish there were something like that at the San Diego Con, though I realize that would cause them to lose precious exhibitor space.

We pretty much left after walking the convention floor. I didn’t have much interest in hanging around all day for the after-show party that evening. All in all, it was an interesting show. I suspect that in the future many film studios may switch to this show since it’s so much closer to Hollywood than San Diego. Still, I suppose it depends on how successful they continue to be. In the meantime, I still prefer the SanDiego Con over either this or WonderCon.

Here’s a recording of the Spider-Man panel…

Sequential Storytelling

I’ve never wanted to do animation, because it seemed like one had to draw nearly the same thing over and over, with only slight changes between drawings. In all honesty, that seemed too tedious and uninteresting for my limited attention span.

Comics, on the other hand, allows for more progress from panel to panel, so it was something that appealed to me more than animating — though, if I had my druthers, I’d rather trim the fat even further and simply do an illustrated book. In any case, I’ve always found sequential storytelling an interesting enterprise.

Here’s a page from a comic I did some time ago which had very little dialogue or text and depended heavily on imagery to tell the story. Hopefully, I didn’t entirely choke in my attempt to express the story in pictures. Well, the writer was very happy with the work I did on her story, so at least someone was satisfied with my effort.

Sample_Comic_Page

Leaving Comic Con 2014

After 4.5 days of crazy crowds, people are packing up their booty and heading home. I can’t wait to go through the books I brought home… I’m not sure what to do with the styrofoam Sharknado 2 chainsaw…

Leaving Comic Con 2014

Comic Con 2014 – And More Pics

Bat-Man Texting

Texting the Joker

Sharknado

Sharknado – This was a clever costume

Bat-Girl Walking Dead

Comic Con 2014 – More Pics

I’ll just keep posting these throughout the week/weekend…

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Sharknado seems to be on its way to becoming a cult classic.

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Big toy companies have a big presence at the Con.

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Film studios continue to eat up floor space at the Con as well.

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Even babies were getting in on the act.

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Comic Con 2014 – Wednesday’s Show

The last two days were long and tiring, what with wading through the thick crowd of bodies on the convention floor of the San Diego Comic Con. Here are only a few of the shots I took. I’ll post more tomorrow.

ComicCon Gaslamp

We took a walk around San Diego’s Gas Lamp District adjacent to the convention center. As usual, the local retailers made the most of the Con with banners, posters, characters, decorations, and boosted retails prices to serve the 100,000+ attendees.

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Preview Night used to the be a more relaxing and less crowded day. Now it seems to be one of the most crowded days of the Con. The crowds were thick and sweaty.

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Hot Wheels had a large booth, complete with this Darth Vader-mobile. It was pretty cool.

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Marky Ramone of The Ramones was at a table selling still-shots (at $30 a shot) of an animated scene from The Simpsons in which he made a guest appearance. Comic Con – where old rockers go to die.

Comic Con 2013 Update

Iron ManOne of the perks of being a professional illustrator is getting complimentary 4.5-day passes to the San Diego Comic Con. I’m also usually able to take a guest for free, but they limited the amount of guest passes they were issuing this year. If you didn’t register within the first few hours, you were out of luck.iron man gray

Hooters

In recent years, the parking situation has been improved by the pre-selling of parking passes. This has eliminated having to arrive unnecessarily early in order to snag a spot at the convention center or at the Hilton, next door. It has also eliminated the traffic congestion in front of the convention center, since those without parking passes don’t bother to drive up to the building.

Preview night was incredibly swamped, but Thursday was a little lighter — not because there were fewer attendees, but because many were attending panels or waiting in lines upstairs or outside. This is not to say Thursday’s floor traffic was light — if you’re demophobic, you still wouldn’t have lasted two seconds. I also noticed fewer people in costumes. I suspect many attendees were saving their costumes for the weekend. I really didn’t get any great pics, but hopefully the ones posted here will suffice.

weirdo

There’s really no one I desired to see so badly that I was willing to endure spending all of my time in long, sweaty lines, so I pretty much avoided the panel discussions altogether. I’m mostly interested in walking the floor and seeing what’s new, and maybe purchasing an art book or two. I can pretty much cover the floor and see everything I want to see on Preview Night and Thursday, so I don’t make the fullest use of my 4-day pass. Oh, well. I figure I’m helping other attendees by eliminating one more body from the overcrowded aisles. Besides, you can learn a lot just by talking to folks at the booths on the floor.

I got some useful advice from Bobby Chiu on the use of social media, and other artists helped with info about self-publishing and other subjects. It’s also fun talking to well-known artists and discussing their work with them.Nautilus helmet

star wars

Being a freelance artist in the digital age, I often work for people and companies who live far away, or with whom I’ve otherwise never met in person. A couple of years ago, I got to meet some people from a Canadian company for whom I had worked. At last year’s Con, I got to hook up with a friend with whom I’ve worked, but whom I’ve never met in person. This year, I got to meet other people with whom I’m currently working on a project for Roddenberry Entertainment. I don’t post my picture on Facebook, so one particular friend didn’t even know what I looked like. I had the advantage on him, because I knew what he looked like from his FB account. So it was interesting meeting him face-to-face for the first time.the hulk

lou ferrigno

comic booths

The Con floor was dominated by large entertainment companies as usual (which is why this is less of a comic convention than a pop-culture convention). Such booths dominate considerable floor space and yet seem to have the least amount of content. You might find a film company hogging up twenty spaces with a giant display, just to promote a single film or television series. Even video-game companies covered lots of real-estate for a single title. I tend to enjoy the smaller booths occupied by artists who are trying to promote their work, or book dealers.

Comic Con 2013boba fettlego

walking dead jailwalking dead cageBromadam hughsoompa loompabatgirl robingaslamp qtrdraculacomic con 00

My must-visit booths are Bud Plant Books, Vanguard Publishing, and Flesk Publishing (and Stuart NG, if I have the extra cash). These booths usually carry any books which fit my interests.

Bud Plant’s booth isn’t nearly the size it used to be, due to the nature of the book market and the fact that Amazon is killing small, independent dealers. However, he seems to be surviving, so that was a positive sign. For those interested in art books, I would encourage you to support independent dealers like Bud Plant. His prices are not always as competitive as Amazon (for the same reasons most dealers can’t compete with Amazon’s prices). However, he often carries specialty items not found on Amazon, or he has relationships with the artists which allows him to offer signed editions and signed bookplates, for the collectors among you who want something more than what Amazon can offer. Stuart NG carries specialty import items and harder to find OOP book as well.

I only bought a couple of books this year. My bookshelves at home are literally overflowing, so I don’t know where I’m going to cram two more books. I also took a serious look at the Cintiq 22 HD Touch at the Wacom booth, and I’m considering ordering one. If you’re interested in getting a slight discount, drop me an email and I’ll share the promo code for their show special (it’s only $100 off, but a buck is a buck, so if you want to buy now, I’ll share the info). 

I had skipped breakfast and lunch on Thursday, so by the end of the day I was pretty hungry, and my feet were killing me. I, along with a bazillion other Con attendees, wandered across the street from the Con and had dinner at the Gaslamp Quarter, where the surrounding building were covered with the usual film ads.

spiderman hard rockelectro hard rock

After filling up on fish & chips I made the drive home, a couple of hours north of San Diego (living within driving distance saves me the cost of an airline ticket and hotel). When I arrived, I didn’t bother to go through my bag of goodies or unpacking. I pretty much just hugged my family whom I missed, and which I hit the sheets and passed out.

So how about yourself? Anyone already home from the Con, or have big plans to attend this weekend?