Sunday, July 14, 2019

Come see me at Comic-Con 50!

I'm getting ready (at the last minute) for this year's 50th Comic-Con International in San Diego! As in the last few years, you can find me at a few different locations at this year's show, with a few new exclusives.

Did you know that the Black Terror: Social Insecurity books are finished? And that I'll have them with me?? Well, both of those things are true. I'm sharing a booth once again with Jennie Wood in the small press section, at booth M06.

I also wrote a new issue of The Tick, and it's a Comic-Con exclusive! I'll be stopping by the New England Comics booth (#1807) to sign copies at different points over the duration of the convention. Similar to last year, this book comes from a Ben Edlund plot, and is drawn by Ian Nichols, who will also be at the show.

There are two covers to the issue, including this blank sketch cover!

Also, Ian drew this cover to IDW's new Usagi Yojimbo series! How neat!

If you're at the show, stop by and say hello. I'm looking forward to kicking off Comic-Con in...a few days?? Okay, back to packing.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Fantastic Four original art - FF #7 inks from John Lucas!

Just a few months ago, I purchased a page of original Aaron Kuder art from Fantastic Four #5, the wedding issue for the Thing and Alicia. Since I had just picked that up, I wasn't really in the market for another page of FF art from the same run, but then a few popped up for a really good price, and what can I say? It was a great deal and I went for it.

The following pages are from Fantastic Four #7 and are not actually by Kuder - John Lucas helped out with some inks in this issue, and these are his inks over the Kuder's blue lines. That is to say, Kuder's penciled pages are still out there. This actually made it more attractive for me, as I had just bought some of Kuder's work, so now I have something a little different.

I got a total of four pages, each in various stages of development. Let's take a look!

This is the only fully inked page in the lot. You can see Lucas's signature at the bottom of the page.

This one has a great shot of the Human Torch going nova in front of Galactus. I finally have some Galactus art! Thank goodness.

And here's how the page was printed in the comic.

The next page, and the subsequent ones, too, were all partially inked. I don't know if Kuder inked the other parts on his own, or if Lucas did the whole page in different stages, but what's not inked is printed blue line. Here we have the middle three panels of the page, where Reed tries to fool Galactus into thinking that he has the Ultimate Nullifier once again.

And here's the page in its completed form!

The next page has inks on the top two panels, with some really nice shots of Reed and Galactus, with Sue and Ben at the bottom.

Here's the page as it was printed.

Lastly, here's a page that has an un-inked Galactus crashing into some Latverian mountains.

This page also has the best shots of the Thing, and we also see Johnny, Sue and Dr. Doom, too. So this page has the full team and Doom! That's great!

Here's what the final page looked like in the comic.

This is actually not the first artwork from John Lucas that I've got in the collection. A full fifteen years ago (!) I got a sketch of Ben Grimm in my much-ballyhooed Thing sketchbook. The above image is from Wizard World Philadelphia way back in 2004. Nice to see John still at it!

Saturday, June 29, 2019

"Weird Al" Yankovic Strings Attached Tour Pittsburgh poster - some process pieces

Here's some fun and interesting (funteresting?) news: I worked on a poster for "Weird Al" Yankovic's current "Strings Attached" Tour! It's no secret that I'm a big fan of Al's, so it has been quite exciting for me to work on an official poster for the legendary artist. Since the poster has been formally announced, I thought I'd show a few process pieces and give a little commentary of how we got to the final image.

The short version of how I got involved with this project is that one of Al's tour managers contacted me and we talked about a few different ideas. Since Pittsburgh is my hometown, I asked to take on the poster for the July 7th stop at the Benedum Center in the downtown cultural district. Al played there in 2017 and it's a nice venue. Anyway, Pittsburgh is known for being the hometown of icon Andy Warhol, so we wanted to do something in that vein.

The first draft I put together combined a Warhol-esque grid that is reminiscent of a number of his prints, such as the Marylin Monroe grid below:

The poster was going to have Kuni, Gedde Watanabe's character in "UHF", leaping outward from the grid background, like so:

For this part, I called on my friend and frequent collaborator Jeff McComsey, and he came up with this image, which I really like. The text at the top and bottom of the poster were based on this promotional poster:

Once I found the font in question, I was able to duplicate it and create all kinds of images, such as...

I still like this one. Perhaps it'll still see some use? Anyway, the first draft got scrapped for a simpler, more iconic Warhol image of the Campbell's soup can. Warhol's original was made in 1962, so I found a few different labels from around that time:

And then I went about recreating the image as below. The final version only shows the relatively simplistic front of the label, but there is actually a full back as well.

Jeff then took the label and added it to his rough of R2D2 - that is to say, a version that is legally distinct from R2D2, or perhaps a parody (yes, that's it). Al is known for a number of things, including his two Star Wars-themed songs, so it doesn't take much to complete the reference, or at least I don't think it does. We were asked to remove the dome on top of the Droid's body to highlight the soup can part of it.

For obvious reasons, one of my favorite Warhol creations is this Superman print:

I really wanted to do something similar for the poster and pay homage to that particular image, but it wasn't to be - they wanted the simpler, more evocative image that ended up being the final version.

They were probably right to make that change, but I still like the Superman reference. Al posted the image of the final poster on his Instagram page on June 23rd:

A post shared by Al Yankovic (@alfredyankovic) on

And I think people like it so far! The poster is part of the VIP package for the concert, so everyone with those particular tickets will get a print on the night of the show. I'll get a few copies for myself, too!

Al is also selling t-shirts for every single print, including this one.

I believe that these are made-to-order, so they should be available until at least the end of the tour! They come in different colors and both men's and women's sizes! You can order some here:

As you might expect, this whole experience has been one of the highlights of my year so far. I've got tickets to the July 7th show, so I'll be there, nervously eavesdropping on VIP conversations to see if I can hear what people have to say about the posters. Maybe I'll grab them from angry and perplexed passers-by and sign them while they chase and beat me in an attempt to get them back! And then I will explain the whole thing and we'll all have a good laugh. It's possible.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Pictures from the 2018 New York Comic Con, part 4 (Sunday, 10/7)

It's time for the last batch of pictures from the 2018 New York Comic Con, on an overcast Sunday. I don't usually make it to NYCC on Sunday, but this year I had two fairly big reasons for being there, and it was fun to be there until the show closed down for the year. Let's take a look at the pictures!

Here's the Javits Center on a gloomy Sunday morning.

Is this...a Power Rangers thing? Either way, it's good work.

She-Ra had a big presence at the show, despite the new cartoon not having aired yet at the time. I'm happy to see how popular it's become since. What a great way to welcome young girls into nerd culture!

I was (apparently) very excited to see my friend Oliver Mertz on the show floor!

Okay, there's Rogue...and Gambit, yeah...and Captain Marvel...and...what is goin' on with that Captain America?!

Early in the day on Sunday, I met up with Jennie Wood and we walked over to the Dark Horse Comics booth. This was a big day! We got to go into the inner workings of the booth setup, into the meeting area, where we sat down for an interview with Comics Beat writer Edie Nugent! We talked about, among other things, the Flutter collection which was on the cusp of being released at this time.

I was only slightly nervous during the whole thing (and Jennie did most of the heavy lifting, naturally). But someone delivered snacks during the interview, which was right up my alley, of course.

After the interview, Jennie and I stepped out into the signing stage where we had a special signing to promote the Flutter Collection! Jennie is, of course, the one who set all this up, and I was happy to be along for the ride. It was a fun experience that I won't forget. And if you wonder how dedicated I am to things like this, just know that I missed the first half of the Steelers game for it, which is a big deal. Obviously, I still ran around in black and gold, like an annoying away team fan.

The signing wrapped up near the end of the show, and I ran around for a few minutes to get one last look at everything. Costumes were still plentiful here on the last day.

Does DC have the market on LEGO superhero movies? I'd think that a Spidey LEGO movie would do...pretty well.

Crowds started to thin as the day drew to a close. But I still had one last stop to make.

The 2018 Tick panel was a last minute addition to NYCC, for reasons that will be forever unknown to me. But right at the end of the day, room was found and the whole cast showed up.

New-to-season-two cast member John Hodgman was the emcee for the panel.

The room filled up pretty quickly as the panel began - I went to previous panel to make sure that I'd get a seat. Soon after I made it in, they closed the doors and wouldn't allow others to enter early, so in the few minutes leading up to the panel, the room was pretty sparsely populated, which was kind of worrisome. But then, all at once, the doors opened and everyone flooded in. The room was mostly full for the panel.

Since this was the last panel for the day - and the convention - it ran over quite a bit, to the point where workers were coming in and yelling at everyone to leave so they could tear down the stage.

The cast of The Tick seems to genuinely like each other, and the fact that they all showed up at the last minute for this thing was a nice testament to that. Season two is on Amazon Prime now!

As the panel was breaking up and the workers were shooing everyone out, I got to say hello to a few of the cast members. Here I am with Miss Lint, Yara Martinez!

I, uh, gave John Hodgman some pins. And then we took a picture.

And then I saw Valorie Curry! What a great character Dot is on this show. In between the two of us, you can see one of the workers literally pulling the stage apart.

Everyone on stage took the time to sign autographs, take pictures, and talk to the fans who stuck around until the very end of the convention. It seemed to me that everyone in the room was happy to be there, even at the end of a long convention and given a non-ideal time slot for the day. Here's hoping that the cast can be together for several more seasons.

And that's it for my NYCC 2018 trip. It was off to New York Penn Station and back home. But let's look at some of the things I picked up while I was there!

Earlier in the day, Ian Nichols took me to one of the booths selling original art, and I grabbed some color guides - specifically for the short-lived and much-maligned Fantastic Force series! When I saw a bunch of these all piled up, I knew what issue to look for: #7, one of the few that directly crossed over with the main Fantastic Four book. This page has the Thing in a couple panels, so it was a no brainer!

This is the Venture Bros. production art I got earlier at the panel.

The best thing I bought, though, was this Flying Spaghetti Monster colander, seen here full of pasta.

I'm out of convention pictures! Time to go to another convention, I guess. Until then...!