The good folks at Staten Island, New York's Comic Book Jones are celebrating their store's sixth anniversary this weekend, and they were gracious enough to invite me and some other talented gentlemen to sign as part of the festivities.
Comic Book Jones is a shop near New York City, and I've heard lots of good things about it. In the past, they've hosted a number of FUBAR creators, and I've been regaled with stories about the fun time had at this store. I'm excited to experience it myself and I'm especially excited to get to hang around in the same forum as the other comic guests.
As you can see from the CBJ newsletter, there are a number of professionals attending over the weekend. I'll be joined on Saturday by FUBAR art director Steve Becker, along with Fred Van Lente, Ryan Dunlavey and Charles Soule! Sunday brings to the shop Evan Dorkan, Jacob Chabot, Chris Giarrusso and Frank Tieri!
I'm also listed as "newly added", which I think means that they had to work very hard around my extremely busy schedule, pulling lots of strings to get me to agree to make a public experience. Either that or I didn't set this up until almost the last minute. Also, my name does not have its customary "D" on the end, which I always thought was superfluous anyway.
If you're in the NYC area this Saturday, I hope you'll stop by to say hello. I'll have some FUBAR and Tick books with me and I'll be happy to have a staring contest with anyone who comes in and wants to step up to the plate. I'm not certain as to what times I'll be in the store; Steve and I are planning on coming in early, but we don't have a time locked down yet. I'll try to update that information here or on my Twitter feed. Here's some official info for the store!
One of the highlights of this year's New York Comic-Con was getting one of the few physical copies of "Thanos and Darkseid: Carpool Buddies of Doom" by Justin Jordan and Rafer Roberts. The book has been selling well on eBay even though you can view the whole dang thing online. It's a fun story that features Dr. Doom doing what Doom does.
Last week, I browsed Roberts's online store via DC Conspiracy, and I walked (not literally) away with a page of original art from the story, which you can see above. It came in today, so I thought I'd show it off. It's a comic book blog. This is pretty much what it's set up for.
Here's the finished art for the page:
I made the decision to buy the page because of, naturally, Dr. Doom. Rafer has just enough Kirby in him (that sounds dirty) to draw a perfect homage to comics' greatest super villain. All four pages of the story feature Doom, though, so I had to choose which one I wanted.
The cameos on page four made my choice for me. The final page of the story features not only Dr. Doom, along with Thanos and Darkseid, but also two Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles...in their party van. And there's Mr. Mxyzptlk, too!
The page also features...okay, I have no idea who these guys are. Certainly these are deliberate inclusions, right? Any help from the outside world? I suppose I could just ask Rafer, but...
While I was shopping, I also picked up trade collections of Roberts's ongoing "Plastic Farm" series. I got all three volumes for a great price.
This is a great addition to the collection. The other three pages from the story are still available. You (you!) should pick 'em up before I inevitably do.
Hello, world. There's a new comic on Kickstarter that I thought you should be made aware of. It's an anthology titled "Imaginary Drugs" and it features a number of stories by different creators and it looks just swell. Oh, and I'm involved in it. Does that render my evaluations meaningless and this very post overly self-serving and egomaniacal? No. No, of course not.
This new collection is spearheaded by Michael McDermott and features a number of FUBAR alum, such as Jonathan Brandon Sawyer, Christine Larsen and K. Michael Russel. For my part, I've got two never-berfore published stories, and I also did some lettering work on the flagship story, "Saint in the City" by McDermott, Sawyer and Russel.
Included in this comic is "Eternal Flame", a two-part story drawn by the inimitable Paul Tucker:
Paul really put a lot of work into making this story look both futuristic and old fashioned at the same time. It's the space ballet that I've always wanted to write and I'm always happy to work with Paul. He doesn't disappoint, if I can say so.
My other inclusion is a brand new Teddy and the Yeti short story drawn by the incomparable Pietro. In the below preview, we see Ted, the Yeti, and a familiar pooch. This is one of my favorite stories of all time, for reasons that should seem obvious if you know anything about me.
There are a number of great rewards in the offering, including prints, shirts, and even a set of coasters, one of which features the lead character from Eternal Flame:
There are a couple me-centric rewards, for those who are looking to see just what I'm coughing up to make this book a reality. I'm offering issues of Teddy and the Yeti, some trading cards and a print with image of the cover to Teddy and the Yeti #2. If you're super impressed by my lettering "skills", you can even hire me to letter your eight page comic. Interestingly enough, three people have put a pledge down on the Teddy and the Yeti reward...I have no idea who these people saints are, but I thank them will all my heart:
So if you're looking for a fun comic and are so inclined to click on links to Kickstarter pages, I hope you'll consider Imaginary Drugs for a comic purchase-y buy. You can find the campaign here:
It's been a while since I've posted, but fear not! Neither am I dead, nor do I no longer have anything to write! Just the opposite, as it turns out...I've never had more going on with comics than I do right now. At least I think so. Whatever. Anyway, let's turn our attentions to what, for all intents and purposes, serves as a precursor to the vaunted Thing sketchbook, an item from years past the I got during my formative years. It's Les Daniels's DC Comics: Sixty Years of the World's Favorite Comic Book Heroes hardcover! And what a treat it is.
I got this book soon after it arrived in bookstores in 1995, and it served as a source of inspiration for years. In its covers, comic book historian Les Daniels briefly recalled the history of DC Comics, from its early 20th century beginnings to the arrival of Superman to Crisis and beyond. Now that I look back on it, it's easy to see the book's flaws, but at 14 this was something that I just reveled in.
During my first few trips to the Pittsburgh Comicon in the mid-to-late '90s, I took this book with me and got signatures from anyone who had ever worked at DC Comics. Looking back at this, it's easy to see how much the convention has changed. In the 1990s, the Pittsburgh Comicon was home to a number of legendary Golden Age artists, many of whom I didn't recognize at the time but have since come to revere them for their contributions to the comic industry. As I was just starting my comic collection and didn't have many books to get signed, this hardcover was a great alternative and, as you can see, it took on a life of its own after a while.
Let's look at the title page:
This is still pretty impressive to me some 15 years after I got my last signature into the book. In fact, it makes me wonder why I stopped collecting autographs, as it became quite the eye-catcher. But I guess I moved on to other things. In any case, there are two things that stand out upon first glance of this spread: the DC Comics logo and the giant Hawkman image on the left side:
This image, drawn by Steve Lieber, was one of first - if not the actual first - entries into the book, probably from 1997 or '98. If I'm remembering correctly, I saw Lieber draw a similar sketch for someone else, and I decided to press my luck. The gamble obviously paid off. Once I took the book around to other creators, they were of course confronted by this intimidating image, and many of them then decided to add their own sketches into the book. Pretty lucky on my part.
Beau Smith is a writer who espoused his manliness in a tongue-in-cheek fashion in all of the comics he wrote. Instead of drawing a comic character, he decided to draw himself, which is pretty awesome and manly.
Here's Dan Davis, an inker on, among other things, Stars and S*T*R*I*P*E.
Larry draws the Superman "S" in a number of places. Roger Stern, writer on Action Comics for a good, solid run, does the same.
This classic Batman is by Dan Gotlieb.
Matt Wagner had a great Sandman run, and here is a great image of said character.
Stuart Immonen added this Superman bust.
Peter Palmiotti drew this bearded Aquaman!
Pittsburgh Comicon stalwart Scott McDaniel drew the DC character he's most recognized for: Nightwing.
Darryl Banks was just starting out with his dollar sign signature in '99. He's best known for co-creating the Kyle Rayner Green Lantern, and he added the symbol here.
Here's Howard Porter's Batman. Porter had a great run on JLA with Grant Morrison.
Ron Frenz drew the electric Superman symbol.
Right smack in the middle of the title page are autographs from some legendary Golden and Silver Age creators who have since passed on. I'm so glad that I got their signatures while I had the chance, and I wish that I had the wherewithal to realize just who was signing my book at the time...the follies of youth, I suppose. Julius Schwartz, Shelly Moldoff, Irwin Hasen, Dick Ayers...all very important creators from the early days of comics.
The inside of the book featured brief articles on a number of topics. At times, the book became more of a coffee table-style pictorial book as the pictures heavily outweighed the text. But it was informative and interesting, especially to someone who really had little knowledge of comics before 1992.
Mart Nodell, co-creator of Green Lantern, was also a staple of the Pittsburgh Comic-Con in the 1990s. I met him and his family a few times and came away with fun stories almost every time.
Here's a page on the Legion of Super-Heroes. What stands out on this page?
Why, it's a Shrinking Violet sketch by W.C. Carani. The picture doesn't do it justice - he meticulously inked this until it was perfect, and he did a great job of using negative space in the image. It's hard to tell that the final product doesn't belong in printed book.
Once the front spread started to fill up, I started going to specific pages in the book to have creators signed. Here's the second autograph from Julie Schwartz.
And, the greedy bastard that I am, I got another Steve Lieber Hawkman sketch.
Here's a fuzzy picture (sorry) of an autograph from Carmine Infantino, who just passed away a few years ago.
Once I figured that I couldn't possibly fit any more names or images in the front of the book, I moved to the back pages. It wasn't quite the same and I eventually lost interest, I suppose. The pages look a little sad and bare now that I look at them...perhaps I'll have to rectify that at some point. Anyway, the back pages butted up against a recreation of the origin of Batman. When artist Rags Morales saw where I was asking him to sign, he added in this funny disclaimer.
The back does have a quick Lobo sketch by Mark McKenna!
At some point, I decided to get a certificate of authenticity from the Pittsburgh Comic-Con. I think they were three buck each at that point, so I guess I decided to get my money's worth as I had them load up on all of the signatures I had at the time. As you can see, the person filling the certificate out struggled to list all of the names.
I took this book with me to a lot of different places at one time, but it mostly sits on a shelf these days. Still, it's fun to take it out and look at it every once in a while, and it's astonishing to see some of the signatures I was able to get as a dumb kid who didn't know who he was talking to.
I'm happy to announce that Tick and Teddy and the Yeti artist Duane Redhead and his wife welcomed their first child into the world just last month! Pictured here we have little Alice Redhead, looking fine and proper in her tiny crochet Tick cap. I have big hopes for Alice. Maybe she'll grow up one day to be an artist just like her pop. What a blessing it is to have this new girl in the world!
I wanted to send my best wishes across the Atlantic to Duane and his burgeoning family. Welcome to planet Earth, Alice!
Lesley Vamos - Comic-Con International 2013
I found Australian artist Lesley Vamos on the last day of Comic-Con at a table shared with Jimena Sanchez. As I had mentioned before, Lesley and Jimena had collaborated on a number of projects, notably a book a postcards, and I was impressed with the work that each of them did - and really, isn't it great that they could collaborate on comics from different continents? It warmed the cockles of my heart. Anyway, both ladies added their renditions of the Thing to my sketchbook and I'm happy to have 'em. This cartoony Thing is a real treat.
Rafer Roberts - Beyond Comics signing 2013
I'm always happy to join in on some FUBAR-related events, but it's an extra treat when those events produce new Thing artwork. Beyond Comics in Frederick, Maryland held a big FUBAR signing that I was able to join in on. In between signing books and meeting with fans, I was able to harangue a number of talented folk into drawing sketches in the book. First up was Rafer Roberts, he of FUBAR, Plastic Farm and Thanos and Darkseid fame. I asked Rafer to draw a helmeted Thing, and he immediately knew just what I was talking about. The Thing wore a helmet for a while after getting his face slashed up by Wolverine (whatever) as opposed to, I don't know, seeing a doctor about it or something. It was a strange look for the character but it was a notable one. Rafer did a great job all around.
Steve Becker - Baltimore Comic-Con 2011/Beyond Comics signing 2013
Steve Becker, art director of the FUBAR line, started sketching the Thing at the 2011 Baltimore Comic-Con, but ran out of time. Since then, I've had a mostly blank page saved in the book in hoped that I could wrangle Steve into finishing the sketch, and he took up the baton at the Beyond Comics signing. The result is an angry Thing that stands out among the others. I'm loving the emotion with this one.
M. Giles Crawford - Beyond Comics signing 2013
Giles Crawford is another FUBAR contributor who added his take at the Beyond Comics signing. Giles, a native Australian (that's two for this post), asked if he could do something goofy for the book, and of course I told him to go for it. I added in one caveat - I wanted this drawing to be the first image drawn horizontally. The result is a watercolored Thing mermaid. Brilliant.
John Shine - Beyond Comics signing 2013
John Shine took the sketchbook after Giles had his way at the Beyond Comics FUBAR signing, and, unbeknownst to me at the time, started drawing his own rendition of the Thing. He decided to go with the original "lumpy" Thing, though this is more reminiscent of John Byrne than, say, Kirby. It's a beautiful, moody piece that does the most with the space available. This here is a classic Thing with a lot of heart, and I'm thrilled to have it included.
That's it for now, but there's more Thing sketchbook to come. Hooray!