Comic-Con is just a few days away, and it's shaping up to be even bigger than ever before. I'm trying to pack, make last minute plans and figure out some semblance of a schedule for the coming week. I'm flying in to San Diego a day earlier than I did last year, so hopefully that helps me get accustomed to the west coast in time for the show...but let's face it, no one is ever really prepared for Comic-Con. I'm hoping for the best.
Plans don't get much more last minute than this, but I'm still finalizing a few details on some exciting news. There will be a small FUBAR signing at Comic-Con, complete with a few exclusives to boot. The picture at top is of our con exclusive poster, measuring 11x14 and featuring the "Ace of Spades" Free Comic Book Day cover. It sells for five bucks!
The signing will take place on Friday the 25th in the small press section, booth M-06. I'll be there along with Chuck Dixon and Jennie Wood to sign some books and say hello. Eric Esquivel and Lesley Vamos are scheduled to make some appearances as well! The time for the signing is tentatively set for 3:30-5:00, but we're still working out individual schedules. Let's keep our fingers crossed.
I'll hand out a bunch of these post card sized flyers before the singing to hopefully drum up some interest. The front has the pertinent details...
...and the back has a place for autographs!
There'll also be a special item for backers of the "Mother Russia" Kickstarter. Cryptic!
The Awesome Toy Blog is a great site with lots of great information on, well, toys in general, but I use it most to find a list of convention exclusive merchandise. The site compiles it and I scan it to see what I need to get for SDCC and other conventions (but mostly SDCC). The site recently put up a post about the Tick exclusives from New England Comics! I'm glad someone (uh...) tipped the site off about them!
In the category of "dream come true that might quickly turn into a nightmare" comes news that "Weird Al" Yankovic will have a panel all to himself at Comic-Con on Saturday. This is fantastic news until you find out that the panel is a limited ticketed event and you'll probably have to wait in line for seven hours just to get a chance at a ticket. There are better ways to do this, Comic-Con...just look at Nerd HQ if you want to know how to do it right!
Regardless, I'm going to try to get into the panel and see Al once again, so I hope that it's relatively painless. Al just released his new album, "Mandatory Fun", which is, of course, a gift to humanity. I'm doing my best to learn all the lyrics to the new songs before Saturday. Above is the video for what might just be my favorite song on the album, "Foil"! Watch and enjoy. And then go buy the album.
Best of luck to all heading out to San Diego for what is sure to be a great, manic time. I'm sure to come back with lots of pictures.
I landed a few items of original art recently, so I might as well share 'em with the world. And you, faithful reader.
First on the docket we have a few pages of pencil work from The Naked Man at the Edge of Time, our soon (for real) from...me. These pages were drawn by Kurt Belcher, and they turned out really nice. I picked a couple pages from the issue, notably this one, featuring...
...pants. What a great word.
Kurt sent over some preliminary art as well as the final pencils. The above page is an early version, in which the background was eventually replaced by what's below:
This artwork is on 8.5x11 inch paper...which means if I choose to frame it, it'll be a cinch.
Next up is art I own...of me. Hooray for narcissism! This piece by Steve Becker was drawn as a FUBAR Kickstarter reward a while back. I finally got a chance to get the original art when I visited Jeff McComsey to pick up some books to take to Comic-Con.
A striking resemblance...minus the beard. I'm thinking of hanging this in my office or something, just to confuse people.
Lastly, I got in a few more color guides that I enjoy so much (apparently). I stuck, of course, with the Fantastic Four, but I branched out into some other books that (ah hem) featured members of the FF. The cream of the crop is undoubtedly this one:
It's actually a page from an issue of Peter Parker: Spider-Man from the mid-2000s. I remember reading the issue this came from and being a bit surprised, because the Thing wasn't in the book at all until the last page, and he didn't really serve to move the story along at all. Spider-Man finishes his adventure and then HEY! There's the Thing. What I'm trying to say is, all books should end in this manner.
The next color guide comes from Fantastic Four #362, the second page I've got from this issue. It's got that little guy from the Innerverse (or whatever) and three quarters of the FF.
The last one I bought is a page from The Avengers, from the time that Reed and Sue took some time away from the Fantastic Four and ended up with the Avengers for a few issues. This page also has some decent images of Thor, Captain America and, hanging uncomfortably upside down, Firelord.
Okay, one more. This isn't art, but it's close. I got a Mego Thing in really nice shape. It goes into the permanent collection, which includes everything I've ever bought. It's not a very exclusive club.
Well, I'm an uncle again, and once more my sister keeps naming these babies after pop culture figures. Lilah Marie Quinn was born on July 14th and she is surely a cutie. She was scheduled to be born right as I was leaving for Comic-Con, but thankfully she decided on a date that was a little earlier so I could get a chance to see her before shipping off.
So, for those of us keeping score, I've now got a nephew named Jacob (after Ben Grimm), another nephew named Logan (after Wolverine), and now a niece named Lilah, which is obviously a clever take on Leela from Futurama.
Comic-Con 2014 is nearly upon us, and boy do I have some preparations to do. Lots of lettering, packing and last-minute planning is on the docket before next week. But between now and then, there's some new Tick news to pass along!
I've been lucky enough to write the 2013 and '14 Free Comic Book issues of The Tick, and I'm happy to announce that my third issue of the book will released at Comic-Con itself in the form of an issue with an exclusive cover! This one will be pretty limited - 250 copies in full. Fortunately, I won't have to fight anyone to get a copy for myself as I'll, you know, be at the booth. As far as I know, these will be on sale until they're not - meaning NEC is not going to hold books over from day to day. I hope they story - drawn by FCBD artist Duane Redhead - goes over well.
A second, not-as-limited-but-I-guess-still-technically-limited edition will also be on sale at the show, but it's not exclusive to Comic-Con. I believe these issues will be sold in NEC stores at any of the locations. It's a 750-copy version, meaning the issue will have a total print run of...someone do the math for me. The story inside is the same for both copies!
Duane also drew a really cool image for NEC's 2014 Comic-Con shirt. This is obviously a Superman homage, and the 'chain' is made out of spoons.
There's also a new piece of Tick merchandise that'll be available at the show: a Tick mug that comes with its own detachable spoon! I really like the design.
New England Comics will be located at booth 1807 on the convention floor. I'll be at the booth at various points throughout the five-day event to sign comics, hock merchandise and hang out. If you'll be at the show, stop by to say hello.
It's time to look at some new Thing sketch cards that have made their way to my collection. HOW EXCITING!
Thor: The Dark World card - This lovely signature-less card will most likely forever go without the name of the artist attached, but perhaps someone in the know will one day stumble upon this image and illuminate the rest of us on just whose art adorns this sketch card. There's a lot to like about this card, starting with the fact that the mystery artist took a card from the Thor movie trading card line and, instead of choosing a character like Odin, Sif, Jane Foster or...Thor...decided to draw the Thing. This color pencil masterpiece also includes the Thing in a checkered shirt, which is just classy.
Here's the back of the card! The reproduced signature is of Richard McWilliams, not the artist but from the Upper Deck trading card company.
Duane Redhead - During Duane Redhead's recent stateside trip, he drew a lot of sketches, mostly of the Tick and Arthur (for obvious reasons). Near the end of his trip, while Duane and I signed some books at Pittsburgh Comics, I twisted Duane's arm enough that he also drew the Thing a few times...including on this Teddy and the Yeti sketch card. This closeup is, if you can't tell (come on, guys), of the cosmic ray-infused "pineapple" Thing, who totally beat up the Hulk. Sharp viewers will note that the T&Y trading card is upside down (or is it the Thing?). Larry walked away from the signing with cards of both the Tick and Arthur, which I'm hoping he'll scan and share soon.
Mark Dos Santos - This Marvel "Heroes and Villains" sketch card comes courtesy of Mark Dos Santos, who for whatever reason decided to forego the villain and just draw two heroes. At first glance, it looks like the Thing is sharing a moment of camaraderie with Wolverine, but the character is actually D-Man, who couldn't decide on his own costume and instead wore an original Daredevil outfit with a Wolverine mask. D-Man's alter ego first appeared in the original Thing series, so there's something of a connection between the two. D-Man was originally called "Demolition Man", and I can't help but wonder if the name was shortened because of the Snipes/Stallone movie.
Heeeyyy...here's the back of the card.
Bub Shehi - This homemade card features lots of action lines! And it's by "Bub" Shehi. I bought it for a dollar on eBay, and it came with free shipping. When I got this in the mail, I noticed that it cost the seller over two dollars to ship it, which means he lost money in the transaction. Sorry fella. It's a cool card nonetheless.
Tone Rodriguez - I've been hoping to get some art from Tone Rodriguez for a while now. Rodriguez has drawn the Thing a number of times before (most notably for the Hero Initiative) and he always manages to impress. It seems that he really enjoys drawing the Thing and he adds a lot of dynamic energy when he does. When this card showed up on eBay, I snatched it up right away. I'm loving the colors that, as you can see below, bled all the way through the card to somehow frame the Kirby Thing printed on back. It's my second sketch card from the Fantastic Four Archives set.
For those of you who like to read your comics on your computer, phone, iPad or whatever, I bring good news: the FUBAR catalog is now available for download on ComiXology, the premier site for digital comics. This will give you some idea of how long I've been working on the property and the number of books we've put out: I'm not sure if those listed are all the ones we've done. But it looks fairly complete save for the FUBAR Summer Special (I have no idea why that one's not on there, though most of the stories contained in there can be found in the trade collections) and the newest issue, Better Red than Dead.
There are some great deals to be had, and none better than on the trades. Volume 3, a massive, phone book sized collection, is only $6.99! Single issues are only $1.99, and the FCBD issues are there to download for free!
ComiXology was recently purchased by Amazon, which adds a fair amount of stability and recognition to the site. Time will tell if it is ultimately a good thing for creators and fans. For now, I'm excited that the work we've done with FUBAR is available worldwide like never before.
I picked up a few back issues on my last trip to the comic shop, and among them was a Superman annual from the '90s. Near the back ran an in-house ad for DC's then upcoming sci-fi imprint, "Helix". As we can see from the above image, Helix was actually the second choice for a name, as the previous one apparently met with some resistance.
If I remember correctly, the original announced name for the line was "Matrix", which obviously evokes some other imagery in lieu of the seminal movie of the same name. The movie series started in 1999 ("I know kung-fu") and the Superman annual was printed in 1996. Both DC Comics and the Matrix are housed under the Warner Bros. parent company, so you'd have to believe that someone from one branch informed someone from the other of the name, but we're talking about three or four years, here. Would it have been that big of a deal?
As it turns out, it wouldn't have mattered anyway, because the imprint died out in 1998 after a few short months of publication (a few titles were carried over into the Vertigo imprint, such as Transmetropolitan). So all of that hand-wriging was for nothing. There were, however, some fairly big names attached to some projects (Tim Truman, Garth Ennis, Tommy Lee Edwards, Howard Chaykin), and I seem to vaguely remember the character Cyberella...but then again, I may just be thinking about Striperella, who was a somewhat different character. Oh well.