I haven't posted any entries into the Thing sketchbook for a while. Time to rectify that terrible (almost unforgivable, really) mistake!
I only spent one day at the 2013 NYCC, and I only got one sketch there as well. This one comes from Derek Fridolfs, who might be best known as an inker on a number of DC books with Dustin Nguyen. As the Thing sketchbook isn't just for the "classic" Thing but Thing offshoots as well, it was high time to get a drawing of the Thing from the Ultimate universe. This Ultimate Ben Grimm started out looking fairly similar to the Marvel proper version until after the Ultimate Fantastic Four version was cancelled, at which time the character busted out of his rocky cocoon and gained energy powers...purple energy powers. He has since gained the ability to shift into his rocky form as well (probably because it looks cooler), but nevertheless, this is a unique version of the Thing and it's welcome in the book for sure. Glad I was able to add it to the list.
Ryan Dunlavey - Comic Book Jones 2013
The December, 2013 Comic Book Jones anniversary signing event was marred just a bit by a snowstorm and some bad driving conditions that followed, but I had fun nonetheless. Steve Becker, April Murphy and I made it to the store just in time for an icy snow to start falling from the sky, and by the time we left later in the evening, we were sliding all the way across New Jersey into Pennsylvania. Also in attendance were Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey of Action Philosophers! and Comic Book Comics fame. I was able to chat with them for a while, and Ryan was kind enough to add this poker playing Thing to the sketchbook. This is the first reference to the Thing's floating poker game that travels across the Marvel Universe, and it's a good one.
April Murphy - Comic Book Jones 2013
April Murphy might be better known for her tattoo designs and prints, but I was able to get her, at the same Comic Book Jones signing, to draw the Thing in the sketchbook. At that point, it's not like we were going anywhere, so perhaps I cornered her at the right time and only had to cajole her a couple times before she acquiesced. I believe that as she was drawing this, I snuck out of the comic shop to go and buy some Mug Cream Soda.
Duane Redhead - Free Comic Book Day 2014
Who'd have thought that I would ever get England's Duane Redhead, artist on Teddy and the Yeti and The Tick, to draw in the Thing sketchbook? Who would have thought that I would ever get to meet him in person in the first place? The Free Comic Book Day signing at Boston's New England Comics locations gave us the opportunity to meet and I walked away with a lot of good memories...and this awesome Thing sketch. Initially, I had concocted some huge, impossible scene for Duane to draw, with multiple versions of the Thing standing behind each other as cosmic rays flew in the background. This was an example of me being a bad friend, and thankfully I realized that before the trip was over. I still probably asked Duane to draw too much, but at least he didn't have to punch me to get me to tone my demands for the book down. As it is, I got a great Thing image with Ben Grimm in the foreground and those pesky cosmic rays saying through the scene. This is certainly one of the more complete images in the entire book.
Joe Wos - Toonseum 2014
In the summer of 2014, I volunteered at Pittsburgh's Toonseum, a museum for comic and cartoon art. It's a great place! Joe Wos was the head curator at the time (he's since moved on and has a nationally syndicated comic strip in the works!). Joe has an incredible collection of cartoon art and he's as big an aficionado as they come. I brought the sketchbook to the museum one afternoon and Joe was kind enough to draw this cartoonish Thing into the book, adding in the extra ice cream gag to boot.
Well! That's five more Thing sketches. There are more to come. Look for 'em...some time.