Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Superman's beef bourguignon recipe

Superman is a meat eater.  I know that may ruffle some feathers, but it's been a part of his mythos for quite some time.  In recent years he's been portrayed as a vegetarian, and in all honesty, that makes a lot of sense.  Here's Superman, a god-like character who protects every living creature on the earth, someone who doesn't necessarily have to eat (or sleep), but does to appreciate the human experience.  You think he's going to just start eating birds and rabbits and sheep because other people are doing it?  Come on, Superman.  We humans do it because we have to eat to survive.  And also because it is delicious.  We're flawed beings.  But you get all your sustenance from the Sun.  You were cutting edge before solar power was cutting edge.

In any case, omnivore Superman's favorite dish is beef bourguignon.  Specifically, he eats it with ketchup.  This is something that was established decades ago, but like anything canonical (or semi-canonical) with Superman, it keeps reappearing.  In recent years, it became something of a code word between Lois and Clark, a phrase Superman could pass along that let Lois know he was okay even in the grips of some universe-shattering conflict.

Within the DC offices, it became something of a euphemism for sex between the two characters.  "Beef bourguignon with ketchup" is rather suggestive, if you think about it in the right (or wrong) way.  And though I haven't been able to find it after LITERALLY MINUTES of Internet searching, I know that there's a song where Superman references his love for meat.  Perhaps it's from the play "It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's Superman"?  Someone help me out with that one.

In addition to these few clips from various Superman comics, there's a great scene in Kingdom Come (the extra pages added for the collected edition) where Clark sits down at a Planet Krypton restaurant and inquires about beef bourguignon.

The dish itself is fairly time consuming, but not something I'd necessarily classify as "fancy", French pronunciation aside.  It looks pretty hearty, though:

There are recipes strewn across the Internet, and they're all fairly similar, but the following is the one I'm going to try out in the next couple of weeks.  Rest assured, there will be pictures.  Who's up for eating Superman style?  Don't forget to add the ketchup.

(This comes directly from

Beef Bourguignon


            6-8 ounces salt pork, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
            4 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
            4 pounds trimmed beef chuck, cut into 2-inch cubes, patted dry with paper towels
            10-12 shallots, chopped, about 2 cups
            2 large, peeled carrots, 1 chopped, 1 cut into 2-inch chunks
            4-5 garlic cloves, chopped
            1 ounce of dried porcini mushrooms (optional)
            2 Tbsp tomato paste
            1/2 cup brandy, plus 2 Tbsp
            1 bottle Pinot Noir, or other red wine
            Beef Stock (low sodium), at least 1 cup, quite easily more
            1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
            2 bay leaves
            2 teaspoons dried thyme
            4 whole cloves
            24 pearl onions, fresh or frozen
            1 lb fresh shiitake, cremini or button mushrooms
            Beurre manie: 3 Tbsp flour blended with 2 Tbsp butter

1 If you are using them, pour 1 cup of boiling water over the dried porcini mushrooms and allow them to rehydrate for 30 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and chop coarsely. Pour the soaking water through a paper towel (to remove any dirt or debris) into a bowl and set aside.

2 In a large sauté pan, pour enough water to cover the bottom by about 1/8 inch. Over medium heat, cook the salt pork in the pan until the water evaporates, stirring occasionally. Once the water is gone, reduce the heat to medium-low, and continue to cook the salt pork until much of the fat has rendered out of it. Add a tablespoon of butter and continue to cook the salt pork unti the pieces are browned and crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove the salt pork pieces to a large Dutch oven or other large, thick-bottomed, lidded pot.

3 Increase the heat to medium-high. Working in batches so that you do not crowd the pan, brown the beef. Leaving space around each piece of sizzling meat ensures that it browns and does not steam. Don't move the pieces of beef in the pan until they get a good sear, then turn them so they can get browned on another side. Take your time. This will take 15-25 minutes, depending on how large a sauté pan you have. Once browned, remove the beef from the sauté pan and place in the Dutch oven with the salt pork.

4 When all the beef has browned, add the shallots, the one chopped carrot, and the chopped porcini mushrooms if using. Stir in the pot to remove any browned, stuck-on bits in the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic and the tomato paste. Cook another 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.

5 Add the brandy and stir to combine. Boil down by half, then add the strained mushroom soaking water (if using). Scrape any remaining browned bits off the bottom of the sauté pan and pour the contents of the pan into the Dutch oven.

6 To the Dutch oven add the bottle of wine and enough beef stock to almost cover the beef; the beef pieces should be barely poking up out of the liquid. Add the parsley, bay leaves, thyme and cloves. Cover and bring to a bare simmer. After 1 hour, add the second carrot, peeled and cut into chunks of 1-2 inches. Continue cooking for another hour, or until the beef is tender.

7 Meanwhile, trim the tough stems off the shiitake, cremini, or button mushrooms and slice into 2-3 large pieces; small mushrooms leave whole. Prepare the pearl onions. Boil them in their skins for 4-5 minutes. Drain and submerge in a bowl of ice water. Slice the tips and root ends off the onions and slip off the outer skins.

8 When the beef is tender, use tongs to remove all the beef and the chunks of carrots; set aside in a bowl. Strain the contents of the Dutch oven through a fine-meshed sieve set over a medium pot. This will be the sauce. Boil the sauce down, tasting frequently. If it begins to taste too salty, turn off the heat. Otherwise, boil down until you have about 3 cups. Turn off the heat.

9 Heat a large sauté pan over high heat and add the mushrooms. Dry sauté the mushrooms over high heat, shaking the pan and stirring often, until they release their water, about 4-5 minutes. Add the pearl onions and 3 tablespoons butter and toss to combine. Sprinkle salt over the onions and mushrooms. Sauté until the onions begin to brown. Remove from heat.

10 Returning to the sauce, reduce the heat to medium and whisk in the beurre manie. Whisk in a third of the paste, wait for it to incorporate into the sauce, then add another third of the beurre manie, and so on. Do not let this boil, but allow it to simmer very gently for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of brandy. Taste for salt and add some if needed.

11 To serve, coat the beef, carrots, mushrooms and pearl onions with the sauce and serve with potatoes, egg noodles or lots of crusty bread.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The most annoying comic book ad ever conceived

The above image is, without a doubt, the most annoying comic book advertisement every printed.  This isn't something I say on the spur of the moment.  It really is true and the pronouncement comes after seeing hundreds of bad comic book ads.  I've seen the Starburst "a square peg for your round hole" (really?!) ads.  I've seen the Honda Civic ads placed at the very front of books.  I've seen the Strydex ads ("That's not Mt. Fuji, that's a humongous zit!").  I've seen the "Tobacco is Whacko (if you're a teen)" ads (but if I'm 20, it's okay?).  I've seen MDMacro's vague, obscure "Beats for Reading Comic Books To" ad.  I've seen horribly irresponsible ads selling monkeys and other animals in comics books.  But none measure up to the above advertisement for the Gap.

Just look at this kid.  What's he doing with his hands?  What's he doing with his face?  What's he doing in a neon orange sweater?  WHY IS HE LOOKING AT ME LIKE THAT?!  Everything about it is preposterous.

In addition to just how exasperatingly terrible this ad is, it appears that I can't escape being subjected to it.  It seemed like this ad ran for five years in a row around the late 1990s, and every third back issue I buy has this kid plastered on the back of it.  I pulled out Superman: Man of Tomorrow #11 to scan the letters page for yesterday's post, and what do I find staring back at me?  This damn ad, all over again.

I hate it.  It's the most annoying comic book ad I've ever seen.

Monday, November 28, 2011

My Lex Luthor Baldy Award no-show

A while ago I wrote about the time I won Marvel's No-Prize (and managed to misspell my own name in the process); at the end of the post, I briefly mentioned DC's Baldy Award, given out to "letter writers of the week", or something to that effect, in the back of Superman-related titles.  My comic book organizing has finally made it down to the "S" boxes, so when I flipped to the short-lived Superman: Man of Tomorrow, I made sure to grab a few issues and search for the one in which I had a letter published and managed to win that week's Baldy Award (please, no jokes about how prophetic that title would soon become).

Above I've posted a scan of the letters page from Superman: Man of Tomorrow #11, in which my letter is published regarding issue #9.  Even though I hadn't read the letter in 13 years, I remembered that it was pretty embarrassing as all I did was give effusive praise to a book that, honestly, didn't have much of a purpose over its publishing history.  But looking back at it now, holy cow was it sycophantic, to say the least.  I should have just wrote in and said "I love you!  Give me a prize!"  They did, though, at least in print, and I suppose I accomplished my goal in that regard.

At the end of the letters column, Superman editor Mike McAvennie writes "And because you were such a trooper for waiting 20 weeks and listening to this long-winded explanation, we hereby grant you this month's Baldy award, guaranteed to show up pretty quick!"  And then he writes something about Mike Piazza, which in hindsight is pretty funny.  If I remember correctly, he had a really good year in 1998 but was traded twice before winding up with the Mets (who will never, ever win the World Series again, much like the Pirates).

Anyway, perhaps McAvennie's guarantee was meant to be ironic, because I NEVER received any Baldy Award, to the point that for a long time I assumed that it was an award in name only, and not something that people actually received.  The advent of, well, Google, has taught me otherwise: the Lex Luthor Baldy Award is a handwritten postcard "from" and signed by Lex Luthor, congratulating you on the achievement.  A quick image search provides a look at the front of the card:

I can only say that while this award is merely a mass produced postcard, an inexpensive marketing stunt on DC's part, it is also something that, as a comic book fan, would be so awesome to have.  So winning the award is a notch in any Superman fan's belt, but MAN, I wish that I had the physical prize for my stupid letter to go along with it.  Mike McAvennie, if you happen to read this post and just have stacks of these lying around, it's not too late to correct a 13-year-old omission.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

FUBAR 2 Q&A with Jeff McComsey

FUBAR: Empire of the Rising Dead hits comic book stores next month, at which point everyone can stop listening to me rail on and on incessantly about this World War II zombie anthology and go buy a copy for themselves, afterwards I will probably begin railing incessantly about the quickly developing volume three.  One thing at a time, though.

I recently chatted with FUBAR Commander-in-Chief Jeff McComsey, the brains behind this undead operation, and below are the results of this session, interspersed with preview pages from the new collection of stories from writers and artists from around the world.  In this interview, McComsey announces that while the book ships from Diamond to stores in mid-December, there will be a nationwide signing event taking place on January 7th, 2012.  As I mentioned a little bit earlier, I'll be signing copies of this book at Pittsburgh Comics on this day, a Saturday.

McClelland: Even though I got involved with FUBAR at the tail end of volume 1, it's still been interesting for me to see the notable growth of the concept between then (early 2010) and now with volume 2.  How has the concept of FUBAR changed between its inception and what it is now?

McComsey: The concept as far as it being a World War 2 zombie anthology has stayed pretty much the same. What has changed is its size. We went from roughly 17 contributors in volume one to roughly 40 creators for volume two. The scale of the project has been for me an immense source of pride for me. Through this monster I've gotten to work with a veritable army of Small-Press Commandos. I think we were all waiting for a project and FUBAR just happened to be it.

McClelland: What's been the reaction to FUBAR so far, and how has that reaction shaped the development of FUBAR in its current state?

McComsey: The creators involved have been consistently gung ho about helping finish and promoting this project.  We do a lot of conventions with this book and the reaction has been phenomenal, [especially] after doing the handful of cons that FUBAR attends and seeing that we have some legitimate fans. I always say this will be the last volume until we get the book out for sale and the reaction always has me immediately planning the next.

McClelland: We're dealing with a fictional universe filled with zombies - on the surface, anyway, this isn't something that hasn't been been done before.  How do you find a way to craft stories that make the tried-and-true idea of the dead come back to life fresh and vital again?  Is there a formula for success when it comes to zombie stories?

McComsey: There are, for me, two types of stories we do in FUBAR. First, there are the stories that are meticulously researched and carry the seriousness and respect due the grim subject matter of World War 2. The second are completely bat-shit crazy seat-of-your-pants style WW2 zombie bashing tales, reminiscent of "Inglorious Basterds". If submitted stories fall anywhere in those two neighborhood, I’m a happy camper.

McClelland: For the most part, the stories in volume 1 seem to be contained within their own pages - that is, I didn't get the idea that these stories shared the same "space".  The first story in volume 2, though, seems to imply at least a basic cohesion, or at least a link between volumes.  Do the stories of FUBAR vol. 2 share the same "universe" as that of vol. 1?  Should they?  Are these stores best considered as individual pieces or part of a larger whole?

McComsey: I wrote the first story as a kind of bridge between the two volumes, but overall, the stories all exist in their own universes. In the first volume we had a rough timeline for the outbreak, but with the nature of the Pacific Theater of WW2, a timeline would have been problematic, so we opened the entire conflict to the writers.

McClelland: What are some of your favorite stories from volume two, and what should readers look forward to when they pick up the book in December?

McComsey: It’s hard to say for me. I’m very proud of the short that Jorge [Vega] and I did called “Wild Blue”.  Jim McMunn illustrated not one, but three shorts in this volume. Those are some of my favorites. The thing that fans of the first volume will dig is that this book has over 100 more pages than the first volume. This second volume is absurdly huge.

McClelland: FUBAR has made a number of convention stops in the past months.  What appeals to you about setting up at a con?

McComsey: I love doing conventions. We go all out for the booth set up, and watching it draw people in is always amazing to see. That combined with the sketches we do in the front of the books for the people who buy them makes my FUBAR con experiences very memorable.

McClelland: You've put out word of a big signing event at various points around the country when the book is released.  What stores are you planning on visiting when this book goes on sale?

Yes, we are organizing a large signing event for January 7th at several shops across the country. I will be at "Comic Book Jones" on Staten Island holding it down with my partners in crime, Dominic [Vivona] and Steve [Becker].

McClelland: Lastly, here's a random question that nevertheless demands and answer: who was/is your favorite Ninja Turtle and why?  WHAT IS THE SECRET OF THE OOZE?!?
McComsey: That’s a toughie. I clearly remember being a Raphael fan. His weapons were the worst but he was a smartass and somehow as a kid that endeared him to me. The secret of the ooze is that while it looked awesome in the JC Penny’s catalog, your parents were way too smart to give you a pile of viscous neon green snot substance for Christmas.

Many thanks to Jeff for putting up with some of my more asinine questions for the second time.  To learn more about FUBAR: Empire of the Rising Dead, go here:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

War of the Independents #3

I got my first look at both covers to War of the Independents #3 today, and both of them are very impressive.  In addition to Todd Nauck's cover, I'd like to highlight the above by none other than G-Man and Mini Marvels artist Chris Giarrusso.  Featured rather prominently, between the Tick and G-Man, are both Teddy and the Yeti!  I knew that at least one of the characters would be on this cover, but to see both and in such prime location is quite a treat.

As the issue works its way closer to the stands, I hope to get a little more information to pass along, but in the meantime, here's the official solicitation info direct from Diamond:
Title: The War of the Independents #3 
Plot &Art: Dave Ryan 
Cover art: Todd Nauck 
Flip cover art: Chris Giarrusso 
Script: Robert Sodaro 
Colors & Letters: Wilson Ramos Jr.  
Imprint: Red Anvil Comics 
Rating: All Ages  
Format: Comic (32 pgs) 
UPC: 609224530005 
Price: $2.99 
The Story: The War of the Independents raves across the multiverse, and in this issue the supermen are on their way to Norway to locate the fabled hammer, belt and gloves of Thor, the legendary Norse god of thunder. Meanwhile the villain, Maldestrak — a being of godlike power who is pure evil , and bent on the utter destruction of all forms of life — arrives there first acquires the magical items as well as their incredible power; then proceeds to kick everyone’s butts. Guest stars this issue include the Tick, Atomica, Karna and El Gato Negro, as well as many others.
Be sure to check out this book once it reaches stores!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Comic-Con International 2012

I just got some great news in the form of an envelope and...what was inside that envelope.  Just a week after I thought my chances of exhibiting at the 2012 Comic-Con International in sunny San Diego had been squelched, I got word today that my application has been accepted.  That's right - Wagon Wheel Comics will be exhibiting at Comic-Con!!

Our booth will be in the small press section, row Q, table 11.  Take a minute to search the vast floor plan below for our location:

...or just check out this cropped and photoshopped version with a helpful arrow:

As I said, this is great news.  There's lots of planning and comic book making to be done before the show takes place from July 11th through the 15th.  I have a bit of previous experience with CCI, having exhibited there in 2006.  This was before, however, I had a clue about what to expect.  I will be infinitely more prepared for the 2012 show.

More to come!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

San Diego Scare, FUBAR celebrity endorsement, "Why does Marvel cancel my favorite unpublished books" and more!

Hey, kids!  It's another edition of "things I feel like posting", starring me, Jeff.  YOU SHOULD BE HONORED, PEOPLE.

- In September, I officially applied to the 2012 Comic-Con International show in San Diego.  I was disheartened to get a thin envelope - the sure sign of doom in any application process - in the mail just last week, but was perplexed when the envelope simply contained my voided check and a brief letter explaining "hey, we're returning your check" and nothing else.

I assumed that this letter meant that I was not accepted to the show, but upon contacting the folks at CCI, it was pointed out that the check was actually from last year.  The fact that they kept my check for over 12 months was fairly surprising, but I'll take it, because it means that Wagon Wheel Comics is still in the running for a table at this summer's big show!

- So John Schneider reading Teddy and the Yeti is officially old news.  Some fellow FUBAR creators caught up with Chandler Riggs, "Carl" from AMC's The Walking Dead and got this picture with him and volume 1 of the graphic novel.  Look how cute this kid is!  It's funny that he's on a TV-MA rated show and here has an R-rated book in his he allowed to watch/read either?  It's a cool picture regardless...and wow, what a show TWD is turning out to be.

- My trip to Myrtle Beach and Xcon World in October provided me with more than just two nights in the Viking Inn motel (an interesting place); I made it home with all my teeth and some swag from the Swampfox Media booth.  The Swampfox guys and girls are local to the Myrtle Beach area and had some really neat stuff on display.  My favorite was certainly No Rest for the Wicked, a supervillain spoof along the lines of Dr. Horrible.  Check 'em out at!

- The mainstream comic industry is going through some changes these days.  DC's "New 52" revamp is getting all of the attention (good and bad) these past few months, but Marvel is making news, too, in its, uh, "streamlining" of its output.  Several titles have even been cancelled before they were even released, and what's most frustrating about that is that SOME OF THEM STARRED THE THING!!

This is nothing short of an outrage.  I'm speaking, of course, about the "Destroyers" limited series, but there's also Victor Von Doom by Nick Spencer and Becky Cloonan.

Both DC and Marvel seem to be saving me money these past few months, with the cancellations of titles I read like Secret Six, Doom Patrol, Spider-Girl, Herc and now X-23 (which I had just started to pick up).  I don't mind saving money, but this all in all makes me a little bit nervous.

- Don't forget (DON'T YOU DARE) that tomorrow (Sunday the 20th, which I guess is today) is New Dimension's Pittsburgh Comics & Collectibles Show at Century III mall from 11:00-5:00.  I will be there, and so will...other people.  The Post-Gazette even put it on the "Weekend Hotlist"!  So you know it'll be great.

- Lastly, and this is the second Dukes of Hazzard reference I'm making in this post, more old Shrinky Dinks were found and made.  Who knew these things were this fun?  Well, I did, of course.  Larry has the whole ordeal posted up on his excellent DukesCollector website, which you can see by clicking here!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Q&A with Joe Sinnott

Happy 50th anniversary, Fantastic Four!  To think, 50 years ago, a total of one issue of the Fantastic Four was available to buy, and it cost a total of 10 cents.  If I was around in 1961 and had some foresight, I would have bought a hundred copies, sat back and waited for my millions to roll in.  Of course, I'd be fifty years older now, so maybe there's a tradeoff.  In any case, it's quite a milestone.

I met Joe Sinnott, one of the FF architects as a long-time inker, at the 2010 Pittsburgh Comic Con, and was lucky enough to have a chance to talk with him and his son.  He even drew the above Yeti sketch, which will grace the cover of Teddy and the Yeti before too long.  A little while after, I sent him some questions for a quick interview, and I'm posting that today.  These questions are from a few months ago, before the 50th anniversary date came around.  In his answers,  Joe mentions that he hadn't been contacted by Marvel to produce any art for the anniversary.  Since that time, Joe inked classic Archie artist Stan Goldberg on a variant cover to FF #1:

Unfortunately, that's the only project he's worked on in relation to the FF's 50th.  To be fair, Stan Lee hasn't been involved in the process at all either, but in my opinion, that just doubles the shame on what should be a grander event.  Marvel should give these guys their due and celebrate the birth of the Silver Age in style.

Check out the Q&A below (questions are in bold).  Many thanks to Mr. Sinnott for his time and his contributions to the comic book industry.

JM: There are many celebrated runs by creative teams when it comes to comics, but your work with Stan Lee and Jack Kirby on the Fantastic Four stands out as one of the all time greats.  What do you think it was that worked so well for the three of you on that title?  What is it about the FF that worked so well with what you, Stan and Jack brought to the table?

JS: First of all, I was fortunate to come on the FF when Stan and Jack created most of their famous characters, and the stories were at their strongest point. I worked extremly well with Jack, according to most critics and fans, and this certainly helped. Inking issue #5 - The very first appearence of Dr. Doom, and then returning for a very long run with Jack starting with issue #44 - The beginning of the Inhumans, and then Galactus and the Silver Surfer was a great thrill. What a way to start my run on the Fantastic Four!

JM: This year is the 50th anniversary of the Fantastic Four at Marvel, and I expect to see a number of titles spring up in celebration.  To the point that you are allowed to say, will you be working on anything for this anniversary?  Can you divulge any details?

JS: Marvel has yet to contact me concerning any projects involving the FF, but I certainly hope I am included in some capacity. I was fortunate enough to ink many of the FF's 40th Anniversary Worlds Greatest Comics. That was 12 issues.  I probably wouldn't want to ink that much at this stage, but I would really like to contribute something as I feel I have been a big part in the success of the FF lasting for 50 years.

JM: The role of inkers in comics has changed over the years.  These days, pencilers sometimes ink their own work, and there are comics that cut out the inker altogether in lieu of coloring directly over top of pencils.  What do you think the industry has in store for inkers in the years to come?  Do you see inkers being phased out, or do you think there will always be a place for traditional inking in the world of comics?

JS: I think that there will always be a place in the future for the inker that is also a gifted penciler - unfortunately, not all inkers are good artists, some can just ink, and are very good at what they do. Although adding color to just the pencils may work to a certain degree, I feel that there will always be work for the inker.

JM: Artistically speaking, you've been involved in more than just comics in your career.  One achievement that stood out to me in particular was your work on some Bing Crosby album covers.  How did this come about?

JS: Yes, I've done many Bing Crosby record album covers and Bing magazine covers throughout the years.  After the first Bing art that I did, it just seemed that anyone that produced anything on Bing wanted me to do all the artwork for them.  It was a real pleasure, since I am a big Crosby fan as well, this is something that I really enjoyed doing.

JM: Lastly, you've let it be known that you enjoy, from an historical perspective, the US Civil War.  Who are some of your favorite figures from this period of history?  I won't hold it against you if you don't mention Union General George B. McClellan, a relative of mine from your neck of the woods in New York.  But I also won't think it's pandering if you do mention him.

JS: General George McClellan sure looked the part of a Hollywood General, handsome with a great military bearing, but as you know, Lincoln thought him to be too tentative and replaced him with Grant.  Of course, Custer was my favorite and one of the real heroes of the Civil War. "Stonewall" Jackson was without doubt the best that the south had, although Jeb Stuart had outstanding success until Custer's cavalry routed him at Gettysburg. 

Of course Grant was outstanding, but he did have his mistakes and setbacks, such as the Battle of Cold Harbor when Lee routed him with Grant's command suffering great losses. I never could see why Lee was considered the genius he was made out to be. His decision to send Pickett up that murderous hill at Gettysburg, despite Pickett and the other Southern Generals admonishing him not to, was the big blunder of the war in my opinion.

It's not often that you get to talk the Civil War with a legend the comic book industry.  Thanks, Joe!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Thing sketchbook, part 9

It's come to my attention that I haven't posted in a while.  After some vigorous research, I find that it's been over a week since my last blog!  This is unacceptable, but I have just the remedy - a brand new batch of Thing sketches!  Let's take a peek:

Ben Lichius - Pittsbugh Comic & Collectibles Show 2010

Ben Lichius is the co-creator of the Black Coat, a Revolutionary War-era hero (in the vein of Zorro or Batman) published by Ape Entertainment.  Ben drew the Thing in this Blackbeard getup, which is reminiscent of the story in Fantastic Four #5, where the Thing went back in time and decided to be Blackbeard for a while.  Really.

Jeff McComsey - Baltimore Comic-Con 2011

Hey! It's the first "Trench Coat Thing" of the sketchbook! Jeff McComsey's FUBAR booth was one of the highlights of the Baltimore Comic-Con and he was busy all weekend sketching in copies of FUBAR's just released second volume, so of course I hounded him to add his take on the Thing.

Jeff actually kept the book overnight between Saturday and Sunday; situations like this cause me to fidget. But he protected the book with his life and I ended up with a real gem.

Ken Hunt - Baltimore Comic-Con 2011

Artist Ken Hunt sat at the Wagon Wheel Comics booth at the 2011 Baltimore Comic-Con, and like any good host, I put him to work right away with the Thing sketchbook.

David Hammond - XCon World 2011

I made the trek back to Myrtle Beach this year for XCon World, a tiny show that just so happens to be on the beach. David Hammond was sitting behind me at the show, which was the perfect opportunity for me to add him to the sketchbook. The result is one of the most unique takes on the Thing in the entire book - and the "depth" in the character's shoulders is quite the nice touch.

Bob Camp - XCon World 2011

Bob Camp is most certainly best known as the co-creator of Ren & he Thing-ified Stimpy in this sketch. The quote is just lovely.

And THAT, my friends, is all of the Thing sketches I have at present.  I'm not quite half way through my sketchbook at this point, which means I've got lots more to come, though it'll take a while as these things do.  I'll post 'em as I get 'em.  I hope that everyone has enjoyed seeing these 45 sketches so far!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pittsburgh Comic & Collectibles Show - Sunday, Nov. 20th

Remember that time I said that this year's Xcon World would be the last convention (or mini-con, as it were) I'd be attending in 2011?  Well, I'm a liar.  Really, does this surprise anyone?  I lie all the time, and not just about little stuff, either.  Like one time I said I'd take the garbage out BUT THEN I TOTALLY DIDN'T!  I can be a real bastard at times.

Anyway, I recently was invited to New Dimension Comics's 2011 Pittsburgh Comic & Collectibles Show, and since it's right in the neighborhood, I decided that it was worth the exception.  I went last year and had a good time, so I'm hoping that this year works out as well.

This show takes place on Sunday, November 20th from 11:00 am until 5:00 pm.  And the Steelers have their bye this week, so no one's gonna miss the game (thank goodness).  The show will be held, as last year, at Century III mall, near one of New Dimension's store locations.  The official information, from the NDC crew is as follows:
Pittsburgh Comic & Collectibles Show!  
Nov. 20th, 2011 
11am to 5pm 
Inside Pittsburgh's Century III Mall. The 1st 100 attendees get BOTH a FREE NDC Exclusive comic book AND FREE T-SHIRT! All for a $3.00 entry fee! Come early! 
Over 20 guests and many vendors of comics & collectibles will be in attendance!
If you go to the website, you can see pictures from last year, including a few of the Wagon Wheel booth:

These kind of look like security camera pictures.  No stealing from the booth, kids.