Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Thing sketchbook, part 21

I've been waiting to show off my new Thing sketchbook for quite a while. I call it new even though I've had it for over three years already - but it's newer than the one I've been filling up since 2003, at any rate. Once I finished posting art from the first book, it finally gave me the opportunity to start sharing these new-ish sketches of Ben Grimm.

This new book is both smaller than the first and more art-worthy; its square pages measure 5.5x5.5 and the paper is both thicker and more archival than the first. Now I don't have to worry as much about one person's drawings bleeding onto the next page (though I still carry something to put under each newly-drawn page as it's being worked on). And while I'll always have a special place in my heart for the first sketchbook, I've found that a smaller working area allows artists an opportunity to spend a little more time making a great sketch and less worrying about filling up all that space of the first book. It creates pages that feel a little more full!

This book has 128 pages in it, which means that it'll take me, like, 15 more years to fill it up at the rate I usually get sketches. That's daunting. Maybe I'll be dead before it's finished! Wouldn't that be something! Anyway, let's take a look at the first five sketches from this new book.

Lonny Chant - New York Comic Con 2016

Lonny is a friend who I know from books like FUBAR; we've worked on a few stories together and I think he's a tremendous artist. NYCC was the first place I took the new book after buying it in 2016, and I'm happy to have this gritty Ben Grimm as the first image in the book.

In the last book, I eventually got another friend to draw something on the inside front cover, which came blank. This new book has a lot of writing on its inside front cover, so I doubt I'll be getting any art on it...though I guess you never know.

Erica Henderson - New York Comic Con 2016

Erica Henderson is probably best known for her work on different Archie titles and Squirrel Girl for Marvel. I walked through artist alley at NYCC with the hope of getting one more sketch for the book's initial run. I really like Erica's blocky, cartoony art - it's perfect for the Thing!

Tim Showers - 2017

After filling up a good portion of the first sketchbook, I would get nervous taking it with me and leaving it with artists while they worked on it (or added it to their to-do lists). The book represented years of effort and I worried a lot about losing it! Once I got the new book, I realized that I didn't have to have the same emotional attachment to it while it was still in its early stages. This was an opportunity for me to not just leave the book for longer periods, but to actually stick the dang thing in the mail and send to various folks to put their own stamp on it.

The first to take up this offer was Tim Showers, a friend I met when I lived in South Carolina; he and I were at a few XCon World shows and I really liked his hip, graffiti-esque artwork. I contacted Tim in early 2017 and he was up to the task. I love the "4" symbol in this one.

Caroline Moore - 2017

Caroline has been a friend of mine since high school, and is a really skilled photographer and graphic designer. She had drawn the Thing for me on a loose sheet of paper before, but I'm happy to get this meme-worthy official entry into the new book. I think I took a drive to her house just to pass off and pick up the book. Was it self-serving? Yes. But I got a Thing sketch out of it. It's a win.

Kurt Belcher - 2017

Kurt is my Naked Man at the Edge of Time collaborator and an all-around good guy. I mailed him the book and he sent back this, dare I say it, Two-in-One sketch with the Thing and Lockjaw. I don't know what it is about it, but I really like the trunks that you can see at the very bottom of the sketch. I guess it's because most artists don't draw ol' Benjy below the shoulders. This one was very fun. And yes, it was getting tough to let the art book out of my sight once I got the first five entries.

I've managed to get a bit of a head start on this new book, so I'll try to update these entries again soon. It's a new Thing sketchbook!

Thursday, January 9, 2020

The Tick panel at the 2019 Rhode Island Comic Con

One of the nicest things for me in all of 2019 was being invited to November's Rhode Island Comic Con as part of the show's celebration of The Tick, past and present. This all came about because Ian Nichols, artist on many of the Tick issues I've written, did a lot of legwork to contact and book some of folks associated with the character. When he brought it up and asked if I'd be interested in being a guest at the show, I naturally jumped at the chance.

I had a nice time at the show in general - it's a mid-level show that reminded me a lot of the old Pittsburgh Comicon from the late '90s. There were, of course, plenty of entertainment celebrities at the show, but there were a lot of retailers and comic creators and other areas that were represented, too.

New England Comics had a booth there, and they packaged up Ian and my Tick convention story for the show with a new cover by Ian. It was one of two show exclusive comics available over the weekend - the other being X-Men #1 from the current series.

Bob Polio from NEC was there!

Saturday of the show was the biggest one for me, because I was asked to be part of a panel that included Ian, Bob and actors Patrick Warburton and Griffin Newman (Peter Serafinowicz wasn't able to make it). I took a picture of the schedule! I do not regret it!

I've been on a few panels before, many of them very low-level and lightly attended (I've appreciated them all, to be clear). This one was set up to be one of the biggest of the entire convention, with actors I admire from shows I enjoy. I'm grateful to have been involved with it at all - I know that the folks in attendance were there to see the actors on the panel, but I was excited nonetheless to share the stage with everyone else.

The panel started at 11:00, not long after the convention opened for the day. A handler came and corralled me at around 10:40 and took me through the bowels of the building. It was all very official. We picked up some of the other guests and made our way to the ballroom.

When I got there, I got to be one of the people allowed behind the mysterious panel curtain. Once 11:00 rolled around, we were all called out to the stage area.

Did I take a picture once I got onto the stage? Yes I did. At the very left we have our moderator, followed by Griffin, Patrick, Ian and myself. Bob Polio is just to the right.

Let's post a few pictures from the actual panel. These ones come mostly from the convention feed. A big Tick fan, Maryellen, sent me a few of these as well.

There are more, but you, uh get the idea.

It was really enjoyable to get to be able to be on stage with these fellow Tick creators. I knew that most people weren't there to see me, so I tried to keep from jumping on every question (but I have so much to say!). I think that it all went well and that the audience enjoyed it. I even got to ask Patrick a question of my own (there had been rumors that he might have eventually played Barry Hubris on the Amazon show - his answer was, basically, "no"). But more than anything else, it was so much fun to get to talk about The Tick and how much we all loved the characters with a room full of fans. I'm extremely grateful to have been a part of it.

And yes, the whole panel was filmed. There was a crew with a camera and several other pieces of camera-crew-like equipment in the room! I saw it being filmed. I filmed the filming with my eyes!

That might raise the question, "why didn't you just show the recording?" And that is quite the pertinent question. I have yet to see the footage, even though I'm pretty much dying to. I know it's out there. I want to see it. I want to share it! It was a fun panel that I think other people would like to see. If I'm ever able to get a'll be out there to view. The reason I didn't write this post in December is because I've been trying to wait for the footage to appear.

Once the panel ended, I managed to get a few pictures: one on stage with Ian and Griffin...

...and one behind the curtain with everyone (except Bob, who wasn't up for it)!

We all hung around for a few minutes, talking about the convention, the Amazon series, the comic...just The Tick in general. I enjoyed every second of it, and I'll always be grateful that I got to be a part of this panel (and the Tick universe). Now that the Amazon Tick series has been cancelled, will I ever see some of these folks again? I sure hope so.

Let's look at a few other Tick-related images while we're at it. The convention folks snapped this picture of Ian and me on Sunday, before I left. Did I get heckled about wearing Steelers gear deep in the heart of New England? Yes, I did. But hey, all of those people can go straight to hell! I hate them all.

I'm pictured here with some fans dressed as Hobbs and Ramses IV from the Amazon series. On the right is the aforementioned fan who took some of the panel pictures!

And someone dressed up as The Tick himself on Saturday!

Here's the show program.

Open it up the featured guest page, and who do you see? Some well known creators...and there at the bottom right...

...there's my picture! This picture originally included a goat! I demand to know why they cut out the goat!

Here's the Tick and X-Men covers.

After the Amazon show was cancelled, the studio unloaded a lot of props from the series. I got a few things...more on this later (I think).

I found a '90s kids Tick Halloween costume! This one didn't have the mask, but I already have a mask, so now I have the whole thing! It's a kid's large. Maybe I could wear it?

I also was able to get two badges from last year's Wondercon in Anaheim. All of the badges had The Tick on them! It's some of the only promotion Amazon did for season two!

And lastly, I found this sound bite CD from the 2001 Fox series. It's in perfect shape and sealed - which means I can never open it to listen to the tracks. So now I guess I have to find another copy? Such is life.