It's the 25th installation of the (very popular) Thing sketchbook series! That means we've seen around 125 of these beauties so far. Let's see what these five look like, who they're from and where I got 'em!
Stan Sakai - Comic-Con International 2019
Stan Sakai is a legendary artist who has spent the last few decades working on Usagi Yojimbo, which is an absolute masterpiece. I found him at his usual spot at Comic-Con in San Diego and thought I'd take a chance to see if he would draw the Thing in the ol' sketchbook. I handed him the book and paid the money, and then the negotiation began. At first he said he didn't want to draw the Thing, but thought about it for a minute and asked if he could draw his famous samurai rabbit as the Thing, and of course I agreed. This is one of the stranger entries into the sketchbook, but it's Stan Sakai, it's Thing-like, and I'll take it.
Julie Sakai - Comic-Con International 2019
Julie Sakai, artist on the Chibi Usagi feature and Stan's wife, was at the table with Stan while he drew his sketch. After he was done, we slid the book right over to her and she drew this lovely Usagi-as-the-Thing color illustration. It's like Usagi is dressing up as the Thing for Halloween, and I heartily approve.
David Lloyd - Comic-Con International 2019
David Lloyd had a booth across from New England Comics' space at this show, so I kind of staked him out all weekend. Toward the end of the show, I found a time when he didn't have a crowd in front of his booth and I made my move. Lloyd, of course, is the artist on the classic V for Vendetta, and it was a pleasure to get to talk with him about comics while he sketched this rather spooky-looking Thing.
Alexis Ziritt and Ian Nichols - New York Comic Con 2019 and Rhode Island Comic Con 2019
Is this the Thing from Hell? If so, he's my favorite demon ever. Alexis Ziritt, who draws such wild stuff for books like Space Riders, started this sketch off with a flaming skull that is something of a trademark for him. My pal Ian Nichols finished it off by adding some colors and a wide frame for this Ghost Rider-esque Ben Grimm.
Okay, there are admittedly some very different Things in this entry. Let's wrap it up with a more traditional-looking Thing:
Art Baltazar - New York Comic Con 2019
Art Baltazar makes really wonderful kids comics like Tiny Titans and Aw Yeah Comics, and it's easy to see his broad appeal with this marker-and-crayon, very happy Thing sketch. Ben is so happy that it looks like he's beginning to unravel a bit! I saw Baltazar drawing sketches and I very tentatively approached him about joining the book - it's always a bit nerve wracking to barrel your way toward a booth with a book in hand - but he agreed to draw something and that's how we ended up with your good pal Ben here.
We're nearing the end of 2019 in the sketchbook - I hope nothing comes out of left field to really disrupt convention sketches in the near future. Er, I'll see you all next time!