Friday, March 06, 2009

The wonders of WonderCon, part one

WonderCon 2009 has come and gone, and a fine time was had by all. (Not that I interviewed every one of the 30,000 or so people in attendance. But I didn't hear anyone complaining.)

I'll be sharing in this space today and next Friday several new commissions created last weekend. But first, a few of the other highlights of the con from my perspective.
  • Kudos to the Comic-Con folks, who run WonderCon, on a smoothly managed convention. Many of the glitches I've observed in past years, especially related to the registration and admission process, disappeared this year. Nice to see that the con staff learns from its mistakes.

  • Despite the economy, visitor attendance seemed as brisk as ever. Quite a number of artists who were announced, however, didn't show up. This accounted for a lighter-than-anticipated art haul on my part.

  • I enjoyed renewing acquaintances with several of my favorite artists and fellow fans. It's always a treat to touch bases with the great Tony DeZuniga and his charming wife Tina (two lovelier people, you will not meet in this lifetime), Wonder Woman artist Aaron Lopresti, industry legends Ernie Chan, Ron Lim, and Alex Niño, award-winning cartoonist Keith Knight (with his new baby son, taking in his first con), and caricaturist Walt Davis.

  • I'm not a big autograph hound, but I was tickled to get my Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser trade paperback signed by both writer Howard Chaykin and artist Mike Mignola. When I handed the book to Howard, he noticed Mignola's signature and gave me a quizzical look. "Is Mike here?" he asked. I pointed to Mignola's table two aisles away. I hope the two creators managed to connect during the weekend.

  • The most interesting panel of the several I attended focused on my favorite superhero, the Black Panther. Reginald Hudlin, writer of the current Black Panther comic as well as the upcoming animated series on BET, was joined on the dais by series producer and comics legend Denys Cowan (co-creator of the Milestone Media comics universe) and Marvel Comics editor Axel Alonso. After the panel, I got the chance to thank both Denys and Reggie for their efforts to keep superheroes of color in the public spotlight. It was an emotional moment that I won't soon forget.

  • Other memorable meet-and-greets: Former Buck Rogers star Erin Gray, whom I first met 30 years ago during a Battle of the Network Stars taping at Pepperdine University; one of my voiceover idols, audiobook narrator Scott Brick (more on this over at my voiceover blog); science fiction author David Gerrold, whose book The Trouble With Tribbles (about his experiences penning that infamous Star Trek episode) helped encourage my writing ambitions.
All right already, enough folderol. Let's scope some art.

With his affinity for alien tech, I knew that Star Wars artist Tom Hodges would be a perfect choice to draw the current version of Blue Beetle. This awesome artwork proves my point.

The ever-jovial Ernie Chan, one of my favorite people in the comic art world, added this dynamic pinup to my gallery featuring Taarna from the film Heavy Metal. (Incidentally, have you ever visited the Heavy Metal reference page I published at Squidoo? Well, darn it, you should.)

Speaking of the Black Panther, as I was just a few paragraphs ago, Alex Niño marshaled his inimitable style to deliver this unique take on the King of Wakanda.

Arak, Son of Thunder stands among the countless "forgotten treasures" of comic book history. A DC Comics sword-and-sorcery series starring a Native American hero (fans often jokingly referred to the book as "Conan the Indian"), Arak enjoyed a four-year run in the early 1980s. Tony DeZuniga worked on roughly half the issues in the series, either inking another artist's pencils or contributing both pencils and inks. Here, Tony revisits Arak and his frequent comrade-in-arms, Valda the Iron Maiden, to stunning effect.

Drop back around seven days hence, when we'll review the second stack of WonderCon acquisitions. Until then...

...that's your Comic Art Friday.


1 insisted on sticking two cents in:

Blogger Sank offered these pearls of wisdom...

Great report Uncle Swan. And timely since my daughter is getting into Storm, aka, Mrs T'Challa, aka Understudy Panther now that the king is under the weather thanks to some diabolical attack on his transport by someone in the Dark Reign universe. We at the Sank home suspect Doom of course.

2:21 PM  

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