Today's Comic Art Friday is dedicated to my loyal assistant Abby, who celebrated her seventh birthday yesterday.
Abby does not like it when the boss closes the office for two days to run off to some silly comic book convention thing, as he did last Friday and Saturday. So she's happy that he's back in his chair where he belongs, so that she can lie at his feet and snooze.
Speaking of that silly comic book convention thing...WonderCon 2008
San Francisco's Moscone Center overflowed with pop culture insanity last weekend, and your Uncle Swan splashed along with the colorful tide.
It was, I must say, quite an action-packed weekend:
I convinced a pair of Stormtroopers that I was not the droid they were looking for...
I persuaded Wonder Woman and Supergirl to pose for a photo by name-dropping my close personal friendship with Bob Almond, the King of Inking...
I avoided making the Incredible Hulk angry, because I wouldn't like him when he's angry...
I made a donation to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
, battling evil censorship wherever it raises its ugly head...
...and I strolled past more fancy merchandising displays than one could shake an uru hammer at.
I attended several terrific panels. The highlight was Mark Evanier
's panel debuting his new book about the life and art of Jack Kirby, Kirby: King of Comics
. Mark, who broke into the comics business as Kirby's assistant in the late 1960s...
...led a discussion on the works of Jolly Jack, aided and abetted by such creative talents as Mike Royer, who was Kirby's primary inking collaborator for two decades, beginning in the early 1970s, and Darwyn Cooke, the writer/artist responsible for Justice League: The New Frontier
, the film version of which debuted at WonderCon on Saturday night. (It's available now on DVD. You should run out to your local retailer as soon as you finish reading this, and buy a copy.)Comic Relief
, the big comics shop in Berkeley, managed to acquire the first 80 copies of Mark's hot-off-the-press book to sell at the convention. Both Mark and Mike Royer were kind enough to autograph my copy. (According to Mark's blog
this morning, Amazon now has Kirby: King of Comics
in stock. You should click over there as soon as you finish reading this, and order a copy.)
Mark also hosted an enjoyable one-on-one interview with longtime Marvel Comics artist Herb Trimpe, known for his work on The Incredible Hulk
, G.I. Joe
, and Shogun Warriors
, among numerous other titles. Herb was also the first artist to draw Wolverine, later of the X-Men, in a published comic. If you had a mint-condition copy of Incredible Hulk
#181 lying around, you could put your kids through college.
A few years back, I commissioned Herb to draw an entry in my Common Elements theme a tussle between Doc Samson, a Hulk supporting character Herb co-created, and Doc Savage, the Man of Bronze
. I took the piece to WonderCon with me, and Herb kindly posed for a photo with it. It was a treat to meet him and to thank him for it in person, after all this time.
Another entertaining panel featured a group of animation writers Justice League
story editor Dwayne McDuffie prominent among them developing an outline for a hypothetical animation project using random suggestions from the audience. If you ever see an announcement about Howard the Duck vs. The Green Lantern Corps
, you'll know that this panel is where the concept first germinated.
Of course you know that I didn't spend the entire weekend listening to industry stalwarts yakking. Artists' Alley beckoned, and its denizens busied themselves adding a slate of gorgeous new artworks to my collection. Let's check out the haul.
For the second consecutive WonderCon, I commissioned a new Common Elements artwork. This year, the challenge went to the legendary Tony DeZuniga, who agreed to bring together the swashbuckling Zorro and the Justice League's Vixen
. I had neglected to bring a picture of Zorro I mistakenly believed that Tony had drawn the character before so Tony's charming wife Tina prowled the comics vendors until she found a old Gold Key Zorro
comic for Tony to reference.
Here, Tony displays his completed creation.
Alex Niño, one of comics' most distinctive stylists, held court at the table next to Tony's. I took advantage of the opportunity to tell Alex that I'm probably one of maybe five people in the world who owns all twelve issues of Thriller
, the fabled series from the '70s on which Alex followed Trevor Von Eeden as artist.
Alex responded with this striking drawing of Taarna
, from the film Heavy Metal
Although we always renew our acquaintance whenever we see each other at a con, it had been a while since I had commissioned a new work from the great Ernie Chan. I rectified this oversight, and Ernie delivered this terrific portrait of Doc Savage and his cousin and fellow adventurer, Pat Savage
I never pass up a chance to have Ron Lim draw something for me. Ron seemed to enjoy creating this pinup of longtime Fantastic Four comrade-in-arms Thundra
Last year at WonderCon, I struck gold by stumbling upon Phil Noto, who although not listed as a convention guest was setting up at a table. Could lightning strike twice in the same convention hall? Yes, indeed once again, I lucked into a commission from the again-unannounced Mr. Noto. Here's Phil's Valkyrie
as a work in progress...
...and as a finished product in the hands of the artist.
David Williams, who has contributed delightful art to Marvel's all-ages line in recent years, was the perfect choice to draw Mary Marvel. His Marilynesque take on Mary
couldn't be more adorable.
I was elated last year when Aaron Lopresti took over the art chores on one of my favorite series, Ms. Marvel
. Thus, when comics news sites reported recently that Aaron was leaving Marvel for DC, I was disappointed... until I learned that his first DC assignment will be as the regular penciler on Wonder Woman
. This awesome Storm drawing
will satisfy my Lopresti jones until Aaron's first issue of Wonder Woman
hits the stands.
I had intended to commission a piece from Sidekick
artist Chris Moreno. When I saw this amazing drawing of Ms. Marvel
in Chris's portfolio, however, I couldn't imagine him drawing anything that I would enjoy more than this. So I bought it from him. Chris's use of negative space in this piece is stunning.
So that, friend reader, was WonderCon '08. Now you know where the money went.
And that's your Comic Art Friday.
Labels: Aimless Riffing, Celebritiana, Comic Art Friday, Cool Stuff, My Home Town, Reminiscing