Monday, June 25, 2012

Heroescon 2012 Con Report!


Original art to this year's BDS sketchbook by Henry Eudy
30 years. Just doesn't seem like it's been that long! If I remember correctly, I made my first trek to Heroescon way back in 1988. I was 14 and Heroescon wasn't even 10 years old yet. I was an aspiring comic artist and as a surprise my Dad purchased a ticket for me to attend an art seminar by THE George Perez! Flash forward 24 years and I've been to over 10 shows, set up to sell my sketchbooks & art since 2008, and I've moderated the Inking Panel the last 2 years. And while basking in the post-con glow, all I can think about is next year's show! I know 2012 is still warm, but I can't wait to see what they do next! Every year it gets bigger and better while maintaining the close-knit family vibe. This really is my Christmas!

There's only a handful of people I haven't had the opportunity to meet over the years thanks to Shelton. The one at the very top of my list actually made it down to this year's show, Walter Simonson. One of the biggest influences on me as a fan and an artist. I decided to get there early and stand in line to get my brother a Thor sketch (I'd gotten one as a wedding present from my buddy David Wray several years back). He's not a comics fan, but he LOVES Simonson's Thor run! As I got to the table I discovered a short line, I was 10th in line. Over the next few hours people lost interest and dropped out of line to pursue other interests, but not us! I was now 5th in line and had begun swapping stories with the other die-hards in line. A few more hours rolled by (hardly noticeable thanks to the great conversations we were having) and we'd gotten an ETA. 
After 5 hours the Simonson's made it to the show floor. (they had driven down from VA that morning) You'd think that kind of delay would have garnered some ill will on our parts, but no one said a thing. After all, the Simonson's are as nice as they are talented. And besides, after all he's given to the comic community, he's earned some leeway! As a goodwill gesture he marked the first 9 of us on our thumbs (a REAL thumbnail sketch!) for sketches on Saturday. 5 hours in line, but my brother was getting his sketch…mission accomplished! Or so we thought! Turns out the next day they were late to the floor again. This time though it was only a few hours…piece of cake! He sketched and signed like his hair was on fire! I videoed him doing my brother's sketch (see pic) and it took under 5 minutes…and it's 11 x 14! Eight hours on line and I had my grail piece for the weekend!

You'd think that amount of time taken from the convention would deflate the weekend, but I managed to meet some really great people! Not only that a few friends came by to keep us company, run errands (thanks Henry & Jeremy for the biscuit! And thanks Emmanuel for getting my first Jaime Maggie sketch for me!) It actually made me more focused to get the things accomplished at the top of my list:
- Jaime Hernandez Maggie sketch (actually got 2! - see pics)
- Andy Runton "Owly As" (check - see pic)
- Roger Langridge Elmo (check - see pic)
- a David Williams piece for $20!!!
   (check - see Snake Eyes piece).


My first Maggie by Xaimeh!

The PERFECT commission for my son!

Langridge is simply brilliant!

David Williams' Snake Eyes...11 x 17!!!
After a great night at the Drink n Draw (I did three pieces totaling over $30 for Parkinson's research) it was onto McGintyfest! I never really considered myself an Indie guy, but it turns out that most of my friends in the industry are Indie guys! I read AND enjoy their books, plus they're good people…guess I am an Indie guy! (I still read Superhero comics though, just don't tell them!) It was a great time…Brad is an obscenely talented guy at whatever he puts his deranged mind to and that get together showed how respected he is amongst his peers. The attendance list was too star studded to mention, but I will say Andy Runton can rock out on Guitar Hero!

Jaime Hernandez was one of my highlights of the show!

Saturday's at the con are my least favorite…way too many people compared to Friday and Sunday, and you spend that day fighting crowds getting things signed/sketched. Things are a blur until you hear the garbled voice over the intercom telling you nicely to get out! Along the way I ran into new friends I'd made at the previous Pop Swap Meet: Jared Moraitis (BeastWreck shirts) and Jason Folkes. Good guys I don't get to see nearly enough. That's one thing I do hate about the con, there's SO much to do that you only get to spend a few minutes with people you only see 1-2 times a year (not the Con's fault, but it still sucks).

Saturday night brought the infamous Art Auction! I managed to escape unscathed even though I wish I would have won several pieces including a Laura Martin hand colored Walt Simonson Beta Ray Bill! There were some really fantastic pieces including paintings from good buddies Henry Eudy and J Chris Campbell! (proud of you guys!) In the hours after the auction I met and hung out with FLUKE co-founder Patrick Dean. We ended up talking about our kids along with Crogan's Adventure creator Chris Schweizer…great times!

Sunday morning came much too quick and from the looks of it, a good time was had by all just a few short hours ago. Things began to heat up as the crowd grew. I managed to sell a few pieces of original art and did a few sketches before my Inking Panel. This was my 2nd year moderating it, and I feel like we can do some really good things with it moving forward. The 2012 edition featured Jose Marzan, Jr., Tim Townsend, Karl Story and Dexter Vines…a serious gathering of talent! Those guys really made the panel a piece of cake. The transitions were natural and seamless, the audience were engaged and it appeared that the guests had a good time as well…mission accomplished! Back to the con floor to pick up the commissions I set up early in the weekend. I honestly couldn't be happier with my haul this year. I picked up a Simonson Thor for my brother; a Langridge Elmo and an "Owly As" for my son; two Maggie pieces from Jaime Hernandez, a Robbi Rodriguez Mary Jane and a David Williams Snake Eyes for me! I also landed the original art to this year's Big Dog's Studio sketchbook cover by Henry Eudy! Not to mention getting a TON of books signed and sketches from David Petersen, Geoff Darrow, Brad McGinty, Matthew Southworth, Patrick Dean, Doctor Fantastic, Josh Latta and Yale Stewart! 
Mary Jane by Robbi Rodriguez

Dinosaur sketch by Geof Darrow

Brad McGinty's rabbit sketch for my son

Fuzzy monster sketch by Patrick Dean

The end was near and everyone knew it. It's get somber pretty fast towards the end. Everyone starts exchanging swag, handshakes and hugs. Wondering where the time went and wishing each other safe journeys homeward. I got a few silly pics as an action figure and a wannabe Godzilla attacking the city on our way out. There's no regrets until you start walking through the exit the last time. Then you start thinking about all the people you didn't get to see or the things you forgot to buy. But the highs far outweigh the lows, so I managed to muster up a grin of contentment as I made my way to the car for the last time. On to the after party!
Kid Batman by Yale Stewart

Super Grover sketch by Doc Fantastic!
A perfect way to wind down after a full weekend, the Dead Dog after party let's you fill your gut with food and drown your post con sorrows in the festivities. Swap stories with friends and strangers alike, because for a short time it's like we're all family. And that's just what Shelton and company have managed to accomplish over the years. They've provided us with stories that will last a lifetime.
Special Thanks go out to all the staff and volunteers who make Heroescon so great, especially Rico, Seth, Shelley, Heather, Karla and last but not least Shelton!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Jet-Pack Jenny Incentive Drawing

This one actually started out as practice, but ended up coming out really nicely. For those of you that have only read Factor of 01, The guy in the background is known as Skid-Mark, and is a leftover from the creation of Jet-Pack Jenny. He showed up in a four page story drawn by Andrew Franks, back over ten years ago, when we were both in college. He also had a cameo in Flight of the Virginia Dare, but I've never been able to do much with him.

I've got three more of these in the process right now. There's one finished that you haven't seen, just because it won't scan very well, so I'm coming along with these very nicely. After I finish the ones in the process, I'm going to be working on the cover image for the collected Factor of 01. There's still time to get in on getting an original drawing, original art from Factor of 01, just go over to Kickstarter and pledge to contribute to getting the book published. I've already made the goal, so any more pledged adds to the quality, page count, and/or print run for the book. I'm not keeping any of the contributions for myself, because that would just be wrong.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The 2012 Sketchbook is here!

This year's Big Dog's Studio sketchbooks are in!  Sporting a fanstastic original cover by Henry Eudy, it's 28 pages of art from 5 different artists! This year we opened it up a bit and added local artists: Stan Ford, Jeremy Brooks and Herc Petmezas!

These will debut at the 2012 Heroescon. For those not in attendance, you can get them here.

Previous versions still available:

2009 (vol 3); 2010 (vol 4) and 2011 (vol 5)

Also Available:
Sketch Charlotte Anthology 2011
Sketch Charlotte Anthology 2012

Contact me/click here for more information.