Today ABEA calls for bloggers to discuss the bookish things beyond traditional novels that we enjoy. For me that’s an easy discussion because after I became a reader on my own at a very young age I found myself introduced to comics.
My mind is a bit confused of where my comics love started though. It is one of two stories. I don’t know which came first or which was the cementing of “COMICS!!!”, but I’ll tell them both and then how they’ve influenced my life as a writer, blogger, etc.
On the shelf of one of the earliest production companies I worked for as an actor at 12 years old was a copy of Watchmen. This was in 1988. The collection was brand new. Something about it called to me and started reading it and falling in love. The producer decided if I loved it so much it should be mine if my parents were okay with it. My parents were weird. They didn’t seem to care how violent or sexual something was. I mean I was reading Stranger in a Strange Land before this. I don’t know if they didn’t know, didn’t care or just trusted my brain to be adult enough to handle it. I still have that copy of Watchmen today.
There was a comics shop that was fairly large next to the Midway Movie Theater on Queens Blvd in Forest Hills. As I said I can’t recall if I was already into comics from Watchmen or if Watchmen called to me cause I was into comics. I do remember this shop really well though. The location its in is now a restaraunt. It’s been many things throughout the years. For the longest time it was a shop though and I shopped there. The first comic I remember seeing there that BLEW ME AWAY was Scott McCloud’s DESTROY!!. I knew somehow it was meant to be a pastiche and it was what basically made me appreciate the form from all elements.
By coming into comics through two books that defied what comics were about it prepared me better for an appreciation of all comics. I like all of it. Straight forward superhero, autobiographical introspection, sci-fiction, horror, comedy, dark comedy. What’s wonderful is the format of comics allows it to be as broad and diverse as prose. There are no rules. Create something and let it live.
That is books, that is writing, that is creation. It is why I am still a reader today even with so much media coming at me from movies, television, internet and video games.
At Book Expo America 2013 I had the privilege and pleasure to sit with Entertainment producer and the writer of the upcoming (November 19th 2013), THE FIFTH BEATLE, Vivek Tiwary. Since then I have expectantly watched the news and excitement for the forthcoming Dark Horse book with baited breath. I have also unfortunately sat and then lost my notes from my short but insightful talk.
Here as best I can are portions of that talk to show how much this is truly Vivek’s labor of love and a book all fans of comics, The Beatles, music, life, biography or more would appreciate.
It was always designed and conceived as a graphic novel and Dark Horse was one of the earliest and therefore first to sign it on concept, with it being in production now between research and art for around three years. Vivek traveled to England and visited Liverpool, as well as the estate of Brian Epstein to truly understand the man as best one could.
Brian Epstein lived in a time when being who he was and equally being successful were quite an accomplishment. To be homosexual in a time when it was actually a crime, forcing him not just to be in the closet, but with no choice but to be, but to also be a Jew, as well a very liberal individual in political views was just not done. Epstein did do it though, while also being a very successful music manager. Not just for The Beatles but for Gerry and The Pacemakers, as well other notable acts. Of course none of them as big as The Beatles, but not many acts were bigger than The Beatles till stupid things like American Idol & Glee came along and that’s just not a fair comparison.
This book won’t be about The Beatles though, despite them being an integral part of Brian’s short life, it will truly be about Brian and pieced together in an exciting way featuring beautiful painted artwork from Andrew Robinson. As a comics artist I best know Andrew for his Image series Dusty Star but he’s also a great painter and he’s combing his sequential skills with his illustration to create some amazing pages.
One of the more interesting aspects of Brian’s life that I believe Vivek is going to focus on are his difficulty at being able to actually have a lover, not because of it being taboo, but being an actual crime to open. He’ll also touch upon some of the rumors and made critical, but basic decisions based on discussions he had with friends and family. A lot of the information he used also exists on the bibliography on the main site for the book, but he states that many of those books are not enjoyable reads and/or are out of print and hard to find. This comic book will also allow a whole new unexplored demographic a chance to appreciate Brian Epstein and his amazing story.
My Book Expo America 2013 adventure began on Wednesday, May 29th to attend my first and probably last BEA Bloggers conference. This is not because I didn’t have fun or did not network, but because I went to hopefully gain some education and tips I had not yet previously figured on my own. While I did get a few notes that I found useful in one session, as a whole the education part wasn’t there.
I was luckily enough to at least find a few people whom I made a midpoint of a connection with to keep things entertaining, including Molly over at InsertGeekHere. Lunch was nice enough actually using the $15 coupon we received for food and drink, I actually was left with $2, but unfortunately no cash back. Hearing from Eric Smith from Quirk Books (who has an awesome book called The Geek’s Guide to Dating coming in September) was a definite highlight.
The keynote openers and ending speeches were by Will Schwalbe and Randi Zuckerberg and both those were enjoyable and funny. They weren’t worth the price of admission, but they were fun. After the event there was a reception where we could use a drink ticket, network a bit more and surprise surprise a ton of books. There were a few books that went really fast in the Young Adult Editors speack of the Blogger conference and there were not enough books for all, so this really made up for that. Got a few cook books, a huge sci-fi novel AND the newest from Jeff Hirsch, a book I planned to grab during the regular Expo but luckily I didn’t need to. Jeff also happened to be there, so that was a double plus.
I forgot to mention that I snuck (sic) out from the Blogger conference when both sessions available didn’t excite me (mainly the ethics session) and headed over to check out Sidelines. While there I did make a couple cool discoveries which I’ll be discussing in a side article.
Before heading downtown for events was able to swing by the Editor’s Buzz and was very happy to get a copy of The Facades by Eric Lundgren, a book high on my list to read.
From Javits I went down to Housing Works for the Bookrageous event, but after saying hello to long-time friend poet Guy Lecharles Gonzalez (now of the Library Journal) I headed over to CultureFix where I had only planned to say hello to friends Fritz Donnelly and Amy Van Doran, before finding myself pulled into being part of the event and dancing till late in the evening despite wanting to be at BEA early the next day.
THURSDAY, May 30th
I was successful in this and hence following my best recollection of BOOK EXPO AMERICA 2013:
I started my morning with heading over to get a copy of Cynthia Voight’s newest Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things. From there I went to Autographing for a few things. I ended up only tackling two of them but they were a great two. First was Malachy McCourt for a A Couple of Blaguards, the play he wrote with dearly departed brother, as a bonus they also gave out a DVD of their performance of the play. Then it was over a few tables to my old collegemate David Ezra Stein for his newest children’s story Dinosaur Kisses. Realizing the time I rushed over to Dr. Ruth, but unfortunately they ran out of books, but I still got to talk to her and get the photo. Then it was a time where I knew I’d have to waiting but it was worth it to get the second book in the new Lemony Snicket series and see Daniel handler again. Daniel told me that sometime in 2014 his newest novel (a non Snicket) would be a pirate tale. This highly excites me.
A quick bounce after was over to Nicole Polizzi, some exploring, then over Autographing once again for These Broken Stairs and Ridley Pearson’s second Risk Agent. A little more exploring and then I had a scheduled sit down interview with Vivek Tiwary about his upcoming Dark Horse graphic novel The Fifth Beatle (more to come on that very soon). A lot more walking and exploring followed as well as grabbing books before heading to autographing again for Richard Dawkins and others, and along the way stopping at surprise guest Tim Conway. Back to the floor to explore, then another designated signing, this time with Paul Pope, which I could have skipped as the next day I hit another signing and got a shirt too.
From there though it was for a serious line of length and time killed. I thought the line for Snicket was long, but nothing compared to Chuck Palahniuk and that was still tame to what Grumpy Cat would get or Neil Gaiman would get later in the week, but still. Was very happy to my hands on DOOMED, sequel to DAMNED. I was able to get the new John Rocco children’s book after as well and explore the show more before deciding to head home. Knowing I partied Wednesday and would be partying definitely hard on Friday I wanted one calm evening.
FRIDAY, May 31st
Despite getting home early, I somehow still ended up to the show later I planned, but that was still at around 9:30 with plenty of time for everything on my schedule along with enough show floor exploring that when I finished filled my roll luggage at the end of the day it was quite heavy and it was an adventure bringing it around town and its heaviness and amount of books made me have to have my evening stop short. That was later though.
First up was Matt Phelan’s Blufton and then online to grab a copy of FROG TROUBLE, an awesome book/CD which I will have more to say about for sure. It was then a whirlwind of booths and autographing, back and forth. Obert Skye, Jason Mott of The Returned (debuting as Ressurection on ABC this Fall), Ridley Pearson. Trying to hit as much as I could before my 11:30 interview which I still ended up late to because I was right at the front of the line for Giada Di Laurentiis with steps away and to leave the line at that point would be crazy. If I wasn’t steps away and also two booths from my interview, sure… but… yeah.
That 11:30 was with Dan Harmon, editor at Zest and writer of the upcoming Super Pop! . It was a really fun interview where lots was discussed and next week as part of a scheduled blog tour will be reviewed, have an interview and even a special top 10 list of my own devising thought of at the interview.
Because of how my Friday schedule landed there was nothing specific other than getting Family Whipple as well as the Anne Burrell signing so a lot of show exploring was done. If I could remember what booths I hit in order, who I spoke to, etc. I would tell you. I know at a point I specifically went to the Macmillian booth to get a BATTLING BOY t-shirt. I also saw Red Green, and Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. of America’s Got Talent fame and I hung out with Gugar of the upcoming book The Creature Department.
After all was said and done I hung out with Torsten Adair for a bit as I backed my luggage and then I made my way slowly over to Columbus Circle with actually some Subway snafus, which was… “fun” with the luggage. I made it though, stopped in at O & Co. and said hello to my short time co-workers. Then I headed upstairs to Landmarc where a very calm and casual affair was had. Plenty of delcious food, excellent guests, including Red Green and a slightly rude Robbie Robertson. I had a really good time, but I also needed to get all the way to the World Financial Center for one of my best friend’s birthdays on a boat. That was… well, the evening ended on top of a roof with a pool and involved nudity and that’s all I’ll say about that. I got home around 4 AM and still planned to go to Expo again the next day for Jim Gaffigan, Representative John Lewis and a few loose ends tied up, including the “What aren’t you packing up?” part of Saturday which is always exciting and fun.
SATURDAY, June 1st
Which is EXACTLY how it went. I got to the show around 10 AM (and don’t ask me how I pulled THAT off even). I walked around for a bit, saw some excellent stuff on the floor I had missed because of how crazy the show is and then got a front row seat for Jim Gaffigan. He was hilarious and fun. There was no moderator, so he interviewed himself, talked a bit and then took questions from the crowd and riffed off of the questions and yes, Yours truly asked a question too. Then there was waiting to get the book signed and say hello to the funny man. It was all worth it.
Eventually I was able to make it over to where John was signing and had a wonderful talk with him and also throughout the show spoke to some great publishers, writers, publicists and more and walked away with so many books. Way more than I thought I would on a Saturday. I wasn’t planning on such a haul. I chose to not even bring my luggage, which was a big mistake. I barely made it home as my bag ripped on the trip back. Still what an experience!
Following this report will be a collection of photos I shot or were taken of me and author/celeb, as well as a listing of every book I got with links and mini info.
Later in the week and months look forward to reviews, interviews and more!
At this year’s MoCCaFest I did something completely different than any year prior and chose to volunteer. After years of being an attendee and coming as Press, I felt under the new leadership of the Society of Illustrators and with my dedication to the Festival continuing it only right to finally give back. I should’ve done so much sooner than this while the festival was still under the watch of Ellen Abromowitz who by circumstance is now a member of my family for shortening a much more complicated explanation, but it was not to be.
Getting the festival up and ready to go on the day before was quite the adventure. In record time we set up tables, chairs, and the new additions to the Festival which I believe went over very well in signage, table clothes, a dedicated Audio/Visual system and a cafeteria with sandwiches and drinks. Meeting my fellow volunteers was actually really cool and it made the weekend much more fun to have fellow comics fans and appreciators there to discuss stuff with and to make sure the convention flowed well.
I stayed pretty late on that setup day not because I didn’t want to go home, but mostly because I didn’t want to go home. There were other places and things I could do, but I was so invested in seeing the show come together and impressed by how amazing it all did that I stuck around a lot longer than I planned but with no regrets. I ended up going home, taking a nap and then heading out again to make it to Bunnycutlet Gallery where they had an amazing new group show. It was really great seeing these pieces and then afterwards talking to Chris McCulloch and others outside, especially talking to Chris about Brock Samson’s appearance in Poker Night 2 from Telltale Games.
On the first day of MoCCaFest I made sure to get there early, but not too early. I knew that I wanted enough time to explore booths, greet friends, get acquainted and procure sketches and books. I did all that and more. I had figured a great theme for my sketch books and actually brought along three books for it. I requested your favorite cartoon character growing up and all together over the next two days I procured about 20 awesome sketches that are mindblowing. I also bought a lot of comics. Way more than I ever expected. Square is both your friend AND your enemy. “Oh you take credit card? Okay” is just the most evil happy thing ever. Suffice it to say I ended up getting a lot of great stuff. In prior years I used to do a haul list, and I may just do that again this year. I probably will. Oh, you know I will even all these weeks after.
Volunteering for the show was really a great experience. I was on aisle duty so if someone needed anything it was my job to do it and I was definitely used and appreciated. I covered booths, kept the area clean and at the end of the day made sure garbage was collected and everyone felt their wares were safe for the next day. My payment on day one was an excellent dinner. While I expected the party to be more of a situation for people to really meet and enjoy each other’s company it was basically eat and then catch up with a few folks here or there, which I definitely did do.
The next day was pretty much the same thing. The only difference being I hurt myself, so while I planned on helping with breakdown, I had to bail out. Instead I made sure to double my efforts in making sure everyone was happy, comfortable and more and did it all day instead of just during my shift, almost as if I automatically went into retail mode even though I wasn’t working, but only volunteering. On the second day I got to explore a lot more too and enjoy the museum aspect brought in by SOI and really feel what they brought to the whole of MoCCaFest. At the end of the festival as everyone packed up, broke down, said their goodbyes, the volunteers got an amazing assortment of books to choose from to take home as “payment” from a variety of publishers and individual creators who appreciated everyone’s hard work.
I expect the future of the show, however it goes down to be quite amazing.
As a side note, after MoCCaFest was all done I went all the way out to Barclay’s Center to catch Green Day as a last minute addition free surprise to an already amazing evening.
THE HAUL (All items free & paid for)
RELISH Tanzania Travelogue by Lucy Knisley
The Chapel Chronicles by Emma T. Caps
B + F Book One by Gregory Benton
The Face Skull #2 and Savage Brute by Pat Dorian
Welcome to Oddville by Jay Stephens
Fantastic Life by Kevin Mutch
Anima by Tatiana Goldberg
Beyond the Canopy by Jonathan Griffiths
The Raw Edge by Devin Clark
Frankie’s Busy Day and Frankie Comics by Rachel Dukes
KSW by Peter Schmidt
Raven Girl by Audrey Niffenegger
52 Weeks Project by Greg Ruth
Centifolia Vol I & II by Stuart Immonen
HellaDead Rude Dog Iron-On Patch by KC Green
Sam & Lilah by Jim Dougan and Hyeondo Park
The Misfortune Cookie by Mindy Indy
Good Riddance (galley) by Cynthia Copeland
‘The Wolfmen & Fall of the Wolfmen by Dave West and Andy Bloor
Whatever Happened to The World of Tomorrow? By Brian Fies
The Downsized by Matt Howarth
Cross Country by MK Reed
FOXING Anthology #1
Remake, Remake Special, Remake 3Xtra by Lamar Abrams
H.C. Andersen Junior: The Magical Hat by J. Rybka and Thierry Capezzone
A collection of comics by Neil Brideau
Who Wants Meat? And Bear Brains Vol.2 by Nate Bear
You Are Always On My Mind by Kat Roberts
Borb by Jason Little
Runner Runner Anthology
The Black Well by Jamie Tanner
COPRA Compendium, #4 & #5 by Michel Fiffe
Throughout the history of professional wrestling there have been monumental events, angles, stories, character and gimmicks that could’ve easily gone another direction and either drastically the change the course of the future or having very little change but that one change still being constant.
Within the confines of DC Comics and Marvel this idea has been constantly explored. In DC they call it Elseworlds. In Marvel it was known as “What If?’. Some of my favorite comics stories of all time have come from these particular annuals, graphic novels and series. It is something could easily be applied to wrestling in many major ways.
Here’s a small list of some of the ideas I’m playing with:
What if the Issac Yankem gimmick was successful and got expanded to a stable with a X-ray tech and an anesthesiologist?
“What if James Storm joined Chris Harris in ECWWE?”
“Fallen Angel doesn’t get injured in Nitro debut”
“CM Punk never went straight edge”
“Kevin Nash and Scott Hall never left WCW/never left the WWF to go back to WCW”
I have a short dream list of artists based purely on their previous wrestling illustrations, none that have agreed to be part of the project as of yet, but it is a dream.
(special thanks to Sam “Eddie Phoenix” Fines for helping come up with the concept and cementing it in stone with a name.)
(My first follow up will be me fleshing out one of the actual what if’s further and drawing one of my own to get the ball rolling… also research into other artists who not only draw wrestlers but understand and LOVE wrestling…I don’t want just cool illustrations, I want the passion of folks who get what they’re doing, not just photo referencing stuff)
As you saw on this website prior to both the Asbury Comic Con and MoCCaFest I wrote preview articles, but I have yet to go back and actually do follow ups and I it’s high time I do that as best as I can.
On the train to Asbury I got lucky enough to end up sitting next to two guys who would actually be tabling with their comic FIRST LAW OF MAD SCIENCE. Co-writer Mike Isenberg gain me issue 1 gratis and like a good drug dealer who knows his product is quality I ended up buying issues 2 & 3 later on at the show and am on board for anymore they release.
When I arrived in Asbury I had no clue where to go so I followed a bunch of folks who were heading in the direction of the con. I knew they were headed to the con because I was following a bunch of cartoonists I knew from conventions. Once I had my bearings I decided to walk around Asbury itself and discover the place.
I saw a bunch of restaurants I wanted to try out if I ever come back. I also found the graffiti and a few stores, although most were closed. There’s also a pinball museum/arcade and a few abandoned spots. Asbury is just an amazing spot. It also has The Stone Pony, which I had totally forgotten.
After I had looked around for a reasonable time I headed over to the show. The Asbury Convention center is a nice sized place. I could see wrestling events, basketball games, concerts, etc, doing really well there. I never made it across the street to the bar where the panels were because the convention was way larger than I expected. It wasn’t just the main floor with vendors, indie folks and the legends together, but in what would be considered the hallways to reach the other levels, tables lined the walls of various indie artists and creators. There was a lot to experience in it all and it was quite exciting actually. I actually ended up buying way more books than I planned on and I got a lot of nice sketches and saw people I totally didn’t expect to.
Puck & Wendigo from behind by Mike Dawson, inspired by his Ink Panthers broadcast
Eventually I felt con exhaustion hit me and I wanted to explore Asbury a bit more as well and since I was going to get a ride back into Manhattan, I had to grab the 2 hour trip back on the train.
Next year they’re planning on making Asbury 2 days. I hope they see about it maybe being during the summer months as well maybe. I could totally see myself coming in on a Friday afternoon and leaving Sunday with a fully full Asbury experience. Hopefully shared with a special someone.
As March roles around in 2013 it’s a time of lots and lots of action and adventure on all my favorite pop-culture fronts.
I don’t get to enjoy all of them, being conflicts, financial issues, whatever, but they’re there for the taking.
For the video game lover you have PAXEast which is quickly followed by the Game Developer’s Conference/Independent Games Festival and there’s also E3 (yet that is an industry only event).
For the wrestling fan, the weekend of April 5-7 is big for anyone willing to travel to NYC/NJ for some super craziness. It’s not just Wrestlemania weekend. That show brings with it a sold out Ring of Honor PPV and TV taping the next day, the Hall of Fame at Madison Square Garden, after parties to the Hall of Fame such as Shenanigans and MVP at Caroline’s and then there’s Wrestlecon at Meadowlands Colliseum where Chikara, Shimmer, Dragongate, Evolve, etc. are all together along with tons of legends and even Hulk Hogan to throw the best alternative to WWE ever. Although crazy rich people find a way to do everything!
I didn’t make it to PAX or GDC, I will not be at any of the wrestling stuff. I’ll be focusing on another major love of mine, comics. A lot of comics shows are going on as well.
This Saturday is the Asbury Comic Con, equally is Wondercon. The weekend after is both FLUKE and MoCCAFest. I’ll be at Asbury and volunteering at MoCCA so the bulk of this article will be focusing on those, BUT before we get to them, some quick things.
The big deal at PAX and GDC for me were DoubleFine’s first official reveal of BROKEN AGE, the game that has been in development as DFA/REDS from their big Kickstarter project which I am a major backer. I’ll probably write a ton about it eventually, but for now? Here’s the official trailer revealed to the “world” at GDC Awards and uploaded to Youtube directly after.
If I could go to Wrestlecon I’d be all over that Chikara part of it. I really want to see who Mike Quackenbush brings as his mystery partner against Shard & Jigsaw. The ROH show when SCUM should basically decimate a bunch of ROH guys should be fun too, but I can’t go… I made commitments and I’m excited for them.
If you make it out to FLUKE make a point of checking out whatever Kyle Starks has going on at his table, I’m sure whatever it is will be freaking awesome.
So coming this Saturday is the Asbury ComicCon. I have missed it when it started as just a small gathering at a bowling alley. That always sounded quite awesome, but I just never made it out there. Now it’s moved to the convention center, but is still trying to keep the just a comics con feel in a place like the boardwalk of Asbury. There’s a couple of highlights at the show and some of them share an appearance at next weekend’s MoCCaFest as well.
At Asbury there’s the official book release party/debut of the collected DEADHORSE.
As well the only east coast appearance of Box Brown for now that I know of, as he’ll be at SPOKE next weekend. Oh wait, Toronto is the East Coast.
Bryan G. Brown and Dre Grigoropol will be debuting their comic Blueberry Boy of Asbury Park, approriately relaying some experiences from last years Asbury ComicCon!
Asbury also has some amazing panels. In particular Brian O’Halloran (best known to most as Dante Hicks from the Clerks films will be sitting with Mike and Ming of Comic Book Men. Also, John Holmstrom will have a discussion with Asbury Comiccon co-promoter Cliff Galbraith. Both these panels make the entire show worth it. Yet the fact that Danny Fingeroth also has sit down sessions with Al Jaffe and Bob Camp in talk with Craig Yoe just add to it as well. Throw in a ton of creators who actually will not be appearing at any other convention anytime soon and you have what is an awesome pre-Easter (if you do Easter) event.
Head over to the Asbury Comic Con website (the link is in the words or click on that banner to your right) and get your tickets now and enjoy your Saturday, March 30, 2013, in New Jersey… of all places).
As said prior the weekend of April 6-7th, 2013 I’ll be at MoCCaFest 2013. I attempted to find out all the major debuts and such by hunting through Twitter and Google Blog search and didn’t find tons of info, but what I did shall be below. MoCCa is amazing show. This will be my 11th year attending including the one year I almost didn’t go, but went anyways. Crazy to even think that. Here’s some highlights I could find.
Peter Kuper will debuting and signing a limited edition version of his new book.
Matt Miner who recently had the successful Kickstarter campaign for his comic LIBERATOR will be around with exclusives.
My Kickstarter experience began with backing my friend Fritz Donnelly’s film “I Like You”, it was then followed by throwing in with a graffiti/streetart gallery project. After those two it quited down although I seemed to star projects once and awhile and then one day I just stopped. That is until the project that actually brought so many people to Kickstarter in the first place brought me back and not just back, but falling into a trap of kickstarterolism. That project was Double Fine Adventure and it has steamrolled from there. While I have actually only backed 22 projects in my time I have kept track of, promoted, helped support, etc. many in that time. Here I thought I would look at those projects I actually supported to receive something in return through my pledge and see where they are in development. Kickstarter itself doesn’t have a section for backers to actually report on the success of project other than comments. Nothing to say that your pledge resulted in so and so, and while they in one hand say they aren’t a preorder site and don’t check the background on their project creators, they also have a system in place to help pledgers fight to get their money back if the project creator seems to never actually make any progress towards their project with the pledged money.
If I could do this for any project creator, especially creators who start new Kickstarter’s before fulfilling their previous Kickstarter or people who just keep recreating a project changing basically nothing trying to get funding as Kickstarter gets bigger I would. I can’t though, so at least this article will serve as a an experience of how projects can go and what they can lead to for my personal story.
I LIKE YOU – A Hi Christina Movie: I could write essays galore on my life with Fritz Donnely and Christina Clare-Ewald over the last 3-4 years since we became acquainted and then became close friends. Their film project was something that I had to do be a part of as soon as I could. They had an absolutely awesome countdown party at a loft, then after funding they had an excellent post funding party where they showed a very early cut of various scenes. Since ending I have actually helped out on a scene and according to Fritz I even have a speaking role. At that after party I mentioned I received a hand-made shirt from Christina. The film would be ready now, BUT Fritz and Christina went itno another major product… a child. That baby is named Keats and he is the most wonderful thing ever. For those who joined in on I LIKE YOU who don’t have a closeknit relationship with them I could see frustration that as we approach February 2013, the film has not come out officially yet, but this is the year. Fritz’ creative juices have been flowing like mad since starting his project Secret Door and I have faith that that project is fueling his energy to make his first full length feature to come to fruition completely.
THE PANTHEON PROJECT: This project found complete production with an exhibit in the windows at the former library located across the street from the Museum of Modern Art. The exhibit featured some amazing pieces on display for anyone and everyone to appreciate the gallery style, it was accompanied by a large exhibit catalog which is now completely sold out. The website is no longer up, but there are images on Flickr.
DOUBLE FINE ADVENTURE: Anyone who followed video gaming news or Kickstarter knows that this project brought a ton of attention to the site. It ended up with quadruple + it’s initial funding and instead of being a small little adventure game/documentary it has balooned into a full fledged project with a current release date not to be seen yet. That is not to say a lot has not been happening. While updates have been less frequent that liked by a portion of backers I have been very satisfied. If one includes the episodes of the documentary titled SIDE QUESTS which either feature indepth bios of creatuve members or show Tim Schaefer playing his old games there have in total been 15 episodes of the documentary feature. In terms of the game the backer forums have featured some amazing programming updates, concept art updates, story updates and more. They have been more than forthcoming in letting us see the full development of this game, warts and all, more than any studio has ever dared try. From a rewards standpoint, Fangamer in a timely, efficient and sexy manner sent out amazing shirts & posters with secret extra buttons and stickers. Of course if you only pledged at the $15 level and don’t take advantage of the fourms at Double Fine you’re just waiting for a game you thought would be out by now. To you I say… that’s your fault, not theirs. If you didn’t actually get in on the ground floor of DFA and would like to see this documentary in real time and see amazing forum posts, go check the program DFA Pay, which allows you to join in the fun early for $30 anytime before release.
CARL’S LARGE STORY: Marcos Perez’ comic appealed to me greatly. When I first found the Kickstarter I noticed he didn’t have an option for all the swag, including the new book, the one of a kind drawing, the original collection and the handmade crochet. I requested it, he made it, and then I almost missed out on actually getting to pledge at this level. Almost is the operative word here. This was also one of the most exciting packages I’ve received from all my Kickstarters so far. Of course what it was going to contain meant it would. If you don’t already have a copy of Carl’s Large Story, head over to the website and grab one. Here’s images!
GAME OVER INSERT MORE QUARTERS ANTHOLOGY: I’m not completely what made this be the next thing I kickstarted. I think looking back it was a combination of the art, the passion, and the energy shown. Somewhere in this apartment of a treaure trove library this book sits happily. Equally a year later the books organizer Nicky Soh, has an excellent illustration project titled SIXTY SHADES OF BLUE. At the same time Nicky’s sister Jen who was also in Game Over is kickstarting her own anthology titled PLAYLIST. Both these projects look fascinating. My pockets need to be much larger, these are books you should look at and own, especially if you’re looking comics and artbooks to add to your collection. I am kneedeep in projects right now, but I am supporting these two projects as much as I can, spiritually, and hopefully financially if that arises.
GODS OF THE FLIES: This short film using awesome animation came out great! In the mail I received some seriously amazing stickers, a great note and even a little finger puppet fly. I’ve watched and rewatched the hi def film on repeat and keep track of the maker Danger Charles has been up to. While this might be the only short narrative film I’ve backed, I am very happy about this once and glad to always have it been part of my collection.
BOY: I had pledged this at the minimum simply because I wanted to be able to read the backer updates and have them saved in my email box forever. I did get to see the film at the special screening in Brooklyn where I also got to meet Taika. Based on comments, American fans have yet to receive their Crazy Horses patches and there seems to be no USA DVD release on the horizon. Still, great movie.
YUMIKO-CURSE OF THE MERCH GIRL: This is a gorgeous package. The comic by Josh Blaylock and Jose Garcia is amazing. The album by Murs is stellar. After the successful Kickstarter, Devil’s Due as a publisher has been back in full swing, continuing to use the platform to prefund their efforts.Yumiko is now available on their website in various packages. I personally recommend the one you can get by clicking Buy Now on the project’s official site.
GASTROPHOBIA VOL. 2: Comics looked to becoming the trend, unsurprisingly, they had proven to be the most reliable of projects and tend to bring me my largest entertainment value. In this case I had already owned Vol. 1 that I had purcahsed directly from David McGuire via a convention and felt it best to assure my copy and also get some special Kickstarter combo editions such as high quality PDFs of both books and a special pin as well! The book is availble for purchase right now if you missed the Kickstarter and can be read online as well as GastroPhobia.com
SPIKE – A LOVE STORY TOO: The first version of Matzerath’s different thinking style of pixel art game was absolutely some of the most fun I’d ever had on a computer. When he announced his desire to make it bigger and better, I had to be a part of it. So far he has made a new version of the game that is available to play for free on New Grounds. A bigger version with expanded story, amazing modes and much more are on the horizon.
EDIT: While working on this article Houser added an update to the backer version of the game where you play as Red Haired Guy. It’s rad!
CAVEGIRL FUDGE: This was easily the most successul projects I was involved in personally. They kept us appraised of their efforts along the way and then out of nowhere, the product arrived. I loved every morself of it. It was just amazing and to die for. I loved it so much that the minute they made it available on their Etsy I ordered it. I know in the future I’ll order more. If I could I order lots and lots more, but I also know this isn’t a mass production, but a lovingly handmade product to be enjoyed while you have and miss while it’s gone so that when you can get it again, you fall in love all over again. The girls behind it have also be super kind and gracious. I’d asked for an extra sticker of their awesome label for my collection and they provided it gratis. I still also have my thank you note personally signed from the original Kickstarter order.
RIDDIKULUS! 2012: We come to my first pledged Kickstarter that hasn’t completely fulfilled their pledge rewards. They did end up doing their full tour and they got the shirts done. I even got to hit one of the spots on the tour and recorded the majority of it and posted it on Youtube. Go check it out, it was a great concert and since it was free I don’t feel bad about my donation. Yet I am frustrated that the special compilation has not yet been made available. Via Facebook on Januarary 28th I was assured it was still happening though and that when it was done it’ll be all worth the wait.
The following Kickstarters are ones that have yet to finish their rewards, in some cases they have provided half of them with promises of completion still to come.
DETECTIVE GRIMOIRE ADVENTURE GAME: This game is greatly delayed as they keep finding snags in development for making it ready for OS. I’m now wishing they focused surely on a standalone PC Version and that when I had the chance to pledge towards that version I did. Although right now it doesn’t matter, there’s still no game. It does look like their physical rewards of T-shirts and plushies are going out though. A few months back they also got the wallpapers out and gave all backers three free ones and higher tirered backers a few extras. Still at this point I’d really like my digital soundtrack and/or digital art book. They are probably holding onto sending those with the game itself though, feeling like out of context they won’t make much sense. I’ve replayed the demo like a hundred times and it still makes me excited for the final product though. I even replay the original version sometimes which has artwork that is not that great and no voiceover, BUT the storytelling, puzzles and mechanics are all in place. This big Swampy’s case version is just basically that game but better. I’m hoping once they have all these programming bugs done there’s a plan to eventually redraw the original game too though, it was a fun mystery.
JOHN K’S “CANS WITHOUT LABELS”: John Kricfalusi’s short authobiographical toon is actually coming along really nicely. I don’t think that he’ll actually end up getting the cartoon available by the end of this month though. I know he hoped he would, but based on the toons blog, we aren’t there yet. A Backer Only Clip showed us we aren’t THAT far off. Maybe by the end of March we’ll get our downloadable version. I’m pretty satisfied here. I didn’t pledge towards any of the crazy doodle or toys so I can’t really complain about the progress on those and the cartoon really has developed a lot.
SCIENCE FICTION LAND: This documentary is going to be bonkers. Especially with all the awards ARGO has received it’ll only help in making the final product of this even larger and more expansive. Packages with most of the pledge rewards other than the film itself have all gone out. I got my package with stickers, pin, postcard, laminated pass, CD (which I already owned because I love the band, so I need to figure out who to give my old copy to) and a thank you note. These extras are really fun and add to the entire thing. Swag is great, but this is one where it’s being to download and watch that final documentary with any extras that it comes with that I’m really awaiting.
THE LAST DOOR: This game hasn’t launched yet, but the updates have been happening. They just finished their third sprint of development and the BETA launch is for Feb 25. At that time I assume I’ll finally see my pixar avatar as well. That might not be till March though on official launch. The ARG they have put together has been extremely immersive. I think I’m now in the home stretch. I may or may not have to learn morse code backwards and forwards to pass it. That might not even be the answer. Luckily though the ARG I have become friends a young man in Croatia of all places. If anything else comes out of this game of that kind of experience it shall be all worth it. Yet, I still really want to get emerged in this 8 bit poink n click adventure and then listen to some classical music.
EDIT: They have pushed BETA back till March 1, with launch for March 11th to refine and perfect everything. They are on top of us keeping us updated very well, so no complaints.
TO BE OR NOT TO BE: What convinced me to grab this what should be amazing book was Ryan North’s Choose Your Own Adventure comic of Adventure Time. The final product should be super exciting with illustrations from some of my favorite independent comic artists going today. Stretch goals on this got so insane it offered the most amazingly tangible package for the lowest physical tier. This is going to be one kickass book. It’ll take years to read and re-read. It’s just… so much awesome. I can’t wait for this to come out. It’s not scheduled till May. If you missed out on the Kickstarter I’m sure breadpig will be publishing plenty more to go to bookstores, comic shops, etc., etc. It’s going to be an amazing worthwhile book at any price.
Michale Graves-Lost Skeleton Returns: Scheduled for a June release, I’m very happy this music album got funded and that I put myself into a position to guarantee a special edition exclusive version of the pressing. There’s not much more to say as June is far away.
THE WHOLE STORY-WINTER 2013: Never have I seen a Kickstarter that started releasing it’s material DURING the pledge drive. Backing meant you got access to many of the books offered, but the more you backed the more you got, as is the case with most things. This was a case of seriously getting more if you packed and still getting more if you didn’t though. Some of the most impressive stretch goals that provided tons and tons of comics. On the day AFTER pleding Ryan Estrada unleashed about 75% of the promised content and 100% of the original content the project planned to present. I pledged at a very high level here impressed so much with what Ryan was going I felt he deserved it and knowing what I’ll be getting in return will be worth it.
EARTHWARD: I jumped in on the physical version of this book by Bryan Q. Miller and Marcio Takara at the last few hours. I’m thinking of it more like when I do my monthly Previews Order. When it finally arrives in my mailbox it’ll just be a lovingy read graphic novel like my many others which will be read, then lost in a pile till one day it is found again and read again. I feel in love with Miller on his Batgirl run and Takara on his The Incredibles work with Mark Waid and then Landry Walker so I expect the two of them to do big things!
My Two Current Pledges, due to close over the next three days!
VERY NEAR MINT VOL.3: I purchased both Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 at comic conventions and somehow completely missed the Kickstarters for them. That isn’t happening this time. I chose the Baby Variant and am super excited about the entire package being created for this with all the stretch goals, including swag, prints, stickers, buttons and a new comic. This is one of two comics I am in at a major level for personal artwork and I can’t wait for it.
LEGEND OF RICKY THUNDER: Professional wrestling meets comics in an amazing crazy way. This beaty also hits it’s super stretch goals. Come in at $25 and get not only Ricky Thunder, but stickers, trading cards (inclduing one that will feature ME as a pro wrestler) and a collection featuring Kyle Starks other awesome comics (and that means his super hit This Is… Wildog). You really shouldn’t miss this while you still can! I don’t think he’ll be offering it like a package at this level after the Kickstarter. The same probably goes for Very Near Mint. The comic, lanyards and prints MIGHT be available but all at extra costs to recoup the investment.
I am also ALWAYS looking for new Kickstarters that really grab my eye. I’m kneedeep right now especially waiting on my The Whole Story package and then for my Ricky Thunder and VNM packages, but the right project will pull right into pledging and promoting the heck out of it.
On Thursday I’m actually getting to visit the Kickstarter offices and this week I became the process of being serious about my own Kickstarter projects so it’s all coming together and this is the perfect time for this reflection.
In a year or so from now I’ll probably revisit this all too. Maybe I’ll make a Kickstarter to make something about Kickstarter even!
Richard Alf (59, cancer): A co-founder of what became Comic-Con International, he also ran a successful comic shop as well as mail order service. His contributions to how the comics industry and well, the entertainment industry as a whole can not be ignored. An article on the San Diego Union Tribute website has a very well written and detailed account on his life and accomplishments.
Josie Decarlo (82, natural causes): A model for a short time in France, she became Dan Decarlo’s wife and the actual inspiration for Josie and The Pussycats. After his passing she kept his legacy and legend going.
Jean Giraud aka Moebius (73, cancer): I probably first discovered Moebius through his work with Jodorowsky. I was a weird kid growing up, so The Incal definitely called to me when Epic published it. I like many people who learn to love Moebius, be it through Heavy Metal, his Silver Surfer comic or even Blueberry would love when they found out he was designing something for a movie. Be it ALIEN, TRON, WILLOW, etc. and of course the failed Jodorowsky version of DUNE.
Joe Kubert (85, cancer): I absolutely and utterly have loved TOR and SGT. ROCK since I probably first started really discovering comics as more than just a kid who read comics. It has amazed me how he just kept doing work that surpassed anything he did beforehand as he got older. Books like Fax from Sarajevo blew me away showing what a true talent the man really was. He can also be thanked for helping train and guide some of my favorite creators ever through his school, including Rick Veitch, Steve Bissette, Tom Mandrake and Adam Warren.
Sheldon Moldoff (91, natural causes): A mainstay of DC Comics from the 40’s through the late 60’s, Sheldon is one of those unsung legends who did multiple classic covers and alongside Bob Kane ghost drew and co-created some of the most major characters of the Batman mythos. His best known work that is credited to him is his run on the 40’s Hawkman feature in Flash Comics.
Keiji Nakazawa (73, cancer): One of the few survivors to have actually been within Hiroshima during the World War II bombing, he went on to take this experience and become the creator of the highly popular and well known BAREFOOT GEN. Adapted into various live action and animes, his work delivered some of the strongest manga to make it stateside and a true legacy of the power of sequential storytelling in how it can capture life in all facets and add a new face unseen without comics.
Al Rio (49, suicide): The only work from Al Rio that I personally have gotten to enjoy was within the one shot comic associated with the video game Unbound Saga. He drew many other great books though and despite being considered a “good girl” artist, he has a linework style that should’ve procured him many more bigger gigs than he had. If he had been given a real run on something that I loved I would not have been upset about it. I probably would’ve ended up calling him one of my favorites, but unfortunately this was not be.
John Severin (90, natural causes): I first discovered the awesomeness of Serverin as a kid with CRACKED. Of course as I got older and “studied” comics I discovered his long history, especially his amazing work in Western comics. One of the best things I ever think he drew was one of the miniseries in the Desperadoes. It amazes me that his sister Marie is just as talented as he was. There’s actually no artist right now who can even come close to capturing John’s style. A true one of a kind artist whose legacy left behind are pages of shootouts, action, war and comedy that are so versatile in their expressionism, it makes you wish he drew every comic ever almost.
Tony de Zuñiga (79, results of stroke): Best known for co creating and drawing Jonah Hex in the 70’s, Tony is accredited with an even more important factor in the history of comics. Being a Filipino born artist and quite talented inspired the head honchos at DC to go to the Phillipines for a talent scout way back when. That search brought us talents like Nestor Redondo and Alex Nino, which in turn allowed folks like Whilce Portacio and others.
I had many panels laid out for myself to hit, but I also knew that I also had press sessions this day and Saturday, so anytime not in one of those would be the only time I would have to actually be on the show floor itself, so I took advantage of that and hit the floor hard.
This meant visiting The Block and checking out vinyl toys and one off exclusives I couldn’t even begin to think of buying, but I took my share of photos and had conversations. Got a sketch from Australia’s Sekure D which was pretty sweet. I really liked Ron English‘s big statues he made to have shown off at the show as well. What was really sweet was seeing some of the art fromSpoke Art, especially the work from there Wes Anderson art show Bad Dads, where they had prints from both this last year and this year’s show.
The Block is next to where all the super expensive autographing of wrestlers, playboy bunnies and pornstars who aren’t actually guests of the con are located, so I got to see Brutus Beefcake, Tito Santana, and Greg Valentine whoring themselves across the aisle from the real Delorean and 1960’s Batmobile with a fake Marty McFly. Nearby was Shifty Look who had an old school arcade set up which was pretty cool. This was near the Podcast arena where I got to say hello to Keith R.A. DeCandido and next to him The Chronic Rift‘s John S. Drew who I haven’t met in person before but have talked to online. I also stopped in the Fandom Dating booth and got to talk to the site’s runner/owner. I had a feeling I wouldn’t make it to Sci-Fi Speed Dating during the show so at least being registered on that site might make something happen, although I’ve gotten two totally Spam or just “Really? Why would I respond to you?” things from it and the one person who caught my interest responded with such a blah response I didn’t follow up. The sites still in beta though and the NYCC was a big part of building the site, so we shall see.
My interview session withRed Bubble was rescheduled through txts while walking the floor so I made my way over to their booth. It was completely a thrill to learn more about the site and this is another one of my specific articles coming up with pictures and more, so I won’t say more now.
I had a little time to kill at this point and also bumped into a few friends on the floor just walking around, so I took advantage of this fact. I made my second purchase of the show around this time inTHEY LIVE Collector’s Edition Blu-Ray. Shout Factory, the distributors had it available for $25 and almost a month before release to retail so I just grabbed it since it’s something I’d buy in stores eventually anyways. After this I made my way over to Artist’s Alley for my first of two trips as there was lots of aisles in Artist’s Alley in the very large North Pavilion. While there I got to at least say hello to my good friend Laura Lee Gulledge and become a member of the Molly Danger fan club, Jamal Igle’s awesome project he’s working on.
Somewhere in this time I also made it over to Scott C.’s table in Autographing to pick up his new book The Great Showdowns, which would be purchase three of four, for those counting along. I had worn my Double Fine Adventure shirt specifically hoping a few folks would notice, but mostly Scott. I asked him to draw rejected versions of the two protagonists from the still codenamed REDS in a showdown inside the book.
The most exciting time I had on the schedule for the day though was getting to sit with Mary Lynn Rajskub, Hank Harris and Jamie Clayton, the cast of the transmedia program on rides.tv from Fourth Wall, DIRTY WORK. It was great to sit down with them and discuss working on the show, some behind the scenes and questions that haven’t really been covered, but mostly it was the meeting them that was most awesome and now having an excuse to promote the show even more than I was doing so before. I want more episodes and so does the cast, they really seemed to enjoy being part of this production.
After the press room I had a few hours to kill till I had to get my opportunity to interview Nick Kroll, so back to Artist’s Alley to try and finish it up knowing that I might not get back there Saturday or Sunday. I saw a couple of Cosplay’s that really caught my eye, most notably BATTLE POPE. I also made my final purchase, number four if you forgot from a few paragraphs above. It was the collected edition of ACE KILROY Volume One. When the collection first appeared on Kickstarter it really caught my notice, but at pledge rate it was going to run $40, a bit rich for my blood at the time. I am very happy and feel fortunate that the guy’s had a very successful Kickstarter (200% funded) and that the collection was at the table for $10. I snatched that right up! Can’t wait to sit down and read it.
Finally I headed back to the Press Room area which was located in the back of the Que Hall C used for letting folks into the building in the morning and the IGN theater after that. It’s what feels like a three block walk on paved concrete designed for cars and planes, not feet. That press ran a bit long, ending up at a table that was next to last in 15 minute roundtables. Yet I had lots of fun and got a great video which also features John C. Daly and executive producer John Levenstein.
It was more floor walking after till I decided to check out Scott C.’s Unbound stage talk where he went into further details behind the history of The Great Showdowns. The highlight of it all though was that during the Q & A Scott draw the questioners portraits. Yes, that means I have a quick sketch portrait of myself by Scott C. It’s a big large though, done on 11 X 17 paper.
I went over to theTitmouse panel after this and had gone to try and get some giveaways (I only wanted the coloring book actually), but as I was sitting there watching the sizzle reel I remembered that there was a Bravest Warriors/Superfuckers party down at Jim Hanley’s and so I rushed down there and while I was late, Nate, marketing director at Frederator had them reloop the Bravest Warriors episode, which ended up being the full version, which is not what was shown the next day at the panel. I also got some awesome buttons. If you aren’t subscribed to Cartoon Hangover, go do so now! Also, at the Titmouse panel I did at least discover that this awesome music video directed by Mike Judge of Zac Brown Band animated by Titmouse existed.
Thus ended my second day at NYCC and boy was I exhausted!