Heroes Con Report 2008: Read the Report, Stick Around for the Photos

It was another fantastic Heroes Con last weekend...awesome, as usual, and came at a great time, as I was really ready for a break from my Mr. Mom duties. Sadly, it's one of only two conventions I get to do this year (the other being SPX). Fortunately, it's so much fun that it's like a year's worth of shows in one weekend!

Special thanks go out to my mother- and father-in-law, Bob and Linda in Greensboro, for letting my pals and I crash at their house on Thursday night, leaving only a third of the trip to be tackled Friday morning. In the past, I've always gotten up at the crack of ass Friday morning to make the five-hour trip, leaving me behind on sleep and playing catch-up all weekend. This was definitely the way to go!

It was a busy weekend from stem to stern at the old table...every time I got up to leave and check out some of the other booths, someone would walk up and I'd spend the next ten minutes talking with them. Likewise, on the occasion when I did slip away for a few minutes, I'd keep an eye on my spot across the way and dash back over when someone stopped by. Good for the ol' pocketbook, not so good for bringing home a bunch of fanboy bullshit. In fact, about all I picked up that could be considered really geeky is the Essential HULK Vol. 1, which I acquired for the measly sum on five bucks. Otherwise, nothing. Usually I try to swing some con deals on Sunday, but with a panel on Sunday afternoon and a full house, I just didn't have the time to search 'em out! I looks like that Emma Frost camel-toe statue will have to wait until next year.

Lessee, I did pick up some cool books here and there: Alex Robinson's new one, TOO COOL TO BE FORGOTTEN, which was the first thing I read when I got back, and really enjoyed. Alex does such a great job at setting the scene, at making you feel part of the world he's creating...he's just an excellent talent. Also finally picked up Pat Lewis' THE CLAWS COME OUT, which I'm gonna try to read tonight. Picked up Kyle Webster's new LIGHT CHILDREN and Dean Yeagle's cheese-cakey MANDY'S SHORTS, sold by the ever-lovin', ever-charmin' Alberto Ruiz at BrandStudio Press. Got some minis from JCC, Duane Ballenger, Jim Rugg, Laura Park, Shannon Smith, Josh Latta, and Brad McGinty. Got one'a them sweet Jim Mahfood-illustrated Indie Island t-shirts. Chatted with Heidi MacDonald and Chris Duffy, my editor at Nickelodeon Magazine a bit, and finally met Tom Spurgeon for the first time!

I also goofed around a good bit with my neighbors, the Dollar Bin guys. They're always good for about a thousand laughs, even though Dustin had them scurrying around like fire ants trying to record every single panel at the show. The Dollar Bin guys also introduced me to the lovely Rachelle Gougen, of the Living Between Wednesdays blog and Halifax, Nova Scotia. I had a completely unlikely yet totally fascinating conversation with her about such topics as Sloan, Sidney Crosby, the QMJHL, Jimmy Beaulieu and the fact that Darwyn Cooke shops at the comic store where she works. She did me a major solid later on, when she introduced me to the man himself, as I nervously handed him some comics and tried to stammer out how big a fan I was as he sketched the Green Lantern in my NEW FRONTIER ABSOLUTE EDITION. Definitely one of the high points of the weekend, and the biggest fanboy moment I've had in years.

I was wondering how sales, attendance, etc. would be this year given the economic mess our country has sunk into over the last twelve months. For my part, I didn't really notice much of a change...much to my good fortune, I always seem to have many of the same people walk up year after year and inquire "What's new?" before plunking down some cash. Still, there were rumblings, I guess, about other exhibitors not doing as well. I dunno. Call it impatience or whatever, but I really feel like any exhibitor who expects to set the world on fire exhibiting at a show like Heroes for the first time is deluding themselves. It's a receptive crowd, but it is still a more mainstream crowd, and it takes time to win them over. In my eyes, (and I've been there since the beginning) Indie Island is an unqualified, spectacular success...Shelton and Dustin have given us he keys to the kingdom, and have allowed creators like myself access to all kinds of new readers. Unlike on that TV show, this Island isn't going anywhere, and I can't help but think that anyone who's producing quality stuff that shows up for a second and third year will see interest increase every time.

Another thing I took away from the show was a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and a renewed desire to push myself to create some new, fantastic work. For one thing, I desperately want to complete SELLOUT sometime before the sun grows dim. I've been working on it for awhile, in stolen moments here and there, but I think it's past time I really buckled down and started churning out the pages. My self-imposed deadline is growing ever-nearer, and I'd love to actually bring something in on time for once, even if it's just for myself. I'm also considering making the next ATOM-BOMB BIKINI into something really special. Maybe full-color, hardcover...but also a bit more expensive. We'll see. There are offers, I just need to ascertain exactly how many people would plunk down the cash for my girlie drawings. Be interesting to see how it turns out.

No Heroes Con report would be complete without HUGE thanks going out to everyone on the staff that make it so great. Shelton, Dustin, Shawn, Todd, Andy, Rusty...everybody soooo nice, even to a nobody like me. My heart swells with apprecation, and I love 'em for it. I'd fight a tiger for Heroes Con!

Finally, the pics. One of the advantages to having a baby is that you need to have a good camera to capture ever goddamn thing...lucky for me, it also takes great pictures at the comicon!

Draw, monkey, draw!

Brad McGinty was doing hilarious, awful portraits of con-goers as sexy ladies for only five bucks. Here's Scott "posing" with his. I feel sorry for this drawing.

The aforementioned Brad, with Josh Latta and Shannon Smith.

J Chris lords over his tiny minions!

Do I look like I need reference for Big Barda?

Kelly Alder, selling the PopIdiot tees and corrupting America's youth.

I love this photo of J Chris, Brad and Josh, but the unexpected Pat Lewis sighting in the BG pretty much elevates it to classic!

JimRugg pretends to remember who J Chris is again.

The Joker takes care of Duane Ballenger's other eye.

Adam and Shawn enjoy the "latest" in alcoholic beverages.

Before we knew it, it was six o'clock Sunday, and it was "Goodbye, Charlotte" until next year.


I May Be a Sore Loser...

...but at least I'm not a welcher. As per the stipulations of our wager, I wore Jeff Brown's Red Wings jersey last Saturday at Heroes Con. Lucky for me, the convention hall was hotter than hell, and he let me take it off after a scant four hours (allowing me to reveal my Penguins/ Jordan Staal T-shirt underneath). What a pal!

In all honesty, it wasn't too bad, and if the number of people who came up and gave a hard time knowing the situation was irksome, at least it let me know that people are actually reading all this nonsense. And it made me glad I never went through with that "2 Girls, 1 Stanley Cup" idea I had a couple days after the finals ended.

Courtesy of the boys at the Dollar Bin, and used without permission, here's a little bit of photographic evidence. BOO! Red Wings stink!


Con Sketchin'

I'll have more on Heroes Con a little later (here's a hint...It was great), but for now, here are a few of the sketches I did for folks at the show: Cavewoman, Firestar, and the ubiquitous Black Canary!


Heroes Con is Imminent

I'll be leaving tonight for beautiful Charlotte NC to exhibit at the Heroes Convention all weekend! Here's a few last-minute details:

  • I'll be at Table #501 in Indie Island, along with the rest of the cool kids.

  • I'll have T-shirts for sale, hot off the screen-print press! Men's, women's and kid's sizes...it's kinda just a trial run to see how they do, so get 'em while they last!

  • As usual, I'll be doing sketches! I can't seem to upload 'em at the moment, so you can peep a few of 'em here.

If you're a funnybook fan, I can't imagine any show short of San Diego with more to offer...and even then, Heroes is all about the comics, not movies and video games and all that other bullshit. Hell, even the weather should be nice! Hope to see you there!


New Books!

Hey, folks...finally have a couple of new books available in the shop: Teeny Bikini #4 and Crustacean Frustration!

Teeny Bikini #4 is another wee 20-page volume of sketchbook madness, along with several inked pieces and sporting a pop-art inspired, old-timey-esque comic cover.

Crustacean Frustration is a story of a chef and a lobster, of heartbreak and redemption. Also, curiously, it's pretty much all-ages, despite the fact that it's the only story I've ever done that involves a firearm! Hell of a country, ain't it?!

You can check out some pages from each book below, and scroll down a little further for the all important PayPal buttons! And as always, thanks for reading!

(PS: I'm aware that the spacing below surrounding the PayPal buttons is completely f'ed up...my apologies! If anyone can shed some light as to why, I'm all ears!)



Order BOTH!

Heroes Con 2008

Heroes Con 2008 is less than a week away! If you're planning to go and haven't bought tickets yet, take a gander at this fantastic print of the cast of DC: The New Frontier, illustrated by none other than special guest Darwyn Cooke! My inner fanboy is bubbling to the surface and drooling like a pitbull in August. Far as I know, the only way to get one is by purchasing a prepaid three-day admission. More details here.


On the Wall

A few months back, my friend Jay Geldhof and I decided to each take a stab at illustrating the same character, a little exercise he cleverly coined "Character Assasination". We've only done two so far...Jedi Knight Aayla Secura and Female Fury Lashina...but both of us plan to get back on the horse and collaborate again once we have a free minute or our respective baby daughters head off to kindergarten...whichever comes first!

Anyway, Atom-Bomb Bikini reader Jason O. dug the Aayla Secura illo enough to acquire the original art! I threw in a color print of the finished product, and he recently sent me a sweet photo of the whole framed piece! Nice! It's always such an honor to see your work grace the wall of someone's home.

Wanted: More readers like Jason O.!


Musical Maids

A couple recent pieces from the Arts section of the Boston Phoenix: Prodigy Esperanza Spaulding and Dolly Parton (the headline, missing here, read "Backwoods Barbie", 'natch)!


Coming Soon: Teeny Bikini #4

Printing this week, available by Friday!


Anybody But Them

(This post is incredibly negative, everything Buzz Bissinger and Michael Wilbon hate about blogs. Consider yourself warned.)

What a difference a day makes.

I suppose this is the part where I'm expected to say "Congrats to Detroit, they played a great series blah blah blah" and all that shit. Well, fuck that. I make no claims of objectivity. Man, I hate the Red Wings! The only time these assholes seem to get their shit together enough to win it all it's against a team I like (this year, '02 vs. Carolina, etc.). And here they are, again, those same senior-citizen pretty-boy assholes who I've had to endure for the last fifteen fucking years. I'm so sick of the Red Wings that I could spit. So to hell with them. And if you're a Wings fan, I don't know what to tell you..defend 'em all you want, tell me you like my team too, it's not really gonna change my mind. Your four cups=I despise your team. That's just how it is.

Lemme clue you in on something about sports...unless you're a fan of the team, a frontrunner, or the type of vagina that says things like "I just love to see the game played at its highest level.", you don't like teams that win all the time. It's boring, it's a total snooze. Obviously, the fans in Detroit feel that way, since they couldn't even be bothered to sell out their own arena for every playoff game.

I hate to pollute a post this negative with optimism, but I am really proud of how the Penguins played all through the playoffs, coming so close and refusing to go down quietly. And while they do have a great future, nothing's guaranteed, and you have to appreciate and take advantage of the chances that come your way. The point is, I loved this team, and I really wanted this team to win it. Several of these guys'll be gone in a month, and that's gonna suck. All so Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby could win again! Ugh, it makes me sick.

So, fuck. Now it's over. I know at some point in the future I'll look back at this year's playoff run with different eyes and remember it as a fun ride, but all I feel right now is frustrated, angry, and bitter, bitter disappointment. Plus, thanks to that stupid bet I made, I have to wear a Red Wings jersey at Heroes Con in three weeks, a fucking Chris Osgood jersey, of all things...the thought alone just makes me want to shove a sharpened pencil into my brain.

Also, I've had a few requests, both in the comments sections and in several emails hoping for and asking about a drawing celebrating the Wings winning the cup. I'm baffled by this...I'm glad you like my work and all, but anyone who's read even one of my hockey-related posts has to know who I'm rooting for, that I'm pretty passionate about it and how thoroughly unenjoyable and, frankly, impossible it'd be for me to do something like that. Maybe it's typical that fans who follow the Wings, who've had nothing but success for the last ten years...are just clueless. They haven't had to endure any disappointment, so they have no appreciation for those who have. Anyway, sorry, it's not gonna happen.

Fuck it, I'm going to bed,



Having a ton of work to do, I decided I'd listen to last night's Game Five in my studio on the radio via NHL.com. That's how I'd been following the games all year, and while I wasn't counting the Penguins out, the possibility that this would be their last game until October made me want to make sure I listened to Mike Lange call one last contest before the long summer break. When the Pens scored twice early to take a 2-0 lead, I briefly considered moving to the couch to watch on TV...but superstition says stay with what's working, so I remained at my desk. As the lead evaporated and the Wings took the lead, my emotions began to take over, and unable to concentrate on what I was doing anyway, I flipped on the TV to witness what I hoped would be an amazing comeback, but feared would be the bitter end. My anger and disgust grew as the seconds ticked off...the Red Wing fans were chanting "WE WANT THE CUP!"...at one point, with about a minute remaining, I tried to think of what in the house might be flammable enough to burn the Stanley Cup patch I bought (with the intention of attaching to my Evgeni Malkin jersey) to unrecognizable cinders.

Then, the amazing happened, and Max Talbot whacked the puck past Osgood with 35 seconds left! Overtime. I went back to the radio and kept working while I listened. The Red Wigs seemed to get a ton of chances, but Fleury was amazing, stopping everything that came his way. The Penguins, thanks to a couple of sloppy plays by Detroit forwards, received a couple of 5-on-4 chances, but with the quarterback of their power play, defenseman Sergei Gonchar, in the dressing room after injuring his back earlier in the game, they had trouble even putting a shot on net with the extra man.

Overtime turned into second overtime, then third overtime...Once you're about an overtime-and-a-half in, you know the result is going to be one of the best memories you have of watching a hockey game, or feel like a colossal waste of time you'll forever remember with dread. The radio team kept mentioning how long Game Five had gone on vs. others in Finals history...seventh-longest...sixth-longest...fifth-longest...

About halfway through the third OT, and at about five minutes 'til one a.m., Detroit's Jiri Hudler high-sticked the Pens' Rob Scuderi in the face, drawing blood...a four-minute penalty instead of the usual two. Then, Mike Lange says Sergei Gonchar is coming out on to the ice. I'm astounded. And baffled. "Sarge" had returned?! My spirits were buoyed with hope, and soared 36 seconds later when the Pens' Petr Sykora got open for a pass by Malkin and fired one right past Osgood. "Heeeeeee shoots and scores!" I jumped up from the desk and ran to watch the celebration on TV.

I knew I'd be exhausted today, but I hardly even feel it. I am gonna cherish the experience of this game forever. Probably the best memory I have of watching a Penguins game is the four-overtimer vs. the Caps back in '96...my broke ass didn't have cable, so I stayed at the laundromat/bar where I worked (don't ask) 2 1/2 hours past midnight and closing time to watch Nedved bury one behind Kolzig. I have a new best memory...but it could get so much better.

Tomorrow is Game Six in Pittsburgh...somehow all those old-ass bitches who play for Detroit are gonna have to get their act together to play another game and take another whack at closing out the Pens and lifting the Cup.

Otherwise, it's Game Seven Saturday night. Anything can happen.

We're alive. It's June, and the Pittsburgh Penguins are still playing hockey.



Game Five

Well, tonight the Pens take their 4-4 road record into Detroit for their last chance to stave off elimination. I think they'll win tonight, if just for spite...I'd like to see those humps in the stands in Detroit go home disappointed, knowing they wasted a big part of their unemployment checks on gas, food and tickets just to not see the Stanley Cup.

But no, I'm not bitter.


Things to Come