Friday, August 7, 2009
San Diego ~Comic Con~ 2009 The Blow by Blow in Review
I was going to skip this post because of heavy workload. However I haven’t posted in a while and in order to really get to work, I usually like to clean out the clutter in my studio and my mind before I really sit down to hash out new projects. So here are the cliff notes of my con adventure.
Originally I wasn’t going to San Diego, I opted instead this year to go to Chicago Wizard con. As fate would have it I learned the first day of San Diego comic con that the three major players all pulled out of Wizard Con which would have made my Chicago trip pointless. So with a lot of help from my friend Trish and my amazing wife Lisa I canceled all reservations for Chicago and got to the airport on standby that night. Amazingly I made both trips up and back without incident and actually quite enjoyably. As always a good friend Rene Lafargue always makes sure Andrew, Ewing, and I don’t go homeless when in town.
I learned an important lesson about frame of mind on the journey. I went on standby being humble and gracious because chances were I was going to get bumped and hassled maybe even lose my luggage if it made the flight and I didn’t. But that frame of mind to roll with the punches and being grateful for whatever I received made my trip much more pleasant, than previous years of panicked stress and the I deserve this or that mentality. I saw many people yelling, a few crying, and very stressed. I was very thankful not to be one of them.
Though I had not really planned it, two wonderful ladies Jen and Pfunk picked me up from the airport and immediately escorted me to a pre-con party at the airport bar where I met up with all my friends. After a few drinks and the closing of the bar we returned to a friend’s house. Mr. Lafargue and his lovely sister have been very hospitable to Andrew and I for many years now. There were five of us staying at Casa de Lafargue that night and while Mr. Bawidamann was wise and called it a night early, I unfortunately did not. After the singing and some wine I got exactly 13 minutes of rest before we had to get in a taxi and open up the booth. Luckily I did manage to take a shower before we left.
For anyone not familiar I will explain the yearly comic con scenario for my collective group. All of us share a huge booth space at con and have for several years. The booth is #433 and is always located at the same place on comic-con’s floor.
The booth is run by the Brotherhood who put on X-Sanguin, which is a huge themed after-Con-party. If you’re curious what a party looks like you can check it here:
or here: http://www.freaksnightout.com/
The booth seems to be growing each year but the current residents looks like this: the Suicide Girls, Rich Black and the Brotherhood on one side and Brian Ewing and Andrew Bawidamann on the other. I help Andrew run his booth when I am not busy with meetings and networking. Sometimes I sell swag but usually I just help Andy man the booth.
We got a taxi around 7:15am. I had a bottle of OJ for breakfast. We got into the hall around 7:35. Setup the booth right until 9am when the doors opened up and we sold shirts and prints the whole day. Got to catch up with Ewing’s crew Aaron and Justin. I think I only left the booth to go the bathroom once, very busy day. I bailed with Pilar at 6pm to order some Chinese for everyone and got 30 minutes of sleep before we went out for the night. I met up with Bawidamann and Ewing for the Baby Tattoo party at the Hilton. We got a chance to meet some really cool artists and talk with Arnie and Cathy Fenner, the couple behind Spectrum and many other fantastic illustration books.
Later that night we met up again with Aaron and Justin of Rocket Society http://rocketsociety.com/ and walked the city to see some dude paint cartoons on naked ladies but when we saw the line we ended up opting for this cool Irish pub for Drink and Draw. They were shooting a tv series when we were there and singing some really bad karaoke. I love Irish pubs, especially when the barkeeps wear naughty socks. Andy again wisely went home around midnight and I decided to stay. Not the best decision as I was then head-butted by a flailing drunk girl. Never the less I was able to get my wife Lisa a really cool Drink & Draw shirt from Dave Johnson and his crew.
The rest of the night was kind of surreal. I know it involved shots, Chinese food cleavage, snoring, more wine, a cucumber, a taxi cab driver living the thug life, and 1 hour and 23 minutes of sleep.
OJ from Starbucks then repeat yesterday until 2pm. So basically I was waiting for an editor to swing by the table. He was there to see Brian and I. We were not sure when to expect him, as con is crazy. Around 1pm they took lunch orders, and unfortunately my lunch went AWOL on its return visit. Starving and sleep deprived I made a really poor choice. I ordered the closest food available, which happen to be a 3-day-old jalapeño pretzel hotdog. The smell alone made me gag but I ate half. The horrors I survived that day as I ventured into the rancor that is the Comiccon bathroom are too horrendous and unsanitary to be described. While it seemed I had lost years of my life I’m sure the whole ordeal took 5 minutes. Upon my return Ewing had informed me that the editor was looking for me at our booth but alas he was no more, much like the protective lining in my stomach. I then began to get violently ill with what my best guess was a reawakened ulcer. By 4pm I could bare the pain and the con BO no longer. I jumped into a taxi and headed back to Casa de Lafargue where I rolled around in pan unable to rest until 7pm. At least it was in a bed this time and not the floor as Andy was out. The night started to cool of as well, which also helped, quite a bit. Luckily, Jen the saint showed up and drove me to Rite Aid where I loaded up on a night of antacids, fluids, and sleep. I know not why my dreams were so wild that night; but ere the waning and fantastically gibbous moon had risen far above the eastern plain, I was awake in a cold perspiration, determined to sleep no more. Such visions as I had experienced were too much for me to endure again but vaguely burned in my brain resided the same two fragments Brian and a cucumber!
Amazingly I felt lovely the next day. We all woke up early and Pilar took us to the Hash House. The HH is apparently home to the world’s most ridiculously large flapjack. After a great breakfast we were off to work another day at con selling Bawidamann pinup to the world. Although very busy we had a lot of help from Jackie and Katie so I got to leave the booth for a bit. I stopped by Eric Powell’s booth and got a doodle. I also was lucky enough later in the day to meet a long time hero of mine John Kricfalusi. John was the animator extraordinaire that created Ren and Stimpy. I grabbed myself a McCain figure and sweet Sody Pop sketch. http://johnkstuff.blogspot.com/ Also Andrew while out snagged me a Travis Charest and Adam Hughes sketchbook!
After I returned to our table Josh Bernstein (my A.D. for Revolver and RoyalFlush) and his lovely lady stopped by. Shortly following I got to meet Brian Posehn as he passed the booth. Earlier this year I did an illustration for Royal Flush of Brian so I introduced myself and since he dug the work I gave him the original. He graciously posed for a quick pic with the art. http://www.revolvermag.com/ and http://royalflushmagazine.com/
Andrew and I wrapped up the day feeling pretty good as his stock of shirts and prints dwindled to almost nothing. Andrew had a business meeting so Ewing and I got some fish and chips then headed to the Dark Horse party to hang with Chris Warner for a bit. Afterward we headed to the X-Sanguin Zombie party and met up with the rest of our group. The night and day flew by in a blur. The night ended with an after party sketch session with Mr. Ewing showing me why he gets paid the big bucks. My head hit the pillow around 5:30am and hit the shower at 7am.
I have learned from cons in the past that this is the best day to do the majority of my work. So with Jen, Barb, and Andrew manning the battle stations I was free to network for most of the day. For the most part it went very well. I already lined up some new work that I am really looking forward too and had a chance to meet some really cool editors from both DC and Dark Horse. Hopefully in the near future these contacts lead to a successful relationship with both companies.
On a fanboy note I was really excited to see and get doodles from some of my favorite artists Dave McKean and Kent Williams. I also became a fan of Jason Shawn Alexander and have to make sure to find some of his titles next time I’m in the bookstore. Stopping by the Spectrum booth I got to meet Brom, which was killer! Finally I snagged a James Jean portfolio with the last of my cash.
After the least painful load out yet the con was wrapped up with a wonderful tradition. We all head to the Turf Club with all our West Coast friends for drinks and delicious steaks. While the music was terrible I felt very fortunate to be surrounded by such wonderful people and for being able to do what I love for a living.
Monday’s flight back was a painless as possible and while I had a great time with great new and old friends it was heaven to finally be home with my amazing wife and my stinky little dog Rockwell.
I’m sure there’s a ton of stuff I forgot to mention but that’s the highlights and I have to get to work and make some art! Here a few pics to give you some sense of the trip.