Thursday, July 28, 2016

San Diego Comic Con 2016: An Epic Tale

 Kevin Eastman
 Dave McKean
 Neal Adams
 Paul Levitz
 Marv Wolfman
 Mike Mignola
 Dave McKean graciously sketching in my copy of one of his published sketchbooks at the Allen Spiegel Fine Arts Booth (a longtime favorite SDCC booth.) McKean, by the way, has a wonderful list of some of his favorite films and music on his website. The man has excellent taste. I am also grateful to his lovely wife, Clare, for taking the time to talk to me about how the sketchbooks came to be. She shared that the McKean Family was visiting the Bilbao Museum and that each member was given a sketchbook. Their children loved it and remembered their visit by sketching their way through rather than simply taking photos. I love McKean's work but there's something special about the sketchbooks that really move me.

 Chester Brown sketches for us at Drawn and Quarterly, one of our favorite publishers (and they know it! If you ever want some recommendations, drop me an email. I will tell you my favorite books that they've published.) Chester's self portrait that he drew in our sketchbook is below:

Sydney Padua
 Chip Kidd
 Barron Storey, always The Master, signing copies of his books for me. The list of folks he has inspired is many including me. When I'm asked who my favorite living artist is, hands down, it's Barron. Eidolon Fine Arts represents some of the most talented artists in the world and it's always a treat to visit their booth. They always have great people who also happen to be great artists at their booth. My buddy, Sinclair Klugarsh, works for EFA and you can check out his art here
 Barron Storey and Soey Milk drawing at Eidolon Fine Arts 

 Can you tell how much I love G Willow Wilson's work? Those are copies of my books that she is signing (and holding.) I can't recommend Ms Marvel (with Kamala Khan) enough. Hands down, one of the best comics ever created. 

 William Gibson
 David was determined to meet Stan "The Man" Lee this year. Tristan and I met him last year. Tristan was lucky enough to meet him a couple of years ago. Stan Lee has always eluded David when it came time to sign the above book so David was ecstatic when Tristan won a chance to meet him (after we waited more than six hours and the only one to win was Tristan) and gave the wristband to his Dad.   

 We are big fans of the work of artists, Kent Williams and Soey Milk.

 Jim Davis (alas, he's the only artist in this series of photos that we did not meet but it was cool to see someone whose work my entire family grew up reading on a daily basis.)

I love that my sweet husband found my copy of Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron that he sent me in 1994 when we were penpals and asked Daniel Clowes to sign it.  

 Most of my friends and students already know that Lynda Barry is another one of my Art Gurus. I love her work. I love her books. I love her! I can't recommend her books enough. If you are ever lucky enough to take a class with her, DO EEET! 

 Noelle Stevenson
 It is always great to see Eddie Campbell. He had LOTS of wonderful news! Eddie and his wife (!!  !!) Audrey Niffenegger were collaborating on a new book and that Audrey is also working on a sequel to The Time Traveler's Wife!  I have never seen him so happy which made David and I happy. Here's the sketch he did for us in one of our Alec books:

The Hall as the panels were let out (filled with crew from Beauty and the Beast, fans and people just trying to get out.) 
Same Hall, same time as above. We were shut out of the Beauty and the Beast panel but we waited outside and had the crew members that we missed at The Academy's 25th anniversary reunion in May sign our book (see below.) My favorite quote was from Don Hahn who as he signed the book said, "I feel so humbled." David and I have met the crew twice and there is always some spark of magic in the air when they're grouped together. They are always extremely kind, appreciative and gracious to their fans which can be quite rare in the film industry. I've never been surrounded by such a large group of artists and creators who knew that they created magic and something truly one of a kind. We thank them for it as do so many fans of Beauty and the Beast.

 Michael Barrier
 We spent a great deal of time talking to Howard Chaykin two days in a row and it was a unique experience. He told personal stories and kept it real. We appreciated his honesty, openness and his talent. He truly is one of a kind.

 You are probably wondering what in the hell this is a photo of. Well, this is the END of the line to get into Hall H. What you can't see is the actual end of the line (unless you enlarge the photo and look with a magnifying glass and even then, you can't see that there are THOUSANDS of people in this line.) There are people camped out and waiting for a chance to get into Hall H (where the big film and TV panels are held. We skipped it this year because I didn't want David to be waiting in a wheel chair in the hot sun.)
 The line goes up the marina. Up. Up. Up. It's probably also doubled but you can't see that too well here.

 Up the Marina, around the corner, up the side street, then across the street where it is situated on a lawn and in rows called, "chutes." It is insane and should be experienced at least once in life. Preferably, on a Friday night with seven thousand of your closest "friends."

Howard Chaykin again. Here's the sketch he did for us of his character, Reuben Flagg.

 Dan Jurgens sketching Superman for Hero Initiative:

 Kaz signing at Fantagraphics (another Kilmer Household favorite publisher)

 This is the insanity around the WB booth. There were at least three different signings going on at the same time. The one that looked the best was for The Flash where the cast really went out of their way to interact with fans. We weren't lucky enough to get a wristband for The Flash (though we tried!) but it was fun to watch while we waited at a nearby booth for an author who was a no show. We did get a wrist band for Outcast which was a complete waste of time and a real disappointment. Neither creator Robert Kirkman nor Brent Spiner bothered to show up. Security pushed us through so fast that we barely had time to breathe. I couldn't believe how much time Grant Gustin (Flash) took his time with his fans compared to what happened to us for a show we've never even seen and actors we don't even know their names. They wouldn't let us take photos either.  

David and I decided to go to the Warner Archives Panel next and we're both really glad that we did. It was so much fun! (We found them earlier in the week and we each selected a (free) DVD. I got Lust for Life (about Van Gogh) and David got Lusty Men (a western, which he's been wanting for years!) The panel had a sing along, giveaways and Tom Kenny:

 We had great seats for the next panel, Ash vs the Evil Dead. Unfortunately, the seats were so good that the podium blocked out Sam Raimi. I am a longtime fan of everything that these guys have done (Ted, Sam and Bruce, I'm talking to you!) It was one of the best panels I've ever been to. Sam Raimi stuck around afterwards and signed autographs both inside the room as well as in the hall. I really appreciated it as did so many of the other fans in the room. I nabbed an autograph from Sam as he was leaving his seat. I then ran to the side of the stage and managed to catch Ted Raimi as he was going down the stairs. I told him that Lunatics: A Love Story is one of my all time favorite films and I thanked him for it. Alas, I don't have a photo with him (I have one from the late 90's that I will try to find and post) but I walked out on cloud 9!  

 Sam Raimi graciously spent time with the fans after the panel.

 I appreciated that Allen Bellman went out of his way to walk around his booth and shake David's hand. His wife is adorable as Wonder Woman. 

I've raved many times in person and on social media about David Mack. Hands down, one of the best artists/authors and truly the nicest guy working in comics. I almost started crying when I asked him if he would draw Frida Kahlo for me and handed me back the sketch below. I thought that it had been a great convention so far and that nothing could make it better than it already had been. I was wrong. I know that many of my friends say that they're not into comics but I beg you to take the time and look at David Mack's work. He will change what you think of comics. He may even change your life.    

 Who doesn't love Sergio Aragones?!

 I waited in line for David (who was in a wheelchair for the convention) to have Matt Fraction sign some things for him. While I was waiting (and clearly on a different planet after go, go going for four nights without much sleep and five days of LOTS of walking, carrying books and pushing a wheelchair) I heard David shouting my name. An extremely kind gentleman was motioning for me to cut the line and get in front of him! He realized that David had been waiting and didn't want to see him wait. That little act of kindness was one of many that we experienced while we were at SDCC. Less than 20 minutes after that, a woman went out of her way to push David through a crowd of people. She kept telling him, "I'm going to help you." We had another gentleman who was wearing a Captain America costume SLAM the elevator doors open for David. (The convention center has a serious problem with elevator doors that close too quickly and not only do they close but they refuse to open up again if you get stuck in them. It's rather ridiculous.) The people who went out of their way to be kind and helpful far outnumbered the people who let doors slam in our faces or ignored my cry of, "Excuse us! Wheelchair!" as we tried to get through crowds of people who were oblivious to everything but their cellphones. 

The act of kindness made meeting Fraction a bit of a blur but it definitely made it quite memorable!

 Trina Robbins and The Gang signing The Complete Wimmen's Comix at Fantagraphics

 Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie sign their trading cards and comics at Comixology 

 Marc Silvestri

 Tristan shows how Comic Con can be done. Five days worth of swag and the only thing he spent was time.

All in all, it was a week that we will never forget. David, Tristan and I are extremely grateful that we were able to attend. We weren't sure if we could do it but since we didn't have to pay for our badges, parking was paid for months ago, a friend graciously let us stay with her, so all we really needed money for was food and gas. David was hellbent on going and it was all he talked about for the weeks leading up to it. When David had his surgery, the nursing staff asked him if he had a goal and he'd always answer, "Comic Con!" 

We've been going for more than twenty years now and he was determined not to miss it even if he had to use a wheelchair to get around. (I am also thankful that his doctor was able to get him a wheelchair as he did not have the energy that is required to walk around the convention center that he usually has. Without the chair, he wouldn't have been able to do it.) 

It definitely was an eye opening experience having to get around in a wheelchair. David said he missed a lot because he couldn't always see everything. I couldn't always see everything either because I was pushing his chair and trying to navigate through tight crowds of people. That said, we did a LOT in five days and we are grateful for every single moment. Excelsior!