I’m typing this at the Long Beach Comic con so I can make my usual Monday deadline, so please bear with me regarding any typos, misspellings, technical gremlins and other Pooh that happens. (Get it? Bear? Pooh? Yeah, I need some sleep.)
Drove in Friday for a 4pm appointment with a director at Sony Pictures. Zoomed the whole way at a good 70+ mph clip, until about ten miles away from the studio in Culver City. Stopped off for a bathroom break right into the World’s Largest Construction Mess. Took 20 minutes worth of detour traffic to find a Starbucks two miles from the freeway, and another 15 minutes to get back on the road. Then the obligatory I-405 traffic jam. That last ten miles ended up taking an hour! Pulled through the gate right at 4pm. Whew. (More on the appointment in another column.)
Saturday: Met up with site-lord Craig and site-mate Dave “Wolfman” Gutierrez at the Wednesday’s Heroes booth (okay, table). Thank the con gods for hand trucks and bungie cords…walking the half mile to the show from the hotel carrying all my crap would not have been fun. (Thanks to wife/goddess-in-training Lisa for helping out and tolerating my scatterbrained impatience.) Haven’t seen Dave nor Craig since we all hung out with Gene and Adrienne Colan in San Franciscoa few years ago. (Boy I still miss them! A toast to their memories.) Great to see both gents.
Lots of costumes, thanks to Halloween. Trying to take photos of all the callipygian and macromastic maidens bulging and spilling out of their costumes without your wife noticing is a lost cause. Thankfully, mine realized long ago she married an Italian Scorpio, so I don’t have to be discreet. I still say it’s all for reference, tho. Just for the record.
No shortage of wild, wacky and “what the?” outfits at any comic con, let alone one near Halloween!
Overall, the exhibit hall was smaller than WonderCon, but a much greater emphasis on Artists Alley, which was smack-dab in the center of the hall. There was a live stage where fans performed scenes from both movies and comics (including live readings of pre-code horror stories with sound effects and music) as well as a live wrestling ring with ongoing battles…but they were at different ends of the hall. By far the most artist-centric comic show I’ve ever seen! Colossal kudos to the organizers.
Various highlights: We ran into ROBOT CHICKEN co-creative genius Seth Green at one of the concession stands (no butler-brought water for Seth—bought a bottle like everyone else). My wife (politely) asked for a pic and he kindly obliged. Truly he’s one of us…albeit with a ton of success and dough. (But not the attitude.)
Got to shake hands with director/living legend John Carpenter. The HERO Initiative sold autograph tix (limit of one item) for just a five-buck donation, up to 250. I was about number 60-65 in line and it still took a full hour…mainly because Mr. Carpenter loves his smokes! There was maybe a dozen signing-seekers ahead of me when he got up and had to go outside for a cigarette break. (If I were a tobacco company, that’s an endorsement deal I’d pursue immediately; think of the visuals!)
There was no time to chat but I told him I’d been a fan for 30 years and have wanted to work with him, figuring this would be my only chance to get my work in front of him. So I handed Mr. C a copy of my samples and asked if he’d take a look when he got a chance. (Hey, nothing tried, nothing won.) He said yes and took it. Cool guy! It may end up in the trash but at least I gave it a shot. (Maybe he’ll pass it over toMichaelBayor Jon Favreau…if you’re gonna dream, dream big, I say!)
Saw and spoke briefly with Bernie Wrightson at his table. (For Sunday he dressed up—see photo.) Good thing about shows this size is you usually have a chance to meet most anyone. Even Scott Campbell’s booth had a very manageable line, rarely more than ten fans. (Other creators of note appearing: Mark Waid, Steve Oliff, Mark McKone, Stan Sakai, David Finch, among others.) In addition to his usual gorgeously-rendered finished pencils and inks, Bernie was offering some more modestly priced sketches, prelims and such, from both his comics and many movies. I popped on a nicely creepy “mutated bat” sketch for the film THE CAVE. He also had a couple different stapled sketchbooks for ten bucks each.
Finally met Michael D. Hamersky, of the Collector’s Blog and various Facebook groups. His column is always interesting or fun, as is he. And his wife was wonderful as well. Check out some of his work at: and tell him you came from here.
On Saturday a tough-looking guy in a T-shirt came over to check out all the art. Turns out it was Thomas “The Punisher” Jane—which explains the tough-looking part. He had a table with partner Tim Bradstreet for their Raw Studios company and was walking around Artists Alley. He was looking for an illustrator to work in a Franklin Booth style for an 18th-century werewolf story. I half-jokingly suggested he talk to Bernie Wrightson (whose famous Frankenstein illustrations were executed with similar “Boothiness”) and Tom less-than half jokingly noted that Bernie had been grabbed by Steve Niles and was unavailable. (who knew?) So if anyone reading this likes to draw like Booth or knows someone who does, let me know or go to the Raw Studios site.
Met a couple fine folks who’d been Bru-Hed fans back in the 90s when I first published his misadventures; one even remembered me fromSan Diegoback in 2000! That’s when my booth was next to Carnal Comics (along with several of their adult film princesses)—which happened to be my last West Coast con setup till this one. (It took me a decade to come down off that high. I mean really, where was I going to go from there?)
Weirdest moment: a fan who said he read the comics bought by his Dad when he was ten years old! He was with a lovely girlfriend so I told him he obviously learned what *not* to do by reading. Always nice to help warp—I mean shape—a young mind!
Sunday afternoon I was fortunate enough to be a guest on the awesome Fandom Planet podcast, hosted by comics and comic-fans supreme Tim Powers and Sax Carr. There was a live video feed as well, so for those who’ve wondered what a hunk of burnin’ art love looks like, you have your chance. (Not responsible for roasted retinas or cracked corneas as a result.) I’ve really enjoyed listening to the guys’ previous podcasts and recommend it! Check out fandom-planet.com when you can.
After all the con fun on Saturday, the four of us headed off to a nice dinner. The area around theLong BeachConvention Centeris a great area—lots of hotels like most, but plenty of restaurants, bars and other stuff to enjoy. My wife and I found a huge “One Dollar Book Store”, which was all I needed. Over ninety minutes later, we finally walked out—and I still didn’t see all I wanted.
Of course, once we faced the horde of zombies going for a world-record Zombie Walk, I’d wished I bought one of those “apocalypse survival guides.” No matter, I was safe as they were looking for raw brains and mine was fried.
Finally, after Sunday, we all headed off to Craig’s Daredevil-decorated abode to carve pumpkins for the Halloween holiday. I’m trying to convince him to start offering pumpkin originals thru the site, but I’m afraid the postage may be prohibitive. We’ll see. (Maybe we can at least get Linus to order a few.)
All in all, it was a great experience and a fun time with good buds in a festive, comic-book (and zombie)-friendly atmosphere. Hope you enjoy the photos and all. May your Halloween be a hallowed, harrowing and howlingly hysterical good time!
P.S.: Once you’ve gorged yourself on a surfeit of candy and chocolate, you should commission Craig for some healthy original art! Hit him up here.