Comic Con 2013 Update

iron-manOne of the perks of being a professional illustrator is getting complimentary 4.5-day passes to the San Diego Comic Con. I’m also usually able to take a guest for free, but they limited the amount of guest passes they were issuing this year. If you didn’t register within the first few hours, you were out of luck.iron man gray


In recent years, the parking situation has been improved by the pre-selling of parking passes. This has eliminated having to arrive unnecessarily early in order to snag a spot at the convention center or at the Hilton, next door. It has also eliminated the traffic congestion in front of the convention center, since those without parking passes don’t bother to drive up to the building.

Preview night was incredibly swamped, but Thursday was a little lighter — not because there were fewer attendees, but because many were attending panels or waiting in lines upstairs or outside. This is not to say Thursday’s floor traffic was light — if you’re demophobic, you still wouldn’t have lasted two seconds. I also noticed fewer people in costumes. I suspect many attendees were saving their costumes for the weekend. I really didn’t get any great pics, but hopefully the ones posted here will suffice.


There’s really no one I desired to see so badly that I was willing to endure spending all of my time in long, sweaty lines, so I pretty much avoided the panel discussions altogether. I’m mostly interested in walking the floor and seeing what’s new, and maybe purchasing an art book or two. I can pretty much cover the floor and see everything I want to see on Preview Night and Thursday, so I don’t make the fullest use of my 4-day pass. Oh, well. I figure I’m helping other attendees by eliminating one more body from the overcrowded aisles. Besides, you can learn a lot just by talking to folks at the booths on the floor.

I got some useful advice from Bobby Chiu on the use of social media, and other artists helped with info about self-publishing and other subjects. It’s also fun talking to well-known artists and discussing their work with them.Nautilus helmet

star wars

Being a freelance artist in the digital age, I often work for people and companies who live far away, or with whom I’ve otherwise never met in person. A couple of years ago, I got to meet some people from a Canadian company for whom I had worked. At last year’s Con, I got to hook up with a friend with whom I’ve worked, but whom I’ve never met in person. This year, I got to meet other people with whom I’m currently working on a project for Roddenberry Entertainment. I don’t post my picture on Facebook, so one particular friend didn’t even know what I looked like. I had the advantage on him, because I knew what he looked like from his FB account. So it was interesting meeting him face-to-face for the first time.

the hulk

lou ferrigno

comic booths

The Con floor was dominated by large entertainment companies as usual (which is why this is less of a comic convention than a pop-culture convention). Such booths dominate considerable floor space and yet seem to have the least amount of content. You might find a film company hogging up twenty spaces with a giant display, just to promote a single film or television series. Even video-game companies covered lots of real-estate for a single title. I tend to enjoy the smaller booths occupied by artists who are trying to promote their work, or book dealers.

Comic Con 2013boba fettlego

walking dead jailwalking dead cageBromadam hughsoompa loompabatgirl robin

My must-visit booths are Bud Plant Books, Vanguard Publishing, and Flesk Publishing (and Stuart NG, if I have the extra cash). These booths usually carry any books which fit my interests.

Bud Plant’s booth isn’t nearly the size it used to be, due to the nature of the book market and the fact that Amazon is killing small, independent dealers. However, he seems to be surviving, so that was a positive sign. For those interested in art books, I would encourage you to support independent dealers like Bud Plant. His prices are not always as competitive as Amazon (for the same reasons most dealers can’t compete with Amazon’s prices). However, he often carries specialty items not found on Amazon, or he has relationships with the artists which allows him to offer signed editions and signed bookplates, for the collectors among you who want something more than what Amazon can offer. Stuart NG carries specialty import items and harder to find OOP book as well.

I only bought a couple of books this year. My bookshelves at home are literally overflowing, so I don’t know where I’m going to cram two more books. I also took a serious look at the Cintiq 22 HD Touch at the Wacom booth, and I’m considering ordering one. If you’re interested in getting a slight discount, drop me an email and I’ll share the promo code for their show special (it’s only $100 off, but a buck is a buck, so if you want to buy now, I’ll share the info). 

I had skipped breakfast and lunch on Thursday, so by the end of the day I was pretty hungry, and my feet were killing me. I, along with a bazillion other Con attendees, wandered across the street from the Con and had dinner at the Gaslamp Quarter, where the surrounding building were covered with the usual film ads.

gaslamp qtrdraculacomic con 00

spiderman hard rockelectro hard rock

After filling up on fish & chips I made the drive home, a couple of hours north of San Diego (living within driving distance saves me the cost of an airline ticket and hotel). When I arrived, I didn’t bother to go through my bag of goodies or unpacking. I pretty much just hugged my family whom I missed, and which I hit the sheets and passed out.

So how about yourself? Anyone already home from the Con, or have big plans to attend this weekend?

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Geek-Fest ReCap

Some of these pics were taken by my buddy after my camera battery died. Unfortunately, he was using his phone camera, so they’re blurry (which is how you can tell which shots are his).

Guns Don’t Kill. Typewriters Kill.

James Caan, about to sap his captor.

I’d make some type of joke about a splitting headache, but it wouldn’t be very funny, so I’ll refrain.

The damsel in distress finds a case in a dump and opens it to reveal a typewriter.

The grateful damsel presents Law with the typewriter as a gift.

Typing the story of his experience as a repo man.

The film begins with Jude Law at the typewriter, so we can assume the narration throughout the film corresponds to what he’s typing.

When Law and his new girlfriend see another repo man coming to get them, they run. What’s interesting is that the first thing the girl grabs before they leave is not a purse, or a weapon, or her favorite Duran Duran album; instead, she saves the typewriter, taking it with her. This proves to be a prescient decision, because it’s the only item within reach for Law to drop on the repo man’s head as he is about to shoot her with a taser.

Because I can… Since I began this post with a picture of James Caan about to clobber Cathy Bates with a Royal 10, I figure I should include some film-stills from the film, “Misery”,  featuring the typewriter.

My first encounter with a Royal 10. Now I own one, though I have no plans to drop it on anyone’s head.

Ouch! You never want to get sapped with a typewriter.

Remember that scene in the film where Bates calls the Hollywood cliffhanger a ‘cheater’, because there’s no way the hero could have escaped his predicament? Well, this film does some cheating as well, because there’s no way Bates could have gotten up after the clobberin’ she received from that typewriter. No way. CHEATERS!

This post was typed on my Corona Four.

More Noir

In the film, the Blue Dahlia is a nightclub. It’s neon sign serves as the film’s opening title.

That’s the VHS box cover on the left, which you can buy online (assuming you still have a VHS player with which to view it). On the right is a foreign format dvd, so it won’t work with American dvd players.

I really liked this film, despite the fact that the mystery of the killer’s identity is revealed rather unbelievably. I won’t give anything more away. Watch it if you get an opportunity.

Typed on a 1936 Underwood Noiseless 77 (which miraculously didn’t skip once while typing this post).


The first (1935) adaptation of Hammett’s story, featuring George Raft

The second (1942) version of the film, which is my personal favorite of the two.

Here we have Ladd discovering the source of the mysterious notes. Does anyone know what kind of typewriter this is? From the chrome tops of the feet, I almost want to say it’s an Olympia, but I’m just guessing.

You can see Ladd’s reflection in the mirror as he spies on Lake.

Caught in the act of typing another anonymous note.

The Everyman’s Library series by Random House has two volumes collecting Hammett’s
work. You can get the volume featuring “The Glass Key” HERE

The original Black Mask magazine in which Hammett’s story first appeared.

Some book editions of the story.