Monday, December 7, 2009

David Mack at the SLC Library, Dec. 5, 2009

David Mack has long been one of my favorite (if not my very favorite) comic artists. The Salt Lake Library, my second favorite building in Library Square, is hosting an exhibit of his original work (only a few days left go now!) and last Saturday Mack came in to give a talk, take some questions, sign some books, and just hang out for a while.

His talk/Q&A session at the beginning was great. He had so many interesting things to say about creativity and the artistic process. As an aspiring creative type I always love to hear from successful "creators" (be they writers, artists, film-makers, whatever) about how they got to where they are. David Mack did not disappoint and spoke at length about his career and what it has taken to create his art.

In this video he speaks a little about that and also discusses comic-books as a medium. When it comes to comics discussion of the form itself is rare. Most discussions are about which publisher is better and how so-and-so writer is ruining a beloved character.

Most of the focus was on Mack's "Kabuki: The Alchemy," a very personal, cerebral, and visually stunning story recently released in collected form. Here he talks a little about that.

Like I said, I love his work. For whatever reason this piece from the gallery stood out the most for me, even among other pieces that I'm more familiar with. If I could own any piece there this is the one I'd want the most.

I've left these pictures in hi-res so click on them for a huge version. It's worth it to see the detail.

Lots more Q&A in the gallery.

Then an informal reception that turned into more of a formal Q&A session as well. Here he addresses my good friend Matsby's question. Though it kind of looks like Mack is accusing him of something.

Finish is up with this fantastic Daredevil sketch he whipped out.

In the gallery he talked about the concept of talent, and how easily it's squandered and how often people mistake practice and hard work for talent. Someone said "Yeah but you have talent, that Daredevil drawing only took fifteen seconds!" Mack corrected, "No, it took a lifetime and fifteen seconds."

Monday, September 7, 2009

San Diego Comic-Con 09: Blackest Reign

Amelia Earhart by MK Perker

Well here we are! It's almost two months after the fact but it's finally time to recap SDCC09, my second journey into the Omerta Sea of Humanity crammed uncomfortably into the San Diego Convention Center, the exhibit hall strained to the breaking point like the laces on a steampunker's corset.

This year's Comic-Con was particularly odd for me. Much like the Vietnam War, if you weren't there you don't know what it's like. The sensory overload is off the charts. I figured since this was my second tour of duty I'd be able to handle it better. Not true! I'm still not exactly sure how I spent those four days. Somehow I managed to miss out on almost everything and yet still not have a single moment to catch my breath.

Well whatever.

The whole experience is best summed up in this quote from Bryan Lee O'Malley, creator of Scott Pilgrim which currently stands as my favorite thing ever.

And then, yeah, by the mid-afternoon you kind of feel like you've lived at Comic-Con since you were small, and you'll live there forever. It's all you've ever known and there is absolutely nothing weird about all the weird shit you're seeing constantly and the endless crush of people.
Yep. Anyway enough preamble!

I put a lot of work into my costume this year:

Marvel was playing a fun version of the shell game at their booth, with Robert Downey Jr. hidden inside one of these costumes. Hardest working man in show business.

Always interesting to see what your favorite comic creators actually look like.

Out of the frame in this picture is "Camp Twilight," where Twilight fans camped out for days to get into the New Moon panel. Tons of comic jerks complained that Twilight ruined the convention but I literally have no idea what they're talking about. I spend four days immersed in comics and the other usual geek stuff and Twilight fans never got in my way. Besides, if a single Twilight fan got turned on to comics that's good for the whole industry right?

In any event I'll be at New Moon opening night.

Met up with the Wednesday Warriors comics podcasters at this place. I did a guest spot on one of their shows but I'm not telling which one. Link
Don't let the dumb name (Funky Garcia's) fool you. This is place is a glorified taco cart. I mean that in a good way as I love taco carts and I love glory. The waitress there was the best waitress ever. We all agreed on that, but were mystified as to why. Just something about her food bringing skills was really top notch.

The hotel my friend Scott and I were staying at was only two doors down from the convention center and the lobby bar was quite a scene. Thousands of people there every night, and lots of people that are celebrities in my world but not the rest of the world (although in my world Jon and Kate aren't celebrities at all so maybe you should take a dip in my pool?)

So this was me late into the night, every night.

Met some interesting people and forged some temporary friendships. Like the sleep disorder specialist from L.A. who could do a Stupid Human Trick with his ankles, or the Greek artist Vasilis Lolos who told me the truth about the Salt Lake Greek burger mafia. And Maria... I met a girl named Maria...

Last year I told the SDCC tale sequentially but I can't do that this year because I'm not certain what happened on which day. But here's a typical morning, waiting to get in.

A favorite artist of mine, Dustin Nguyen, drawing me a quick Catwoman.

This guy! Jeremy Bastian! The imagination of this fellow. It can be hard to find but his book Cursed Pirate Girl is a must read, and his pencil work is amazing. And I'm not easily amazed (yes I am) (but his work is still amazing). That I had more dough I'd have spent it all at his table. He had some seriously cool stuff for sale. And I think he said he makes his own paper too? I did get an original piece from him and HERE HE IS HOLDING IT!
Click it. Make it bigger. Look at the linework.

It's a scene from a book I like and I vaguely described some elements I wanted and let him run with it. It's awesome.

This is a character from Cursed Pirate Girl, Kildanny.

So let's talk costumes. I liked this one. Cute lil' jawa.

I saw a lot of costumes this year where parents allowed (forced) their kids to dress up as the diminutive companions to their own full-size characters. That's something I hope to do one day with an heir of my own.
Mark Hamill and Frank Oz by Katie Cook

I didn't see as many cool costumes this year as I did last year, but maybe I just wasn't looking hard enough. The most common costumes were Link from the Legend of Zelda, Ghostbusters, and random Steampunkery. Oh, and tons of Clonetrooper costumes, most likely worn by people that never actually saw the Star Wars prequels.

Here's a Snake Eyes. My favorite toy as a kid.

And this B.A.T.S costume was totally righteous. As a kid, this was my favorite toy.

Marvel had a costume contest at their booth and there was this awesome Stan Lee guy there.

He did a great Stan Lee impression. Made my day.

This girl won with her Girl Loki costume. She won an Amazing Spiderman Omnibus signed by Stan Lee, and a copy of Spiderman 2099 #2 signed by the fake Stan Lee.

Interesting thing about the contest is that there are a lot of attractive young ladies running around in their underpants. That's weird right? It's a violation of the social contract.

(l-r: dweeb, dweeb, hot girl in underpants)

Out on the streets I saw this group of Watchmens. Real protester on the left, costumed protester on the right.

Brian Michael Bendis by David Mack

This is Amanda Palmer, she's some sort of rock and roll singer.

There was a panel where Terry Moore, David Mack, and Camilla D'Errico did figure drawing demonstrations using Amanda as a model. It was pretty rad seeing these artists at work. Here's the very early stages of a Terry Moore drawing.

I have a crush on everyone in this picture.

The three artists' results of the above pose.

Oh I almost forgot I put videos of David Mack drawing up on youtube. Some weirdo left awkward comments that I don't approve of though.

Amanda Palmer by Camilla D'errico.

Hey! Enough already about artists you've never heard of. You want to see pictures of celebrities right?

Stan Lee, creator of Peanuts!

Thomas Jane, Arrested Development guest star.

Jon Favreau, he played a rich guy on a three-episode arc of Friends.

That lumpy head belongs to Stone Cold Steve Austin.

Jaime Escalante himself, Edward James Olmos. Ganas!

McLovin'. Poor kid. He seems nice but someday he's going to snap. "My name is not McLovin' it's been ten years stop calling me that *stab stab stab*!!!"

Nichelle Nichols' cleavage. Look how grumpy that lady to her right is.

Amber Smith. The sign said "Amber Smith of the Sport Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and Celebrity Rehab!" Sad. She was a super model. SUPER. Now she's charging $25 for her autograph and sitting in a booth next to the guy that played Bobby on like one season of Taxi.

I also rode in an elevator with Olivia D'abo. She played the older sister on Wonder Years. She was very pretty but I couldn't flirt with her because there was some weird guy in the corner eating Cool Ranch Doritos and giggling. Totally cock-blocked me.

Katchoo by Terry Moore

San Diego is nice. I like it there. For a July night the air was so cool and crisp.

This was some sort of carnival set up to promote the show Heroes. I know a lot of people that watch that show and nary a one of them actually likes it.

Death by Jamie McKelvie

I was totally bummed about it being the last day, but somehow this ridiculous thing totally made me happy.

Near the end of the day I decided to relax a little.

This kind of sums up how bat(man)shit insane the whole Comic-Con experience is. The hall was closing up, the lights were off and we were wandering out when this lady (in her underpants) got her purse stuck in her fishnets. Scott and I were near and she asked for help getting untangled. And it wasn't easy either.

The last night, hung out at the hotel bar and patio until early into the morning. Thomas Jane was there and he was... having a good time. He was smoking a cigar and I asked if I could bum one. I know that you don't just bum a cigar but he was "having a good time" enough that it seemed like, maybe? (also I don't smoke cigars but what the hey). He gave me a firm but polite lecture about how to don't just bum a cigar. I also said "Hey, aren't you the Punisher?" and he got really sad and mumbled "I used to be the Punisher."

I guess that's it. Internet Personality Brian Heater sums it up better than I could.

Can't concentrate this morning. Can someone come over to my apartment dressed as a stormtrooper and bump into me a lot?

Nuff said.

English Beat Girl by Ryan Kelly