Channel the entity "Jeff Parker" from beyond the Ether

Friday, March 05, 2004

Sleepy In Seattle: The Emerald City Comicon 

Sunday was my first visit to Seattle, and as usual it took a comic book show to make me go. While everyone else wisely went up a day early so as to to face the public fresh, I stayed up late getting ready and then made my family wake up and drive at 6am. Washington has some pretty countryside. I stopped at a gas station, all excited at the idea of pumping my own gas again. If anyone can explain to me why you can't pump your own gas in Oregon and New Jersey, I'd like to hear it. It was nice not having to wait for an attendant. Though I'll admit, on a cold rainy day, sitting in your car is nice too.

Somehow they managed to situate Seattle so you don't see it from far away, you turn a corner, emerge from a tunnel, and dramatically, there it is all at once. Very clean with attractive architecture, and, of course, on the water. The show was in part of Seahawks Stadium which is easy enough to find from the highway, and we arrived just as the doors were opening. Allison's stroller was very useful in transporting my books, art and display, and even Allison. Once in we saw the whole Hee Haw Gang from Mercury Studios and set up with them. Then picky Ron Randall just had to sit in between me and Pete Woods (I think Pete paid him to), so I had to slide my stuff down to the other end of the table. We then all worked hard to keep people visiting our table so they'd block the cold wind blowing in from the doors across from us. Since I'm too lame to pick up AA batteries for my camera, I can't show you any of this, but luckily Paul Guinan took some pictures.

Lots of my Illuminati pals were in for the weekend too. Dave Johnson immediately asked where his sketchbook was, and I produced it. My piece was barely started, but I had it with me. And it went back home with me too. I'm just getting him back for all the fans' sketchbooks he's held for ransom over the years--or I procrastinate just as much. I told Phil Noto how much I liked the cover on Vampirella Magazine #3, which of course I had because my story was in it. Phil wanted to see it and see how it came out so I told him I'd bring my copy over later. I never did.

Little Tommy Coker was working on some sketches and turning pale shades of green because he'd eaten something that disagreed furiously with him. He asked where the script was for the story in the Interman Summer special that he's going to illustrate, and I held out my empty hands. Unlike with Dave, that one hurts only me because I need Tomm working on that story soon. He's taking his son out to the Grand Canyon for a few days, so that will buy me some time.
Like everyone else I saw Jim D, the show organizer, and congratulated him on setting up a good show. Next year it's going to be two days, which should make it quite a comics event for the Northwest.

I wasn't alert as I could have been, so Jill graciously went and got me a coffee I asked for. I accidentally drank from her latte, and liked that better than mine, so I whined, whined, whined until she went back and got me one of those instead. Conversely, Allison was very quiet and uncomplaining, and even took a long nap during all the hubbub.

I did sketches, of course. And as usual, if I didn't like them, I tore them up and started over. Here's proof from a blog entry of Laura Gjovaag, scroll down until you see one of my banners. I did a strange one in Steve Mohundro's book, which had a concept theme wherein all the sketches had to be related to time. I was stumped, and then I remembered Kang, the Marvel villain who often met and allied with himself in The Council of Cross-Time Kangs. Somehow that inspired this:

Later I had some coffee, realized what I had done in his book and felt shame. I put down my pencil and sketched no more that day. Meanwhile behind me Steve Lieber was doing one great inked piece after another. I really need to go up the night before and be rested up so I have enough focus. Even so, I don't think anybody was keeping up with Lieber that day, he was batting a thousand.

Leland Purvis was selling his brand new trade compilation of VOX on the other side of the room. Or rather, he was smiling quietly at people while his fiance Rae sold them for him. Either way, it's a good book you should order. Left on a coffee table it will make people turn off tv and discuss ideas.

I think I saw Top Shelf's Brett Warnock running by, but I'm not positive. I waved just in case. Then publisher/English teacher Leonard Wong dropped by, having ventured out from Vancouver. He told of a good comics show in Calgary, Alberta coming up, and I thought, "hmmm." Just as I'm thinking "where's all them retailers?", Manda Fisher from The Splash Pag-- I mean, MUSE in Montana came by. I'm not sure why she was there, I don't quite buy her statement that it only takes six hours to drive there from Missoula. (In fact Mapquest says it takes 7 hours, 14 minutes--hah!) Okay, still shorter than I thought. The baby and I go over to see "Unca Ford" Gilmore, and he and Johnson take pictures of her with Dave's prop pipe in her mouth. As soon as one of them sends me those images, I'll put it in here.

Over at the end of the row, Dark Horse's Diana Schutz and DC's Bob Schreck were working their ways through a neverending line of portfolio reviews. I felt for 'em, I was ready to leave after just doing one--it was hard to make out what was happening on the page and I had to go back and talk about rudiments of drawing rather than fine points of storytelling. I tried to send her over to Lieber next, but she countered:" I've heard he's really strict!" After I had just essentially said Learn How to Draw, I can't imagine what Steve might have possibly lowered the boom with.

Probably the highlight of the show was some good talking time with Howard Chaykin, where I got some great art direction. I took him a printout of a pinup from the next Escapist (from Dark Horse!) that I was working on. He liked it, and then showed me how I could get more out of the piece and make it more like the old magician posters I was trying to emulate. You know, once in a while, letting someone else think for you is really, really nice, especially when they know what they're talking about.

As things wrapped up it was showing-off time, so I took Allison over to Brian Bendis and Greg Rucka, both seasoned baby-owners. Bendis had just recently given me advice on using bicycle baby trailers, and I told him I picked one up. Then Rucka and I compared notes since his daughter Dashiell is only four days younger than Allie. We agreed we both had geniuses, and left it at that.

On the way out Jill and I saw Lieber carting a comics longbox like some Sad Sack, and let him pile it onto the baby stroller. Then he suckered us into taking all of his stuff back to Portland so he could float freely around the city all devil-may-care. That drive back wasn't as nice as the one there. Most of the way it was raining hard, and Allison had slept so much at the show that she couldn't nod off as usual. Then something possessed us to go to an Indian restaurant that was half truckstop-lounge. Not the quality Indian food you usually expect, made worse by smoke drifting in from the bar. Except for a couple of Eastern water pitchers and the music, the place was not unlike the Mexican restaurant it obviously had been before. The men's bathroom still said "Caballeros" on the door. After leaving the usual thing happened; two exits further down we saw a cornucopia of dining establishments that we wouldn't have left smelling like smoke. The important thing is, we got home eventually.

This weekend I'll be revving up to do the whole thing again, but this time only mere minutes away at Richard Finn's famous Portland show. I'm going to be fresh as a daisy, so come on out and bring your sketchbooks.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com
Site Meter