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Saturday, November 24, 2012


One of my all-time favorites.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Sunday, November 18, 2012


I just got back from a trip to Albany, where I gave a slideshow presentation and fun lecture on the geekish wonder of comics conventions and cosplay at Temple Israel, and I had a blast!

Invited up by my friend Bob Crystal — the older brother of my dear friend and fellow reprobate, Ruthie — I presented a lecture and slideshow of some 120 photos taken at the various cons I've attended over the past five years to the temple's periodic brunch gorp of nearly forty people, and it went over a treat.

 My philosophy on this kind of thing is that Rule #1 should be "Do NOT bore your audience," so I picked out shots that highlighted the imagination and creativity that that is celebrated on comics conventions, illustrating that point with loads of images of the often stunning costumes crafted and sported by attendees. The audience, most of whom were in their mid-fifties and up, clearly had fun and there was even a Q&A session where I answered questions about convention event logistics, whether or not the cosplayers got paid for their efforts, and a number of other queries that folks unfamiliar with the culture were likely to ask.

 When it was all over I was greeted by several audience members, some of whom continued to eagerly ask questions and share their agonized stories of owning a veritable library of Golden Age classics that their mothers threw out or that they eventually outgrew, each tale making me visibly shudder. Upon noting my reaction to some of those tales, one venerable codger looked at me and said, with a heartbreakingly earnest look on his face, "I swear, I don't know what the hell I was thinking when I threw them out. I had ALL of the first appearances! Batman, Superman, Captain America, you name it, I had it, and now..." (CUE FUNERAL DIRGE)

Anyway, the whole thing was a hit and I had a terrific time. I hope to do more events like this in the foreseeable future!

Yer Bunche, explaining to an attendee that cosplayers do not necessarily suffer mental disorders that make them believe they are the characters that they portray, nor is their desire to cosplay a drug-induced state of delusion. No, I'm not kidding.

NY COMIC CON 2012-Day 4

10/14-The last day.

After the SOYLENT GREEN-level crowds of the previous day, things calmed down considerably but it was still pretty crowded for a Sunday, which is usually a "dead" day.

The 2000 AD booth, always the first place I hit on this show's opening day.

2000 AD graphic novels editor Keith Richardson (L) and writer Ian Edginton (R) at the 2000 AD booth. I met Keith after the previous day's 2000 AD panel and as we chatted he told me about an upcoming project where they plan to make a line of shirts that use some of the venerable sci-fi weekly's classic imagery. One of those mentioned was the Glenn Fabry-drawn SLAINE page Keith's holding, a piece he described as one of his very favorites from the series' entire run. Since the source material they had to print from was old film, I told Keith that I own the page in question and would get him a high-res scan of it as soon as possible. And since fans at cons talk a lot of shit, the following day I brought in the page in question to prove that I'm a man of my word. If I didn't love that page so much myself, I would have given it to him, simply because the genuine love he bore for it was as plain as the nose on his face.

Found him! (Talk about a brilliant costume to wear in the midst of tens of thousands of people!)

Xena and the Black Panther.

The Doctor and River Song.

Dolphin Loki...

...with punchline.

The Jason Todd sisters.

An unexpected surprise: MAD TV and FUTURAMA luminary Phil LaMarr dropped by to meet Amanda (who's a huge fan of his work on MAD TV) and proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that he's a fellow hardcore comics geek. More reason to love the guy, plus he's really, really nice and totally down to earth.

It was a mutual and utterly shameless geek-out.

(L-R) Russ Braun, Phil LaMarr, Anina Bennett, and Paul Guinan.

The always-stunning Brandy Gibson, once again showing off her Level-10 cosplaying skills, this time as the sea queen Mera. Seriously, this could not be any better, short of her being submerged in a tank and actually breathing water.

Brandy's ultra-animated/expressive face and her utter costumed supremacy make this my very favorite photo from this show. An instant classic.

Not just a gratuitous booty shot: this shows off the back of the costume, plus the fact that Brandy went the distance and included the Aquaman-style  fins.

Seriously, it's the seemingly-small details that make for a classic.

Brandy meets Russ Braun, illustrator of THE BOYS, which is her husband's favorite comics series. Russ, being the total gentleman that he is, seriously gave her the hookup in the swag department, but that's Brandy's story to tell...

A.C. (who certainly appreciates a great costuming effort) with Brandy.

Russ, caught in the act of sketching THE BOYS' Wee Hughie for Brandy's husband, who's currently serving our country as a United States Marine. Semper Fi, bro!

Brandy imparts some of her cosplaying wisdom to a young aspirant.


With Mada Design colleague and fellow Bruce Lee slave Minh Luong, shamelessly proclaiming our geekishness for Lee Siu Lung.

Neo versus the Dragon. My money's on the shirtless guy.

The red and green Hulks.

A charming Kitsune.

You're never too young to appreciate Bruce!

Another Tuxedo Mask.

Good versus evil at Hogwarts.

An excellent comics-accurate young Loki.

Tintin (twice) and Captain Haddock.

The Dark Side is real: the sign for Ian "Emperor Palpatine" McDiarmid's signing line. Note the price for his autograph, and the specification of cash only.

The line for the final scheduled signing for Chris Elliot, who never showed up. His fans wasted four days waiting for him to arrive, and the con's runners got no information on what happened to him after several unsuccessful attempts at contacting both Elliott and his agent. My own theory on what happened is that somewhere along the line, his appearance at the show did not get entered into his day-to-day schedule and he went off to do something else while unaware that he was committed to the show. Chris, if you ever read this, bear in mind that none of your fans held you personally responsible for this mixup. Not even me, and I ended up waiting for a total of around seven and a half hours over the show's four days. Just goes to show you how much we love what you do, dude.

For those who don't know, this was the original design for daredevil's costume. No, seriously.

The Broflofskis.

There were more of them about and wish I'd gotten to photograph a pack of them, but at least I got this one Weeping Angel.

A whole lotta Doctors.

My beglittered face after it was swathed by none other than Carrie Fisher, Princess Leia herself.

The latest treasure for my autograph collection.

A.C. and the Twins.

Jimmy and the Twins.

You know you've made it as a comics artist when the legendary Jim Steranko — of NICK FURY, AGENT OF S.H.I.E.L.D.  fame, as well as being the man who designed Indiana Jones — drops by to pay his respects.

With Marvel Bullpen sister Lysa Hawkins.

Amy and Rory.

Amy and Rory take on a passing Dalek.

The awesome Michael Golden.

Shang-Chi, master of kung fu.

The Question.

Two of the baddest martial artists in American comics.

This Rorschach's mask pattern would change a bit when he breathed.

The Question and Rorscach: basically the same character, only with the latter being a re-jiggered version of the former. (It's a long story from the creation of WATCHMEN back in the 1980's, so I urge you to look it up online since it's a tad too long to go into here.)

A perhaps too young fan proudly awaits the signing of Amanda's now-classic and gleefully filthy THE PRO.

Amanda Conner: corrupter of the youth of America.

With Michael Golden.

Continued from Day 3: John with a George Perez sketch of Nightwing in the second NEW TEEN TITANS omnibus.

I've run into this lady at a number of geeky NYC functions, and her hair is never anything les than mind-blowingly spectacular.

Olliver just could not resist taunting my inner bully by rocking a headpiece that proudly proclaimed his "Brony" status. Shortly after this picture was taken, I hauled him out in back of the Javits Center and gave him a merciless pantsless birching.

Professor Brown.

I may hate He-Man, but I love me some Orko.

I love the DIY aspect of steampunk costuming.

The best of the weekend's several new-look Captain Marvels.

(L-R) Bob Camp, Larry Hama, and Michael Golden.

As the show comes to a close, a damned near brain-dead A.C. gets ready to hit her hotel room and pass out.

As the show closes, a few stragglers make their way out of Artist Alley.


After four solid days of fun and geekery, I returned home to tally my swag and mull over the weekend's events. While I had a terrific time, I have to admit that the epic crowds made things quite claustrophobic and difficult to physically navigate through, an aspect that led me to spend nearly the entire weekend in Artist Alley when I would have otherwise explored the full con in more exacting detail. Not that I didn't expect such a state of affairs, especially as geek culture finds more mainstream acceptance with each passing year and that good grace being co-opted by Hollywood and greedy corporations. Shows like this are steadily becoming less and less about the medium they were spawned to celebrate, and that, coupled with the choking crowds, may finally spell my bowing out of the convention scene after being a regular since I was ten years old. I still love the might and majesty of geekdom, but the venues in which it is celebrated is not necessarily for old school folks like me anymore. I have nearly another year in which to make up my mind if I'll attend the next Javits Center show, but I have to admit that during this year's show I seriously contemplated calling it quits after this last round. Check back next year to see what decision is eventually made...

The Thor sketch by Walt Simonson.

The weekend's complete haul. (The large plastic sleeves in the back contain stuff already in my collection and are filled only so the sleeves can be visible.)