Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Back from San Diego

What a great convention!!!
The big news for me is that I won the Russ Manning Award on Friday Night at the Eisners!!
Past winner of the Manning, Steve Rude, presented it to me (which is also cool because he is a fellow Michigander!). It is quite an honor to be added to the list of past winners. With names like Jeff Smith, Steve Rude, Art Adams, and Dan Brereton, you can see why!!!

The award ceremony itself was magical. Amazing to be in the company of people you admire and respect. I went down the list in the program and made my predictions. I was about 80% right on my guesses. I’m also a huge voice acting geek and was thrilled to meet John DiMaggio (Bender from Futurama) after the show and get a photo with him. I’m really thrilled that there will be new DVD movies of Futurama and it’s clear John was too.

I was pleased to be able to chat with two of my comics heroes after the awards as well: Rick Geary and Dave Stewart. Rick does a series of historical books on famous Victorian era murders. His latest just came out ‘The Bloody Benders’ and it’s a great slice of history told so well through Rick’s linework. He won an Eisner for his work on the new Gumby series. I discovered Rick’s work at a Library in Southeastern Michigan. It was before I started Mouse Guard and it showed me that it was ok to use unconventional inking styles (basket hatch, cross hatch, stippling, etc) in comics today. I don’t know that I would have used those inking methods for a Mouse Guard comic if I hadn’t seen Rick’s books first.

Dave Stewart is the colorist’s colorist. As a Hellboy fan I knew him as the colorist of Mignola’s work in recent years. When BPRD spun off into it’s own series, Dave became the colorist for that as well and really got to showcase how well he understands color and where to use it in a panel. His work on BPRD also shows his diversity as a colorist. The work he does on Hellboy is a flatter look to blend well with Mignola’s inks, he uses a more painterly technique on BPRD to compliment Guy Davis’ work And if that isn’t enough, he also colored Darwyn Cooke’s New Frontier & the recent Conan books from Dark Horse. I look up to his work when I’m coloring Mouse Guard

Archaia Booth: It’s always great to hang out with the Archaia crowd. Alex Sheikman, Marv Mann, Mark Smylie, Aki Liao, Joe Illdge, Nick Tapalansky, and Alex Eckman-Lawn and I have done a few shows together so it was cool to catch up with what they have been doing and get reaquainted with ‘old friends’. It was also cool to meet some of the new faces at ASP: Ed Lavallee, Patrick McEvoy, Dave Rodriguez, and Larime Taylor. I look forward to sharing booth space with all of you in the cons to come.

Panels: All of the panels I was on went well and seemed to be well received. Thanks to Peter David, Orson Scott Card, Maggie Thompson, the ASP crew, Calvin Reid, Christian Slade, George O’Connor , Jamie Tanner, Leland Myrick, and Miriam Katin for their contributions to the panels. The best part was when I was talking about other publishers knocking on the door after Mouse Guard ‘hit’ and how I was offered more money, but took the deal with less money that offered me more control over Mouse Guard, I was applauded. I’m glad the public understands why creators rights are important and respect the protection of them.

This was my Mom’s first comic convention ever. She was very excited that I was nominated for the Russ Manning and figured she would jump in to the deep end of the convention pool to see the award ceremony. I have to admit I was a bit worried about what she was going to do for the three days she was there. My Mom isn’t a comic fan, doesn’t like sci-fi, pop culture, most new movies, or video games. So I was thrilled when, after the ‘New Voice in Graphic Novels’ Panel she rushed to the table to get booth numbers for three of the artist/writers so she could get down to the con floor and buy their books. I didn’t even see her leave the panel room she moved so quickly. Being a genealogist she had a particular interest in George O’Connor’s Mohawk Country and Miriam Katin’s We Are On Our Own. She also picked up Leland Myrick’s book about his childhood, Missouri Boy. It then dawned on me that she would also like Spiegleman’s Maus. She wrote it down in hopes to find it once she is home.

My wife Julia and sister-in-law Ashley both had a good time as well. Julia is such a good sport about being my lifeline at a con for food and drink and supplies. She has also acquired a taste for original art. She picked a few of the pieces we bought last year and was excited to browse the artists’ work in search of more. Ashley is a movie buff and loved the star sightings. (I think she even sat in on panels she didn’t care about because of how exciting it was to see movie actors in real life) Ashley, Julia and I were all thrilled when Judd Apatow and his Wife Leslie Mann walked by the ASP booth. We stopped them to say how much we are fans of Freaks and Geeks, 40 Year-old Virgin, and Knocked Up (Ashley can recite most of the words to the movie). Ashley was also able to swing her zookeeper clout to get a behind-the-scenes tour of the San Diego Zoo. Like Julia and I, Ashley is now looking forward to SDCC ’08!

Saturday Night we hooked up with our artist friends at the Sketchbook Sessions in the Marriott lounge. It was good to see my pals from the Hellboy message board (who are now real-life pals): Tad Stones, Maija Graham, Sparky, Lars Norpchen, & Rick Cortes. I also enjoyed seeing Stan Sakai, Sergio Aragones, Steve Hamaker, Andy Runton, Christian Slade, and the Mignolas. Big thanks to all the fans who came out to the show!

Please excuse this enormously long blog post. San Diego is huge so a report needs to be equally big!


Spring said...

Yay! ::insert crazy Kermit the Frog arm waving here:: Congratulations on the fantastic win! And how cool that your family was there. :)

Your con report is fantastic. Makes me sad to have missed it. The pictures are great!

Ryan said...

congratulations on your award and glad you had a great time at the con. looking forward to your next series and projects on the horizon.

too bad i was not there to meet you in person. had a friend pass by the asp booth to get a sketchbook and a sketch, unfortunately you were not there when he passed by the 4 days - maybe at baltimore.


gdeo said...

Congrats again on the Manning David !!!you deserve it!Thanks again for everything..it was nice seeing you and Julia again.hopefully I'll get to see you both before SDCC '08.Take care!

Marie Anderson said...

It was fantastic getting to meet you on Sunday (I had not even realized you would be there!) and getting my hardback signed with a "badass Lieam" sketch. Thank you so much for taking the time to come out here to CA for the Con. Sounds from your post like you'll be back next year, which is great news. Can't wait for the "Winter" hardback that I assume is slated to follow "Autumn".

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