I'll cut to the chase about the highlight of the convention: The Eisner ceremony. I had the pleasure of sitting with Julia, Jeremy Bastian, Emily Jenkins, Mark Smylie, and MATZ (the writer of the Killer which was also nominated for an Eisner). In addition to Frank Miller's speech, and seeing Samuel L. Jackson on stage, I had the pleasure of receiving 2 of the awards myself. The first for Best Kids Publication was handed to me by Tom Kenny (voice of Spongebob) and the 2nd for Best Graphic Album Reprint was handed to me by Gabriel Macht (star of the upcoming Spirit movie. A wonderful and magical night that I will never forget.
Bill Presing did a book a while back called Rex Steele: Nazi Smasher that brought together all the fun pulp ideas that fueled George Lucas to create Indiana Jones and Dave Stevens to create the Rocketeer. Bill is very good at drawing very curvy women and I asked for a sketch commission of the Nazi temptress Gretta from his book in my sketchbook. Thanks Bill!!
Of course when returning from San Diego, it's always a good idea to leave room in your bag(s) because you come home with so many cool items. I took a photo when I got home of most all of my goodies:
a: An Adam Hughes sketchbook from this year.
(Adam's hand is injured and he was only able to sign this year at SDCC)
b: A children's book by my pal Christian Slade (creator of Korgi) about a decoy that comes to life
c: Another Adam Hughes sketchbook
d: The French edition (oversized and in color) of Rex Steele
e: A nesting doll Darth Vader given to me by Katie Cook from her Lucasfilm party swag
f: James Gurney mailed a copy of his latest Dinotopia book to the house while I was gone
g: The latest Korgi book by Christian Slade
h: A handmade Mouse Guard PEZ dispenser by Sparky and Lars from the hellboy.com forum
i: an art book by 4 Lucasarts/Lucasfilm artists showing their concept art.
j: The latest Usagi Yojimbo trade
k: The latest Usagi sketchbook (Satn Sakai is the nicest man you'll ever meet)
l: all 3 issues of the ASP series Primordia
m: volume 1 of Fish 'N Chips by Flint, MI native and Bone colorist Steve Hamaker
n: a cool fantasy anthology called Fablewood (fave=Fish by Sarah Mensinga)
o: The latest issue of Usagi Yojimbo (see what I mean about how generous Stan is!!)
p: Starwars.com artist Tom Hodges latest sketchbook
q: Riley Rossimo's Proof sketchbook
r: Mike Mignola's awesome sketchbook (last year's was titled 'some drawings')
s: Cursed Pirate Girl bookmark from Jeremy Bastian
t: Mignola's Hellboy print
u: Eisner nominated Delila Dirk comic
James Gurney was amazingly kind to sign and note the Dinotopia book to me:
Walking around the con was a former Muppet builder and his pals with a Gonzo puppet, a Kermit puppet, and a Muppet-style Jack Sparrow. Julia snapped this photo of a geeked-out me to be surrounded by Muppets. The builder (his name escapes me) and I talked about the Master Replica's line of Muppet 'recreations' and the discrepancies. He worked on the line to try and make sure they were as close to actual Muppets as possible, but MR made compromises to either make things easier or more cost effective. I did get some clues about how to care for my MR Gonzo so that he can have as long of a life as possible.
And lastly, I want to mention all the other cool people and stuff that I don't happen to have photos of: Sketchbook sessions (with Rick, Maija, Tad, Brenna, Sparky, Lars, Jeremy, Katie, Ryan, Emily and Rick), going to Katie Cook's 'How to draw Star Wars for kids' panel (and getting to do a Wookiee howl for the audience), All the ASP creators, and our 'quiet dinner' with Jeremy, Emily, Katie and Ryan.
It's a two-fer on this ginormous post. First up a fan by the name of Matthew Franklin dropped off this ink and marker piece at the ASP booth. It was a pleasure to meet you Matthew, and thanks for the art!
2ndly is a husband and wife team of Gordon Smuder and Jennifer Menken. Gordon is a model maker (he made all the tiny hats for the Ziploc finger guy several years back) as well as a puppeteer (he is launching a new series called Transylvania Television) Jennifer is a crafter who made a wooden box for me with the Clarke's Cartography logo woodburned onto the lid. The piece is a Mouse Puppet show of Punch and Judy (with the cat puppet as the devil hanging off to the side) Thanks Gordon and Jennifer!