Posts Tagged ‘comics’

Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else

“I Love My Job,” a single page comic by Graham Kahler about the magic of table-top roleplaying games.  I have never before experienced a comic that pegged such a sense of place.  These panels are pretty much exactly what flashes through my head when I score a critical hit when playing Dungeons & Dragons with my friends.

 

SPX: The ‘X’ Stands For ‘Expo’

2009-09-26 12.32.34

Last weekend I took a trip to the Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland. SPX is where all the cool kids go to talk about comics and art and how much they hate Walmart. I’ve spent the last seven years living in various far away lands, so I was excited to be able to attend this year. I packed my best five dollar blazer, a DSi for flipnotin’ on the go, and three porkroll sandwiches (consumed before I made it out of Philly). I did forget a few things, however:

1. My digital camera, which is why the only picture I have from the expo is the blurry cellphone shot above.
2. My self control, which is why I spent thousands of dollars on books.

The expo has apparently become much more popular since my last visit, which was probably a decade ago. Every booth was occupied, which made my goal of talking to each artist a bit of a pain. Still, I did it, and it only took about three hours. I found that there was an obvious conversational trend.

“Hi!”
“Uh… hi.”
“My name’s Zachary! Really nice to meet you. Can you tell me what your work is about?”
“Uhhhhhhh…”

I’m going to make this plea to any illustrator reading this blog: please, learn to talk about your work. Why did you create it? What was your inspiration? What’s the central theme? Why does it exist? I know you’re a shy art kid, but this is an expo. There are people walking around with money to spend, and they are looking for new and interesting experiences. Maybe your work is a new and interesting experience! Maybe they want to give you money! If you can explain, confidently, why your work is worthwhile, they will most likely consider it. Just try to put a little more effort into it than a shoulder shrug and some mumbling. At the very least look up from your sketchbook long enough to make eye contact.

Part of the problem is that I love comics for the storytelling rather than the art. SPX has a heavy focus on the visual component, so I might have freaked a few people out by ignoring their wares and jumping straight into asking for details. Hell, the Ignatz Awards — sort of like the Eisner, but for indies — has an “outstanding artist” category but nothing for “outstanding writer.” Which is fine; there are many different rhetorical modes of discourse to engage your audience with. Maybe I’m just a strange critic because I don’t care what your work looks like, I want to know what it has to say, and how the visuals work to communicate that.

lulu

One nice surprise at the show was seeing Emily Flake, whom I have been totally crushing on for a while now. She has a fantastic strip called Lulu Eightball that runs in the Baltimore City Paper every week… the premise is sort of feminist ideals juxtaposed with completely absurd situations. It’s very good. I tried to think up something really clever and funny to say to her, but all I could manage was “So, do I need to read volume one to understand what’s going on in volume two?” Which I guess is sort of funny, because the strips are mostly unrelated to one another. Alas, all I got was an “are you serious?” eyebrow raise. I was hoping for a “you are so funny and are exactly what I’m looking for in a friend and/or partner!” smile, but I’ll take what I can get. I bought a copy of Lulu Eightball Volume Two and then ran to the parking lot to chain smoke for a few hours.

I purchased many other books, and I’ll be making little posts as I read them (assuming they’re worth recommending).

Of course, the true evidence that this year’s Small Press Expo was a success: this weekend I am stuck in bed with H1N1. Again. I’ve always said that it’s not a party without a pandemic.

 

Better Blue Than Red

Okay… maybe the Watchmen movie isn’t going to be so bad after all.

 

I’d love to meet the guy who invented Booster Gold just to see if he’s a jerk

robindeath2000

This year’s New York Comic Con is quickly approaching: February 6-8 at the Jacob Javits Center. Some of the notable guests include…

  • Carmine Infantino (creator of The Flash, Batgirl, and Poison Ivy)
  • Gabe & Tycho (Penny Arcade)
  • Bruce Timm (everything in the DC Animated Universe, like Batman and Justice League Unlimited)
  • Geoff Johns (Infinite Crisis, 52, Sinestro Corps Wars)
  • George Pérez (uh, everything ever)
  • Grant Morrison (52, Batman RIP, Final Crisis)
  • Jerry Robinson (creator of the Joker, Robin, Alfred and other Batman staples)
  • Ramona Fradon (the only female Golden Age comic artist still alive)
  • Doc Hammer & Jackson Publick (creators of The Venture Bros)
  • Dan Jurgens (Death of Superman, Booster Gold, Justice League)
  • N’Gai Croal (superhero of new games journalism)
  • Rags Morales (Identity Crisis, Batman RIP)
  • Dave Gibbons (the saner half of Watchmen)
  • Peter Mayhew(he was CHEWBACCA)

… and that’s not even a fraction of the the famous guests.  There’s also a screening of Bruce Timm’s new animated Wonder Woman movie, some DC Universe Online stuff, a world premier of Astro-Boy footage and even a panel called “Men Are From Kyrpton, Women Are From Paradise Island.”  In short, it’s not a bad way to spend thirty bucks.

I’d love to go myself since it’s so close, but I have no money and no friends who like comic books.  Experiences like this are meant to be shared.  If only so you can have someone to say “Dude, we just met George Pérez and then Gabe drew a penis for us!” to.

 
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