While not nearly as exhausting or crowded as its San Diego counterpart Comic-Con International, San Francisco’s WonderCon definitely had a lot to offer comic book-loving geeks and movie buffs alike. The 3-day WonderCon 2009, which ran from February 27 – March 1, had a lot of the same panels as the recent New York Comic Con (probably because they happened to be so close together this year), but there were new panels (Pandurom, 9). There also wasn’t as many comic book companies representing out on the Con floor, very little gaming presence, and the least amount of cosplay of the three major conventions, but Artist’s Alley was nicely packed with some of the best indie artists selling their work.
Admittedly, there wasn’t a lot of breaking news, but you can check out Geeks of Doom’s coverage of Star Trek, Terminator Salvation, Watchmen, and more at our WonderCon page. Below are some photos from the convention floor, of which I think my favorite is the one of Jedi Sherlock Holmes and Jedi Dr. Watson. The first row of images is from the Isotope Comics100 Bullets party after the Con. I’ve also embedded a video roundup of the Con events created by my friend Alex of First Showing — watch for me as Alex points me out on camera near the end of the footage while we’re riding up the escalator together with Peter (of /Film) and John (of /Gamer) as we’re leaving the Con for the last time. Lastly, I’m including an Artist’s Alley Spotlight, which has some info on some of my favorite artists at the Con.
A big shoutout to all my aforementioned friends, as well as the rest of the gang at WonderCon (Quint, Marco, George, Ed, Genevieve, Ted, Kyra), who I got to hang out with all weekend, have a few beers, and have loads of fun with. A special shoutout to Kyra for taking me sightseeing around San Francisco and to Mike of Great White Snark fame for putting me through what felt like one of those Biggest Loser challenges so we could soak in the fabulous views of the city from his rooftop. Can’t wait to see you all again!!! (SDCC 2009, yes?).
Oh, and sorry this roundup report is coming so late, but I’ve been having Internet connectivity and photo uploading problems.
Artist’s Alley Spotlight
Before I begin, allow me to disclaim that there were MANY awesome indie artists in at the WonderCon Artist’s Alley and I wanted to hug and kiss every one of them. But alas, I was on assignment elsewhere most of the time and had limited time to peruse the area. Plus, I ran out of cash and the ATM at the convention center was out of order, so there went my spending frenzy. For those of you who don’t know what Artist’s Alley is, it’s several long rows of tables set up where artists are selling and signing their work; some of them will do sketches on the spot for you, while others have pre-existing drawings ready for sale. It’s one of the best parts of going to a convention like this.
J. Scott Campbell: Artist of one of my favorite comics, DangerGirl. At his table, I picked up his 2008 Faces Sketchbook. As he was signing my book “To Eve” he asked why I didn’t pick up his “Eve” poster [see part above about running out of cash], but now I really regret not getting it. J. Scott Campbell MySpace.
Omaha Perez: I grabbed his pre-signed book Holmes, but he was never at his table whenever I went by. Regardless, I spotted the cover of this book a mile away and I had it, especially since it’s based on Sherlock Holmes and I’m a Holmes fanatic. www.omahaperez.com
Ted Naifeh: Sitting with his pal Omaha Perez was Ted Naifeh, who is the creator the Courtney Crumrin and Polly & The Pirates, both from Oni Press. Naifeh also does the art for Death Jr.. At first I passed the table not realizing who he was; on my second pass I noticed the Courtney Crumrin books, so I stopped and let me tell you, this guy is awesome. I immediately loved him and will be on the lookout for him at the next Con. www.tednaifeh.com
Robert Goodin: Goodin was on a break when I was lured to his table by some very beautiful postcards made of wood. I picked up the Cherry Blossoms card made of bird’s eye maple and found out that all of his wooden postcards (some of which are scented!) are made from wood is sustainably harvested. I only wish I had picked up a few more, but luckily, they’re available at his website. At his table, I also picked up the Envelope Licker mini comic (also available at his site, see link below). www.robertgoodin.com
Larry Marder: Marder is the creator of the Dark Horse comic Beanworld and he really made me laugh because he was giving away Beanworld “action figures” — basically, beans that he drew on. So, I took one, of course, and Marder was nice enough to sign a Beanworld card for me. According to his site, this was Marder’s first time in Artist’s Alley in almost 20 years! larrymarder.blogspot.com
Derek Yaniger: One look at Yaniger’s art and you think “groovy!” It’s 1950’s style cartoon art with tiki gods, hillbillies, and burlesque that’s colorful and vibrant and the characters always seem to be having a good time (even The Mad Butcher!). It’s similar to Shag’s art, but a little bit more down and dirty. I told Yaniger that at first glance his art reminded me of the old Tex Avery cartoon “Symphony In Slang” (one of my favorite cartoon vignettes as a child). www.derekart.com
David Petersen: Creator of Mouse Guard, I acquired a small poster, which Petersen signed for me. I already have all things Mouse Guard already, including the role-playing game book, so I’m glad I was able to get this poster, which now I don’t see online anywhere (it’s of one of the Mouse Guard in a field of skulls). www.davidpetersen.net
Kei Acedera: There was a table set up for Imaginism Studios, which I didn’t realize at the time was host for several arts. I took one of the cards from the table because I liked the artwork on it. Afterward, I went to their site to find this piece of art, which the card said is called “Fish Talk,” but I couldn’t find it. But, I did see one similar to it by Kei Acedera and as I browsed through her artwork, I know that I just have to get some of this. www.imaginismstudios.com/our-art/kei-acedera
There were a few non-Artist’s Alley acquisitions I just wanted to briefly mention:
Gris Grimly: He had his own booth out on the Con floor, so I was able to get the very last copy of his Dangerous Alphabet, the Neil Gaiman storybook he illustrated. On the inside he wrote “E is for Eve” (I just had Neil Gaiman sign this copy this weekend and he wrote “E is definitely for Eve”). Love, love, love Grimly’s stuff, so check it out. www.madcreator.com
Chuck BB: BB did the art for the recent Eisner Award-winning comic Black Metal, which he was signing at the Oni Press booth. I went over there with Quint, who was buying one of BB’s sketches and I saw that one of them had a girl standing in front of a Venom poster. So, right away, I was like, what’s this stuff about?!?! That’s when I saw his book, which was written by Rick Spears and I knew it was for me. Inside, BB gave me “horns & hails” and other cool heavy metal symbols, which I loooooove. \m/\m/ www.chuckbb.com
The Carousel: The Neil Gaiman Collection: This isn’t artwork, but it was my first purchase at WonderCon and I really love it, so I thought I’d mention it, especially because the proceeds go to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund charity. “The Carousel” is a collection of perfume oil blends based on the characters, locations, and concepts from Gaiman’s American Gods novel. The Neverwhere site sells each scent in a .5 ml apothecary bottle for $25, but I was able to get a pack of seven sample “imp” vials for $20 (which is not available online). www.blackphoenixalchemylab.com/neverwhere.html