Friends, I am well versed in The Motor City Comic Con. I was one of its original visitors when it first opened its doors in 1989 at a convention center in Dearborn, MI. I followed the con when it eventually moved to the Novi Convention Center, then to The Rock Financial Showplace. I've met many famous people, made many great friends and had many great experiences. But the experience I had at this year's MoCon, my first behind a table and selling my wares, was the topper to beat 'em all.
Having already broke myself in my working a table at Wizard World Chicago last August, and by walking the floor and networking at C2E2 this past April, I felt ready to man my booth at Motor City. I'm not a guy who comes ill-prepared. I knew I wanted my table to pop out from the rest, so I took measures to make sure it'd happen. And I knew there were specific people I wanted to meet, and I made sure I was ready for that, too.
and met him three years back when I was still creating my Dead Duck graphic novel and hadn't looked for a publisher yet. Sergio had given me such encouragement and such a warm, positive reception that when Dead Duck finally got published, I attributed it in part to his support and advice. So what you see above is an illustration I did this past week on the inside cover of one of my copies of Dead Duck. I drew this the night before Motor City opened its doors, and was very anxious to give him my book and my thanks.
Jeremy Bastian, David Petersen, Stan Sakai, Eric Lynch and Katie Cook. In case you can't tell, my drawing is in the second row on the right. I drew Deadpool shooting pool. I know, I know. My puns will be the end of me.
I was actually very fortunate to be seated with almost all my closest artist pals. At the beginning of my row was Jeremy Bastian and his fiancee Emily, then Katie Cook and her husband Ryan, myself and Laura, then Eric Lynch, and then David and Julia Petersen. In the row behind and to the right of me was my friend Chad Porter and his wife Sarah. And next to them was Andy Price and his wife Alice, who I just met at C2E2 last month. So I was in a very great community of artist friends. But like I said, I was just ALMOST seated next to all my pals...
Guy Davis and his fiancee Rosemary, who were situated on the opposite end of the con floor from me. Guy works in the Hellboy comics on the series B.P.R.D. (or Bureau of Paranormal Investigation, if you detest abbreviations). I'd first met Guy and Rosemary at a signing guy did at Vault of Midnight in Ann Arbor last November. We didn't get to talk much at the time, but by the time were were seated next to each other at The MSU Comics Forum a few months ago, it felt like we were old pals! I absolutely love Guy's artwork, and he and Rosemary are two of the nicest people I've ever met, inside or outside the comics industry. At Motor City, I also noticed he had an affinity for the old Dick Tracy villains (as do I!), and a great talent for rendering them in his incredible style. Hopefully Guy and I will be trading Dick Tracy-themed sketches sometime down the road!
Mark Bode drawing (Mark's dad Vaughn is one of my biggest creative influences). I'm so proud of some of the cool and unexpected places Dead Duck is turning up these days!
Don Rosa, who's drawn the Scrooge McDuck comics for the better part of the last twenty years, had a booth at Motor City. His book, "The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck", while thematically far removed from Dead Duck, still served as an inspiring duck-themed read while I was working on Dead Duck back in 2007. Don also seemed to enjoy this piece, and I was thrilled to give it to him.
Laura came later to the con on Saturday afternoon so she could join me and my pals at our monthly Ink and Stein gathering. It's a meeting place for Michigan cartoonists where we typically gather in Ypsilanti for some drawing and socializing. This month we held it at the Doubletree Hotel in Novi, since it was the official con hotel. Surprisingly, half our normal attendees didn't make it--either due to other obligations or because we weren't able to nail down a location in the hotel until it was too late to give specific directions to anyone. However, those who did make it had a great time, and that certainly counts for me by half!
Tony Miello. To my right is Jay Jacot, publisher and ed-in-chief of Comics Obscura, and the man who put together the MSU Comics Forum I participated in a few months back. Jay also joined us for Ink and Stein, and participated in all the bawdy and naughty cartoon shenanigans we threw together that evening. Amongst the weirdest: I came up with the idea of us drawing zombies pooping (no, Zombie Chick did not figure into this). I had the idea of a zombie pooping out his brain, with the brain stem still trailing up his bum. Disgusting, I know. But inspired! The guys really ran with the theme and did some brilliantly stomach-churning pieces!
Adam Talley, an old pal of mine from college, as well as the creator of the comics Pleasant Life (formerly Pleasant Hymns) and the recent Anna Pocolypse. Adam helped publish my first comics work in the comic anthology Spasm, which was funded and released through Central Michigan University back in 2003. Adam also joined us at Ink and Stein, and was a demented and doodling as the best of us!
So as you can see, Motor City was a blast, and we ended it with a very nice dinner with a great bunch of friends and fellow artists. I've never had a con experience like this, and it would be a tough act to follow. I had at least one experience with a fan and his family that was so touching that it made me teary eyed (I get misty just thinking of it now). I just want to thank everyone associated with Motor City, Laura, the fans, and all my fellow comic artists who helped me make this such an incredible experience.
So much love, people.