NYCC and WonderCon Fotoz II

Some more pix from the recent NYCC and WonderCon shows…


DAVE ELLIOT

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Monsieur Elliott had the good fortune to serve as my Editor-in-Chief during his time at Radical; an association that reinvigorate his stature in the industry, after having exhausted the cache of his earlier collaborations with such faded luminaries as Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Warren Ellis, Matt Wagner, Simon Bisley, Mike Mignola, Dave Gibbons, Peter Milligan, Kevin Eastman, Ted McKeever, James O’Barr, Kevin O’Neill, Dave Dorman, Steve Pugh, Michael Zulli, and several dozen other sub-Harris creators. He remains a gentleman, scholar, top mate, and prefers to be introduced at conventions as “Andrew Steven Harris’s editor”.


STEVE NILES

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While at IDW, I became pals with Ben Templesmith, whose wickedly sarcastic humor could not be more in contrast to his 30 Days of Night partner Steve Niles, one of the most genial and soft-spoken guys you could hope to meet; especially considering he became famous by writing stories about vampires chewing people’s heads off. Steve has an intensely creative mind, which has led him to become one of the most prolific writers in the industry; in fact, the Star Trek: Borg Spotlight I wrote for IDW had originally been Steve’s book, until his professional commitments surrounding the 30 Days of Night film forced him to pull out and me to take it on. Much as I had a blast writing it, I’d still love to see what Steve would have done with it.


DAVID HINE

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David is a top-notch writer and artist who actually got his break into Marvel during a NYC blackout, when Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada lit some candles and read David’s horror masterwork Strange Embrace from cover-to-cover. (I’ve read it straight through as well; it’s hypnotic.) Among nearly countless other books (notably Spawn and various X-titles), David went on to write one of my favorite series of recent years, the scandalously overlooked Silent War, with one of the most powerful final pages in recent memory. (Like all good highwayman writers, I even nicked its structure for the final page of Star Trek: The Last Generation #3.)

David had a Silent War sequel planned, ultimately skitched by continuity changes in other company titles, but one night over dinner he told me it involved destroying the entire Marvel Universe, in a miniseries that I dubbed “Sing Along With Black Bolt”. Was he just joking? Is David’s mind really that epically deranged? Go read Strange Embrace, kiddies, and you tell me.


STEVE PUGH

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Steve came up through the ranks of the UK comics industry working alongside the likes of Warren Ellis, Garth Ennis, Jamie Delano and Ian Edginton before crossing the pond with them during the British invasion of the ’90s. He’s drawn characters ranging from Hellblazer to Superman to Marvel’s mutants, with some Terminator, Judge Dredd and Witchblade mixed in along the way. Also as fine a pub companion as you’re ever likely to find.


BATTON LASH

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I first met Batton many years ago, when I originally moved to San Diego (his wife, Jackie Estrada, is head of the San Diego Comic-Con’s Eisner Awards, the Oscars of the comics industry), having already been a huge fan of his Wolff & Byrd series from the days that we both worked for the folks over at TSR. As fellow former Brooklynites, we’ve both now migrated to the warmer climes of San Diego–and once that happens, my friends, there’s no going back.

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NYCC and WonderCon Fotoz

A quick break from promoting Star Trek: The Last Generation to share some photos of myself and some friends at the New York Comic-Con and Wonder-Con in February.

nyccThe New York show was great–not only had time to see some friends and fam, but the show itself exceeded everybody’s expectations, sold out and betrayed not a flicker of recession inside the convention halls. A very good sign for the industry during this freefall economy.

The show itself is also now the fastest-growing convention in the world, easily the size of the San Diego convention from the early ’90s, when I first started attending, and fast becoming the East Coast alternative to the SDCC. Hopefully, it’ll relieve some of the pressure from the San Diego con, which has now become a lumbering colossus ready to collapse under its own weight. (Or, at least, Hollwood’s–thankfully absent from most corners of the New York con.)

wchdr_r2_c1WonderCon was great as always, a true comics convention rather than a multiplatform film, TV and video game expo. It’s an outstanding chance to talk to fans, one-on-one, at a major show that never feels unbearably crowded.

Plus San Francisco has a great vibe, which plays directly into the atmosphere of the show. The comics lounge Isotope, as usual, threw the best party, at its quirky space on Fell Street that attracted some of the top luminaries in the business.

Most of the artists take turns drawing in marker on toilet seat lids, which then adorn the walls for the rest of the year. (“The world’s only museum dedicated to original art on toilet seats by comic creators!”) Best sketch: my IDW pal Ben Templesmith’s, of a voracious, jagged-toothed vampire dude coming up the pipes to bite you on the…well, you get the idea. Ben’s got this genital fixation that some wives would find distressing, though apparently Lorelei doesn’t mind.

Most of these pix will take up residence on the permanent photos page, if you’d like to go back to admire them later on down the road.


JIM STERANKO

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Jim is one of the classiest fellows you could ever hope to work with, and I don’t just mean his dapper dress. A true comics legend in every sense of the word, he remains one of the most down-to-Earth icons of the industry, a humble and magnanimous guy happy to give fans his sincere attention. He’s also sharp as a whip, able to hold conversations on seemingly any subject. It was a genuine thrill to have him work on my Hercules books at Radical.


ROSS RICHIE

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BOOM! Studios Publisher Ross Richie is one of my oldest friends here on the West Coast, dating back to the days when I was writing for a fledgling Wizard Magazine and Ross was a marketing dude for Malibu Comics–with a waistline, no girlfriend, and… hair. (What kind of hair? Middle-of-his-back, crazy wildman Ramen-noodle hair. The kind of Jheri curl that makes Rick James say, “Gahdayum, motherfucker, those are some Jheri curls.”) Since then, Ross has lost the afro and gained the hand in marriage of the beautiful Johanna Stokes, writer on some of the best books BOOM! has published to date.

Despite that, Ross still enjoys the occasional snuggle of his man-boob, nostaligic for the days of our torrid slacker bromance, which ended tragically when I killed his D&D character–who was a giant man-turtle, and a pirate, and spoke with a Mexican accent from the 1950s. So, yeah: sorry, Jose Miguel Rincon, but you had to go.


ARTHUR SUYDAM

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Arthur’s a true superstar of comics, virtually singlehandedly launching an entire industry trend with his sensational Marvel Zombies work, though he’s an accomplished writer as well. In addition, he’s an athlete, scholar, professional rock star, and–if I’m not mistaken–also a secret-agent brain surgeon who test-drives rocket cars. Arthur did covers for my Hercules and Aladdin books, and they’re some of the most atmospheric and provocative images I could have hoped for. A true class-A talent.


RICK REMENDER

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Mugging for the camera with Rick Remender–one of the busiest writers inĀ  comics, and deservedly so. Rick’s doing a great series for Radical called Last Days of American Crime, and I had the chance to work on its early stages, including some very cool initial character designs. (Rick also worked on the early drafts of the first-ever Star Trek issue that I edited for IDW, so I was happy to return the favor.) I once called Rick from the office to talk over his series, and he had such an intuitive grasp of character and story that it makes you realize he’s going to be one of the most notable comics writers of his generation.


KEITH R.A. DeCANDIDO

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KRAD and I go way, way, WAAAY back, to when we were both nobodies and looking to break into the industry. As I like to say, he’s now a disturbingly prolific big-shot novelist, while I’m still just nothin’. (I told him I’m now working on a murder mystery; it’s about a writer who gets killed at a comic book convention after sucking up all the best assignments from his fellow starving authors. Keith laughed. Yeah, ha ha ha, motherfucker.) While the Star Trek editor at IDW, however, I did hire Keith to write a Klingon issue for me–a courageous, out-of-the-box decision, to be sure–and he of course rewarded my bold creative intuition by knocking it out of the park. So, OK, maybe I’ll let him live.

What nobody should ever do, though, is let Keith pick the movie when you’re going to the theater on Christmas Day. I mean, Shindler’s List, Keith? Really? “Happy birthday, Jesus! And thank you, Santa, for bringing so many presents! Now let’s go watch a three-hour film about Auschwitz.” Nice.