I'm finally back from Phoenix Comicon. Took me an extra day to recover, because the con was such a BLAST!
To all of you who asked me at the con if I remembered everything, the answer is yes and no. Yes, I remembered everything I needed for the con, but I forgot razors so by the end of the con I was rocking a full-on 6 day long neckbeard (in addition to my freshly-trimmed facebeard). Super-sweet. I looked a little like a homeless person with a pro badge on sunday.
So, I can honestly say that this year's con kicked so much more ass than last year's. I actually managed to get up and wander the con, see some panels and talk to people this year, due to 's Super-awesomeness. This man is a machine! He was doing commissions for people from the minute he sat down on Thursday night. And we're not talking some little piddly head sketch. Oh, no. He was rocking out some totally awesome pieces! Hopefully, we'll see some scans soon.
Thursday night kicked the show off to a great start. tons of people were there which is pretty amazing for a middle-of-the-week preview night. The sketch card panel was great. I got to the room a few minutes earlier than all the other guests so I hung out outside with my wife waiting for the others. A few minutes past 7, breezes in with the grace of a ballerina and the grim determination of a grid iron hero. It started out slow, with just Tony and myself talking about our experiences in the Sketch card world. Having never done a panel with tony before, I learned something: Tony likes to talk. LOL! I mean, I've known him for a while, now, and kinda knew this but tell ya what, the man can hold your rapt attention for hours if you let him. He is a force unto himself. After a few minutes, the room started to fill up, and in the audience was one, Mr. Spencer Brinkerhoff III, Star Wars and Indiana Jones artist extraordinaire, and a good friend of mine. Since our panel of celebrity guests was short by 3 people, I pulled him up on stage to help out. And man, was that ever he right decision. Between him, tony and myself, we rocked the audience questions for about 30 minutes. Then, to add fuel to the flame, cruised in. Better late than never, I say. The chemistry between Tony and Ben is palpable, I must say and it made the last half of the panel super awesome (even though, Spencer had to go). Overall the panel was a qualifiable success thanks to Ben, Tony and Spencer. After the panel, I went back to my table, and sold some books and a sketch card, then went back to my hotel. (I was tired!)
So that was Thursday. Friday brought more in the way of Con-goodness.
Friday was the first full day of the con. We got in and got set up just as they opened the gates and unleashed the masses. Friday brought my first commission request of the con, and one of the oddest. I was asked to draw a guy as Spider-man. I don't know why, but every time I set up in Phoenix, I get at least one commission of someone as a superhero. I've never had this anywhere else! LOL. but, luckily I have some experience drawing likenesses, and the commission came out really well. The guy was super-happy, and hopefully I'll get a scan that I can share. Friday also brought my first meeting with Mr. I bought one of his super-fabulous art books (to call it a 'sketchbook' is insulting, really) and he did me a spidey head sketch in the back. I found out that he and I share a life-long love of the webhead, and that he is a super-great dude, just spectacularly nice and humble and he talks to you like he's known you for years. Even when he was talking to and doing sketches (for free, btw) for people who had no idea who he was, (which is stunning, let me tell you), he was cool. I also picked up a sketchbook from Tom Hodges. Who was busy, but still took the time to do me a sketch of Batgirl in the back. Great dude. I also got to hang with my good bud , Dan Davis. He invited me back into his inner sanctum (behind his table, natch!) so we could shoot the breeze and talk shop a little bit. Then, his son attacked me! Dawna told me that once you come behind the table, you become family and are fair game. There are worse things. The Davis family is awesome. I keep hoping that they'll officially adopt me. LOL!
Saturday was the big day. Thousands of people descended upon the Mesa Convention Center. It was a bit slower in Artist's Alley than it was last year. I blame the staff for getting so many cool guests in the Exhibitor hall that no one wanted to leave! I also got a cool piece of fandom: one of the convention goers came dressed as Zatanna because of my print! I have pics, but the nets are down at my house, so I can't upload them yet. But it was tons of fun, and I got to see friends of mine that I hadn't seen since the last con; Dave, Micah and Lin of BushiTales fame, Mike Bullock of Lions, Tiger and Bears and the Phantom, , Steve Rude and his wife Jaynelle (who admittedly, I had seen since the last con, but not since I left PHX) and Brian Pulido. I also met some internet friends in person; , , . My wife got me an awesome sketch in my autograph book by , of Spider-Man making fun of my strange love of monkies. I was also set upon by a small group of anime girls (usually my wife's fan-base, not mine) on Saturday night, who wanted some sketches. I got the strangest consketch request I'd ever gotten till that point: A teddy bear in a trenchcoat and tie, with a bandage oh is face, a bite out of his ear, and pencil behind his other ear. I did a few other sketches for them, but that one, really stuck out.
Sunday was awesome. I got some more wandering time just before the exhibit hall closed. Got a super-awesome Doc Ock sketch in my autograph book by Cheeks, did a sketchbook trade with Spencer (I did a Aayla Secura sketch for him, he drew my logo monkey, who apparently hates his hat, for me), did a trade with Dave Beatty for one of my Zatanna prints (I definitely think I got the better end of those two deals), and I picked up a sketch card commission from David and did a print trade with him. Once again, I got the better end of the deal.
All in all, I'd say that my first long-distance con was a success. I gotta thank all the fans who stopped by even just to chat (even the girls who made it a point to criticize my art every time they went by). Joe, Fredie, Matt, Rick, Mari, Jeff (all of the Phoenix comicon old-guard), thanks for building this con to where it is now. You've all done a great job and all of us who set up or attend owe you a debt of gratitude. I don't know if we'll ever make it back to PCC, but I hope so. It's a great con and just getting better.