A Weekend of Comic Book Goodness
After the surprisingly entertaining first Austin Comic Con, I eagerly looked forward to
this event. I arrived roughly 30 minutes before the con started to a line of some
400 people waiting to enter.
The hall itself was smaller than last year which was actually a good thing. Not as much
open space and easier to look around. Sadly, one of the other missing things was the
lack of any gaming. Last year's event devoted a significant amount of space to board
gaming (more on that later).
I spent most of Friday visiting with people I knew.
Kristin "Dead Squirrel Girl" Hogan showcased her usual selection of homemade plush squid
dolls and her latest creation: a large quilt featuring Doctor Who's famous Tardis. She
shared table space with her Hell's Alphabet cohort Jason Murphy.
Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, etc. artist John Lucas pawned original comic pages. He also offered
one of the show's more popular and potentially sacrilegious (if your beliefs lean
that way) t-shirts: "JESUS CHRIST WAS A CARPENTER (below text: image of Jesus on left
saying "I love you" and Han Solo on the right saying "I know.") SO WAS HARRISON FORD.
Sitting with Lucas but not hawking any of his own wares, writer, self-styled raconteur,
and fellow simian fan Mark Finn talked about our wilder comic convention days of the
90s, when we were both frequent attendees at similar events. Finn much like myself
participated more directly in the comics publishing world in those days. He's better
know now as a world renowned Robert E. Howard scholar, old time radio show playwright
and movie theater owner, though Finn does have some hush-hush comics projects on the horizon.
My co-writer for the short story "Raven: Nameless Here For Evermore," Alan J. Porter
manned his own table selling his contributions to the Cars comic book
series, Star Trek: A Comics History, James Bond: The History of the Illustrated 007,
and other Porteriana.
Yehudi Mercado premiered the third climatic volume to his graphic novel series
Buffalo Speedway, a humorous chronicle into one day of the Turbo Pizza delivery
drivers. On June 17th, 1994, the Rockets battle the Knicks in the NBA Finals, America
hosts the World Cup, and O.J. Simpson leads the LAPD on a slow speed chase, combining
to spawn a near perfect storm of pizza delivery as all 3 million people in Houston
stay home to watch the events unfold on TV. With purchase of the book, Mercado
including a set of cards illustrating The Game of Thrones of Muppets. Additionally,
if you bought all three books, he tossed in a commemorative Buffalo Speedway pizza
box to house all three books.
Happily after nearly 15 years, I reconnected with artist Mark A. Nelson. He
exploded onto the comics scene in 1988 with the first original comic book based
on the Aliens films. I met Nelson in the 90s shortly after he completed illustrating
the Joe R. Lansdale God of the Razor comic series Blood & Shadows. While with Mojo,
I commissioned him to produce the cover to my anthology The Big Bigfoot Book. Apparently,
he relocated to Houston (from Chicago) sometime in the previous decade, where he
continues to produce covers, comics, illustrations, and other artsy stuff.
As frequent readers of my essays know, I am the custodian of my nephews' geek
upbringing. As part of their ongoing indoctrination, I brought Stan (12) and
Alex (15) to their first comic convention on Saturday. Though initially overwhelmed
by the incredible amount of geeky coolness and throngs of people, both boys adjusted
and discovered many cool things.
Recent drinkers of the The Walking Dead Kool-Aid, they eagerly attended (along with
their Uncle Ricky) The Walking Dead Q & A with Chandler Riggs and Anthony
Guajardo. The panel revealed little of anything new about the show but was
All three of us met Godzilla artist Matt Frank. He showed off his Godzilla pics
and work from the Transformers Animated comic. The excited daikaijū fan Stan
commissioned his first ever convention sketch from Frank: an original Godzilla.
Alex wisely picked up some of Diana Sprinkle's work for his girlfriend. Featuring cats,
parasites, barf, turtles, and other cute things, Sprinkle's slick products range from
the cute to the disgusting, often within the same image.
The boys shot at stormtroopers, looked at zillions of cool books, toys, and t-shirts,
and met many of my friends. We at a late lunch/early dinner of Mongolian bbq (another
first for the nephews in a day full of them). Perhaps, they'll be back next years for some more.
Tired, I returned on Sunday for half a day. After checking in with some of my friends,
I made a final walk through of the artist's alley where I discovered
Pirates of Mars Vol. 1. Beautifully rendered by Veronica Fish, the online
strip-cum-graphic novel hearkens back to the adventure strips of Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon
Jack of Fables, House of Mystery, and
Droctor Who writer Matthew Sturges promoted his
new graphic novel with artist John Lucas Four Norseman of the Apocalypse, coming
next year from the recently revitalized First Comics. He also revealed that he's
hard at work on a new novel, his first crime thriller.
All in all, a fun-filled weekend of comic book goodness. I look forward to next years convention.
Professional reviewer, geek maven, and optimistic curmudgeon, Rick Klaw has supplied
countless reviews, essays, and fiction for a variety of publications
The Austin Chronicle,
The San Antonio Current,
The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy, Moving Pictures
RevolutionSF, King Kong Is Back!, Conversations
With Texas Writers, Farscape Forever, Electric Velocipede, Cross Plains
Universe, and Steampunk. MonkeyBrain Books published the collection of his essays, reviews,
and other things Klaw, Geek
Confidential: Echoes From the 21st Century.
He can often be found pontificating on Twitter
and over at The Geek Curmudgeon.