Monday, May 9, 2011

Wizard World Anaheim Recap and Pictures!

So, as the Wizard World Anaheim Convention happened a week and a day ago, this is rather behind, but better late than never? That's an old adage, and I'm sticking to it.

In any event, I had not yet had time to recap the events of two weekends past -- the Convention weekend itself was really busy, and I had lots of work to do the following week. As well as lots of sleeping, because prior to ACC I hadn't really done much of that in quite a bit of time.


(Quick picture of me at my table-- yes, Fuzzles came with me, because that is how I roll. I stocked my table as fully as it could be stocked, with original works, original comics pages, prints, handmade greeting cards, handpainted sneakers, copies of "Samurai: The Graphic Novel," and Sculpey toys.)

I keep thinking about Wizard World Anaheim, because it was super fun, and it was honestly one of the best conventions I've ever been to. Make that one of the best I have ever exhibited at. Everything was organized, the hall was spacious, the Artist's Alley was in a prime location for the exhibitors-- all was well! People who run the Wizard Conventions know their shiz, as do the people who work the Anaheim Convention Center. It was a tightly run ship, with kindly sailors steering the boat (a corny analogy, but I'll leave it). The attendees were also really awesome, and intrigued by everything people had at their tables-- whether it was more art-y, comic-y, or everything-y.


(Another quick picture-- there are a few of these before I get to the rest-- and once again, silliness on the Convention floor with Fuzzles!)

Overall, I really enjoyed getting to meet the other artists, attendees, and exhibitors; to talk comics, illustration; and to just have a good time. Being in Anaheim, surrounded by comics, art, friendly faces, new and old, and wonderful energy made me feel like I was at a different one of the happiest places on earth.



(Above is another picture of silliness. I posted in on Facebook and called it "Fuzzles Overexposed Nuzzles." There wasn't much downtime at the Con, but with the little there was I got as many shots of Fuzzles and myself as I could. Because, I am a nerd. Shamelessly so.)

(Additional Sidebar: regarding my earlier paragraph, I have to apologize to Mickey Mouse for using the Disneyland catchphrase. I know that the "happiest place" thing is your phrase for your Kingdom-- I'm not trying to steal it, so don't worry. ;-) Actually... it would have been awesome to do Disney and the Convention all that weekend. But, apart from cost issues, that might have been somewhat of a sensory overload! A fun sensory overload, but an overload nonetheless.)

Anyway, it was one of the best weekends I've spent in a long time, on both professional and personal levels. The Convention itself was enjoyable and very busy, and the post-con dinners and talks also made my weekend.


(One more Fuzzles and I table shot!)

As far as my table in Artist's Alley went, I was privileged to share a row with the other creators on the "Samurai" project:

Karl Alstaetter ("Samurai" Creator and EIC; at http://komickarl.deviantart.com/),
Jamie Gambell ("Samurai" Creator and EIC; at http://jamiegambell.com),
Gerimi Burleigh ("Samurai" Creator; at http://optichouse.com/gerimi/) ,
Dan Smith (a.k.a. Smif) ("Samurai" Creator; at http://www.dansmith-smif.com/),
Jesse Mesa Toves ("Samurai" Creator; at http://www.jesse-toves.com/),
and Drew Johnson ("Samurai" Cover Artist; at http://cursethatmonkey.blogspot.com/).

Please check out their sites, because their work in the "Samurai" project and otherwise is stellar! Just in case you miss it above, I will be sharing those links a second time in this blog :-D

I feel very lucky to have gotten to work with such kind and talented people on this project. It was great fun to spend time with them on the floor and off. When we (meaning the "Samurai" Crew) hung out to grab dinner after the Convention each night, there was so much laughing and silliness I couldn't breathe some of the time. Laughter is important, as well as good for you-- so I am grateful I got it in spades during ACC.

So, without further ado, here is the more picture-y portion of this recap.

Everyone in the crew carpooled back and forth each day. Luckily, I carpooled down Friday to set up on Friday, and back on Sunday when we had to return-- although I opted to stay down in Anaheim Friday night and Saturday night, rather than commute.


(Friday night. Fuzzles and my at the time in-progress Supergirl Commission, sitting on my desk at my fancy Travelodge digs-- honestly, they were actually pretty nice!)

I was rather worried about that because of Yelp.com horror stories I found on every single place I considered staying. For budget reasons, I could definitely not afford a nice Disney area hotel-- but nor did I want to book a room at the no-name, non-chain motel that somebody on Yelp pleasantly described, "Like that hotel from the movie, 'Monster.' "

I decided to go for a chain, and that was a good choice! It turns out (despite mixed reviews on teh interwebz) that the Travelodge is affordable, clean, quiet, and a great place to get commissions done while not on the convention floor! It felt like a mini-vacation, with the big room, big bed, desk, and bazillion channels. Anybody who knows me knows I don't watch much telly. With the exception of certain CW shows I (embarrassingly) stream via the Internet. But that said, I think television can be nice to have on in the background while working on other things.


(Fuzzles, as he is full of "magnifithenthe," had trouble parting with a picture of a character named "Supergirl." He realized finally, however, that the commission had to go to its rightful customer.)

Drawing the Supergirl commission was tons of fun! A man asked me to draw it for his friend on Friday night, and I had it ready for him on Saturday. The Con got out late on Friday, so I did nothing but go and get food with some peeps, then retire to my hotel room to stay up late, draw, and have the coverage of the Royal Wedding on in the background.

(Sidebar: while I am did not really follow the Royal Wedding at all, I tuned in Friday night because I do love London, I love elaborate costumes (and everyone's outfits were amazing), and also, that highly publicized moment where the unimpressed little flower girl covered her ears because of the incessant cheering was super funny/cute. Sidebar addition: Disney Channel's very cute show for very young children, "Charlie and Lola," came on at around one in the morning and I was captivated. The cartoon character's voices were British, they were quite dear, and they had a little dachshund looking dog named Sizzles! Sizzles! Yay, funny dog names. Anyway, onward. Because Kate Middleton and Sizzles truly have nothing to do with superheroes or Wizard World Anaheim.)


(Finished Commission above!)

As I said above, the person who commissioned me to draw Supergirl was collecting the drawing for a friend. I believe her name Becca, and apparently she had requested me specifically to draw it in my style (since, I do have a style, although it is not what one would call superhero-y, at all). It was a lot of fun-- Becca, if you ever read this, thank you! And hope you enjoy your drawing (-:



(A greeting card of Shogun Vader is above.)

One of the many cool attendees I met this weekend was Alexander Lam. He cosplays as Darth Vader in various ways. But what's quite cool, is that he cosplays as various versions of Darth Vader... as a Samurai!! That's such an awesome combination. For anyone who frequents comic cons, you have likely seen him before. The picture in the link below? Yes, that's him.

http://blogs.laweekly.com/stylecouncil/ALA-27.jpg


We did a trade, as he is a fantastic Origami artist (and he made me a blue paper rose! Yay.), and he offered Origami to me in exchange for an individualized card commission. So, since I have a character of my own from "The Samurai Project," and he is his own Samurai character, I put the both of them into his greeting card. Vader is happy in the card, as he's dancing to music. And so is the girl from my story. It was fun to draw a silly and fun card, since A) It's fun to give Darth a break and let him let loose, and, B) My own story from the anthology is... rather dark, so it was fun to draw a version of the main character getting to smile and dance around a bit.


(The above picture... is silly! California Pizza Kitchen on Saturday night was laughter madness.)

This picture was taken Saturday night with Jesse's... itouch? I forget what the camera thing that's not an iPhone is called. Something fancy and cool made by Apple. It was a picture that he took rotated, and it managed to come out as one long picture. From left to right, is Brady, Jamie, myself, Gerimi, Dan, Karl, and Drew. We kept laughing about very silly things-- not the least of which is that it was prom night, and lots of kids were milling about the mall and the food places... in huge gowns. Gerimi was wearing a tie, and I had on a fancy-ish jacket and a headband... so everyone kept teasing us and saying it looked like we were also at prom. It doesn't sound that funny re-typing it, but whether it was punch-drunk exhaustion from the convention, the high of what a good convention it was, or us being overcome by the massive amounts of food we ordered, I think the picture shows that we were all highly amused that night.


(Me and Marco from Alakazam Comics, with the Commission I made for him.)

Sunday finally rolled around. Sadly, conventions do end, and real life has to resume. Boo. But Sunday was a lot of fun. I got to catch up with Marco, who runs a terriffic comic book store down in Irvine called Alakazam Comics. My booth at Long Beach Comic Con was right by his, and it was great fun to get back in touch! He commissioned me to draw a picture of Alakazam, who is the character in his store's logo. He's a little guy who lives in a magician's hat. I pretty much took that theme and ran with it.


(Alakazam Commission above, while riding an abnormally large and horse-like rabbit friend! Out of his hat. I guess since they're magical they can both shrink and live inside it when they retreat, since it's their house. It's definitely Alakazam's house, and perhaps the bunny is visiting.)

As mentioned, Alakazam is both the name of the character and the store. To check out their great collection of books, toys, and other cool items, go to:
http://www.alakazamcomics.com/

In any event, Wizard World Anaheim, the Anaheim Comic Convention, or WWA-- whatever you want to call it-- it was awesome. If I had a time machine, I would go back and enjoy the weekend some more. But, the best I can do is re-live it through a blog. So, hopefully this has been an enjoyable (if extremely long) read for people!

And to finish off this Convention Recap, I will finish off by showcasing pictures and information about the "Samurai" crew.


Here's Jamie Gambell at his table. In addition to being an editor on the "Samurai" project, he is a great writer. He is the writer of "The Hero Code" and "Omnitarium," and more about Jamie and his work can be seen here:
http://www.jamiegambell.com/


Karl Alstaetter: I could not find a good picture of Karl at his table, but he is truly responsible for bringing the "Samurai" project together. He is a fantastic storyteller and artist (and editor, as a matter of fact), and he has a large, awesome body of work. If you like "The Wizard of Oz," you need to check out his series, "Emerald City Blues." You may have already seen seen his work through MTV Geek. But if not, you should check him out here, forthwith:
http://komickarl.deviantart.com/


Above is a picture of Gerimi Burleigh at his table. He is a writer, illustrator, cartoonist, and even painter! His graphic novel, "Eye of the Gods," is in his words: ENEMY OF THE STATE meets DEAD ZONE. It chronicles the adventures of a man whose life spirals out of control when he is cursed with the ability of remote viewing. To check out more, go to the site of Gerimi's publishing company:
http://optichouse.com



Here's a picture of Dan Smith, also known as Smif. He is a fantastic cartoonist and game artist, and I love his book "Thirteen Cats!" It is a wonderful cartoon board book for kids, that teaches them how to count. He's done a lot of great work in comics, illustrations, and games. Check him out at:
http://www.dansmith-smif.com/


The picture above is of Dan, as well as Drew Johnson. Drew did the cover for the "Samurai" project, and has done a lot of work in the comic book industry, including work on "The Authority" for Wildstorm, and "Supergirl" for D.C. To see what he's up to right now, check out:
http://cursethatmonkey.blogspot.com/).


Jesse is a concept artist and graphic novelist, who publishes the series "Trouble, Guts & Noir." His story in the "Samurai" project is one of the stories that is ongoing as opposed to a one shot, and it's entitled "Encoding Bushido." To see more of what Jesse is working on, go to:
http://www.jesse-toves.com/


And lastly, here's a picture of me and Dan.

As Dan said on Facebook, he was hoping to pose with Fuzzles, but I showed up instead. Oops! Fuzzles was napping in my purse from a long weekend, but he'll be out for photo ops soon enough ;-) !

So, that's that. Anaheim Comic Con! Hope anybody who made it to the end of this blog enjoyed the read. I enjoyed the Convention. Being with the "Samurai" crew in the book, and doing the convention with one another, was a great experience. And I am looking forward to being involved with future Wizard events in the future.

Thank you, and good night.

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