I returned home from the show in Baltimore Monday evening, and I’ve been in a numb haze ever since, so that’s why it’s taken until today for me to get back to the blog and give you folks a report of my experiences. That and the fact that I had to work up a cover for FANTASTIC FOUR #522 before I could do anything else. But I’m feeling a bit more alive this morning, so here’s the scoop:

First off– I didn’t take any pictures, unfortunately. I never felt as though I had the opportunity. I was either stuck at my table signing comics or working on a list of commission sketches that was filled to over-my-capacity in the first 10 minutes of the first day of the show– or I was traveling to or AT dinner each night and didn’t feel like dragging my digital camera along. So, it ended up being useless extra weight in my bags. Oh, well– there’s plenty of pictures from the show in other con reports across the web if you care to search for them.

I drove up to Richmond, VA on Thursday afternoon and arrived at my brother Matt’s house just a few minutes before he did. I called him on my cell phone as I got close to Richmond, and he was able to get off of work and meet me promptly. We immediately headed out and hit NOSTALGIA PLUS, Matt’s LCS (as well as MINE, when I was a student at VCU years back). It was great to see Marvin and Marsha– the proprietors– again, and I was able to pick up a couple of comics that I had missed lately (like Jay Faerber’s new NOBLE CAUSES series… now in FULL COLOR!!). Then we stopped by BEST BUY to look around before we met Matt’s wife Suzanne for dinner. I picked up a 2 disc set of 17 episodes of the old Fleisher Bros. SUPERMAN cartoons on DVD. I’ve always wanted to own these cartoons, and it’s great to have them on digital disc. The three of us hit a local mexican restaurant for a great dinner (the name escapes me) before heading back to Matt and Suzanne’s house for a late night of watching the NFL season opener between the Patriots and the Colts and playing computer games until around 2:30 am. I left the house the next day when Matt and Suzanne left to go to work (around 8:30) and went to the train station to wait for my train.

The three hour train ride up to Baltimore was great. I got a business-class ticket, and the leg room and the fact that the seat backs reclined made for nice comfortable and nap-worthy travel. I brought stuff to read, but never got to it because I was so sleepy from the night before. Arriving in Baltimore three hours later, I took a cab to the hotel where I met up with my bud Todd Dezago, and shortly thereafter, my room mate for the weekend, Ford Gilmore. We all met in the hotel lobby at 8 pm for the annual MACARONI GRILL dinner that show hosts Marc and Bonnie Nathan have each year. It was meant to be just for invited guests– but there were some extra folks that made their way along with us– and in the end, it looked as though about 50 or so folks ended up at the restaurant. The wait-staff looked shocked at first, but they were incredible and handled the whole gang with speed, efficiency and good humor. It was a great dinner, and was really one of the highlights of the weekend. Just tons of fun. The night ended in the hotel bar where I was introduced to an idol of mine, HOWARD CHAYKIN by Ford– and to my astonishment, Mr. Chaykin went on to praise my work, which made my head swim and my knees buckle. Out of everything that happened this past weekend, that will be the ONE THING that stays with me if everything else fades to the recesses of my dull mind– that the great Howard Chaykin likes my work. As someone who has loved HIS work since his original IRON WOLF days at DC, this was just amazing.

The show itself– I can’t tell you too much about. It was a blur, really. As I said, my commission sketch list filled up immediately (in fact, after about the first 10, I started telling folks I would take their names, but couldn’t promise anything) so I had my head down drawing or signing comics the whole time of each day of the show. It was very difficult to get many commissions done, because after 12 years working full-time in the comics biz, I’ve had a LOT of work published, and that makes for a LOT of comic book signing. And there were SOME FOLKS who seemed to have every comic I’d ever drawn and every comic book COVER I’d ever drawn all in one huge stack for me to sign. This happened several times each day, and that REALLY makes for a blur in time. It’s numbing to sign a stack of 120 comics at one pop.

Here’s a list of some of the highlights and lowlights of the show itself:


*So many folks coming up to me and telling me that they read the blog and enjoy it. It’s very gratifying to hear– and to those folks to did so, thank you again for the encouragement!! Those well wishes really made my day.

*There seemed to be a ton of kids at the show. I was really thrilled to see so many children– and in particular so many girls. I did WONDER WOMAN head sketches for a two really adorable sisters named Olivia and Sophie. I was also on a panel about the “MAKING OF COMICS” for kids to attend– and there were actually several children there (although there were many more adults…).

*There was a visually impaired guy at the show and he had a seeing-eye dog that was a young Black Lab. They walked past the table and my eyes fixed right on the dog (’cause I loves animals so much). It was amusing to see him looking around in all directions with this amazing, puzzled look on his face. It’s like he was thinking “Where the hell are we, and why are all these people milling around…?” He really looked kind of confused, but he was still doing a great job of navigating the crowds for his human. It was very sweet to see.

*Just the overall, general kindness and friendliness of the fans that came to my booth all weekend. They were really great, warm folks who are very enthusiastic about comics, and let me know how much they enjoy what I’m doing. That’s an incredibly gratifying thing to hear– and it’s wonderful to know that there are folks out there who keep up with my projects and enjoy them. It’s knowing that that helps with the long, solitary and lonely hours I spend sometimes here in the studio working with very little outside contact. So thanks to all who came by.


*None at the show, really. The only lowlight of the ENTIRE weekend was that there was a series of Baltimore ORIOLES and New York YANKEES games happening Friday-Sunday, and the ORIOLES stadium is right next to the Convention Center, and the area was inundated with Yankees fans. I saw a lot of bad behavior from these folks. In one UP-CLOSE instance, I was on an elevator in the hotel with Todd Dezago and Craig Rousseau, and Craig (hailing from Boston) had a RED SOX jersey on. Several Yankees fans got on the elevator, and one of them turned around and started berating Craig– right up in his face. Fortunately, they came to their floor before the guy could finish his tirade. It was astonishing how sports rivalries can make folks so damned rude. But there were many instances I was witness to of the folks from NYC yelling an jeering at people. I was embarrassed for their city, really. I’ve been to NY many times, and never encountered anything like it. It’s too bad that’s the impression they give of their home town to people from other cities.

Saturday night, I had dinner with Mark Waid, Todd and Craig at a corner sports bar. They had these incredible Ceaser Salad wraps which I had never seen before. They tasted terrific. It was a great dinner and great conversation until the game that night let out, and the place was flooded with loud baseball fans. We hightailed it out back to the hotel and ended the evening with a few drinks, before I headed up to try to pencil as many commissions as I could for inking the next day.

Sunday night’s meal ended the show in wonderful fashion. A gang of us that included me, Scott Kurtz and his wife Angela, Robert Kirkman and his wife, Frank Cho, Jeff Parker, Ford Gilmore, and a retailer named Carr (I forget his last name) all cabbed it over to Little Italy to a wonderful restaurant called LUIGI PETTIE. The waitresses were incredibly beautiful (our waitress reminded me of a young Fran Drescher — even her voice. I LOVE Fran Drescher), and the food was just as incredible. It was the perfect way to wind up the show. Jeff, Ford and I all walked back to the hotel to take in some local sights as a way to help work off the meal. The nights are starting to get nice and cool, so it was a great after-dinner stroll. The waterfront (Inner Harbor) area is really lovely.

Here’s Jeff Parker, me, and Frank Cho at LUIGI PETTIE. I nabbed this from Scott Kurtz’s Moblog on his PVP site. Hope you don’t mind the theft, Scott…!

Monday morning, I had a quiet breakfast with Jeff Parker (an old studio mate). We took a brisk walk to a local pub/restaurant named BURKE’S to get some local Baltimore flavor in atmosphere and food before I hit the train station to come back to Richmond and then drive the 3 hours back home to Durham.

I want to make a big, public THANK YOU to Marc and Bonnie Nathan for a wonderful time and a wonderful show. It’s the first time I’ve actually been able to MAKE the show– and it was worth the wait. Friday night, Bonnie asked all the artists to work up a DONALD DUCK drawing with Marc as a “thank you”. I didn’t get to do it over the weekend, but I’m glad, because I was able to come home and put more time into one that I’ll mail to him this week. I’m posting it here to show you. It’s taking the place of the photos I didn’t take.

OK– I’ve rambled enough for one day.


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