Josh Adams's San Diego Comic Con Experience (Part 1)A column article, Comics Bulletin Soapbox by: Josh Adams
I want to preface this two-part article with a little statement of intent and possibly maybe a little bit of Josh Adams bitching. I’m a laid back guy. I feel my personal problems are ones I can keep to myself unless I seriously need help. All in all, you’re not going to get too much trouble from me. When I come across an article, or a column on any given website, my mind somehow assumes that the person writing the piece is writing it because the topic interested them enough to the given things they say about it. To my dismay, I am often greeted with an article about how "horrible, stupid, disgusting" this or that is. These words, most often, coming from people in the industry that they are ripping apart. When I feel compelled to write an article or make a post, I do it because I think the thing I enjoyed, you, the reader would enjoy as well, and I am stating my case for your enjoyment.
I’m writing about the San Diego Comic Con International, and I’m writing about it because I really enjoyed it. I’m not writing this so I can bitch about how I was sick for most of the show, (or to use other people’s examples) how I hate plane rides, or how the con didn’t do enough for me. If I want something to happen, I make it happen, and at the SDCC anything can happen. So, why anyone would bitch and moan about something like this (or publicly for any reason at all) I don’t know why. Maybe they want your sympathy. I, on the other hand, want to share good experiences with you so you might one day support, like I do, the industry that I love and that has raised me.
Sorry for the profanity, I just needed to vent. Here’s the article:
I think this marks my tenth San Diego Comic Con in my impressively lengthy eighteen-year existence. It’s hard to say. For me they all feel like they happened every other week. I would have to say though, on this occasion, it felt different for me. Instead of arriving as the son of an artist, or as an exhibitor for a publishing company, or as just a fan, I showed up as someone who was just getting into the business, and with that difference, I saw the convention in a whole new light. I was there for different reasons, and hopefully maybe some of the things I went through at this convention are interesting enough for you to take a few minutes and read. They sure changed me.
Day One: Wednesday: Set up and Preview Night
I arrive at the convention center with my brother, Jason, and my father, Neal, all carrying rather unwieldy boxes filled with numerous Neal Adams merchandise. We walked by the Heavy Metal booth and gave a wave to Simon Bisley who we had seen earlier that morning at the hotel.
If you ever get the chance to attend a convention that Simon Bisley is a guest at, be sure to see him. He is one of the nicest guys you could meet, even if he’s a tad bit rowdy.
While we set up, Jason Pearson stopped by our booth and was nice enough to draw me a fantastic Batman and Robin sketch. Jason told me about his new Body Bags story he is working on. If you haven’t seen his work I highly suggest you check out the original and then keep yours eyes out for the new stuff. He is an artist extraordinaire.
Not long after our visit by Jason Pearson, Digger, president and founder of Art Asylum toy company showed up to say hi. Digger has been a close friend of the family and attended college with my brother, Jason. Among other things, Art Asylum has become very well known for their work on a toy line called Mini-Mates, featuring characters from the DC and Marvel universes and many other licenses in a “Lego-esque” form. Check your local toy store or comic shop for these awesome little toys as well as other products featuring the Art Asylum label, or take a look at their site.
Among others who stopped by during the set-up period was Dave Spurlock, head of Vanguard publishing. His company stands to publish the highest quality books for the top artists of comics history, including names like Gene Colan and Jim Steranko.
As the late afternoon rolled around and set-up drew to a close, those lucky few (thousands) who purchased the four day passes got the opportunity to attend preview night to see all the attractions before anyone else could. To say it was very packed for a Wednesday afternoon would be a gross understatement. The convention center employees were happily informing everyone about the fact that 23,000 people pre-registered for the four-day passes.
There is something amazing and very unique about the San Diego Comic Con that is not shared by many other conventions; even when the convention center is closed, the city itself is teeming with comic professionals and fans alike all getting along like family. To attest to that fact, while out to dinner, I ran into none other than Simon Bisley and Glenn Fabry. To my surprise both Glenn and Simon acted like brothers who I hadn’t seen in months. Simon threw his arm around me as we compared gym notes and Glenn reminisced on how much I grown since he last saw me. Keep an eye out for the works of both of these artists as their work is simply stellar!
Day Two: Thursday: The First Official Convention Day
My morning started off with a chance meeting with talented artist, and inker by trade, Buzz. Buzz has been working on Speakeasy Comics’s Atomika with Sal Abinatti. Among other things Buzz is also inking a pin-up I have in the works for another Speakeasy title. Check out his fantastic work.
As the day continued I stopped off at Harris Comics to visit a very talented (and under-appreciated) artist, Mike Lilly. His work on Nightwing and Detective Comics left me wondering why he wasn’t being given more work on the bat titles. Alas, never fear for you can see his work in the new Vampirella series and farther down the road in his Speakeasy debut of The Mercury Chronicles, written by the Panel’s own Vito Delsante. Lilly had been promoting his new Vampirella series by signing preview books and drawing amazing sketches of Vampirella. It was a wonder he survived the convention bouncing between the Harris booth, the Speakeasy booth, and his own table at Artist Alley. I managed to leave the convention with the first half of what will be a fantastic sketch from him in my book.
The overall highlight of the day, in my opinion, was a visit by none other than DC’s Bob Schreck. He came by, excited to deliver a little bit of very important information. I’ll give you a little hint, it has something to do with Neal Adams and Batman, and I’m not talking about the old stuff.
Due to scheduling conflicts of many artists and some artists who were unable to get their pieces in on time (no names will be named) we postponed the William Messner-Loebs benefit auction for a later time. If you are an artist interested in contributing a piece to the benefit, please contact me, Josh Adams, at "NomezAdams@gmail.com".
Neal Adams's website will provide more information about the benefit and when it will take place.
Sergio Aragones was at the con, as he always is, and with great enthusiasm we talked of the time between our last meeting. Sergio has been a good friend to me and countless members of the comic book community. As anyone who has met him knows, his warm smile and wicked sense of humor make him someone that everyone loves.
While manning the Continuity booth, a familiar face stopped by, caught slightly off guard I finally came to my senses when I heard the humble words spoken in the pleasant English accent of comic book great, Alan Davis. Alan, whose work is seen in the pages of Uncanny X-Men, decided to take the long trip from his cozy home in England to attend the San Diego Comic Con. To see the look on his face as he peered down the length of the convention center reminded me of the modest roots of Alan Davis and his true love for comics.
Before the day came to the close, I got a visit from an old friend by the name of Ken Penders, who, after looking at some of my work, thought I would be fit to illustrate a back-up story for his Sonic the Hedgehog series. I would have to be more than a little insane to turn that opportunity down, so keep on the look out for my Sonic.