Monday, 9 October 2017

NYCC 2017 - Day 4.

Day Four at the New York Comicon 2017.

Ok, I had the Saturday away from the main convention and spent it with pals discovering new areas of Manhattan. I got to eat lunch in a diner at 100th and Broadway that featured in the new Defenders tv series with Bob Fingerman and then went on for dinner with Mr Vander and Harrower. (Bob has donated a couple of books to next weeks Nottingham Comic Convention charity raffle which was very kind of him).



So I was suitably rested before heading back in for the fourth and final day of the NYCC. The queue was distinctly more casual in the morning and everyone sat on the floor like we were in a July park. I have to say that it was noticeable for the whole weekend that I never, let me say that again, never saw one person reading a comic book outside of the back issue sales area. Of all the thousands of people I saw in the cafeteria or halls or lines nobody was reading a comic. Not sure exactly what that means? 



Everyone wants to ride the coat tails on comics these days it seems, even the Brooklyn Brewery was having a try (yes they also had a cosplayer wandering the halls looking a little perplexed.)



I headed in to catch Paolo Rivera and got this awesome Eternal Warrior print from him for a mere $20. This was a print that I missed out on last year as it had sold out. Paolo was great company and says that he is doing some more work for Valiant that is still a bit hush, hush.

You can look at prints like this and some more of his amazing art at www.paolorivera.blogspot.com or follow him on Twitter @PaoloMRivera.

I also got handed a free copy of Heavy Metal issue 280 which was cool. There are still quite a few Convention Special freebies to be had at the NYCC if you keep your eyes open. Something for the flight back. With a story by Benjamin Mara and Grant Morrison opening the issue it can't be all bad.



I collected an X-O Manowar commission I had ordered from Jim Calafiore. Spot on. I have been a big fan of the man's work since I enjoyed his run on Marvel's Exiles. He asked to do the old school armour, looks great. This head sketch was a mere $50 which was a real bargain in a sea of poeple charging a lot more.

Find out more about Jim's work at www.jimcalafiore.com.



II also managed meet and get a photo with one of my all time comics heroes Keith Giffen. I bought some prints from him and generally took the piss for a while. (Really wish DC would get him back on an OMAC series!)

And yes, I got to look at some more ruddy amazing artwork!!




Yes and even some good old Marvel UK artwork made an appearance... (John F will be pleased ).


I even managed to buy myself a page from one of my favourites series. This is a Ricardo Villagran drawn page from Tim Truman's Scout: War Shaman run!!!


I got to collect this cracker from Mr Vander. He had done a cover for my podcast brother Dan Butcher's Vanguard. (Brian added his own little flourish to the page beyond the outstanding original art - I'll let you listen to the podcast in future weeks to find out what it was....)Find Vanguard at www.VanguardComic.com

Can't speak highly enough of Brian's work. He is really gaining some buzz and has recently been working on Operation Boom from the Reckless Heroes stable. Big things ahead for this guy! 

Look out Mr V's work at www.brianvander.com or find him on Twitter @vander11chi You can buy Operation Boom and other books from the Reckless Herroes at www.recklesshero.com




I've had tickets for every year of the life of this particular version of the NYCC and it's an ever evolving beast. I'll be honest and say that it's feeling less and less like a comics event... In the early days even the T-Shirt for the event would have a major comics character (Ghost Rider one year, Spider-Man the next) but now it seems less in your face.


(The Gifted - Actors gather to be adored - Hash Tag whatevs!)

Artists Alley was in a downstairs hall that seemed smaller in scale than previous years. The DC booth was crammed in a mostly forgotten corner of the lobby. Posters and banners seemed more more in sync with what is going on in TV than the comics. Look, I'm a realist and understand that trends happen and at the moment TV is a book area for comics originated material. But it's also a little sad. Even in the busiest moments of the day you could get a little bit of air in the back issue and Original Art areas on the main hall. 

The launch panel for Black Crown and Full Bleed that I went to on the Friday should have been a packed room. But it seemed to be mostly creators, website journalists and podcasters who filled a few sad rows of seats. This imprint is shaping up to be an artistic hotbed (and in my opinion the new Vertigo style company on the block) and more people should be sitting up and paying attention.

I was also often the only person admiring a flipping through binders of the art of Kirby and Ditko and Buscema and Wood and their like. Just to hold this art in my hands is a huge thrill. If only others felt the same way.

I met some great people inside and outside the Javitts Centre but can't help but feel a little down on the event as I left. Sad that the future seems a little precarious for our favourite medium. The fact that you were around a hundred times more likely to hear about a cartoon than a comic talked about in the lobby means that there may be some slim years ahead.

I'll be back again next year.....

Many thanks for reading.

Friday, 6 October 2017

NYCC 2017 - Day Two.



Day Two at the New York Comic Con 2017 opened early as I realised that i can actually see the venue from my hotel room. I headed down for breakfast with the normal cronies and spotted a possible love connection between one of them and the steroid swallowing waitress (I shall take the secret to my grave!!!)

I headed down without Mr Harrower today (he's off doing some art stuff in Harlem). and lined up again. I've been really impressed with both the security here and the speed they get you pushed through onto the site. All the staff so far have been friendly and professional.

(The Shadow with art by Giovanni Timpano published by Dynamite Comics).

I headed straight to Giovanni Timpano's table and had a chat with him about his Shadow/Batman series. He showed me some of the inked pages and they look superb. I've been a fan of this guy's work for a long time. It was great to see him and his art up close. Definitely an artist to watch out for. Find out more about this artist at www.giovannitimpano.blogspot.it or follow him on Twitter @GioTimpano

(On the left Mr Brent Schoonover and on the right the Mighty Siuntres).

During the weekend I also got to catch up with Wordballoon's John Siuntres. This is a podcast that I have been listening to for a bonkers amount of years and I always try and search John out and thank him for what he does. I highly recommend having a try. It is in main an interview show with some of the best in the industry. I managed to introduce John to Christian Wildgoose and we chatted about a possible  Wordballoon/Awesome Comics Podcast crossover event! Check it out on iTunes or follow the podcast @johnwordballoon



It was also great catching up with old pal Sarah Woolley. I bought her book Charlotte and the Quiet Place a couple of years ago for a friend's kids and they absolutely loved it! We chatted about her newly released art in Bitch Planet: Triple Feature. Search her out online and buy some of her work. Top stuff. If you are at the convention then head over to Booth L-10 in Artists Alley.



With the change in layout after the knocking down of the building that used to be a home for Artists Alley I've noticed that things, events or signings seem to be cropping up in all the nooks and crannies of the Javitts. The DC/Vertigo booth is down on the ground floor at the far end. It's got a small signing/queueing area and a small exhibition of the Justice League movie costumes. Seemed a little out of the way and out of place somehow. Jim Lee was sat on his own at a table (don't see that often). Later in the day David Finch looked a tiny bit lonely?



The United Kingdom was, as always, out in force at the NYCC. The Titan booth was looking spiffy and after spending a couple of minutes only at the 2000AD booth I began to suspect that there may be a few sore heads from the previous night's larking about. That's a tradition I am proud to say continues.



I also bagged myself a copy of the Steve Dillon Memorial Charity Sketchbook (for sale for $10 at the 2000AD booth) that is being sold to raise money for the Hero Initiative. It boasts a heartbreaking image of Steve himself by Bill Sienkiewicz and contains art from a who's who of talent on interiors. You can buy a copy or donate to this worthy cause at www.heroinitiative.org



I closed the day out with a panel and it was a cracker. Run by IDW it was split into two parts. The first dealt with the new Shelly Bond spearheaded Black Crown imprint and featured spotlights on some great books. It was brilliant to see Pete Milligan taking centre stage and talking about his upcoming series Kid Lobotomy and then Shelly introduced some pages from Punks Not Dead with art by the mighty Martin Simmons - I can't wait to see what comes from this company that is shaping up to be the new Vertigo! 

Then we heard about the new quarterly comics/magazine hybrid Full Bleed that has been killing it on Kickstarter. Bob Fingerman chatted about his water coloured portraits of scurrilous politicians with real passion and humour. I can't wait to get my hands on this new series. You can find the Kickstarter for it here https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/41834867/full-bleed-the-comics-and-culture-quarterly

For those Original Art junkie here is a selection of the pages I leafed through today....






If only I had a bigger bank account!!!



I also captured Batgirl meeting her artist at Christian Wildgoose's table in the afternoon. 



I'm not at the con tomorrow as the Saturday is like ramming your head into a rugby scrup for ten hours so I'll probably just post photos of me in a robe at the day spar for the report tomorrow....

Many thanks for reading.

NYCC 2017 - Day One.

Day 1 NYCC 2017.


(Day One - mandatory haul photo).


Last night was a doozy. Met up with Marc Laming, Amri and Adrian Hashimi (check out www.adrianhashimi.com for some of the best art you'll see), the Mighty Harrower and Mr Bob Fingerman. The aim was to have drinks with some buddies and stay up as late as humanly possible. Ended up drink at a bar with Bob until late and stumbling back to my room.



Bob Fingerman is the kind of guy that it's a privilege to know. His book Minimum Wage remains one of my favourite ever comics and he is always funny and thoughtful. He's got an IDW panel at 6.45pm on Friday at the NYCC. Head down. Find more about this creator at www.bobfingerman.com or on Twitter @fingerbo

I now have a small yet perky hangover! 



Got to the venue about an hour and a half early. Just about early enough to sail through the metal detectors and line up in the hall. The  line was long and packed but everyone was in good spirits and friendly. Good to hear much talking about comics as we waited.




Myself and Mr Harrower examined the day's events whilst in the huge line. (See above photos for an interesting reaction). For the first time ever NYCC staff took pity on us and they let everyone in around fifteen minutes early. The main floor and lobby was already a rugby scrum. I don't have a clue where all these people could have come from!!

We made for artists alley which was still calm(ish). I heard talk that it was taking exhibitors a good hour to get in themselves and subsequently quite a few of the desks were empty. We talked our way around the isles and met up again with Mr Laming and Mr Wildgoose as well as Brent Schoonover and Brian Vander.


(Brent Schoonover from Captain Marvel - left and Marc Laming from Star Wars and X-Men Gold on the right. I actially challenge you to find better comissions in the hall this year as I watched both of them kick it out of the park all day!)


(Christian Wildgoose from DC's Batgirl on the left and Brian Vander from Reckless Heroes' Operation Boom on the right. This table is known widely as 'Party Central').

In  my wanders I got to have a good chat with Russ Braun about his and Garth Ennis's new Aftershock Comics series 'Jimmy's Bastards'. I bought some signed copies and his new sketchbook. This is a cracking series and full of the humour that runs on from these creators run on The Boys.

Bumped into the three 11 o'clock comics podcast guys and shot the proverbial!



I caught up with UK creator Sarah Grayley who was experiencing her first NYCC and was heading off to take part in a couple of panels. The artist on 'Kim Reaper and Rick and Morty can be found at www.sarahgraley.bigcartel.com or on Twitter @sarahgraleyart 



A few circles of Artists Alley and I braved the main floor. Bought a handful of back issues and then made for the Valiant booth. I got to chat to possibly the most positive man in comics Dinesh Shamdasani. We talked about all their stable of books. My only complaint is that I own pretty much everything on their stall! If you want to get on the Valiant bandwagon I would highly recommend Divinity and The Valiant as entry level drugs! Great stories, well considered action heroes, class writers and artists. 

One of the best things about wandering the sales floor on the slightly less busy Thursday is that there is plenty of room to grab some back issues and also look at the ruddy amazing original art on show! Have a look at these really old and imaginative pieces I spotted.





(That's some Barnet on Sterenko!!!)

The main hall was a bit more managable through the day and myself and Matt Harrower took the opportunity to grab a few presents for pals back home fill some holes in the back issue lists.


We also managed to grab some time with Claudio Sanchez from the band band Coheed and Cambria. Along with his wife Chondra Echert and Daniel Bayliss they produced one of my favourite series from the last few years Translucid. A book that cleverly flips the hero and villain cliches in a trippy and colourful style. You can get it in trade from www.boom-studios.com and I highly recommend it.


What would the NYCC be without a chat and a purchase from Daniel Warren Johnson. I grabbed the trade of Extremity from him for my son and he handed me Cherno his Pacific Rim fan comic. His art will blow your preconceptions of what you can get on a page. Uppon showing it to a couple of pals who were busy at their tables I had to nip back to get more! Head over to www.space-mullet.com or follow him on Twitter @danielwarrenart

A small tip for anyone attending on the other days - get your shopping done in the last hour of the day on the sales floor. It began really thinning out at about 6.30pm.

Roll on Day 2!

Many thanks for reading....


Wednesday, 4 October 2017

The Road to the NYCC 2017.

New York Comic Con - Countdown 24 hrs.

Up early and head to Heathrow. The anticipation has me up an hour early. What to take to read on the plane? I downloaded the new episode of Star Trek Discovery for the flight as well (a huge improvement on the first two by the way). I packed a few monthlies I needed to catch up on and promised myself that I would catch up with some writing that I've been promising myself I'd finish for a while now.

Some Wordballoon in the car on the way there was also in order. Mike Zeck and John Beattie talking about their work together and some interesting insights into the creation of Spidey's black costume. The excitement is rising!!! (not like that!)



Whilst handing over my currently light and soon to be heavy suitcase I am met at the counter by Christian 'Batgirl' Wildgoose and Laura 'Night Post' Trinder. Two of the nicest people in UK Comics are on the same flight as me as we stroll through the still quietish security without any bother (even-though Chris was sure I'd get a 'bum search').

We grab some breakfast and make plans and are joined by Matt 'Sinthia' Harrower. Ever ready to point out that he thinks his hotel of choice this year is a 'Sex Hotel' - I'll expect some photos later...



Onto the plane. Managed to read and preview 'Ismyre' by B. Murer and published by Avery Hill. Caught the lady next to me reading along.



When I got off and through Customs at JFK Matt Harrower handed me a sick bag that he had drawn Batman dancing on!



He's normally more cheerful than this!!! I think he's just missing Danny Dyer?




We then waited for the Wildgeese to join us. Someone (me) created one of those signs that you see limo drivers holding at the airport!


Cloak and Dagger - oh yes!!!




Passes collected, new hall looked at and photos taken..... I'm off to the pub now to meet Marc Laming, Adrian Hashimi, Ed Traquino and Brian 'The Aussie' Vander!!!

Bring it on!

More to follow..........

In Preview - Ismyre by B. Murer.

Ismyre 



by B. Mure.

'A fantasy mystery story.'

Full Colour - 80 pages.

Published by Avery Hill Publishing.

Released on Saturday the 6th of October at the Bristol Comic and Zine Fair. Currently available for preorder at the Avery Hill website www.averyhillpublishing.com

Story - 'In the city of Ismyre, Ed the sculptor works as his widower neighbour sings strange melodies late into the night. He places the finished figurine on the shelf and notices that there is an empty space where another one should be. Perplexed, he sleeps, whilst his neighbour continues to croon. Meanwhile, across the city, a government building explodes into a mess of plants and flowers...'

'Exploring themes of loneliness in cities, ecology, craftsmanship and the self doubt that goes with making things; Ismyre is a quiet and fantastical mystery tale set in an old world of ordinary magic.'



Preview - This is a book that I have been waiting to see for a while now. Dave and Ricky from Avery Hill publishing had the table next to ours at London Super Comicon last month and spoke about how much they were looking forward to it's release. It opens on a quote that struck an obviously contradictory cord with me as I read onwards:

'The sculptor carves because he must' - Barbara Hepworth.

The central character is an anthropomorphic cat. He is a cat with worries in a number of areas. He seems unable to commit artistically, he sleeps badly, he seems generally an everyman leaf blown on the whims or people he meets and also has the problem that someone keeps breaking in to his flat and stealing his sculptures. So let's observe the contradiction that he must carve, but for a while does not and is worried about sculpting in ice (so stick that in your pompous quote Ms Hepworth!) It's actually the moments that lampoon so-called creatives that made me smile the most in this comic. It's hard not to see them as dunderheads from time to time and this certainly had me chuckling.



Strange drunken friendships are made, scurrilous government officials are met and observed being really quite badly behaved (wags finger), a woman who looks like a crocodile acts as an artists agent and there is some strangely crap magic in the mix. The story itself is a strange one to me. It jumps about and at moments lacks any real direction. I sat and watched as the characters dashed, argued, sang, slept and plotted. It's a slice of the strangely absurd at moments. It leaves you curious and a tiny bit confused at moments too. It's not really for kids and steps over the line to be an adult comic through setting and words.

'Genius never tells, or sleeps. But snacks are very important.' (I try never to believe foxes!)

But, obviously, the story takes a large second place to the sumptuous hues and line-work of the art. The city at night sits in greys and blues and golds and opens on some really gorgeous set pieces. The initial moments of the neighbour singing in the otherwise quiet and action free night is something I could stare at all day. The art looks straight out of a Roald Dahl book with the added bonus of being carefully detailed and sequentially pleasing. It's a loose cartoony style and B Mure shows us some real style with the characters he adds. My favourite by far is the character echoing that bad boy of the past Mr Fox in the shape of 'Faustine'. A mystery of a character who keeps having to dash off for babysitting duty or just decides at a moments notice to kick a front door.

To me this is a book that you can return to again and again. Don't worry about the scattershot plotting style just dive in and enjoy the nattering dialogue and absolutely fucking glorious visuals. Another worthy addition to the Avery Hill stable.

Find out more about this book and others at www.averyhillpublishing.com or follow them on Twitter @AveryHillPubl

Now.... Where's that Faustine spin-off comic!?


Many thanks for reading.