I know this blog has been pretty dead lately for reasons both unreasonable and understandable, but I have a very good excuse for the last five days inactivity: Wizard World Chicago. Oh, and my car was busted into on Sunday night/Monday morning, so that explains the couple days before that. And I was in Tennessee for a couple days before that, so that's excusable too. Okay, enough with the excuses, on to the real meat of this here word collection.

Wizard World Chicago is the biggest convention we do. It is three full and long days with a preview night tacked on and, for the first time ever, loads of nighttime events that extended my work day well into the night. I stood a lot, I ran a lot and I shouted directions at aimless fans a lot, but I also geeked out a lot, laughed a lot, and awkward-danced a lot. It was pretty stupendous.

Adam, Jodie and myself got there early Wednesday morning and checked into the hotel which was located across the street from the convention center. I love hotels!

It was so modern! I mean, for a hotel.

Wednesday was spent stuffing around 21,000 bags with free Magic: The Gathering card decks.
That is maybe a third of them. Maybe.

I still don't buy that I actually have cobbled together enough social aptitude to function amongst people who I respect and admire, but that's what is still happening. I spent most of the weekend in Artist Alley where all the comic creators sit at their tables to meet fans and avoid the insane crowds of the retailer and lobby sections. There I talked to many people about many things (yes, mostly about comics and yes, mostly about X-Force), but also a bit about game shows and Nashville. While patrolling the Alley, I picked up three more additions to my X-Force project. I now have Freddie E. Williams II's Shatterstar...

...Chris Uminga's Sunspot...

...and Mike Norton's Cannonball to frame and place on my wall...or frame and leave sitting on the back of my couch.

Continuing with X-Force (of course), the creator of the team and many of its characters was present at this convention. Rob Liefeld and five of the other Image founders reunited for a two hour retrospective panel. Say what you will about Rob Liefeld, but I can't think of any other artist that brings as much energy and pure excitement to comics as he does. After I watched a guy in a very homemade Deadpool costume (sweatpants does not a merc-with-a-mouth make) hold a sword to Liefeld's throat for a picture at Liefeld's request, I shook the man who created Domino's hand and had him sign a copy of X-Force #1 that I bought about three minutes prior for a dollar.

So I got three commissions, two of which were from guys I personally invited to the convention and helped promote their stuff with online content, and one autograph from the...well, The Rob Liefeld. Artist Alley? Success.

On Thursday night we had our first after hours event, a Hero Initiative benefit displaying all 100 hand illustrated covers of the recent Hulk #1. Me and Wizard World's own Jodie were escorting Peter David, a name you guys might recognize from past sentences I've written including the words favorite, writer, and ever, to the event when I stopped to drop his backpack off in the show office so he wouldn't have to carry it all night. I then found out the show office was closing at the same time the convention floor was, which was right then. It was at that moment that I made a decision that I followed through on until a fateful hand guided me in another direction: I decided to carry and keep up with Peter David's backpack for him at the Hulk event. The man that wrote X-Factor #84, defined Multiple Man, named Wolfsbane, I owed him this. Until he saw me carrying it at the event and took it back for fear of being a burden before I could protest. That's Mr. David there, to the right, with his backpack and three other guys who got into the event for free by wearing torn purple pants. One guess what's in those cups, heyo.

Guest of Honor Warren Ellis did 'performance art' on Friday night. This consisted of him reading aloud from his upcoming book and answering questions, pretty much the norm for a panel. Why was it called performance art?
That sums it up, right?

Since it as already close to 10 PM and I was entering my fourteenth hour of on-my-feet nonstop work, I spent the first part of this event backstage eating pizza and chilling out max and relaxing all cool (which is a Fresh Prince reference which I'm just now remembering is appropriate for our last con in Philly and not Chicago...man it all runs together). I went out for the Q+A session which, really, was amazing. Ellis is really nice and personable, something that I would not have assumed from the sheer level of insane genius that is his body of work. But there he was, chatting with fans and answering their questions and giving life lessons for close to three hours when he could have been back at his hotel room with his self-proclaimed best friend, whiskey. Well, actually, his best friend was by his side at the podium so I guess he wasn't lonely. Anyway, he's truly a great speaker and the many hours went by quickly thanks to his darkly dazzling wit. I cut out early when I started falling asleep in the audience (from exhaustion, not boredom) and feared Ellis would make fun of me. He already told our photographer that he could kill him with his eyes. Success!

I made it a point to drop in on as many panels as I could since, for the first time ever, we had them every hour on the hour instead of leaving a half hour buffer in-between. I witnessed some truly great moments, most of which I were fairly convinced they were going to crash and burn. I helped put together a panel about podcasting which, to be honest, I didn't think would be a hit. It was assembled by a lot of Chicago's comic book podcasters (podcasting is BIG in Chicago I tell ya, BIG!) and moderated by DC writer and nice-guy-extraordinaire Sean McKeever. How many people were going to come out and see this? Apparently a lot. It was in the smallest room, yes, but there were no seats available. My knowledge of podcasting is minimal at best, but for the seven-ish minutes I was there I was entertained. Success.

I was also worried about Robert Kirkman's panel, only because I've heard he doesn't do many conventions and it was a last minute addition, but once again I was completely wrong. The man is hilarious and the only space left in the room was the safe distance people required around their highly collectible and newly purchased treasures. I've never laughed so hard at a convention, I would have to say. Success. Bendis versus Johns panel, success. "Moral Orel" panel, success. Pretty much every room was always jam packed.

Okay okay okay, I know you guys want to see people in costumes. That's the main attraction of conventions, right? Right? I mean, really, is that right? I have no clue, but here are some of the ones I remember...

...that I got sick of seeing...

...that I was greeted by...

...that I did not touch skin-to-skin...
...that I made fun of earlier and now think is kinda more what Deadpool would look like in real life...

...that I was amazed by...

...that confused me in so many ways...

...and two that trump all others.

Yes. A dad dressed as Mojo and his daughters as Spiral and Dazzler, shown in the above picture showing her dad the star that fell off her costume. If you ever wondered what concerned parent Mojo looked like, look no further. Here's a side view. This costume is insane.

The creepiest costume had to belong to the guy dressed as Granny Goodness. For some reason, guys crossing the gender line is even weirder when done in superhero costumes (see the above Supergirl picture). I saw this photo being taken on the floor and it weirded me out.

Now, I know that the photo is only as creepy as any other photo of a man with granny hair in spandex holding an unsuspecting baby. Now, imagine witnessing the granny man giving the baby back to the mother after the picture was taken...and the mother giving granny man back the camera.


The mother didn't want her baby's picture taken with Granny Goodness. Granny Goodness wanted his picture taken with that baby.


Moving on. Wizard World Texas is in November and since we have four months to plan for it, I think it'll be pretty darn amazing. On a side note, the Win, Lose or Draw game we played with comic book artists went pretty darn well. All I'm saying is that me hosting Match Game with comic book writers in Texas doesn't look that far-fetched now. After all, I have experience hosting Match Game.

Man, I had fun in college.


X15: Favorite Covers 80-61

X15 is a series of blog posts celebrating the 15 years of x-fandom I have experienced. From the 15th anniversary of first seeing the X-Men in Fox's animated series (late October 1992) to the 15th anniversary of my first comic book purchase (January 1993), I will explore every facet of Professor Charles Xavier's gifted youngsters.

80. Deadpool (volume 3) #4
Ed McGuinness, 1997
79. Cable #92
Michael Ryan, 200178. X-Force #66
Adam Pollina, 1997

77. The Loners #1
Jason Pearson, 2007

76. X-Factor #16
Walter Simonson, 1987

75. Uncanny X-Men #266
Andy Kubert, 1990

74. X-Force #52
Adam Pollina, 1996

73. X-Men #50
Jim Steranko, 1969

72. X-Factor (volume 3) #1
Ryan Sook, 2006

71. Uncanny X-Men #476
Billy Tan, 2006

70. X-Men (volume 2) #80
Carlos Pacheco, 1998

69. X-Men #126
Dave Cockrum, 1979

68. Uncanny X-Men #169
Paul Smith, 1983
67. X-Men #17
Jack Kirby, 1966

66. X-Men (volume 2) #41
Andy Kubert, 1995

65. Astonishing X-Men (volume 3) #12
John Cassaday, 2005

64. X-Men (volume 2) #44
Andy Kubert, 1995

63. X-Factor (volume 3) #7
Ryan Sook, 2006
62. Uncanny X-Men #219
Bret Blevins, 1987
61. New Mutants #38
Art Adams, 1986


Digsy Doodles IV

I started another project that I won't finish! This time it's to draw every X-Man in the order they joined in my favorite costume of theirs. Here are the first three.

(Jim Lee's 1991 design)

(Don Heck's 1967 design)

(John Cassaday's 2006 design)

It's June?!

I have a million excuses for why this blog has been barren for the last two months, but none of which you care to read. I've been working way too hard over the last two months and have even traveled. I don't even foresee the blog becoming active again in the near future since, yes, I'll be traveling some more. It's crazy, I know, I never thought I'd get a job that would send me to the far corners of America but, well, here I am. Actually I didn't think I would get a job that would send me to the far corners of New York on a daily basis, but whatever. If we're friends on Facebook then you've been seeing the almost daily updates I post there. In my brief tenure at my new job I've interviewed and had conversations with many of the people whose work I admire, adore and obsess over. Hey everybody, Chris Claremont and Peter David have read my name many many times and responded to my e-mails. That's RIGHT.

I went to Philadelphia for my first Wizard World convention. I got a bag full of free artist sketchbooks given to me after interviewing them, as well as a couple of really awesome commissions (pictured below, just waiting for you to click on them to enlarge).

Work has been pretty overwhelming lately, and that's the main reason I haven't been on here. I spend all day writing press releases and transcribing interviews, so I usually don't feel like doing any extracurricular creativity. My new year's resolution to write five pages a week has completely tanked, obviously, but since I now have a "published" interview with Peter David I can't really complain.

Since I last blogged, I auditioned and failed at getting on a UCB Harold team, lost Cage Match, started performing with another improv group called Iron Ruckus (pictured right, which you can also click on to enlarge), had both Bad Data and (the soon-to-be-renamed) ImproVerite: The Documentary get accepted into the Del Close Marathon and started practicing a new form with a new coach in Bad Data. I was really hitting some performance high points before Memorial Day (playing David Letterman, Kurt Loder and a Rivers Cuomo wannabe all in THE SAME SET at ImproVerite's last show) and WW Philly took me away from improv for two weeks and caused me to return to the fold back at average. Ho hum. Improv is all about peaks and valleys, so I know it'll swing back around. I've enrolled in Shannon O'Neill's 501 starting when I get back to NYC on July 13th. That should be what I need.

Okay, well, that's about it for now. I may try to post mini-blogs or something daily-ish for a little bit, just to get back in the habit of this. For a while I was trying to make this blog more focused and not so "Hey ya'll, here's what I did blah blah," but I don't really have the time for anything else right now.