Sketchbook Saturday: Jesse Custer by Steve Dillon

I missed last week’s installment of Sketchbook Saturday and this week, I’m not continuing the chronological order I started with previous installments, instead carrying on this week’s theme of Preacher, which I talked about in great detail in this week’s Trade Post. Hell, I’ve even posted this image before, back when I talked about 2009’s Wizard World Philly. As I mentioned back then, I was dead set on getting a Steve Dillon sketch. I didn’t have a lot of responsibilities during the show (I was working for ToyFare at the time), but I would have shirked them all to stand in line for a Dillon Preacher sketch. Even though I didn’t have anything else I had to be doing, I was still paranoid that one of the big bosses would pass by and see me there. I’ve never been good at using what little name I have in the industry to get sketches and I have no problem standing in line for something I really want, but I was looking around like a hawk.

For the record, Dillon looks like a complete badass, like he just fought his way from wherever he was last week. He hurried in, sat down, pulled out some drawing materials and went to town. The missus was standing with me in line and I was losing my geeky mind waiting for my turn. I don’t remember how much I paid for the CBLDF donation to get the sketch, but it was completely worth it. Watching him draw one of my all-time favorite characters is one of my favorite comic-related memories. I still remember how he drew the hair! Actually, now that I think about it, this might have been the last sketch I got. I need to man up and start getting more!

Sketchbook Saturday: Superman by Stuart Immonen & Superboy by Karl Kessel

Today I’m showing off a double whammy for Sketchbook Saturday featuring two super guys: Superman and Superboy. I got these sketches in 1999 at the Mid Ohio Con. See, that year, a group of creators including Mark Waid, Kurt Busiek and the above artists announced the creation of a brand new imprint called Gorilla Comics. It was pretty exciting because nearly everyone involved was there at one big long table signing comics and doing sketches. I got in line with the intent of getting Waid and Busiek signatures and kind of stumbled upon Immonen and Kessel who were both kind enough to hit me up with free sketches. I was a big Superman fan at the time, so this was super exciting. But, it wasn’t a perfect experience because of one huge missed opportunity: I walked right past Mike Wieringo because 16-year-old me didn’t know who he was. Once I really got to know his work I was regretful and today even more so for obvious reasons. If my hazy memory serves, he was really nice even as I walked by, as was everyone else. Stupid 16-year-old me.

Sketchbook Saturday: Guy Gardner Warrior by Dan Davis

Not sure why the scan on this turned out so dark, but this is the very first entry in my very first sketchbook. I believe it was done at the 1999 Mid Ohio Con. I remember being pretty nervous about walking up to Dan Davis, who was the inker on one of my favorite comics at the time Guy Gardner: Warrior. I went on to get most of the run signed by Davis and writer Beau Smith between that show and the next. I feel bad for not remembering much about Mr. Davis, but I do know he was a nice guy who did this quick headshot sketch for a 15 year old kid for free. Thanks to him! This is a great memory from a very specific time in comic history that I think I love more than anyone else.

Sketchbook Saturday: Batman by Norm Breyfogle & Wonder Woman by Mike Deodato Jr.

I fully intended to post a sketch from my books every week when I laid out my calendar earlier this month. When I was at Wizard some of us brought our sketchbooks in to get scanned for the website. They never saw the light of day, but I thought I still had the files. Turns out I don’t, so I need to go through and scan again. Anyway, I do have these two non-book sketches that I put into an Ikea frame, so I snapped a quick pic to get things started.

On the left you have the very first sketch I ever got. In 1994 I had only been collecting comics for a couple years. I was 11 and I was completely blown away that an honest to God comic book artist was going to be signing and sketching at JC’s Comic Stop in Toledo, Ohio! To be honest, though, I didn’t know who Norm Breyfogle was, but I picked up a few issues of Prime and found a Batman or Detective Comics issue and got those signed too. I remember standing in line with my dad. I’m sure he wasn’t super pleased because nothing at JC’s ever happened on time. I saw the guy in front of me getting a sketch of Batman and I don’t remember if I asked for one when it was my turn or if my dad did, but I was amazed at how quickly he composed this Batman. We’re talking a minute. It was amazing.

On the right is Artemis as Wonder Woman by Mike Deodato Jr.. I think this is from the very first Mid Ohio Con I ever went to in either ’94 or ’95. As I mentioned earlier this week, I was a big fan of Artemis as Wonder Woman so when I saw Deodato I asked him for a sketch and he said yes. I can’t remember if I paid for it or not, but I dug how it came out. Still do. It’s kind of a weird relic from a time in comics that most other people don’t care about, though sometimes I wish I wold have gotten him to draw Diana at the time in that crazy costume.

Something Wicked-Awesome This Way Comes

Okay, so it’s probably not wicked-awesome, but I’ve decided to schedule some of my reoccurring posts live Covering Vinyl, Crossovers I Want To See, Toy Commercial Tuesday, Trade Post, Ad It Up, Supergroup Showcase and I’m repurposing Sketchbook Sunday as Sketchbook Saturday. I’m also looking to start reviewing records on a weekly basis, just because I love talking about music. I’m a big fan of making lists and crossing things of said lists, so this is the best way for me to keep up on the posts I intend to do. Of course, you’ll also be seeing the usual Real Housewives, Real World, Jersey Shore, Mad Men and Big Bang Theory posts, plus a few potential other returning favorites and new shows on the corresponding days. Of course, I’ll still be watching movies and random other TV shows and sharing my opinions on those here and there.

I’ve also been toying around with the idea of a weekly post called The Perks Of Being A Freelancer, that won’t just cover the perks, but some of the ins and outs of making it as a freelancer nowadays. I’m going to see how August goes and then move on from there. I might also be getting another writer or two in the near future to make the name of the website really make sense (can one monkee be united?). So, keep your eyes peeled, tell your friends and leave some comments on what you might like to see on the site that I’ve done in the past and am no longer doing, or brand new kinds of posts you think might work. I appreciate the feedback.

I’m Sure SDCC Is Rad, But So’s The Met

Okay, so New York’s Metropolitan Museum Of Art probably isn’t as cool as SDCC, but it had a few things going for it. One, no weirdos in costumes. Two, it didn’t have that familiar con smell to it. And three, I got to see some cool art, which included sketches by one of the most famous artists of all time, some pop culture relics and a giant hall filled with armor, so it wasn’t TOO far off. The above picture is of the American Wing of the museum, which was featured on Project Runway last season (I don’t remember it, but the missus does, which lead me to searching for this pic). We kicked things off with a tour through the incredibly boring American Wing which mostly had furniture. Holy shit, you guys, looking at old chairs is boring. Anyway, I eventually ducked into the musical instrument section where I saw some crazy old instruments, heard some incredibly pretentious teenagers discuss the intricacies of outdated instruments and got to see two pieces of musical history. I love jazz. When I started getting into it, I thought big band guys like Benny Goodman were squares, but as I delved in I found that he was a sick musician whose orchestra could swing like no other. His Live At Carnegie Hall two disc set is absolutely worth checking out for anyone interested in the man or swing or jazz. Anyway, I was pretty excited to see Goodman’s clarinet on display. According to the sign next to it, it’s the one he has in the picture which was taken just a few days before he died. The other piece of popular music history on display was Ringo Starr’s Golden Drum which was a gift given to him by the Ludwig drum company in 1964. It’s not super interesting, it’s not like the 70 year old Beatle actually played the thing, but hey, I still haven’t been to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame yet, so I’ll take what I can get. Here’s another pic. We didn’t actually go down and walk through the Hall Of Armor (I have no idea if that’s what it’s called, it just makes sense because, you know, it’s filled with armor) but I snapped this pic from above mostly because the armors look awesome and it reminded me of how Jim Lee drew the Batcave in All-Star Batman And Robin The Boy Wonder. I want to see a movie set just in this wing where these bad boys come to life and kick the hell out of each other. There was also a pretty big showcase of Picasso artwork that was kind of whatever. I guess I’m not really into the man’s art or at least I don’t want to look at it with tons of other slow and smelly (hey, I guess it is like a con) people in small rooms. There was an interesting display at the very end of the circuit with drawings Picasso did. The man sure loved to draw naked women. My favorite piece that I saw was this one, I can’t remember the exact name of it though, but it’s something like “A Former Patron and His Ingenue Visit An Old Artist.”I got a kick out of this one because my reading of it is that Picasso’s poking fun at himself, showing himself drawing these huge naked people while his stuffy old patron shows up and is most likely embarrassed and confused by what had come over the artist. Hey, I just found a link on the Met’s site, the piece is called “Patron and his Retinue Visiting the Studio of an Old Painter,” check out more info here. The last picture I snapped, I wasn’t supposed to. It’s a cartoon for The New Yorker by artist Barney Tobey (you can read his 1989 obit here to learn more about the man). I’m not sure if you can read the caption, but one well-dressed woman is saying “Keeping it dusted must drive them crazy!” to another well-dressed woman. It’s kind of meta, but it was fun.

We also checked out the American Woman fashion installment, which was kind of cool, though, again, not really my thing along with a collection of photographs by Leon Levinstein which I loved. He basically walked around New York in the 60s and 70s and snapped pictures. They’re amazing. Nowadays we have reality television to give us a look into peoples’ lives, but back then, all there was was guys like Levinstein snapping pictures on the streets. I loved it. It helps that I’m fascinated by New York’s long history, but he had a great eye for snapping pics that really capture people in their natural element. Absolutely worth checking out if you’re in the area.

Sunday Sketchbook: Guy Gardner By Khoi Pham

After writing about the one and only Green Lantern sketch in my Green Lantern sketchbook which is, of course, green itself, in my MoCCA post, reader Gorilla Bandit asked me to post it. I’ve been kicking around the idea of posting images of my sketchbooks (I’ve got three, two of which are not themed) on the blog and even have the majority of them scanned from my Wizard days. Anyway, here’s Guy Gardner by Khoi Pham. I got this sketch from Pham at the 2007 Big Apple Comic Con which wasn’t such a great show and definitely not a good one to take the missus to for her first show. I paid for it, maybe $30 or 40? Being a big Guy Gardner fan, it made the most sense for him to open the book. Now I just need to man-up, regain interest and talk to more creators when I go to these shows. The combination of laziness and fear of strangers has really held me back from getting sketches over the past few years. As a kid I got a ton and even got a second sketchbook thanks to the advice of Dan Brereton who suggested it would be a good way to double my sketches.