Archive for the ‘Conventions’ Category

Wizard World Chicago 2008 (part the first)

Monday, June 30th, 2008 by Dave Wachter

It’s monday afternoon. I finally got a decent night’s sleep, my first in weeks and a welcome turn from the scant few hours I found resting during the controlled chaos weekend experiment of convention goodness that was Wizard World 2008. The memories toss inside my head like the numbered balls in the lottery, randomly bouncing off the inside of my skull battling for supremacy until one lucky moment in time struggles it’s way to the top spot and readies itself as it turns to face the camera and have it’s meaning revealed.

I spent the vast amount of my convention time behind the table, playing good little soldier, hocking my wares, pressing the flesh, making with the conversation and sketching, sketching, sketching, and sketching. This is how I experience most of my convention hours at every show, at the home base, staying in one spot as much of the convention passes in front of me with little parts of the whole breaking off from the tidal flow and washing up on the shores of the table I shared in Artist Alley. And, despite my occasional(sometimes frequent) complaints, I’m more than happy to do it. Especially when I’m fortunate enough to be parked next to a legend of the convention circuit, and more importantly, one of my greatest friends, the magnanimous Pat Loika.

Action at the Dial R table was constant throughout the weekend. The rare lull in the action I used to catch up on the sketches, though I always felt like I was falling behind and struggling to keep up with the requests. Despite the fraying of a few nerve cells, this was a welcome problem to have. Loads of fantastic people came by to get a sketch, to pick up a book or two, or just to say hello and tell us about their own experiences at the show, some of which were bizarre and all were entertaining. I dare not attempt to name everyone who stopped by. I’ve tried this in the past, but feel it would prove too difficult this time around. I fear leaving somebody off the list and it would require hours of thought to complete the task. So I’ll just say this: comic book fans are the greatest damn people on the face of the planet. Despite the chaos and confusion that can come from an event of this magnitude, not a single soul was mean spirited or selfish. Everyone I met was gracious, kind, bringing energy and excitement with them over to our little corner of the con floor. So many warm thoughts, kind words and generous deeds that they become difficult to describe as the memories of each entangle with each other to form the larger picture of one of the greatest con experiences I have had.

This is my fourth year of making the convention scene as an exhibitor and for the first time I can proudly make this statement: I sold out. Chicago marked the debut of the new title from the team that brought the world Scar Tissue: James Andrew Clark and myself have developed a western titled The Guns of Shadow Valley. I brought with me the Convention Preview edition, basically it’s 17 and a half pages of issue one, and a few pages of exclusive extras(including a letter from a prospector back home to his family beautifully penned by Mr. Clark), designed to bring attention to this new endeavor of ours. I left a blank area on the back cover, roughly the size of a postcard, so that I could do a head sketch for every issue that sold. Making a new comic is like taking a little piece of yourself and putting down into a form that reveals itself to the eyes and scrutiny of other people. Thoughts of worry and doubt always creep in as you first make efforts to expose your work to the public. All the excitement, frustration, the battles, the victories and the losses, the desires and hope, the long hours behind a keyboard and hunched over a drawing table, are all contained within those few pages of fragile paper, ink, and a couple of staples. By Sunday every copy was gone. Not a single issue to take back home. The premier showing of The Guns of Shadow Valley sold out! The sense of pride and satisfaction I have from this almost feels boastful, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to bathe in it’s glow for a little while. People seem to really respond strongly to the book and I couldn’t be any happier about that. So many people saying so many nice things about my work, it just makes me fell so damn good. We’re going to have to order a bigger print run for San Diego!

There’s more to come. I’ve only scratched the surface so far. I have the day off work, dedicated to my recovery. I’ll most likely be spending most of that time collecting my thoughts and trying to recount all the crazy shit that went down this weekend. Until then, here’s some pictures:

The Dial R Studios table:

Pat Loika!!

Spiral when she was young:

Cullen Bunn, great guy and the writer of the incrdible series from Oni Press: The Damned:

Chris Mitten, uber-talented artist on Oni’s Wasteland, and an extra nice guy:

The floor from the retailers area:

Indy and Indy Jr:

Phantom Rider/Ghost Rider sketch:

Wizard World Chicago 2008 (part the second)

Monday, June 30th, 2008 by Dave Wachter

With one prominent and distinctly sad exception that occurred, which I’ll elaborate a bit on later, everyone at the show seemed to be having such a great time all weekend. The vibe coming from the crowd just felt especially positive this year, I’m not sure why. Every day was a little different and distinct.

Preview Night on Thursday was all about reunions. Friday the reunions continued, new friends were made instantaneously. The crowd wasn’t huge, but still seemed fairly big and active , from my viewpoint behind the table. I was tired the first half the day, having been up until 3:45 the previous morning. I’ll talk about a bit of that later. I didn’t eat more than a granola bar until 4pm on Friday. Then I enjoyed a peanut butter and jelly, which became my lunchtime staple for me and Pat each day. I need my pb&j’s made fresh, so I packed a cooler with a jar of each and the whole loaf of wheat and put together the sandwiches at the table. Those things saved my life. I think I got up once from behind the table that day. Saturday was extremely busy. The floor seemed packed and the crowd hyped up to a faster rate. I started Saturday a little late, mistaken in my assumption that the floor opened at 10 instead of actually at 9. So I was a little late. I fretted over this and about being behind on the sketch commissions for a little while. Having good talks with people relaxed me and the rest of the day was very active, but smooth. Sunday was all about finishing up. I got a couple hours to finally get out on the floor and see some things, and meet some folks who were camped behind their tables much of the time like me. These things go by too damn fast. There’s never as much time as I’d like to spend with everybody. I bought a Gene Colan Daredevil print from the Hero Initiative booth and a couple of books from the Ape Entertainment booth and that’s about it. I’m never much of a shopper at conventions, and I was an especially poor one this time around. Gotta save this money to pay for San Diego!

Did I mention that everybody, every single one of the people I met this weekend made a positive experience for me? People I know from past conventions, both attendees and those who have shared the exhibitor experience, the once faceless personalities from the internet made real coming from places like The CGS board, The Bendis Board, The Around Comics forums, Marvel Noise and the crazy gang over at 11O’Clock Comics, professionals who, despite their busy schedules, always surprise me with their humility and generosity of time, the parents with their kids, and those with the bravery and bravado to wear an outlandish costume, it’s all these people that create the con experience. Here’s just a few of them in picture format:

(I really need to get better at having the new camera ready.)

Steve Bryant, creator/artist of Athena Voltaire and Ursula Wilde. I always look forward to hanging out with Steve:

Chris Neseman, podcast dean of Around COmics. A good Chicago buddy:

Bram Stoker award winning author Mike Oliveri:

Dustin Drase as Doc Strange:

Mike “The Pamp” Pampinella, Evil Money Studios. Gotta love The Pamp:

Mark Beaty, owner of Darktower COmics, uses his experience as a bouncer to throw me out of his booth:

Andy Jewett, fellow Dial R-er(?). missed ya behind the table Andy, but great to hang out nonetheless!


Wizard World Chicago 2008 (part the third)

Friday, July 4th, 2008 by Dave Wachter

On Friday I went to one panel, the comics podcasting panel. Gotta support my peeps. Sean McKeever moderated. In the pics from left to right was: Stevie D. of Comic Book Queers, Steven Schuler of Alter Ego, Scott Cederlund of Wednesday’s Haul, Chris Marshall of Collected Comics Library, Brian Salazar of Around Comics, Vince Bonavoglia of 11 O’Clock Comics, Sean Whelan of Raging Bullets, and John Siuntres of Wordballoon.

A game of tennis broke out in the audience and Chris Marshal and Sean McKeever watched intently for two sets:

Wizard World Chicago 2008 (part the fourth)

Friday, July 4th, 2008 by Dave Wachter

Like I mentioned earlier, with every purchase of the Guns of Shadow Valley Convention Preview book(just $2!), I did a head sketch on the back cover. This kept me drawing pretty much during the whole convention. Here’s a sample. I uploaded the rest to a new flickr account. I didn’t get pics of all of them, I got around forty out of 50 some odd drawings.

Wizard World Chicago 2008 (part the fifth)

Saturday, July 5th, 2008 by Dave Wachter

Jeremy Adolphson has an amazing sketch collection of 4×6 cards that he has commissioned from a wide variety of artists . He emailed me before the show about getting a card done. It’s an honor to be part of this amazing collection of art. You can see his collection and learn more about it at: http://4×

I did a sketch of Frank from Guns of Shadow Valley:

As is my habit, each night I tried to stay awake as long as humanly possible. I just get so excited it gets really hard to say goodnight and go to bed. This was especially true of Thursday night. Most everyone had called it a night, Len Kody, Eric J, and myself were trying to keep the party going until nearly 3am. Talking about all kinds of stuff while going from place to place in the hotel. Finally, even those two had to turn in, and I was left alone with a lot of energy left over. WHile walking up the stairs, I notice the sign that says “roof access”. I thought that would be cool, to hang out alone up there and just chill until with my thoughts until I was ready for bed. After climbing 6 flights of stairs(I figured it would help wear me out), I get to the golden gate leading to the top of the Hyatt. But, it was locked. Oh well. I walked around the empty hotel for a while, just me and the night staff which consisted of one front desk person, a guy cleaning windows and another on the vacuum cleaner. It was eerie and relaxing at the same time. FInally, at about a quarter to four, I decided to go back to my room, attempt to not wake up my roommates with my entry, and crashed. Not a very interesting tale, but what the hell. It’s mostly just an excuse to post more pictures!

Scott Cederland, of Wednesday’s Haul podcast, is a Hero:

Mike “The Pamp” Pampinella, Joe “snake-eyez” Wilhelm:

NickT shows us the way back to England:

Kevin Freeman of Ape Entertainment:

Granny Goodness: