Part Two: What to Do?
What did I do at the comic convention? Mostly shopped and attended panel discussions. For now, let’s talk shopping:
- I’m apparently more of an art collector than I expected. I spent the majority of my time browsing through artist alley. This is the area where largely independent (as opposed to being tied to a major publisher, which usually have their artists and writers at special booths elsewhere on the convention floor) people peddle their wares.
- I had no interest in looking through the bins and bins of comic books with sometime inscrutable organization. Despite the layout, there were just too many people bustling about to comfortably dive through the long boxes in search of sought-after title. It’s better to go to a comic book store or search for it online (likely through eBay.) One might argue that the prices are better at a convention, but between transportation, parking, admission, and the crap shot that is the selection to be found it would be difficult to really justify that “bargain” price.
- Again, as discussed in my last post on the subject, I mostly buy trades and so looking for singles is really really unappealing at this point.
- Action figures at the convention were obscenely priced. Also, the selection was fairly uniform throughout. If you were looking for Marvel Universe or DC Universe Classics you had a lot to choose from. Anything else was somewhat under-represented.
Back to point #1, I ended up spending a lot of time (and money!) at the artist alley. I seemed to have developed somewhat particular tastes, though:
- I suppose it’s an unavoidable consequence of wanting to make money, but I was disheartened by the fact that so many artists just had fan art on offer. You know what, DC makes many many posters of Batman, Superman, et al. I don’t need to buy your work.
- It’s especially awkward to see ones selling superheroine cheesecake. You know what? That stuff is incredibly easy to find online.
- I saw a considerable number of black artists trying to push self-published “urban” superhero work. I commend them on their initiative. Unfortunately the art for them was universally bad, with a very 90’s quality to it that made the whole affair amateurish. Maybe this was a stylistic choice that they all arrived at independently (maybe their target market reacts well to the style.)
- When I explained my friend, who hadn’t been to a comic book convention before, what the artist alley was I made the mistake of using the word “indie.” He then snidely remarked that earlier in the year he’d gone to some festival in NYC for a festival of comic art and creators and that it was “much more independent” than the BMORECC. What a fucking douche.
So, what did I see in the artist alley that I liked? The quick rundown:
- I bought a copy of Jetpack Shark by Max Young. I mean, with a title like that (and, like Snakes on a Plane, the title says it all) how could I say “no”? I know earlier I mentioned having “particular tastes,” and one aspect of it is the absurd. I appreciate a creator who can go balls out with an idiotic idea instead of getting caught up in pretense.
- Along those same lines I bought Jesus Hates Zombies published by 215ink.
- I bought a print by Kurt Einhaus. On his site it’s labeled as “Samurai 3.” I really liked his work, it’s similar to Ashley Wood’s stuff (but much more colorful) with that same ethereal quality where nothing seems necessarily solid.
- I bought a print from Vikki Chu. It’s a piece titled “Lands” on her site. I liked the relatively simple art style that crams itself into every inch of the piece. Sort of like if a kid decided to illustrate her whole fantasy kingdom on her desk while the teacher prattled on about whatever. The small selection of colors used, mostly hues of blue, with the stark orange (for danger) was a nice touch.
- Finally, I pre-ordered an art book by Mike Maydak. I’ve always been drawn to art that used a lot of color so my eyes were naturally drawn to the cartoonishly bright art with thick outlines. For the most part his pictures of people, with their elongated, stylized bodies, did little for me. However when that style got applied to inanimate objects; buildings and tanks, it took on a playful quality. Is it a trick of perspective or is that structure just totally screwed? There’s some similarity to the way backgrounds were drawn in the TV series Invader Zim.
- Finally, I bought a key chain of a monkey in a spacesuit trying to eat a banana. Because, y’know, monkeys! It’s a funny illustration by Ian Glaubinger.