Thursday, April 24, 2008

Sketches, part 3

So this is the last bunch of sketches. Tomorrow, I promise, I'll talk about something other that comic con and New York. You know, it's funny, but I haven't started to read any of the comic books I bought there. I was saving them until I got back to Iqaluit. But on the way up here I started reading a book I bought from the Strand bookstore (which lives up to the hype) called "World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War." And I thought it was going to be a hackneyed piece of trash. But it's surprisingly intelligent and it's a captivating bit of reading. I should be done with it tonight, which means I'll dive into the comic books tomorrow.

In the meantime, let's take a look at the last six sketches.

1. Mark Buckingham - The Snow Queen ("Fables")

Mark Buckingham was the start of an expensive last day at the con for me. Although he had his own table in Artist Alley, he also showed up at the Hero Initiative table to do sketches for an hour. Hero Initiative is a very cool organization designed to help creators, especially older ones, in need. While many successful creators do well today, ones who were around in the 40s, 50s and 60s often did not profit much from their creations.

I've liked Buckingham's work for years. And while I was in line I was trying to figure out what to ask him to draw. He even teased me a bit for not knowing what I wanted. Eventually I settled on a character from the excellent series "Fables", which he currently draws. I said I was torn between Snow White, Bigby Wolf or the Snow Queen. Buckingham got excited at the idea of drawing the Queen, so that was that. She's perhaps not as sinister as she is in the comic book, but it's still a nice sketch for a good cause.

2. Peter Laird - Raphael ("Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles")

Look, I'm not a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan. Never have been, really. But I'm strolling through Artist Alley and there's Laird, co-creator of the Turtles, set up at a table knocking back quick sketches of any one of the turtles you want for $20. And there's only about three people in line. So I figured, what the hell.

So I have a turtle. Granted, I'd be hard pressed to know which one, but hey, it's a turtle all the same.

3. David Finch - The Incredible Hulk

Finch is a very popular artist, thanks to his work on The Avengers and Moon Knight. All weekend long there had been huge line to get near him at his table. But on Sunday morning things were a bit slower. When I walked past his table I noticed there was still about 10 people in line. However, all but two of them just had comic books in their hands to get them signed. Because of his popularity, sketches can be a bit pricey.

Still, I took a chance, got in line which moved quickly as only a couple ahead of me were getting sketches. Again, in the line I debated what I was going to get Finch to draw. He's done pretty much every character in the Marvel Universe. But he has what I would consider to be a very muscular and aggressive style. And looking at some of his artwork, I thought the Hulk would be a good choice. And it was.

I chatted briefly with him, but spent most of my time chatting with his wife. Nice lady. Plus I got the feeling she dealt with the distraction, allowing David to concentrate on the drawing.

4. Jim Calafiore - Superman

Another free sketch. He was at the DC table and I was walking by with miraculous no large lines around. So I asked him for a Superman sketch. This is obviously a very quick one, it only took about two minutes. But there's something about it that I like. I like all of my sketches, of course. But there is still something very stylized and distinctive about it, even though there isn't much detail. I think the good artists can do that...still make you appreciate it even if there isn't a lot of detail to it.

5. Leonard Kirk - Supergirl

And now back to the Hero Initiative table, where Leonard was sketching. I managed to be the first in line and remembered he worked on the Supergirl series a few years back and that his artwork had been quite nice. And also, unlike some artists, drew nice female characters, and not anatomically distorted sex bombs. It's a nice sketch. Kara (Supergirl) looks beautiful, but powerful. And catching her in flight like that works. More money for the Hero Initiative, but well worth every cent.

6. Walter Simonson - Thor

And this is my pride and joy from the weekend. If I have to be honest, I was certainly happy to get the sketch from Leonard. But I was also hovering near the table because I knew Simonson would be sketching afterwards and I wanted to make sure I was in line to get one. I'd ask for a sketch from him the day before, but he was getting ready to leave and said no, which was cool. But I knew he would be at the Hero Initiative table and was determined to get a sketch from him.

Why? Because his run on Thor in the 80s is a classic. A story that dove head first into Norse mythology combined with Simonson's deceptively simple, yet powerful art style. He's also in my top 10 all-time favourite artists. Also, from chatting with a few people from around the con I learned that Simonson doesn't do many sketches these days, and when he does, it's normally only head shots. But this one has most of the torso. I was also worried that he might not do Thor. Some artists can get bored drawing the same characters over and over again, and lord knows he must have drawn Thor a million times over the years. Plus, as I mentioned before with Gross, it's not unheard of for people to get a sketch from Simonson, cut it out of their book and resell it on eBay. But he was gracious and I was the first one who asked him for a Thor sketch.

This was my most expensive sketch of the con by far. But I love it and and the money went to a good cause. So it works out well for me. And it's was a good way to wrap up the con. I asked one more person for a sketch, but he declined. And then I decided, was I really going to beat a Simonson sketch of Thor? Nope. So I called it a day.

Last Five
1. High and dry - Radiohead*
2. Set yourself on fire - Stars
3. Failsafe - The New Pornographers
4. Lilly Bolero/The white cockade - The Chieftains
5. Come on, teacher - Joel Plaskett Emergency

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