Saturday, January 21, 2012


Back in 2008 I went to the New York Comic Con and it was one of the great experiences in my life. It's not exactly a shock, but I've been a geek most of my life and I've had a love of comic books since I was seven years old. I'd always read about these magical comic book conventions, but seeing as how I was broke for most of the first 35 years of my life, going to one was never an option.

But in 2008, I got the chance and fell in love with it. I grew up feeling a little more than ashamed of the habit. There's nothing like cracking open a bag of comic books on the way home on the bus, enjoying an issue, and then hearing people laughing at you. I understand comics are a kind of cool thing now, but back in the 80s, not so much. So going to a place where there were tens of thousands of people as happy and eager as I was, well, it was a great experience.

I've been trying to get back ever since. Almost happened in 2010, but money was an issue. Was supposed to happen in 2011, but weirdness with my job situation killed that. I'm hopeful 2012 will be the magic year, but we'll see.

Anyway, one of the things that I got hooked on in 2008 was comic book art. I started a sketch book, but also decided it would be nice to have some art to hang on my wall. This can get to be an expensive habit, so I try to limit to myself to a budget. Because I was planning on buying something in New York, I didn't get anything all year. Then NY fell through, so I figured I wasn't getting anything at all.

Except things happened quickly. First, I fell in love with some of the artwork that Hanie was working on (her Tumblr and Deviantart pages). Hanie and a couple of artists got the clever idea of doing DC superheroines wearing comfortable winter clothing and sweaters, kind of as a rebuttal to some of the costumes the characters were wearing after DC's massive relaunch back in September.

It's, well, cute. But that's fine. I'm kind of going with that theme for the art on my wall. Cathy has to look at it, as well as guests. So I pitched her a few ideas for a commission, she fell in love with one of them and, a few weeks later, this arrived in the mail.

You have to be a fan of Neil Gaiman's Sandman to get it, but it makes me happy. And I'm not the only one, based on what the fine folks at Comics Alliance think as it made their feature Best Art Ever (This Week), which makes me happy.

Hanie, by the way, is phenomenally nice and has prints for sale in her Etsy store. I really think she's a comic artist to keep your eye out for. If you like her work, drop her a line or buy something.

This alone would have made me happy. But a few weeks after I contacted Hanie, I saw a tweet saying an artist whose work I've loved for years was taking some last minute commissions to make a few extra dollars right before Christmas. Ben Templesmith is probably better known for his horror work (30 Days of Night) or the detective series he's working on with Warren Ellis called Fell. His artwork is not, well, cute. But I love it, it was a rare opportunity and I knew the door was going to slam shut quickly because everyone was going to look for a commission given how popular he is.

So I contacted him, he had the time so I pitched him my idea. He liked it and this is now what's hanging on my wall.

Hellboy, in case you were wondering. And a mermaid. I thought a mermaid would be cute, although I did request no nudity with the mermaid. I think Ben did a wonderful job.

By the way, this is the current state of the wall in my office. It's coming along quite nicely, I think.

I know most of you don't get this, or understand why comic book art makes me so happy, but it does. It's a little piece of something I love hanging on my wall, that I can look at when I'm in the office/den. I look at all the pieces and know I have some original artwork, and a story to go along with it, and I smile. Hell, even Cathy likes it, and she's not the biggest comic book fan in the world.

Last Five
1. Square one - Tom Petty*
2. The battle for straight time - A.C. Newman
3. New favourite (live) - Allison Krauss and Union Station
4. Sing your heart out (live) - The Trews
5. Wayfaring stranger - Neko Case


The Perfect Storm said...

Very cool.

I was never into comics when I was a kid. My children got hooked on Archie comics for a short while, then Japanese manga.

I admire your sense of subtle aesthetics.


rohodster said...

Awesome! Love Mervyn as a snowman. That is his name, right? Been many years since I've read Sandman. Any chance we could get a closer look at the rest of these?