Baltimore Comic Con 2009 pt 2 – In The Presence of Giants

After the long journey to Baltimore, actually being at the Baltimore Comic Con was a cakewalk. Groggy but excited, Adam and I made it to the convention center and set up the POPGUN 1/2 table. It was in the Image Comic Booth, which was glorious. Whenever the Image Founders and Bigwigs had a signing on the other side of the booth, the line would stretch all the way around, in front of our table, and occasionally we’d be able to sneak a few sales.

“You looking for Erik Larsen’s signature? Well, you know, he’s contributed to every volume of POPGUN, sooo…”

“Rob Liefeld once told me POPGUN was awesome, sooo…”

“If we sell out of these, we can hang out and walk the floor for the rest of the con. It’s what Jim Valentino would want… c’mon!”

(Photo by Branwyn Bigglestone)

It was fun, though. Sales weren’t as brisk or huge as my last con experience in San Diego, but Baltimore had some wonderful charms of its own. One was the fact that this con is about COMICS. No Hollywood or video games. Now, I love Hollywood and video games and had fun with all the pseudo celebs at SDCC last July, but to have Chris Claremont, a huge force behind the stories that inspired the X-MEN movies, writer of a very large stack of comics I bought from my pre-teen to teen years — stopped by to chat with me and Adam, well, it was pretty exciting. Geek out time and whatnot.

The whole con and floor experience was a hoot. It was capped of wonderfully by the Harvey Awards Saturday night. POPGUN volume 2 was nominated for Best Anthology of 2009, so I actually kind of had a reason to be there. (Despite Image PR/Marketing guru and POPGUN co-creator Joe Keatinge constantly asking me, “What are you doing here?” during the entire con.) It was great in that I didn’t have to pay for dinner, and I was at a table with some amazing creators. I did actually start to wonder what I was doing there. The awards ceremony was fun, PVP’s Scott Kurtz making a very funny MC.

POPGUN lost out for the Best Anthology 2009 Harvey to the Tori Amos inspired COMIC BOOK TATTOO — but, c’mon. Have you seen that book? It’s amazing, and it deserved to win. (POPGUN 3 for next year!!!)

My favorite moment was when writer Bryan Glass won for Best New Talent for his book MICE TEMPLAR (with artist Michael Avon Oeming). His acceptance speech was very heartfelt, and to see that kind of genuine emotion was really a highlight.

Not long after, Joe Keatinge drew an unrelated and horribly dirty comic in my little notebook.

Though I’d already voted, we were all provided with a program that had a checklist of all the nominees. Due to my horrible memory, I re-voted, just to see how I’d do. I went 10 for 21. Not that… good.

The next day continued the trend of fun and lots of surprising goodwill from creators I’ve been reading for years. I was also recognized by someone from near my hometown of Waverly, OH, which was weird. Small, small world.

After the con wrapped and we broke everything down (and I managed to stab myself with a box cutter — thank goodness the Baltimore Comic Con floor team were prepared with a first aid kit), it was off to the bar for one last drink with the Image gang. What a great bunch of people. And beer out of a martini glass is the only way to drink beer, fyi.

(iPhotograph by Capt. Joe Keatinge)

All in all, a very good trip. I got to hang out and work with my friend and frequent co-writer Adam P. Knave (who is on the opposite coast of me), see my pal Joe Keatinge, and work side-by-side with Image Comics Accounts Manager Branwyn Bigglestone, Publisher ericstephenson, and the rest of the Image Comics gang.

Good times.

Baltimore Comic Con 2009 pt. 1 – The Long Road to the Harbor

My Baltimore Comic Con 2009 Adventure began before I even arrived in that city on the harbor — way before. In preparation to schedule everything with the Lone Ranger to my Tonto, Adam P. Knave, I sent him my flight itinerary. He responded with, “Why are you flying into Dulles?”

“Because… William Shatner told me to?”

“That’s in D.C. — an hour from the convention.”

“Craptastic.” (Drink!)

Muh-effin’ Priceline! And, well, muh-effin’ me for just buying a ticket based upon price but not double-checking the cities, though, to be fair, I requested LA to Baltimore — I figured the Shat would get it! (Yes, I imagine William Shatner manning all requests at Priceline headquarters.)

So, the battle to figure out how to get to the convention after landing in D.C. began. I was getting in at midnight, and the Amtrak didn’t run again until 3:15 AM, so I’d have to hang out at the train station for around three hours, which I immediately began trying to convince myself would be a worthwhile experience because: taxis were too expensive; it’d cost twice my initial ticket price to change the flight at that point; and the last time I hitchhiked, I lost a kidney (and my dignity… but not my hope — that would go later). So, yeah, I decided to go with Amtrak. That meant I’d arrive in Baltimore around 4:30 AM. Then have to get to the hotel from Penn Station. Excitement!

Indeed, the seeds were planted for fretting, but I just pressed on. Then almost missed my flight out of LAX due to bad traffic and more of my poor planning. Yikes! Anyway, I did make it (just), and the flight there was swell, save for the gut rot given to me by the $25 turkey cold cut sandwich I bought due to extreme hunger. How does that happen? It was turkey and lettuce! Curious.

Anyway, after arriving at Dulles, it became clear getting to Union station for the Amtrak was going to be an ordeal… so I lazied up and went to the Super Shuttle. They weren’t sure if they’d have a shuttle running, but heaven smiled upon me, and they graciously decided to take my 90 bucks to drive me to my hotel in Baltimore… after dropping off eight other people all over Maryland. It was like that episode of Arrested Development — you know, when Tobias met his future acting coach, Carl Weathers, on the Super Shuttle? Everyone on that shuttle bonded, though. The soldier on leave from Iraq, the Texan mom and son in town for the gay pride parade, the NASA scientist, the Baltimore historian — the whole gang. This bonding was mostly from fear of the driver’s texting and GPS address entering while driving. Some close calls, folks. And close sitting. Bonding. Touching? None that I initiated.

I was the last one to be dropped off… at about 4 AM. Yeah, got there the same time I would’ve if I’d taken the Amtrak. Lessons.

The stalwart Adam P. Knave let me into the fancy Hyatt hotel, and we proceeded to chat and giggle and pillow fight, getting to sleep around, I dunno, 6 AM? Next day: the con! On two hours of sleep! Yay!

(to be continued because I need to do other stuff right now…)

Preparing for a Baltimore Adventure

Goin’ to Baltimore tomorrow. Why? Because I love Homicide: Life on the Streets (especially the Ned Beatty era). And I love the complexity of The Wire.

Really? No, not really. I’ve never really seen those shows. I should watch them. Especially The Wire from what I hear and read.

Then what, then? The films of John Waters speak to me? No. Not at all. (Though Pecker has lots of funny moments.)

No, no, the reason I’m flying to that harbor town is the 2009 Baltimore Comic Con!


I’ll be rocking the POPGUN table with Sir Adam P. Knave at the sure to be amazing Image Comics booth! It’s sure to be a hoot.

Also looking forward to checking out the Harvey Awards. POPGUN vol. 2 is nominated for Best Anthology, which is swell! Vol. 1 won last year… can we do two in a row? I dunno. But it’s an honor to be nominated!

Not looking forward to the travel there from here in Hell A. It’ll be a complicated affair that I’ll no doubt be writing about in a later blog posting. Look for it, my two readers. (Hi, Mom! Hi, other person!)

Ah, comics. Good times.

See ya’ in Baltimore!

West Hollywood Book Fair Photos!

A great time was had yesterday (October 4) at the 2009 West Hollywood Book Fair! I enjoyed the fair last year, but this year was even better because I was on a panel! It was called OFF THE BEATEN PATH: INDIE CREATORS & THEIR CRAFT and also featured Jordan Crane (CLOUDS ABOVE and UPTIGHT), Ed Laroche (ALMIGHTY), Joe Matt (PEEP SHOW and SPENT), Kiyoshi Nakazawa (DRUNKEN MASTER) and was masterfully moderated by Darren Clavadetscher. (How’d I get on this panel anyway… ?)

Many, many thanks to Dan Kusunoki, Darren, and the whole Skylight Books team for their amazing support of my (and many others’) book POPGUN (from Image Comics) and some amazingly positive words about SOULLESS, MAN WITHOUT A SOUL (stories in POPGUN 1 & 2, soon to be a mini-series with artist extraordinaire Anjin Anhut — plug, plug).

And thanks to my friend William Richardson for not only showing support by attending but for also taking these snazzy photos!


Panels are fun.


“It depends,” I vaguely answer to the audience question: “Are you a top or bottom?” (True story.)


Jordan Crane telling me why superheroes suck as I argue, “But but but… me likey.”


Can’t tell if Darren is amused by whatever I’m saying or if he wants to punch me. Or both.


Unsure of what to write or how to scribble my signature.


I’m signing a book like a special person or something!


Not staged! Okay… well, a recreation of a comic reader/supporter named Wayne getting his copy of POPGUN 1 signed by someone he’s never heard of (me).


As Ed Laroche and Kiyoshi Nakazawa talk with fans, Jordan Crane is telling me how he’d kill off Superman once and for all in an accident involving a kryptonite finger nail clipper. (Later, I cry.)


Joe Matt draws himself reading on the toilet as I watch and wish I could draw like Joe Matt.

I’ll be on a panel at the West Hollywood Book Fair Oct. 4!

If you’re in the LA area, check it out!

Jordan Crane (Clouds Above and Uptight)
D.J. Kirkbride (Popgun)
Ed Laroche (Almighty)
Joe Matt (Peep Show)
Kiyoshi Nakazawa (Drunken Master)
Moderator: Darren Clavadetscher
Location: Comics, SciFi & Beyond Pavilion
Signings: Skylight Books booth