Showing posts with label Baltimore Comic-Con. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Baltimore Comic-Con. Show all posts

Monday, October 01, 2018

Baltimore Comic Con Friday photos

Elfquest's Richard and Wendy Pini (photo by Steve Artley)

Michael Golden

Mark Morales and Snagglepuss page

Barry Kitson

Mark Buckingham and Sara Duke

Mark Waid

Michael Golden and Jim Dougan

Kevin Maguire and Sara Duke

David Pepose

Rafer Roberts

Jim Steranko








Mike Rhode and Karl Kesel

Ghost Rider

Tom King (white dot on t-shirt) meeting Neal Adams

Jamar Nicholas

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Thom Zahler – An Interview with a BCC mainstay

Zahler at BCC in 2014

by Mike Rhode

Thom Zahler has been one of my favorites working long-term in a  ‘cartoony’ style in comic books. His Love and Capes series in particular used a series of Justice League analogues to tell a long romance story. He’s a regular at Baltimore Comic Con (BCC) and recently answered our usual interview questions.

What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?

I write and draw comics. I letter and color most of my own work, too. Basically, I do it all. (I did have a colorist on my recent Time and Vine series, though.)

How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?

These days, I’m mostly digital, in Clip Studio Paint, coloring in Photoshop and lettering in Illustrator. I still draw by hand when I can, especially commissions at conventions. And when I work on the right project, like My Little Pony, I do work traditionally so I have art for the resale market.

When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born? 

Early Seventies.

 What is your training and/or education in cartooning?

I took all the drawing classes I could in high school, as well as creative writing and working on the newspaper comic strip. After that, I went to and graduated from the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art in Dover, New Jersey.

Who are your influences?

Curt Swan was the first artist I ever recognized. I wanted to be George Pérez like most people reading in the eighties. But Kurt Schaffenberger and Ty Templeton were big influences as I started finding my wheelhouse. And these days, it’s the late Darwyn Cooke.

You've got a very 'cartoony' style (which I love), but has it worked for or against you in getting jobs? Do you have a more "realistic" style?

I used my realistic style on my Raider book, which went nowhere. I think I can pull it off, but it’s like going uphill. And my realistic style isn’t as magnetic as my cartoon style. I’m a decent serviceable realistic artist but a good cartoon artist. So I’m going with my strengths.

The cartoony stuff has worked fine, but I’m also pitching it where I think it works. I’ve drawn Strawberry Shortcake covers, pitched on other cartoony stuff. I know I’m not the artist to draw monthly Superman books, so I’m not aiming for those.

The only difference it really makes is in the stories I choose to tell. I have a spy book I’d love to do, but I’m not the artist for it. But Warning Label, Love and Capes and even Time and Vine, I’m good for. I mentioned Darwyn Cooke before, and he’s who I follow. His stuff works on almost everything, but he also told very Darwyn Cooke stories.

Warning Label is partly about a woman board game designer - are you a gamer?

I play games, and wish I had the time and opportunity to play more, but I’m not hard core. Also, I don’t really play console games at all. It’s how I get things done.

 If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?

I would take some art history classes. I wish that I had the opportunity to learn more about classic artists. I might have tried moving out to LA to pursue more writing opportunities.

 What work are you best-known for?

It's a toss-up. Love and Capes is what most comic readers know me from, but my work on My Little Pony is by far the biggest title I’ve had the privilege to work on.

Which came first, the Capes webcomic or the comic book?

The LNC print comic always came first. The four-panel beat thing was done for two reasons. One, back then everyone thought half-pages were the secret to webcomics, so being able to have a format that embraced that meant I could repurpose as a web strip if I liked doing the book but couldn’t afford to publish print editions. And two, four-panel beats is a natural comedic metronome to a guy like me who learned so much of his comedy from Bloom County.
 
How did you get involved with My Little Pony?

I was trying to impress my girlfriend at the time. She was a fan, and IDW was already publishing Love and Capes. So I asked if I could do a cover, because I knew they’d do a few. Bobby, the editor, knew my work and asked if I wanted to pitch the book. Not being an idiot, I said “Absolutely” and went home and mainlined the show to research it.

 What work are you most proud of?

I'm still very proud of the last arc of Love and Capes. It’s heartfelt and really sticks the landing, and part of why I haven’t ever come back to that. But, I feel like every new project is stretching my artistic muscles in new ways. I’m very happy with Warning Label.

Your new book, Time and Vine, is currently being published by IDW. What's it about? How long is it planned to run? 

It’s about a magical time traveling winery, where when you go into the right tasting room and you drink the right bottle of wine from 1912, you go back to 1912 until you sober up. It’s a four issue miniseries, each issue double-sized so it’s like eight issues total, and the last issue just came out. It’s built to do more when I’m ready, and when I have time.

My copies of #2 and 3 from my comics store had the same cover - I assume there was a mix-up in production?

Yeah, pretty much. Mistakes were made, they won’t happen again. The alternate covers, the 1980’s cover on #2 and the 1860’s cover on #3 did print correctly. So only half the issues of #3 are misprinted.

What would you like to do or work on in the future?

I'd like to write more animation. I’d like to work on some mainstream superhero book at some point. But past that, I am very happy with my personal, creator-owned work.

What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?

I take a lot of walks get over story points. And I’ll try to draw something fun to clear out the cobwebs as well.

What do you think will be the future of your field?

I think that I’m in a good place, but it should never be comfortable. Things have changed so much just in my short time in the field. There’s no way that I could have done Love and Capes ten years earlier. Computer coloring made things possible that I wouldn’t have been able to afford. And now, webcomics are getting my stories known in ways that I never expected.

My feeling is that the game is always changing. The only constant is that I have to learn to adapt to it.

How was your BCC experience? How often have you attended it?

I’ve been going to BCC for over ten years. It’s one of my favorite shows. I just adore it, and I love the fans and the pros and everything about it. My favorite thing about the show is that it’s still a comic book show. They’re surgical about bringing in media guests, and keep the focus on comics.
 
What's your favorite thing about Baltimore? Least favorite?

As far as Baltimore itself, I do love the inner harbor. The humidity.

What monument or museum do you like?

The Cleveland Art Museum and the Jefferson Memorial.

How about a favorite local restaurant?

My favorite place here in town, Taco Local, just closed. Right now it’s a place called Brim. And when I’m in Baltimore, Miss Shirley’s.

Where is "here in town?"

I live just outside of Cleveland, Ohio, birthplace of Superman.

 Do you have a website or blog?

Warning Label webcomic
 My website is www.thomz.com. I’m also on Twitter and Instagram @thomzahler

updated 10/24/2017 with gaming question

Monday, October 02, 2017

Ramona Fradon, a Baltimore Comic Con interview

by Mike Rhode

Ramona Fradon is a noted Silver Age artist who worked for DC Comics for years. Her Amazon description reads: Ramona Fradon is a legendary comic book illustrator known for her work on Aquaman, Metamorpho, Plastic Man and Super Friends. She also drew the newspaper comic strip, Brenda Starr and is noted for the humor in her drawings. In her serious moments, she wrote a book about the Faust legend in relationship to Gnostic mythology. In 2006 she received the prestigious Eisner Lifetime Achievement award. She lives in upstate New York in a very old house with a very old dog. She's been at the Baltimore Comic Con for the past few years, and we conducted this interview via e-mail.

What type of comic work or cartooning do you do? 

I worked in comic books, mostly for DC, drawing Aquaman, Plastic Man, Super Friends and stories in House of Mystery and House of Secrets, I co-created Aqualad and Metamorpho and also illustrated the syndicated newspaper strip, Brenda Starr.

How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination? 

I never worked with a computer and for most of my career, I inked with a #7 brush. Lately I have been using Micron felt pens.

When working in comic books, you probably didn't get to do your own inks very often. Would you have preferred to? Did you have a favorite inker?

I inked Aquaman and the mysteries and Brenda Starr, which was quite enough for me. I do a tight penciling and have always felt that inking  was redundant. I don't really have a favorite inker although I admire many of them.
When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born?

I was born in Chicago in 1926.

What is your training and/or education in cartooning? 

I studied design at Parsons School of Design and fine art at the Art Students' League in NY. I never studied cartooning specifically, although I was influenced by the great newspaper comics I read when I was growing up.

If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change? 

I would have written and drawn children's' books or done book illustrations.

What work are you best-known for?   

Probably Aquaman and Metamorpho.

What work are you most proud of?

Besides  the children's book I wrote (THE DINOSAUR THAT GOT TIRED OF BEING EXTINCT which is on Amazon)  I would say Metamorpho.

What would you like to do or work on in the future? 

That's a funny question for someone who is ninety-one (as of today, October 1st).

What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?

I clean the house or take a vacation or catch up on reading until I feel like working again.

What do you think will be the future of your field? 

It seems as if Hollywood is determining it right now, but I expect it will have a lot to do with the internet in ways I can't imagine.

Do you have a website or blog?
No. But you can see my work on Catskill Comics website.

How was your BCC experience this year? How often have you attended it?

I think I have been there about five times. It's getting bigger, but thankfully, not overwhelmed by TV and Hollywood. Brad Tree and his staff do a great job and make being there a pleasure. They gave me the biggest table (actually two tables) I have ever had.

What's your favorite thing about Baltimore? 

I liked walking around the harbor and eating at a seafood restaurant that overlooks the water.

Least favorite?

Not-so-good crab cakes sometimes.


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

A BCC Interview with John Patrick Green

by Mike Rhode

For years now, John Patrick Green (as he now styles himself to avoid confusion with the young adult writer John Green) has been a regular at the Small Press Expo, usually accompanied by Dave Roman and Raina Telgemeier. This year, I caught up with him at Baltimore Comic Con where he agreed to answer a few questions.

What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?

I'm the writer/artist of HIPPOPOTAMISTER and the upcoming KITTEN CONSTRUCTION COMPANY early-reader graphic novels, both from First Second Books, and also the artist of the TEEN BOAT! and JAX EPOCH series' with writer Dave Roman. I also do a lot of freelance graphic novel and type design for other publishers like Scholastic Graphix.

How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?

I do a combination of traditional and digital. I still like to draw by hand onto actual paper, and then scan the work into the computer for colors. For inking often what I'll do is sketch out my pencils, scan and compose them into proper layouts in Photoshop, print the pencils as "blue lines" onto bristol, then ink over the printout. Then I'll scan those back into the computer for coloring, and the leftover blue lines can just be turned off, without having to erase graphite from the page like with classic inking over pencils. Depending on the project I'll do my balloons, captions, and letters by hand or in computer.

When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born?

I grew up an '80s kid on Long Island, NY.

What is your training and/or education in cartooning?

I went to School of Visual Arts (SVA) in Manhattan for graphic design, but I took a number of comic book-related electives. I pretty much grew up making comics, starting around 4th grade or so, and was always taking as many art classes as I could in school. I'd say I'm mostly self-taught, but my college experience was invaluable.

Who are your influences?

My earliest influences would be newspaper strips, like Garfield and later Calvin & Hobbes. Favorite painters would be Van Gogh, René Magritte, and Norman Rockwell. As for comics, my biggest influence as far as my own sensibilities go is probably the original Spider-Ham series (yes, I said "ham.") I was definitely more of a Marvel kid than a D.C. kid, but I was also inspired by a lot of indy books like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Usagi Yojimbo, especially. And being an '80s kid, of course Star Wars was a big part of my youth.
  
If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?

I wouldn't say I have any regrets, but possibly the one thing I'd do differently is stay at Disney Publishing. I worked for Disney Adventures Magazine for almost 10 years, and I loved working for Disney, but I'd gone freelance before Disney bought out Marvel and Lucasfilm. So being huge fan of those things as a kid, I occasionally wonder if I'd stayed at Disney just a little longer, would I have a hand in those properties now?

What work are you best-known for?

Probably TEEN BOAT! It's the only graphic novel about a boy who can transform into a small yacht. It features the angst of being a teen and the thrill of being a boat!

What work are you most proud of?

That's tough! I don't know if I'm necessarily more proud of any one project of mine over another. I guess I'd probably go with HIPPOPOTAMISTER because it's gotten a lot of positive responses from librarians and kids, and the recognition certainly feels good. But that doesn't make me like any of my other books less. I am proud of my KITTEN CONSTRUCTION COMPANY book, but that doesn't come out for awhile, so I'd say I'm more nervous about how people will respond to it.

What would you like to do  or work on in the future?

So many things that it's hard to narrow it down! I'd love to finally finish NEARLY DEPARTED, this video game I've been designing for years, but technology moves so fast that every time I get around to working on it, most of my effort goes to rebuilding it for modern systems. That's more of a hobby project, but it'd be nice to put it to bed. Same for getting the final volume of JAX EPOCH published, as that's been completed for a few years and hasn't been released. As for my next book (after finishing the ones already in my queue), usually the thing I'd "like" to work on is whatever a publisher gives me the green light for! When there are half a dozen book ideas I want to do, but can't do all at once, it can be a big help to have someone else say "do this one!"

What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?

There isn't really one specific thing I do. It could be anything, really. Sometimes I'll just zone out. Sometimes I'll pace around. Usually I'll just preoccupy myself with another project, or watch some TV, or play a video game, or cook some food, or do some chores, like wash dishes or something. So my strategy is basically "do something else and come back later." I guess that's also known as procrastination.

What do you think will be the future of your field?

The future is now! There are already a lot of things going on in comics and the book industry that I'd call futuristic. Digital versions with sound effects and motion graphics, things like that. Having a social media presence be so much a part of an author's profile. The Kickstarters and Patreons and the like being new or alternative funding and distribution models. But as much as things change, I think there's still a place for people who just want to write or draw. It certainly helps to keep up with the changes in the industry, but the basics aren't going to completely go away. Until the robots come for us, that is.

How was your BCC experience? How often have you attended it?

This was my first time at BCC and it was great. I've exhibited at big shows like San Diego Comic-Con before, and this show is in a similar vein. Lots of wonderful fans and the convention was well-run. And I got to see a lot of other creators that I haven't crossed paths with in awhile. I look forward to doing it again in the future. I haven't spent much time in Baltimore, but it seemed like a great city, so I hope to be back soon.

Do you have a website or blog?

My website is www.johngreenart.com, but I am absolutely terrible at keeping it up-to-date. Probably the best way to be informed of my projects and appearances is to follow me on twitter: @johngreenart

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Hang Dai Studios at Baltimore Comic-Con: Chris Miskiewicz speaks

by Mike Rhode
 
Baltimore Comic-Con is one of the best and friendliest of the mid-size superhero focused cons. Under the leadership of Marc Nathan and Brad Tree, it's grown quite a bit in a decade and a half, but still remains enjoyable for all ages and interests. Hang Dai Studios is based in Brooklyn, but as usual will have a big presence at Baltimore. My friend Dean Haspiel (and Hang Dai Studios founder) will be there with the whole studio, a week after he, Christa Cassano and Gregory Benton attended the Small Press Expo. Just when you think there's nobody left in the Studio to talk with, our sixth interview is with writer and actor Chris Miskiewicz.

What type of comic work or cartooning do you do? 

 I’m a Brooklyn-based writer and actor. In comics, I’m best known for writing the critically acclaimed series, Thomas Alsop alongside artist Palle Schmidt (dubbed Best Mini-Series of 2014 by USA Today) published by BOOM! Studios. And the comic anthology Everywhere published by ActivateComix. As an actor I’ve appeared on HBO's Bored to Death, USA Networks White Collar, and various others.

When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born? 
 
I’m a native New Yorker. I’m 4th generation Italian and 1st generation Polish, born in Brooklyn, NY.

What is your training and/or education in cartooning?
 
I took up writing and drama in college, but I’ve been a comic book reader since I was ten years old. It was the first type of fiction I got, and I never fell out of love with the episodic nature of the industry.

Who are your influences?
 
Warren Ellis, Mark Millar, Ed Brubaker, Mike Mignola, Frank Miller, Brian K. Vaughn, Charles Bukowski.


What work are you best-known for? 
 
Currently Thomas Alsop published by BOOM! Studios.

What work are you most proud of?
 
Thomas Alsop and a webseries I co-wrote with my cousin Christopher Piazza called The Adventures of Shakespeare & Watson: Detectives of Mystery. It’s absolutely bonkers and I wish Adult Swim would call me up right now to buy it. 


What would you like to do or work on in the future?
 
I write in all forms. Prose, comics, screenwriting, as well as physical storytelling in acting, and a bunch of short films. I’d like to continue exploring every way you can tell a tale. I mean, if Shakespeare were alive he’d probably have a blog…

What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?
 
Drugs, drinking, go up to the roof and crawl into a bawl crying that all of my life choices have been wrong and that I’m a failure, play “Simpson’s Tapped Out,” breaking and entering somewhere I shouldn’t be to snap a picture.

You know, the normal things a person with voices in their head does during a crisis.

What do you think will be the future of your field? 
 
I think comics will continue to be a testing ground for properties that larger media are considering for live action works.

Why are you at the Baltimore Comic-Con this year? 
 
I’m hanging with some old friends at Hang-Dai’s table, as well as appearing on a panel with them on Sunday 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm in room 343-344 which is followed by a quick signing at BOOM!’s booth #2001 from 3 to 4 pm.

What other cons do you attend? The Small Press Expo, or others? Any comments about attending them? 
 
This year I’ve been to MOCCA, SDCC and Copenhagen Comic Con for the release of the Danish translated edition of Thomas Alsop vol. 1. Copenhagen Comic Con was awesome, and I want someone to adopt me so I can move to Denmark.

I’ll also be appearing at NYCC in October…

What's your favorite thing about Baltimore? 
 
The Wire.

How about a favorite local restaurant?
 
Hit me up again after this convention.

Do you have a website or blog?
 
My site is being completed, but you can follow me on twitter at @CMMiskiewicz and track me down at: http://welcometotripcity.com/contributors/chris-miskiewicz/

Hang Dai Studios at Baltimore Comic-Con: Dean Haspiel speaks (UPDATED!)

by Mike Rhode

Baltimore Comic-Con is one of the best and friendliest of the mid-size superhero focused cons. Under the leadership of Marc Nathan and Brad Tree, it's grown quite a bit in a decade and a half, but still remains enjoyable for all ages and interests. Hang Dai Studios is based in Brooklyn, but as usual will have a big presence at Baltimore. My friend Dean Haspiel (and Hang Dai Studios founder) will be there with the whole studio, a week after he, Christa Cassano and Gregory Benton attended the Small Press Expo. We hope to have interviews with everyone in the studio throughout the week. Our fifth interview is with Dean Haspiel.

Where did "Hang Dai" come from? 

 "Hang Dai" was derived from HBO's "Deadwood." Whenever Al Swearengen and Mr. Wu would curse their way through a private deal and come to an agreement, Wu would cross his fingers and say "Hang Dai." Or, something that sounded like that and which meant "Brotherhood." Or, as my studio mate Christa Cassano likes to say, "Sisterhood."

What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?

I hopscotch between superhero and memoir and psychedelic romance comix. My recent effort is called Beef With Tomato, co-published by Alternative Comics and Hang Dai Editions. It's about my escape from Manhattan to Brooklyn.

How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?

Blue pencil, occasional brush pen and Micron pens + digital shading/coloring.

When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born?

1967. New York Hospital.

What is your training and/or education in cartooning?

The comic book rack on the newsstand at the corner of 79th street and Broadway in NYC was my comix kindergarten. Later on I discovered a steady flow of pop art pulp treasures at West Side Comics, opened a weekly account at Funny Business, and discovered American Splendor and Yummy Fur at Soho Zat. After that, any inklings of pursuing a normal life went out the window when dreams of drawing comix for a living took over and held my sway. I never learned how to draw comix in school because school didn't teach comix. School shunned comix. Comix taught me how to make comix. And, I'm still learning how, one panel at a time.

Who are your influences?

Ron Wilson, Jim Aparo, Jack Kirby, C.C. Beck, John Byrne, Steve Ditko, Alex Toth, Will Eisner, Frank Robbins, Jim Starlin, Michael Golden, Howard Chaykin, Walter Simonson, Bill Sienkiewicz, Mike Zeck, Frank Miller, Katsuhiro Otomo, John Romita Jr., Frank Quitely, Goran Parlov, Darwyn Cooke, Marcos Martin, Chris Samnee, Gregory Benton, Josh Bayer, Stan Lee, Warren Ellis, Jason Aaron, Brian K Vaughan, Joe R. Lansdale, Jonathan Ames, Mickey Spillane, and Richard S. Prather.

If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?

The Thing: Night Falls On Yancy Street. I wasn't ready. I would ask to change the dark ending, too, so me and Evan Dorkin could make it Marvel canon rather than Marvel folklore.

What work are you best-known for?

I believe I'm best known for my collaboration with Harvey Pekar on The Quitter. Possibly, the ten-issues of The Fox I recently co-wrote and drew for Archie Comics. Maybe, some Billy Dogma.

What work are you most proud of?

Billy Dogma in Fear, My Dear. And, Heart-Shaped Hole.

What would you like to do or work on in the future?

I aim to focus on creator-owned comix but, given the opportunity, I'd like to write and draw The Fantastic Four, Captain Marvel (Shazam), O.M.A.C., Deathlok, and bring back Marvel Two-In-One, featuring The Thing. I also have a great Batman & Superman story that features cameos of the JLA, done in the spirit of a cross between Sullivan's Travels and On The Road.



What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?


Wash dishes. Work on something wholly different. Mix it up. Your mind is always working. Let it work by letting it relax and think different.



What do you think will be the future of your field? 

Patronized digital comix produced one panel at a time; published one per day, delivered directly to your phone, and story arcs get collected into print (if necessary).\

Why are you at the Baltimore Comic-Con this year?


Baltimore Comic-Con is my favorite show, bar none. A perfect combo of rookie and veteran cartoonists among old and new comic books and just the right amount of cosplay. I've also been a regular guest for almost 15 years.

What other cons do you attend? The Small Press Expo, or others? Any comments about attending them?

Besides BCC, I usually attend SPX, NYCC, MoCCA, CAB, and Locust Moon Comics Festival. I was a guest of Wizard World six times this year. They treat me very well.

What's your favorite thing about Baltimore?


Marc Nathan and Brad Tree.

Least favorite?

I've yet to encounter anything in Baltimore to make me dislike its innate charm.

What monument or museum do like to take visitors to?

 

One day I plan to stay an extra day or two so I can personally visit Baltimore's culture.

How about a favorite local restaurant?

 

Out of pure proximity and laziness, I tend to grab dinner at the M&S Grill on E Pratt Street and soak in the Inner Harbor sights.

Do you have a website or blog?

http://deanhaspiel.com/