Showing posts with label Heroes Con. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Heroes Con. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Catching up with Chris Sparks on Team Cul de Sac, OR The story of the $11,000 Bill Watterson sketch

by Mike Rhode

Team Cul de Sac was formed by my friend Chris Sparks to raise money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation's Team Fox charity for Parkinson's Disease research. Chris did this in response to our friend Richard Thompson's fight with and death due to the disease. Ten years ago this month Chris walked into a panel at Heroes Con in Charlotte, NC, and said "Who are you?" to Richard who was speaking about his comic strip Cul de Sac. It was something like love at first sight, at least on Chris' part, and when Richard was diagnosed, Chris turned his formidable attention to raising money for a cure (and you can donated at any time by clicking one of the links).

I talked with Chris after this year's Heroes Con put his fundraising at a new height when a sketch in a book by Bill Watterson sold for $11,000.

MR: How did Team Cul de Sac get started?

CS: I was fortunate enough to meet Richard Thompson (and Mike Rhode) at the 2008 Heroes Con, and then in 2009, Richard was diagnosed with Parkinson's. In 2010, I came up with the plan of making Team Cul de Sac through the Michael J. Fox Foundation's fund-raising arm, Team Fox. In 2011, we had the first Drink & Draw at Heroes Con for Team Cul de Sac (TCDS) and this was the eight anniversary of the Drink & Draw.

MR: The D&D started with cartoonists sitting around doing sketches and drinking beer, but it's gotten bigger than that, right?

CS: Mainly it's using blank coasters where they can sketch or 5x7" pieces of paper that they can draw on. We have it set up that it's between $5 and $50 for these little drawings. From there, we ask donations of larger pieces so we can auction them off for $200, 300, 500 at the larger Heroes Con art auction the following night. We've also had some live-painting events at a the D&D too.

MR: So when Richard was alive, he finally agreed to let people draw his characters to culminate in an auction and a book...

CS: The book is called Team Cul de Sac and that was released in June of 2012 after two years of wrangling cartoonists... like cats.

MR: And one of those was Bill Watterson who came out of retirement...

CS: Yes, Lee Salem asked big name cartoonists if they'd be interested, and he asked Garry Trudeau, Bill Watterson, Cathy Guisewite and Jim Davis. It was a big surprise when Bill donated an oil painting of Richard's Petey Otterloop.

MR: This past weekend's auction had another piece of art by Bill Watterson for TCDS, which I guess the third time he's done something for the charity?

Seth Peagler, who helps set up the Drink and Draw, Shelton Drum & Chris Sparks

CS: Well, it's more than that. Artwise, he did the painting, then three ghosted strips for Pearls Before Swine, then signed books for us to sell. He signed The Art of Richard Thompson, the catalog from his Ohio State University's Billy Ireland exhibit, and five softcover sets of the Complete Calvin & Hobbes as well as some posters.

This last donation was a sketch of Calvin and Hobbes in a wagon inscribed for Team Cul de Sac and that is one of maybe only two sketches that he's done for the public since retiring the strip. As he's said, "it's very rare." The drawing was 2 inches x 2 inches in a copy of The Complete Calvin & Hobbes.

We were trying to get more bidders involved so we did proxy bids to me until 8 pm on Saturday night (June 16th), and we also did an online aspect via Facebook. It was something that Heroes Con had never tried to do before so we were working the bugs out of that. We had the live auction on Saturday night at 9 pm. Heroes Con organizer Shelton Drum to help fund the show but made an exception for the auction of the Calvin piece. It went quite well. We had proxy bids up over $5000 before we started, and then as the bidding started we had two dueling bidders and it ended up selling for $11,000.

MR: And it sold to Tony Harris, the comic book artist?

CS: Yes, he and his son have a strong personal connection over reading C&H when his son was younger. When Tony saw the piece, he said, "That's going to be mine. We're going to go home with that." And he did. I'm very excited for Tony because he's a real fan of the strip and to me that makes it more special when a fan won it.

Shelton Drum, Tony Harris, and Mr. Harris' son
MR: You've mentioned in the past that you and Richard had sent a goal for TCDS fundraising of a quarter of a million dollars...

CS: The real truth of that is that I was swapping emails with Michael Cavna of The Washington Post when I first started the project and Richard and I had talked about how much money we could raise. I was very happy with $25,000 as a goal, but when I was writing back to Mr. Cavna, I put $250,000 and that's what he published. Richard and I had a good laugh about that. By mistake, I added one zero in an email I didn't check, and went from $25,000 to $250,000.

This weekend, before the D&D we had around $241,000. The D&D brought in about $5100 so we were about $4000 away. We broke the goal!

MR: So what's next for TCDS? Are you going to keep doing this every year, or do you think it's run its course?

CS: I don't think it's run its course for two reasons. Over the past ten years now, I've met so many people with Parkinson's and this is one event they really enjoy coming to. And the Heroes family has been such a part of this, and we have such a big draw now. It went from being in a little pizza place across from the convention center with five or six tables to now filling up the Westin Hotel ballroom with hundreds of people. It's a great camaraderie and it's great for fans at the show because it's a lot of art that they can afford, that's not $1,000 or $10,000 per piece. They have a good time and feel good about donating to a good cause. And one of the best parts about Team Fox is that every penny we raise goes to research. Very few charities can do that, and it's very important to me to know that the money's going to research.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A few pictures of Al Feldstein

AP is reporting that the great Mad Magazine editor Al Feldstein has passed away. I knew him slightly. He used to send seriously leftist emails to people he knew. I will set about saving them for a the Billy Ireland Library at Ohio State.

That's Craig Fischer, Richard Thompson, Roger Langridge and Al.

100_3977 Mike Rhode w Al Feldstein at Baltimore Comic-Con 2007
Mike Rhode with Al Feldstein at Baltimore Comic-Con 2007

Al and a fan at Heroes Con.

Al and Ben Towle at Heroes Con.

More pictures from the 2008 Heroes Con are here.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Shelton Drum's original comic art exhibit in Southern VA

"Heroes Aren't Hard to Find: The Comic Art Collection of Shelton Drum" exhibit at the William King Museum, Abingdon, VA, is absolutely fantastic, especially for someone around age 50-60. Shelton bought the art that we all would have, especially Spider-Man pages. Here's a set of pictures I snapped quickly, which don't do the art justice.

Why mention this on ComicsDC? Because local hero Richard Thompson is represented with two Cul de Sac strips.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Shannon Gallant's a hit with a Heroes Con family

Click through to see a picture of Shannon Gallant drawing G.I. Joe and read more comments like:
WOW! he did an amazing sketch that is just.. yeah! It's awesome! THANK YOU! You made my 5-year old AND my husband very happy!

Day 2 of Heroes Con with another Gallant encounter is here.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Richard Thompson interview by Tom Spurgeon online now

Tom Spurgeon interviewed Richard Thompson at Heroes Con last month, and has transcribed the interview - CR Sunday Interview: Richard Thompson (From Heroes Con 2010), July 4, 2010. Tom's a former editor of the Comics Journal and one of the more knowledgeable people who write about comics. I read his Comics Reporter every day and you should too.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Lamont Cranston painting by Thomas Boatwright

Mr. Boatwright just put a note in the comments section of the Jim Amash's Shadow sketch post with a link to his painting of Lamont Cranston that I was lucky enough to buy at Heroes Con. It's a nice one isn't it? Spooky eyes though. Here's another painting he's done on the topic - I think I may buy a photoprint of that one after the Heroes Con bills fade.

This will join the Amash sketch, a Bill Sienkewicz poster and a Mike Kaluta cover to American Spectator magazine on my office walls.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Heroes Con 2010 pictures continued

More photos from Heroes Con 2010.

Richard Thompson IS ready for business.


Ben Towle namechecked me
- we had a nice conversation in the Westin bar.

Richard Thompson, Cul de Sac webmonkey Chris Sparks and Shannon Gallant.

The great Bernie Wrightson. I actually bought a piece of art from him. I never thought I'd own a Wrightson page. BTW, Joel, he says hello.

Comics cover god Brian Bolland.

More of my pictures are online here.

Finally, Our Man Thompson in Joe Lambert's photo.

Shadow sketch from Heroes Con

Jim Amash did this sketch for me after seeing a painting of Lamont Cranston by Thomas Boatwright that I was carrying around. It turns out that we're both pulp hero fans. As Alex Toth said about doing a drawing of the Shadow for Jim "it had to be in the style of Ed Cartier" and so is this one.

Roger Langridge's Barney Google sketch

Roger Langridge did this drawing for me last weekend - I knew he was a big Barney Google fan so I asked him for this at Heroes Con.  I also bought two pages of an X-Men story in the style of Edward Gorey from him which are very cool. Professor X was a spooky kid.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Heroes Con 2010 pictures

Evan Dorkin's perhaps ashamed to be caught buying a mainstream comic strip book from Richard Thompson.

After talking about the Thomas Boatwright painting of Lamont Cranston I bought, Jim Amash drew this Shadow sketch for me.

Richard Thompson is a fan of Kate Beaton.

Raina Telgemeier and her fine Smile.

And then there's Dazzler.

More pictures online here. Labels to follow.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Heroes Con pic of 3 cartoonists, 1 professor and 2 fanboy stalkers.

Dinner at Heroes Con. Left to right: Richard "Cul de Sac" Thompson, Mike "ComicsDC" Rhode, Shannon "G.I. Joe Gallant, Craig "Appalachian State" Fischer, Chris "Crogan's Vengeance" Schweizer and Chris "Cul de Sac webmaster" Sparks. Sparks and I are the fanboy stalkers because Fischer gets paid to do this stuff. The picture is Sparks' and we all had to really overtip the waitress by the time he was done asking her to take it.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

ComicsDC goes to Heroes Con; so does Thompson and Gallant

...but you shouldn't care about that. What you should care about is that crack local cartoonists Shannon "GI Joe" Gallant and Richard "Cul de Sac" Thompson will be appearing in Charlotte, NC at Heroes Con for three days only! No rain checks!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Heroes Con, Or Stuck Inside of Charlotte with the Cul de Sac Blues Again

Richard and I will be motoring down to Heroes Con next Thursday - I think this is pretty much a go since the schedule posted today says:

June 5 Saturday

3.00 PM

IN CONVERSATION | Richard Thompson
Room 206
Reuben Award -nominated Richard Thompson is widely hailed as one of the most talented cartoonists working today. From his strip Cul de Sac to his Richard's Poor Almanac humor strip to his illustrations for the New Yorker, the Washington Post, and more, he's a fascinating creator. Tom Spurgeon sits down to talk with Richard in this informal conversation.

Presumably I'll be the table monkey and miss it again.

Shannon "G.I. Joe" Gallant is also going down from DC. My buddy Craig Fischer's doing his thing again too.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Our buddy, Heroescon's Dustin Harbin interviewed

Dustin's the guy who keeps dragging Richard Thompson back to HeroesCon so I have to drive him there. Check out this good interview with Dustin about the con - "Talking Comics with Tim: Dustin Harbin," by Tim O'Shea, May 25, 2009.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

OT: Schweizer's Crogan's Vengeance

One of the people I really enjoyed meeting at Heroes Con last year was Chris Schweizer and seeing some drawings for his Crogan's Vengeance. Schweizer and I have similar tastes in enjoying historical heroic fiction. I bought the book when it came out and enjoyed it a lot. Here's an interview with him - "Avast, Me Hearties! Chris Schweizer," By Rebecca Buchanan, Sequential Tart May 4, 2009. He'll be at Heroes Con and SPX this year.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Heroescon hangover or holdover or something

Our host at Heroes Con (really Our Man Thompson's as I was the driver and go-fer) Dustin Harbin's just posted a cool blog post and drawing about cartoonists he's met and liked recently. Our Man Thompson is not actual size.

Neat, isn't it?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sketches from Heroes Con

Chris Grine's Chickenhare sketch from Heroes Con.

Aaron Renier's Spiral-Bound sketch from Heroes Con.

Aaron Renier's King Arthur sketch from Heroes Con.

Claire loved her Soup-erman doll handmade by Maris Wicks.

Heroes Con hangover

Richard had a table next to Stuart and Kathryn Immonen so I talked to them briefly. Ms. Immomen had some copies of her Hellcat comics at the table and it sounded interesting. Here's an interview about the new miniseries: "Hell's Belle," Lowdown by Tony Ingram, June 26, 2008.