:: Comic Con 2003 ::

The 2003 San Diego "Comic Convention" was a blast. Why should YOU go next year?


San Diego and the Convention Center

Welcome to sunny San Diego!

Fact: It's not really a city, but more of a fishing village with large boats.

...er, there's also a lot of hotels and banks.
"Um, is this the line for registration?"
"No, it's for the ATM."
Ascending the escalator while humming Blue Danube....

This photo's shot from my hostel's window at 4 AM. Despite the late hour, the party continues to rage on the streets.

Fact: The "HI-SAN" hostel is $18 a night and is 2 blocks from the Convention Center.

Fact 2: Buy ear plugs at Ralph's, you'll need them.



In the foreground, the Sketchbook Sessions gang: HellboyOne, Monkey King looming over PabloD, Toonimator, Maizekid and Corkbutt standing while making kewl brushpen sketches. Most of these fine folks brought a printed and bound copy of their finest work, a stack of original art and would make art on demand. These good people took time out to draw sketches in the books we bought from them, thanks for doing that!

In the background, you can see the RAID crew's "Rumble Royale!" sign with Chip Zdarsky wearing his stylish hat.

Maizekid showing Tiramisue some funny photos. Monkey King is wondering when the printers will get his "Zowie!" comic printed, while PabloD shows off the group sketchbook to a potential customer.

Maverix Studios: Stewart Lee, Jamie Baker and Sho Murase (nao77). These brought bound copies of their comics and sketches, posters and videos of animations they'd done for broadcast clients. Sho also brought a preview of her upcoming graphics novel, which was awesome and you should get a copy once it gets printed in a few months.

Fact: Jaime's holding up the Drawing Board's "yearbook" image put together by Celia Calle. Dan Bois was kind enough to print out a large stack of these.

Robert Valley sketches while Sho looks on -- she's got the coolest outfits!

Visit Robert's site and check out the "Animation" section to see Maverix Studio's videos -- they're really well-drawn and fun to watch.

Ronnie Del Carmen and Enrico Casarosa. This dynamic duo brought new comics, sketchbooks, posters and lots of smiles.

Rainboy, MrRagnar, DrCyberfunken and Celia Calle. This hard hitting team of illustrators seemed to be trying to out-do each other with their offerings: Celia had this stunning, full-color poster-book; MrRagnar brought a thick coffee table tome of full-color artworks; and Doc went even further by selling an enormous color sketchbook full of his gorgeous ladies that sold out in a blink.

Fact: These dedicated folks spent some 50 hours combined in flight just getting to the Con.

Breehn Burns and Serena Valentino at the Gloom Cookie booth.

Fact: This booth got some of the weirdest traffic at the con. There were quiet, deathly pale goths paying homage to the yummy Gloom Cookie comic. And then there were foul-mouthed teens yelling "Hot dickings!" in praise of Breehn's"Dr. Tran" video which kicked vast amounts of ass at Spike and Mike's Sick an Twisted Animation Festival.

Some more members of the RAID crew: Kagan McLeod, Chip Zdarsky and Cameron Stewart. At the Con, they showcased their new collaborative comic, "Rumble Royale", plus individual comics, posters and stacks of original pages from their comics.

Fact: Among the stacks of stuff I bought from these skilled guys, I also bought an intensely illustrated original page of Kagan's "Infinite Kung Fu" comic that put the stuff I saw at the two Asian Art Museums I visited on my trip to shame.

Dean Yeagle sketching. In the background, you can see posters of his famous Mandy. If you'd come by the booth, you'd also have been able to see a big binder featuring all of Dean's Playboy cartoons.

Dean and Superham shared a booth. Ham had a bunch of cool posters and trading cards for sale. This photo was snapped by Superham's wife.

Fact: I really enjoyed meeting the artist's significant others on this trip. They very neat people with lots of interesting things to share. Meeting them was also a fascinating glimpse into the artist's personality.

Andy Lee -- Zen Artist -- cranked out superb Chinese brush paintings at incredible speeds.
Crappy photo of robots, monsters and critters made from cleverly welded mechanical parts, e.g. a Giger Alien made from suspension springs, clock works, cogs and such. Kewlness!
This image will give you an idea of how the booths were setup.

On the last day, I found kick-ass artist Jo Chen and her sisters hidden away in a neglected corner of the Convention center. It was a big treat to see big prints of her paintings along with loads of stuff that's not on her website. She was also loads of fun to talk to. Sadly, I only got to buy one print because I was broke and by the time I'd hiked half a mile to the ATM, waited in line and got my money ... the Con was basically over. Nuts.

Fact: I was so excited to meet her, I forgot to take photos.


People you know

A huge congregation of Drawing Board people lining up for dinner: Shane Glines, DrCyberfunken, Rainboy, MrRagnar, Uloo, Monkey King, E Dubz, HellboyOne, Maizekid, Toonimator, Tiramisue, Marlan, Rob and Brian.

Fact: Toonimator helped me out with names, thanks!

HellboyOne in da' house!

Fact: Ever wonder why he almost never posts pictures? It's because he was saving 'em for his new "Bulljive" sketchbook.

Maizekid and PabloD lurking menacingly behind a stack of Toonimator's sketchbooks.

Toonimator drawing a picture for one of the folks buying the group sketchbook.

Tiramisue holding ... a tiramisu.

Rainboy and DrCyberfunken lookin' cool.
DrCyberfunken sketches while Celia Calle leafs through her posterbook.
Uloo buying a pack of Superham trading cards. If you were smart, you cornered this talented fellow and demanded to see his awesome two-binder portfolio --it was full of beautiful, curvy and often whimsical drawings. I was lucky enough to be the first person at the Con to see these, they were marvelous.

The talented and lovely henriettahaystack1 hiding behind Enrico & Ronnie's book. And yes, I did beg and plead for her to start posting pictures again.

Tiramisue is the happy owner of a brand-new Lynne Naylor marker drawing.

Rainboy with Celia Calle, who's making faces and holding her dog Oreo.
A guest appearance by the very cool Spunky and Yukon. Although not exhibiting, Spunky colored and Yukon lettered "Alcatraz High", a very nicely illustrated comic that unveiled at the Con.
Spunky sketches while Yukon strikes a pose.

Corkbutt looking excited because the "Zowie!" comic book (half of the book is by Monkey King, half by Cork) finally got printed late during the Con. His wife drove from San Diego to LA, then back with the books, yay!

One evening, we took over the Marriot's Lounge. Rumor says that we had 50 artists in there talking, sharing and sketching away. Here we have PabloD, BlutoDidIt, Superham, Stolleboy and his girl.

More photos from the Lounge: EddieLH's teacher from the Art Institute, Chad THX11382, EddieLH and Scruffy888.

Fact: I kidnapped Eddie's sketchbooks and spent a long, long time drooling over page after page of his intricately crafted pretties. Although I missed quite a bit of the party, I think I got a pretty good deal. :)

Since he couldn't make it to the convention, I made a special pilgrimage to Oakland to visit the mighty Walrus, his quick-witted wife, and his fierce, yellow-feathered master. It seemed like an incredibly brief visit, but that's probably because there wasn't an idle moment. Mike got to dig through the sizable stack of Con stuff I hauled in, we got dinner (thanks Mike & Talia) and then I got to look through pretty much all his sketches for the last year that he'd made for fun and cancelled projects for work. Great stuff, thanks for letting me visit!

Look, matching noses!


Peculiar stuff

The two ladies in skin-tight, see-thru white pants were tying their shoes in a most unladylike manner on the escalator above me.

Fact: I stumbled into Uloo at San Diego while taking this photo, that's him on the left.

"Hey there foxy lady, I really like the armored scales on your ass."
"Um, are you twins?"
"So, um, why'd you bother wearing the skirt?"
"Comic conventions are always a good excuse for dressing up like naughty Catholic schoolgirls."
"Look, there's a whole bunch of people in dresses that are going to run us over!" *THUD*
"Bob, that's a fine looking dress you have on tonight...."
This man's job was to bitterly complain about all the damned kids blocking the doors, smoking too close to the opening and so forth.
It seemed like every government-run organization in LA was required to post signs like this. They had these in cafes at the museums, on the train and even on the bus. I would feel more comfortable if they had a picture of Uncle Sam with a speech bubble saying, "Don't blame me!"
LA Safeway isle has "Memorial Candles", "Salsa" and "Foil Mix" ...!?
Sticker on the side of a newspaper vending box in Oakland says, "Private Clean: Natural Death, Suicide, Crime Scene Cleaning Services". Is competition in this industry so high that that firms have to resort to pasting ads all over the place? If so, yikes.

I haven't watched TV for more than 5 minutes at a time since junior high. One of my hotel rooms had a TV and after listening people at the Con babble on an on about how wonderful TV was, I felt compelled to see what I was missing. After two hours of channel surfing, I finally gave up. It's been a long time since I've felt so alienated, disgusted and appalled.



Scott Shaw, Sergio Aragones and Jim Lee scribbled out incredible drawings in seconds at the Con's "Quick Draw" program. It was amazing to see Sergio draw cartoons so quickly that he was able to hit the punch lines of jokes being made by the announcer.

Gerrit Dou. "Astronomer by Candlelight." Oil. 1630. San Diego Art Museum.

Besides the artistry, I found the story in this image compelling. The astronomer's absorbed in his work trying to measure points on a globe of the heavens, he's isolated from the darkened world around him as he works away with his candle waning and the hourglass running down.

Kawase Hasui. "Twilight, Yanaka." Color woodblock. 1921. LA County Museum of Art.

The light-colored squares are reflections in the glass of prints behind me.

Vincent van Gogh. Prison Courtyard. Oil. LA County Museum of Art.

This was part of the "French Masters" exhibition and was open ONLY to big donors, I couldn't even buy my way into this exhibit. Given that I really wanted to see this, I used my l33t ninja skills and snuck into the exhibit while the guards were busy talking to some rich, old woman.

My photograph doesn't give this image justice. Standing in front of the real thing, the image is powerful enough to sorta kick you in the nuts.

Sunset from the plane as it flies from LAX to SFO. The twilight landing in SFO was absolutely beautiful ut it was way too dark to take good photos. The visuals were easily worth the cost of the ticket.
Self-portrait at the same sunset. I look surprisingly Asian in this photo.
San Francisco International's AirTrain is like finding yourself in the middle of "Blade Runner"
SFO by daylight is like Syd Mead's wet dream.
Fence posts at PDX.
Obligatory topless photo. :p
:: back to angstorm.com ::