Friday, July 25, 2008

New Dork City! San Diego Comic-Con Report

It was a meeting of the San Diego Dorkestra, myself included, as thousands upon thousands descended upon the historic Gaslamp Quarter in the yearly geek-fest ritual known as the San Diego Comic-Con. This year, for the first time, the Con sold out every day, and is now just way too crowded, unless you enjoy the scent of 40,000 men and 100 women closed up in a cramped space appealing, in which case what are you doing reading this at home when you could be in Right Guard heaven?!

But ah, we love it so. And every year more and more great artists show up selling originals, prints, toys, t-shirts, and their souls. (They know I'm kidding. Right?) The Con continues through Sunday, so here are our favorites in case you are lucky or stupid enough to be heading there this weekend.

So little to say, so much space. Strike that, reverse it. Where to begin? How about...

Elvis Stormtrooper!


And flanking either side of the King of the Empire, Gary Baseman and Nathan J (AKA Nathan Jurevicius). I bumped into them at the Last Gasp Publishing booth (#1616), where Gary was signing copies of his book "Dying of Thirst" and others. While at the Con, Gary will also be releasing Pink Hot Cha Cha! Baseman will be selling and HAND-SIGNING 100 of these impish creatures at the Super 7 Booth #4729 on Saturday, July 26th at 4:00pm. Gary will also be showing his new Mimobot flash drive at the Mimoco booth #4938 on Saturday at 2 PM. Stop by and say PopDrawer sent ya'.


Meanwhile, the ultra-fantastic Nathan J has just created an awesome new piece, The Monkey King, for who else, Munky King. He will be at the Monkey King booth (#4539) on Saturday from 3-4:30. (And while you're there, don't miss Yoskay Yamamoto's freaky but beautiful Koibito toy.


Jeff Soto

The amazing and gracious Jeff Soto was spotted hanging at the Murphy Design and Art Books (booth #4833).


He was signing his brand spanking new book "Storm Clouds" and Lucky 13 Calendar and he had some surprises up his sleeve. Well, in his art portfolio. Hot off the press original screens (one of a kind, mind you!) and sold-out limited edition giclees and artist proofs. PopDrawer managed to snag the long sold-out stunning print "Thunder Clouds over a Flower."


Scott Morse

Scott Morse goofed off in his own booth (#4800), where he was fighting off his crowd of fans while simultaneously painting and selling some Con Exclusives, including original art from his archives, a set of limited prints from his upcoming book "The Ancient Book of Sex and Science (a collab with Lou Romano, Don Shank, and Nate Wragg), sketches, t-shirts, and two new exclusive Red Window books. Don't miss him!


Tim Biskup

Okay, Tim isn't "officially" at the Con this year. But I spotted him slinking happily through the aisles, getting recognized everywhere he went. But while he may not be doing any signings, his company Gama-go is there in force (booth #4738), selling everything under the sun, including a huge wooden Deathbot and an exclusive Gama-go tee-shirt for both guys and dolls. (Full disclosure -- I did not snap this photo myself, I stole it from their website).


Tara McPherson

Tara McPherson had a great corner booth (#4922) that was hopping, and full of awesome merchandise -- posters, giclees, toys, tees, and Tara McPherson herself. (Didn't get a snap of the artist in the flesh however, as the crowd was ginormous).


The Grass Hut Gang

Unfortunately, I missed saying hi to Bwana Spoons, as he was taking a sightseeing day in San Diego, but happily, I did encounter Metal God Martin Ontiveros. Grass Hut is perched at booth (#4963) and is selling all kinds of goodies from their roster of great, including Martin, Bwana, Scrappers, Apak, and Le Merde. Bwana will also be at the Gargamel booth (#4739) Saturday
and everyday there are new customs at the Grass Hut Booth.

Bonus! Check out the Hot Wheels pavilion at booth #3445! They have 20 or so mini-buses customized by a crew of artists, including Bwana and Martin. See the pic below and try to guess which is which...


Joey Chou - Favorite Discovery

Strolling down aisle 700, I happened upon booth 734, that of Joey Chou, and there I stopped. For quite a while. Joey Chou, an artist and a gentleman, and an Art Center of Design graduate, was stopping the show, in the best way.


His prints and t-shirts were clever, sharp, and lovely. And his new book "Crazy by the Letters" which is soon to be seen in an Urban Outfitters near you, had me enthralled. "Crazy by the Letters" is a modern day Edward-Gorey-ish compendium of children and their alphabetical neuroses. Sample pages - "Edward has Encorpresis" (involuntary passage of feces in inappropriate venues), "Foster is a Frotteurist" (non-consentual rubbing and touching of other folks), and "Maggie has Munchausen's Syndrome" (feigning illness to gain attention).


Often retro in technique but modern in concept and message, Joey's art had me smiling through the next three aisles. I bought more from him than any other artist or vendor.

Esther Pearl Watson, Mark Todd & Jordan Crane

These three auteurs shared a booth with Secret Headquarters, stock full of art, comics, and tees. This was one of my favorite spots, and I had a nice chat with Esther, Mark and Jordan. Their new stiff is outstanding. Don't miss it.


More Great Fake Movie Art

PopDrawer readers may recognize the name Fleet Street Scandal. We first covered the awesome movie concept and poster art of Kevin Dart and Chris Turnham back in February. The Fleet Street guys are hanging at booth F-9, and are selling some exclusive new Comic-Con prints.


And right next door to them (at F-8), another great team of artists who dabble in fake movie posters and other ephemera. Brothers Josh and Justin Parpan were wowing the passing crowds with their collection of prints, toys and tees. This quartet is a must-visit.


Haunted Memories

There's Haunted Mansion fun to be found at booth 430, resting place of Edward Allen's Haunted Memories, an artist specializing in lenticular paintings that change from antique portraits to visions of hell, depending on where you stand, literally. Words can't really describe -- just check out the images below.


Purveyors of Cuteness

Got a lady in your life who keeps the Con at arm's length? A baby or four whose formula-covered clothes need a little sprucing up? There was plenty of adorable-ness to go around, with one of the cutest being the Pea at Conduct Happiness (booth #4830). Yes, the Pea. The Pea is featured on a number of tees in various circumstances with text underneath reading "Pea in the Pool" (where the other vegetable stare horrified on the pool deck as the Pea lounges on a floatie), "Pea in Bed," and "Pea Standing Up." I see Paul Frank getting nervous...


Close behind on the Ador-a-meter was Bored Inc.'s collection of Japanese-inspired creatures (booth #115), including Stinky Poo! (is a potty-pattern emerging?) Selling plush toys, tees and prints, Bored Inc. is sure to please the cute-lover in your life.



The booth of fine art purveyors and sellers of prints, tees, wallets, and plates (Yeah. Plates.) Poketo was one of my favorite stops (both #4634). Stocked to the gills with fresh art by Oksana Badrak, Andrew Holder, Leah Chun, Peskimo, PCP and so many other greats, this booth was rocking the Con. Stop by and tell Ted and Angie that PopDrawer sent you -- they're great folks.



Probably the best collection of prints was to be found at Nucleus Gallery's booth. With art from the likes of Jon Klassen, Scott Campbell, Junko Mizuno, Mari Inukai, the selection is awesome. And mind-boggling. Nucleus has something like over 500 prints!

Jon Klassen

A Paper Tiger

Online retailer of art prints A Paper Tiger continues it's great run of print releases with two new ones coming out at Comic-Con. Tessar Lo's "Kirin," an edition of only 50, and Scott Belcastro's "Lost in the Forest, Lost in the Thicket" with an even smaller edition of 30, are both released at the Con. But if you miss them there, some will be available online as well.

Tessar Lo

Is there more? You bet there's more. So much fantastic art this year. But frankly I'm tired from rolling around naked in my new pile of Comic-Con t-shirts so I'm signing off. But thanks once again to Eric and Zared for securing me a pass this year, who will be receiving very cool token of my undying appreciation shortly.

P.S. Find mistakes in here. Too bad! I'm tired. leave me alone.


Beth Goolsby said...

Great coverage! I'm not quite enough of a geek (ok, that's almost a lie, i just couldn't get down there) to get to SDCC. Thanks for your insightful report. I wish I could have been there.

Teddy Tenenbaum said...

Thanks Beth! Go next year if you can. It's lots of fun, geek or no. :)