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Con Report: ComiConway 2018

l-r: Jeff Whiting, Dean Zachary, Me, Mark Pellegrini

O.

M.

Geeeee!

Wow, but what a very cool show this is! I could probably write a novel as to what a good show it is, but I’ll stick to this blog post.

I traveled to Conway with my pal, fantastic inker, and indy comic creator Jeff Whiting. Jeff and I, due to our proximity, travel to a lot of shows together. It’s more economical and it’s just more fun to have a traveling buddy. Of course, since I own no cellphone, Jeff checks in places and tags me—but his camera takes the coolest images—will try to copy one here.

Part of creator row at ComiConway. l-r: Dean Zachary, Me(absent, but you can see C&M & TINY), Jeff Whiting, Howard Mackie.

Friday night was a meet and greet at the Faulkner County Library, the sponsor for the con. Free passes were given to those in the front of the line and all the guests had a chance to meet those in attendance. The show had a cool lineup, which included: Howard Mackie (who’s written over 100 comics!),   and Timothy Lim. Some non-comic celebrities included Andy Field, Mark Dodson, Travis Langley, and John Russo. Some of the guests I knew, several are now new friends!

Saturday was non-stop chatting with new fans. In fact, I talked so much that my throat was a little sore that night. It was fine the next day…and Sunday was more of the same.

Jimmy and Kara Dyer and their crew run a fantastic show. One of my favorite aspects of the show was the focus on comics. I mean, heck, I’m both a comic fan and a comic maker—I love comics. I like to see comic creators at a “COMIC” show…and tables full of boxes!

l-r; Dean Zachary, Jimmy Dyer, me, Kara Dyer, Howard Mackie, Jeff Whiting.

If you’re a fan of comics and you can reasonably make the annual ComiConway, you’ll be doing yourself a favor to go. If you create comics and are ever invited to this show, you’d better not say no.

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ComiConway this weekend!

If you’re in the Conway, Arkansas area this weekend, come see me as I’ll be a comics guest at ComiConway. The show has been going on for some years, but I couldn’t find the actual number–it’s been several, I know that. I’ve heard SO MANY great things about this show that I’m giddy to go—and incredibly honored to be one of the guests among so many awesome folks.

Don’t believe me, check out the list here: https://www.comiconway.com/guests

Obviously, I’ll have a bunch of my newer stuff for you to pick up–with Christmas just around the corner, signed graphic novels and comics make GREAT gifts. I’m also happy to sign anything of mine you already have–just bring it in. If you want or need a checklist, try this one: http://www.comicbookdb.com/creator.php?ID=2182

Among the guests will be my pal, artist and Cat & Mouse penciller, Dean Zachary (Sat and Sun only). His picture makes him look a bit like James Bond, doesn’t it? Ha. Dean is also a newlywed, so come wish him congratulations Hopefully, our tables will be beside one another so it’ll be easy to get your Cat & Mouse #1 copies signed! Additionally, he’ll have ORIGINAL PAGES from Cat & Mouse with him for sale—as well as, I’m sure, a lot of other very cool art. You can probably even get a rare original commission from him if you’re nice! Here’s a bunch of other stuff Dean has done–so bring stuff for him to sign, too! http://www.comicbookdb.com/creator.php?ID=1703

Jeff Whiting

Jeff Whiting

My traveling buddy is none other than the spectacular Jeff Whiting. Jeff used to do a bunch of inking for me “back in the day,” he even inked a bunch of Dean’s stuff, so be sure to bring those back issues to get both their signatures! Jeff has also worked on The Tick, and he has his creator owned books Shanghai and Extra-Terrestrial (in which I have a short comic work!). http://www.comicbookdb.com/creator.php?ID=4477

Other highlights are my friend rockin’ artist Timothy Lim, writer and former Marvel editor Howard Mackie, and long time inker Andrew Pepoy!

I haven’t seen a schedule yet, but they’ve asked me about panels, so I’m sure you can find me yakking about something comic related. But if not, you can swing by and say hello and we’ll talk comics!

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Travel Woe Is Me!

You would really think that after an adventurous trip last weekend, I’d have smooth sailing this weekend. Not so! To begin with, I didn’t really leave Oxford on time to get to the Memphis airport. I thought it took an hour…it takes about an hour twenty. So I start the trip off running late. No biggie, I’ve got last week’s experience under my belt and actually breeze through security. Looking good so far.

Flight to Cincinnati goes on schedule and I move to my connection flight and stand in line. While standing in line, I hear an announcement looking for 20 volunteers headed to Philadelphia to get another flight. Warning bells go off. When I reach the counter, the lady tells me that I don’t have a seat on the plane. It seems the 70-seater plane has turned into a 50-seater and 20 folks suddenly do not have seats. I was one of the lucky 20.

So, I’m told the next available flight out of Cincy is 3:00…I was supposed to arrive at 12:45, now the earliest possible would be around 5:30. Very frustrating. And, had it not been for what happened next, I would have been writing here to suggest you avoid this airline as much as possible. BUT, the Delta representative paged me to the counter and made my unpleasant situation a little less unpleasant. They gave me a voucher for lunch AND for a future flight. So while I missed half a day in Philadelphia, I get to fly somewhere else at a later date…and likely have a similar experience.

Friday night I met Lloyd Wagner and his wife. Lloyd is one of the Elfin Writers and is doing some cool research on the ghosts at Gettysburg. I’m sure there are a few things that I’ll need to eventually set him straight on—especially on the subject of Yankees and Abe Lincoln, but I liked hearing about some of the non-comic work that he is doing. I also met Ratna’s son, Robin, who, after being a little shy at first, really seemed to open up and have a good time.

Saturday was the big day of the Convention and I actually enjoyed walking the Con-floor with Ratna, looking at the various methods of marketing and the wide range of product. I will say, not having really read mainstream comics in almost 10 years, I was surprised to find how similar it all looked; even the superhero books not produced by Marvel and DC. It all looks alike!

While there, I had the opportunity to meet some other folks who’ve worked on Elfin projects, including Andrew Harrar, Lewis Helfand and Tony DiGerolamo. I also had the opportunity to bump into (some briefer than others), several pals from days past: Ken Branch, Dan Nakrosis, Jimmy Palmiotti, Tom Romano, Rodney Ramos and Billy Tucci. They were pretty much like you would expect them to be 10 years later…a little heavier, a few more wrinkles and either a little greyer or less hair—some both!

It’s a little spooky walking during the evening hours, especially for a Southern boy feeling very out of place in the big city. I have been amazed to see Philly so busy—people are going to and fro in all sorts of directions. Granted, I have no idea where they’re going, but they’re a whole bunch of them going somewhere. Not only that, I’d have problems driving here. The cars are all so very close to one another—I’d be hitting pedestrians right and left just trying to steer clear of all the cars that look like they’re about to side-swipe me!

Sunday, Howard Mackie joined us and we continued to discuss things like royalties, contracts and story process. We did not go in circles around Philly! But, we did get a lot accomplished and so it is exciting to move forward. Of course, I have a stack of scripts just waiting for me to read!

As I write this, I’m still in the hotel room in Philadelphia. I have no clue what my flight back will be like. I will likely end up going through North Dakota just to get home to Mississippi.

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New Jersey trip part 2

Continuing the story of my whirlwind trip to New Jersey…

It took me 20 minutes riding the tram in two different directions to locate the taxis. I then discovered a cab ride to my hotel would cost me a whopping $70! Gas prices are killing everyone.

The cab driver, an African (not African-American, but African-African), was an incredibly chatty and nice guy…but I think he must have been a NASCAR reject. When he discovered there was an accident on the “Parkway,” he jumped the on-ramp curb and proceeded to take a “shortcut” avoiding the parkway.

I have no earthly idea where he went, we were on a very crowded Frontage road for much of the race—I mean, drive, but I’ll admit I was a little nervous at times.

Forty-five minutes later (normally a 20 minute commute, I later learned), I arrived at the hotel around 8:30. Once inside, I discovered Lou, Howard Mackie, and Ratna Chatterjee, my boss, waiting in the restaurant. I tried to order catfish, but they’d never heard of it. I did order sweet tea, but it tasted like…well, not sweet tea.

We closed the hotel restaurant down and moved to a diner. After discussing marketing, classics, creators, contracts and the like, we finally called it a night and headed back to the hotel. Howard and I, however, were wound up and talked shop until about 1 a.m.

The next morning Lou drove us to the “Fairfield Comic Show,” a local comic show. After the show successfully underwhelmed Ratna, Lou displayed his navigational skills by driving in circles around New Jersey. I must have seen the same Subway about six times. He further took us on a tour of a nearly abandoned mall.

After more circuitous routes, we finally decided to catch lunch where the four of us again talked shop for about 3 hours. And truth to tell, much was accomplished. And while there is a great deal of work in the day ahead, I’m excited that both Howard and Lou are involved and excited about the prospect in the days ahead for Elfin Kids.

My return flight, while late, was much less eventful.

One final note. The collected four of us were a varied group with Lou from Chicago, Howard from New York, Ratna from India and me from The South. Because of their geographical disadvantage, I was forced to spend considerable time educating them on “catfish, hunting, the use of ‘y’all’, and, of course, the evils of Abraham Lincoln.

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