Wednesday, July 28, 2010

GUMBY'S GANG conquers Comic-Con!

Here's more from the floor at San Diego Comic-Con 2010, the most exciting Comic-Con in years.....Many thanks to Grasiela Rodriguez, Kathryn Renta and several others for the photos on this post!
I spent the week as a guest at the Gumby table, where the book I wrote, GUMBY'S GANG STARRING POKEY, was a best-seller, thanks to the combined efforts of publisher Mel Smith (on the left), who did a terrific job packaging the book and guiding it; artist Rafael Navarro (below), who drew the hell out of it, Lance Borde, colorist extraordinaire, who was at our table as well, myself the writer, and, of course, the main reason it sold out....It's Gumby, dammit! The book sold out by Sunday night, selling hundreds of copies since Wednesday's preview night.
Our artist, my longtime L.A. crony and fellow southpaw, the outlaw Raffles Navarro, would pop in for a couple hours a day to sign. We had a damn good time signing for the folks, and as I would draw up Pokey when signing the books, he had little choice but to draw Gumby (sorry about that, chief! My Pokey hand is stronger than my Gumby doodles!) He was stretched thin between manning the Sonambulo comics table and signing a few other books at other tables. A comic book at every port! That's how Navarro Nava-rrolls! 

And voila, the book we were promoting, which officially hits stores in November!

Also dropping by on Friday was Joe Clokey, son of Gumby creator Art Clokey. Although don't hold the fact that he's holding the Pillsbury Doughboy against him!

Wednesday night, post-convention, my buddy and host Alex Vallejo and I spent the evening at the classy condo of artist Sho Murase and her Maverick studios crew Bosco, Sergio, Vaughn, Anthony and other Lucasfilm guys in the tree alphabet streets. They rented the condo for the second year in a row and, as with last year, threw a swanky party, complete with a view of downtown SD. This wasn't even the official party night but we still had some beers and spaghetti dinners courtesy of Bosco. A lot of laughs at "The Last Airbender" movie's expense. This was supposed to be the mellowest night, but Alex and I didn't get home till 2 am. So much for that!

The next morning, got up at 6 am to hit the convention floor....Thursday night, I enjoyed dinner with Team Gumby and a group of creatives at Sevilla, a swanky Spanish restaurant with savory sangria and a million tapas dishes. The highlight was some terrific melted manchego and bread. Then I wound up at the first annual After Con fundraiser, where Matt Lorentz curated a fantastic show near 10th and Market that included paintings by myself and Javier Hernandez (the EL MUERTO, AZTEC ZOMBIE cartoonist, who contributed a Bat-Mite painting but could not appear in person). One of my three paintings, TIKI HOLIDAY, sold at the auction. The lovely Pinguino happened to be there. Alex stopped by and by the time we got to his place, it was like 1 AM. So much for catching  up on sleep, right?
 Friday was all about the yacht party, where Wowio, my digital comics distributor, threw a party. Team Gumby and myself were joined by fellow Wowio and Cartoon Flophouse cartoonist Jose and Naomi Cabrera, Tyler and Wendy and Maddy Chin-Tanner, and Team Gumby - Mel Smith and Lance Borde, and Cartoonist Grasiela Rodriguez. 

Here's Gras, Naomi and Wendy, celebrating her birthday on Friday night.
Following some finger food and lots of drink and a couple of bands on the yacht (that's Jose, wife and Wendy above), Mel and Lance dropped Jose and I off at Sho Murase's again, and we partied it up with the Maverick crew, our buddy Alex, his goddaughter Geneva (she's a teen but she can hang with the best of us), and Alex's cool cousin Adrian. Alex left early to take Geneva home (at around midnight) and Jose and I got a ride back from Adrian at like 1 AM. It was an evening of great company, sangria and delicious burgers! Yumby!
That's Jose Cabera above, triumphant at his table, while Tyler Chin-Tanner looks a bit baffled by what Jose is triumphant about. Jose, his wife Naomi and I road back and forth to the convention together. Put us together and Jose and I always have a good time. I definitely missed Jose during his year and a half away from L.A. This was his triumphant return to Comic-Con (since 2008) and the enthusiasm ran high. Jose and I at one point toward the end of the convention attempted to approach the legendary Neal Adams for some chit chat. But when we saw a bored Neal yawn in the face of a sycophantic fan who was rambling on in his face, we cut and run. Better to appreciate him from afar (lots of people wore tees with his classic 
70s Green Lantern/Green Arrow covers on them) than incur his rage or, worse yet, his ennui! Looked like a cool guy though from inside my binoculars!

Jose and Naomi joined me and a mighty group for the annual Old Town outing. For more on this misadventure, read the post from two days ago. but here we are partying at what will surely be our new go-to Old Town spot. Wish we could remember the name of it! Grasiela Rodriguez (above) drank everyone under the table with not one, not two but three margaritas. Good think she was walking home to her Old Town hotel room that evening! 
The Saturday night Old Town outing was action-packed. Tortilla soup seemed to be the second-biggest hit (after the margaritas) and I enjoyed the company of cartoonist and children's book author Rhode Montijo (on my left) and Alex Vallejo (on my right in bright red). Behind Alex is his cousin Adrian and goddaughter Geneva, Chris Salas and Stan Yan and another guy from SquidWorks. Behind Rhode you'll spot Jose and Naomi Cabrera, Kathryn Renta, Stacie from the SquidWorks crew, and Grasiella the animator and quite animated Cartoonista! We were home by around midnight. No one seemed to get enough sleep during Comic-Con week!
Back to the floor....One convention highlight was meeting Dark Horse head Mike Richardson, who picked up a POKEY book. Another convention highlight was getting to hang out a bit with dear friends Tina and Tony DeZuniga. Tony (above with fellow classic Marvel/DC artist Ernie Chan) is having one hell of a summer this year with his co-creation, Jonah Hex, appearing all over the comic book and movie landscape. He signed my copy of BACK ISSUE # 42 (which features a Jonah Hex cover he drew) and my editions of JONAH HEX-NO WAY BACK, which looks terrific, like a European-produced Western bande dessinee. I can't wait to read it! You'll be hearing from me on that one.....

Here are the boys from Rafael's Sonambulo table along with letterer Kathryn Renta. That's Kevin Altieri on the left, Raf, and writer Mike Wellman on the right, co-owner of The Comic Bug, the Manhattan Beach store which was up for an Eisner Award this year.

There was a lot of chatter on the floor regarding the fate of Comic-Con. It's almost unanimous that nobody wants to see it leave SD (me included). People are dreading the possibilities of going to Vegas in the middle of July or to sterile and haunted downtown L.A., even if it would be more convenient for most of us Angelenos (and, um, not coincidentally, Hollywood, which would save a ton of money by bringing Comic-Con home). Anaheim, I heard from a good inside source, is not even truly in the running, so good! They already have Disneyland!

On Sunday night after the convention, Alex, Geneva and myself shared some rolls at Alex's favorite sushi spot, followed by a hilarious visit to the local Rite Aid for some dessert (More on that in an upcoming post!) 

Then I hooked up with my ride down, the Cabreras, and we hit the road back to Los Angeles. 

Another convention year sealed with a kiss!


Javier Hernandez said...

Dang Mikey, I know you've been doing Comic Con in style for years now, but partying on a yacht? Kudos to you, sir!

From what I been hearing and reading from friends of mine, looks like you indie cartoonist held your own against stupid NBC panels ('GLEE'-wtf??) and other unwanted intruders to the Con. Viva los comics (and Los Comex!!)

Greenblatt the Great! said...

Yeah, I almost went to GLEE thinking it was Gleek from the Herculoids but when I saw the video of the cast dancing to "Rock Me Amadeus," I ran!

I think attendance at Comic-Con was down by two this year (you and Ted) because of the rival JavCon! As a result of not being able to accommodate two more people, San Diego is turning to yachts, small islands and peninsulas to expand capacity! Oh, yeah, and warehouse roof tops! Anything to keep the convention in San Diego!

Speaking of WTF, I just saw the trailer for the YOGI BEAR movie. WTF??!?!!? Didn't anyone see MARMADUKE? (wait a second, the answer to that is NO!) WTF?!!?

Greenblatt the Great! said...

Did I say Gleek? That's the space monkey. I meant Gleep from the Herculoids. Not to be confused with the slightly handsomer Gloop from the Herculoids!