Wow! After reading Robotman’s excellent con report (Hi Bob) with full blown pictures of wall after wall of comics and dealers, I wasn’t sure I would have anything left to say about this years WonderCon, but there was plenty to see, and this year was no different.
During setup I went to see if Sergio Aragones was in artist alley. Frankly, when I bought the last issue of Mad, I wasn’t sure if the “Final Issue” caption on the cover was a joke or the real thing. For several weeks I didn’t see anything about it on the CGC boards and didn’t google any further. Indeed, Sergio informed me that #550 was the last one as there will be a whole crew of new and some old “usual gang of insufficiently_thoughtful_persons” relocating to Los Angeles with new editor Bill Morrison.
There will be a complete rebooting back to number one, and my Mad run (with only a few missing from the ‘70s) will come to a close. 550 issues. What a history! Not quite as long as some (Action 1,000 is around the corner), but 550 issues are still impressive. They are truly a history of this country from the 50s to present day. I have met many of the original crew over the years but regret not meeting Bill Gaines before he passed. Sergio reminded me that he was the youngest of the original New York crew at 80 years young. I should hope to look so good at that age, and I’m only about 12 years away . Al Jaffee just turned 97. Now that’s a goal to aim for. I saw a lot of Mads for sale at good prices and even bought a few upgrades.
Will the new reboot be successful? I hope so, but only time will tell.
The convention got off to a roaring start on Friday, and I was able to walk around for a few hours without the crowds to get the lay of the land and meet with old friends. Since my hiatus from San Diego, this show is my main convention for the year so I was eager to get caught up on comic and original art news. The GA/SA comic booths were conveniently located in one area, but the original art booths were scattered all over with some up by artist alley, some in the middle, and others around the GA/SA comics.
Bedrock was not able to make it, but there were plenty of the usual suspects: High Grade Comics, Graham Crackers Comics, Terrys, Amazing Adventures, Dale Roberts , Koops, Harley, Marc of House of Comics etc. Gator was walking around checking out the wares but did not have a booth, and our very own Robotman was seen box diving to his heart’s content. In the comic art booths were Saul, Bechara, Scout Eder, Cool Lines, and other art scattered to and fro in different booths and artist alley.
Marc from House of Comics
John from Topedo Comics
Sal and Jimmy
Speaking of artist alley, Saturday I went specifically to find Kelley Jones and found him in the last row. I brought two pages I bought years ago from inker Tony Zuniga from a Deadman story in Action Comics Weekly. It was a real pleasure meeting him for the first time, but unfortunately I didn't get a picture as I had forgotten my camera. When I saw that he was listed to attend, I wanted Kelley’s signature as he is one of my all time favorite artists. He was excited to see his old pages as he credited those stories in Action Comics Weekly with giving him tremendous exposure in the comic world. I missed seeing Marv Wolfman as well. Maybe next year.
Meanwhile, outside the building, Cos players were out in force with some pretty incredible costumes. It seems that this year was fairy godmother or princess themed with plenty of Harley Quinns for good measure. Noticeably absent were the scores of zombies I use to see. There were lots of families with kids in tow who were ecstatic at being able to meet Sponge Bob, Superman, Wonder Woman, Wolverine, Captain America,and Mermaids. Being a recent grandfather myself, I understand the excitement of the guy in front of me with his baby getting their picture on the cover of an Action 1,000. They will have a memory that will last a lifetime.
It was good to see Jerry VanDerStelt and his family again with some of his art from Lord of the Rings. He does the most amazing paintings, and my pictures cannot do them justice because of the overhead lighting.
Jerry Vanderstelt and family
Other incredible artists I always enjoy seeing are Heather Theuer and Gary Montalbano plus a whole host of new faces. You turn the corner at Artist Alley, and there is new art everywhere. Not to mention booth after booth of jewelry, make-up , costumes, precious stones, endless variety of prints, plants, backpacks, movie stars (Nichelle Nichols) and countless furry animals. The convention is getting close to filling up the entire space, and I expect that to happen within a few years as this year’s convention was certainly bigger than last years.
Some of Heather Theuer's art
Although there was a fair amount of great comic artwork and fine art, I just didn’t see anything that jumped out and said, “Take me home.” Just being there among all that cosmic goodness was good enough for me.
The DC booth was incredible with great giveaways.
That's all folks. See you next year.