Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The 24 Hour Comic Challenge: Year 3!

It's that time of year again!  It's that time of year I decide to sit in a public place and attempt the 24 Hour Comic Challenge.  The challenge is simple: create a 24 page comic in 24 consecutive hours.  In 2015, I drew in the window of C-MOD, a beautiful post-modern furniture and collectibles store in Phoenix's Melrose District.  Last year, I drew at Drawn to Comics, downtown Glendale's premiere comic book shop.

This year, I return to Drawn to Comics.  I just love their big storefront window.  It's the perfect display case for a struggling artist!  The challenge starts June 24th (the perfect date!) at 1 p.m., and continues until Sunday the 25th, 1 p.m.  Come watch me draw! Coincidentally, the Glendale Toy Show will also be happening in the downtown area, so make a day of it, why don'cha!

Monday, June 19, 2017

My Top Two Memories from Phoenix Comicon '17!

This is it!  The post nearly a month in the making!  I've been sharing my top 10 memories from Phoenix Comicon . . . and here, finally, are my top two!

2.  Speed Cameron Cosplay!

Last year, when a young man coincidentally named Cameron came to my table in Artists' Alley, cosplaying as Amazing Arizona Comics hero Speed Cameron, I cried.

True cosplayers (not the fans that wear store-bought Halloween costumes, though they get an "A" for effort) are incredible artists, implementing a blend of practical crafting and fashion design to transform two-dimensional character designs into affordable, portable costumes.  It's not easy.

When I designed Speed Cameron, I never thought anyone would dress up as him.  I didn't think of how back-heavy his head piece would be, or if his stripes were painted or adhered.  (For the record, after drawing him a few times, I presumed he applied reflective tape to a gray bicycling suit.)  Cameron and his mom overcame those obstacles and, like any cardboard Iron Man, made a likeness as believable as it is unbelievable.  Many of the characters we see represented via cosplay were my heroes when I was a kid.  That Speed Cameron now dwells among them is an overwhelming thought -- not to mention a blast to see!

You can see quite a few pics of Cameron as Speed Cameron from this and last year on my Instagram, @amazingazcomics.   This one is my new favorites.

1.  Sue

My first Phoenix Comicon, I had a table next to Sue, a crafter that makes pop culture-themed accessories.  Dr. Who hair bows, Supernatural pencil bags . . . you name it, it's probably been on her table at some point.  I quickly became friends with Sue and her granddaughters, Alicia and Paige, and we agreed to team-up for every show.  We secure neighboring tables, and I always have someone to watch my stuff when I run to the bathroom!  It's an incredible partnership -- and friendship -- perhaps initially unlikely because Sue is an older woman and I'm a 30-something dude, but she and I have a lot in common, including a love for Monkee Davy Jones.  In many ways, sitting with Sue for the four days of comic con is the lynchpin of my year.  Regardless of anything else that might happen, personally or professionally for 361 days, for four days Sue will be there with a portable phone charger, a funny story, and one of the biggest hearts I've ever known. I snuck this picture of her on Sunday, because she was just reading a Batman comic.  She was into it.  That's one cool lady.

My thanks to everyone that visited the table, bought some comics, or caught me on the floor of Phoenix Comicon this year.  I had a great time, and I'm happy to see Amazing Arizona Comics is catching on.  Believe me, there's more to come!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Phoenix Comicon Memories Keep Comin'!

My list of top 10 favorite Phoenix Comicon memories continues!

5. The Edgar Rice Burrows Panel

Every year, I'm asked to join a panel or two, and I choose judiciously, because time spent on panels is time away from my Artists' Alley table, where I could be selling and connecting with fans.  When my buddy Bob Leeper or Evermore Nevermore and Nerdvana Media) asked if I'd be willing to join a panel about Arizona's role in pop culture, I couldn't resist!  First of all, Amazing Arizona Comics is all about Arizona's larger in the world.

Secondly, Bob delivered a great presentation at Ignite Phoenix last year about how Edgar Rice Burrows' John Carter of Mars birthed many pop culture tropes we take for granted today -- and how the opening act of that classic story takes place right here in Arizona!  See his presentation here, thanks to YouTube!

Our panel was an expanded version of this presentation, with guests like Burrows historians Frank Puncer and Steve Ringgenberg, and NAU astronomy expert Dr. Timothy Yamamura.  These guys were pros, and I was honored to contribute.

4. Friendly Neighbors

Weird story.  The map of this year's Artists' Alley planted my table on a corner, so I was prepared for the exposure from either aisle.  Of course, Phoenix Comicon reserves the right to change things up, so I was a table in from the aisle come showtime.  During set-up, a guy put down a line of tape two feet in front of our tables and said we could scoot up, if we wanted.  Weird, but they must've mis-measured the floor plan.  When my neighbor on the end arrived, I asked if he wouldn't scoot up, so I could have some semblance of a corner table, and he agreed!  "He" is Nathan Blackwell, director of the Star Trek inspired webseries Voyage Trekkers.  Please visit their website and watch their series!  It's as great as Nathan was for accommodating this high-maintenance neighbor.

Nathan was so cool, I asked him to be a guest on my talk show this month!  Here's his segment:

3. After Con Activities

Comic con doesn't end when the convention hall closes.  Geeks usually take to the streets for food and frivolity.  This year, I was excited to participate in another Untidy Secrets Storytelling & Zine Swap at Ash Avenue Comics in Tempe.  Storytelling events are becoming very popular, and this was the first I ever attended -- and it's in a comic shop, to boot!  Hearing local artists spin personal yarns amidst comics is a pretty magical experience for me, and May's theme was "Spider-man is having me for dinner tonight," so it was even more magical than usual.  (The theme is usually pulled from some music usually too cool for me to know.)

The final two memories are coming soon!  Is this the only blog that can milk four day's worth of activity into four weeks' worth of content?  Keep reading to know for sure!

Other nights included dinner and podcasting with Drawn to Comics' Ken Brown, and a bite with Birdie Birdashaw.  Good times all around!