Sunday, October 5, 2008
MID-OHIO CON REPORT
Bursting forth from the lame doldrums of the past two Mid-Ohios was a memorable show full of good crowds and amazing guests. The one guest flying high above all others was Joe Kubert, who is honestly the greatest living comic book artist. I only went to one presentation at the con, and it was Mark Evanier conducting a conversation with Kubert. The panel was moderately attended when it should have been standing room only. I think most con attendees didn't realize the extraordinary opportunity to be had here, plumbing the active thoughts of a man with seven solid decades of comic book experiences. He draws as well as he ever did, and says he loves it more than ever. That's me with Kubert in the above photo, after he kindly signed three books for me and solved a Caniff mystery I'll blog about at a later time. While this is the first time meeting Joe in person, several months ago I did this interview via phone. Did you ever meet one of your heroes and he was exactly how you hoped he would be? That's what it was like to meet Joe.
Mark Evanier (pictured at left), is a writer, primarily of comics and television, and whose blog is a daily visit for me. He did a great job of asking Kubert interesting questions and eliciting insight from a man who's done it all. Evanier asked him about his method of drawing, whether he sees the full picture in his mind before he draws and just draws what's in his mind, or if he just starts drawing and something emerges. Kubert paused..."I never really thought about it before, Mark," he replied. I wanted to shout, 'Don't think about it!', worrying some magic spell would be broken if he over-analyzed his technique. Kubert, looking every inch the wise professor, said he has an idea of what he wants to draw, but that it's more of a flow where "each line engenders the next line."
Alan Dean Foster, author of about a kabillion sci-fi books, was another special guest at the con. I admit I haven't read anything of his since '94, but I always liked his work. What holds him close in the hearts of geeks are his novelizations of sci-fi movies, including ghostwriting the 'Star Wars' novel for George Lucas in 1977. He then wrote 'Splinter of the Minds Eye', a sequel to Star Wars, in 1978, satisfying an appetite for more Star Wars stories before the 1980 release of 'Empire Strikes Back'. Today, Star Wars is a media monster with cartoons, video games, comics and novels. Back then we had 'Splinter' and the Star Wars Holiday Special. Foster signed my copy of his novelization of The Black Hole.
Artist Alan Davis was the most sought after guest with the longest lines. My friend, Ted, waiting two hours to meet Davis, who was doing head sketches for the ridiculously low cost of 10 bucks. Ted gave the amiable Davis a choice of doing either Green Arrow or Nick Fury. Davis thought that G.A. has more style and Fury's really "just a guy with an eye patch." The con was closing, lights dimmed and all, as Davis sketched the above picture. "A little rougher than I'd like," Davis said, but Ted's happy and I'm - all together now - green with envy. Speaking of envy, I met the man with my dream job. Dean Mullaney's in charge of essential books like the 'Terry & the Pirates' collections and the Noel Sickles book from IDW. It was great to chat with him about Caniff and I hope to interview him for a future post. Thanks to Beau Smith for introducing us. It's always great to see Beau!
No con report would be complete without a shot of some costumed folks. The gal in the middle took home 2nd prize in the costume contest. The most professional looking costumes are the Star Wars gang, which I'm sure cost a pretty penny. It looks like being a stormtrooper is 'out' and being a clone trooper is 'in'.