Last week I had my first experience at San Diego Comic-Con International, generally understood to be the hulking unwieldy behemoth of comic conventions. Many of my friends have already been and view it as an experience one ought to have once and then perhaps never again.

I'll keep myself from passing personal judgments on the whole deal, but here's the relevant info I picked up while I was there! This is weeded extensively from my epic report on my personal journal, with the idea of keeping things pertinent to comics, cartooning, and printmaking!

In brief:

On Friday, I attended the Bongo comics panel, starring (among others) Sammy Harkham and Sergio Aragon├ęs. Ben Jones, though listed on the schedule, was sadly not there. Sammy Harkham was there presenting Treehouse of Horror #15, which he is guest editing.

Treehouse of Horror is an annual horror-themed Simpsons comic anthology that has been going since 1995. As you can see from the link to Sammy's blog, the contributors are all pretty amazing and embody styles and genres that haven't been represented in this anthology before. I snagged a photo, showing Sammy second from the right and a page by Ben Jones up on the screen.

Some discussion has being going on over at the EAZB about the depressing lack of female cartoonists. If I were at home in Providence I'd pull out Kramers Ergot 5-7 to see which ladies have worked in those... at any rate, there's more detailed information about the creators and their stories over at Robot 6; it should be coming out around Halloween and I'm going to buy the hell out of it!

The Buenaventura Press booth had lots of great stuff -- minicomics and comics as well as their prints, which are very impressively done.

I grabbed a copy of Tom Gauld's The Gigantic Robot and the minicomic Stay Away From Other People by Lisa Hanawalt, who was also luckily signing when I came by. I introduced myself to her (since we both worked on the impending Electric Ant #2's Body Horror comic jam) and she was very nice!

I also coveted (but did not buy) the recently released Permagel, by Charles Burns. From what I gather the story is morbid horror inspired by Tintin; a fansite for the upcoming Tintin movie has a cover comparison. I have to say that it was excruciatingly well-printed (on 170gr off-white Rives, as it advertised). But it was also huge (16x12) and not hardcover so I didn't want to worry about transporting it. But I'm sure to snap it up eventually, as I'm a huge fan of both Tintin and Burns (though the combination would never have occurred to me).

Nearby was the Fantagraphics booth, pictured here, with lovely Jordan Crane prints. That reminds me - I have Uptight #1 and #3, but not #2, and I just hate it when I do that.

The next day I had the good luck to meet and speak with Angie Wang, a sublimely talented illustrator from Portland.

I had the bad luck of winding up in a panel about motion comics while waiting for the Rifftrax panel... I know motion comics don't actually interest anyone (at least not people who are legit in my book :|) but I gotta say, they really gross me out. My personal journal has a longer rant.

Since I have done some Flash marionette animation (and I learned it all from KJ!), I do genuinely believe that you can go the route of manipulating hand-drawn assets in the marionette style and have it be actually good, but you have to understand that certain drawing styles are appropriate to being animated in that way, and others will always look awkward and ridiculous. Marvel simply does not get it.

Tangentially related to cartooning we have cartoons! I went to the Venture Brothers panel on Saturday, and had the delight of seeing creators/voice actors Jackson Publick, Doc Hammer, James Urbaniak, and Mike Sinterniklaas. The season 4 preview was very exciting. There was also a reel of new and old Adult Swim titles, which served excellently to reinforce my perception that Venture Brothers is the best show on Adult Swim.

I went to the Drawn and Quarterly booth as well. They had the new and improved copies of Adrian Tomine's 32 Stories, which I'd seen him present at a joint lecture with Seth that he did in San Francisco a while back. I like the design, but I'm going to hang on to my beat-up old original copy (that apparently embarrasses Adrian to no end) because now I know it'll earn me hella cred one day. (not really)

I also picked up Sammy Harkham's Crickets while I was there.

I visited a few other booths - Top Shelf was showing off their fancy new edition of Lost Girls (oh god what is the technical term for the semi-box like thing you slide bunches of books into? I know there's one! Anyway, it's three volumes in one of those).

I also bought and read Nate Powell's Swallow Me Whole on the very day it won an Eisner! Hurrah!

I also bought and read Eddie Campbell's Black Diamond Detective Agency. I have been following his very informative, very refreshing blog for a month or so now, and am eagerly anticipating The Years Have Pants. Look at that praise! I love Eddie's autobio work (Fate of the Artist, After the Snoother), his less well-known collaborations with Alan Moore (A Disease of Language - so good, I've read it from the library but ought to buy my own copy), and of course his mega well known collaborations with Alan Moore (From Hell, currently clocking in as my 2nd favorite Alan Moore work).

I also bought a volume of Tiny Kitten Teeth. All of the panels are hand-painted in gouache. There are no words.

That about does it! I can't do as much reporting as I'd like, since I was basically focused on enjoying myself.

But I met many swell people and bought a lot of (but not too many) comics, so I consider it a success!

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