156. NEW YORK COMIC-CON 2007, One

diary entry: February 23-25, 2007

We had gotten airline tickets from Sacramento to New York for only $99 each way, but it came with a price. My friend Doug and I decided to miss as little work as possible for this last minute trip. That meant flying out at midnight on the evening of Thursday, sleeping maybe five hours if we were LUCKY, while sitting up in an airplane seat (with an upset baby for most of those five hours, incidentally), arriving at 7am New York time, which is four in the morning OUR time, getting our bags, climbing into a cab, arriving at the convention unshaved, unshowered, in need of a tooth-brushing, with all our belongings in suitcases, at 9am, which gives us an hour to wash our armpits in the convention sink, find something to eat, and get the table set up.

That done, and basically feeling high from lack of sleep, we began a stupidly long, grueling convention day, because this con was open to industry professionals only from ten to five, and THEN open to the public from five to nine! WHAT a fucking day.

I had gotten half a table, which was supposed to be eight feet. It turned out, someone must have ordered something wrong, because everyone had ten foot tables instead. This was nice to have that extra two feet of table space (especially since I’m used to having an eight foot table), but on the other hand, the booths were ten feet wide, so if we wanted to get out from behind the tables, that meant crawling under the table. This made people look, when they were milling about waiting in line nearby us.

I was surprised to see I was located in the booth next to Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti. I had met them briefly through Adam Hughes and his girlfriend Allison at last year’s Orlando Mega-Con. I was looking forward to reintroducing myself.

I told Doug I would pay for the hotel and transportation, if he was willing to watch my booth now and then while I conducted my usual business affairs. It was quiet during the “industry” hours of the first day, so I used that time to poke around. It seemed that pretty much no one was around to see during this time. I said hello to Arnold Drake, Ramona Fradon, and Irwin Hasen.  Sitting where Carmine Infantino was listed to be, and next to Arnold Drake, I saw Luis Dominguez. While I visited with him, two people came up and said “How pleased I am to meet you, Carmine.” And Luis didn’t know what was going on, and it was up to me to explain to these folks that this wasn’t Carmine Infantino sitting in Carmine’s booth.

BRIAN BOLLAND

And then I happened to bump into Brian Bolland, who was just walking around, and I asked if I could walk with him.

I told him I knew how busy he was, asked if he might be willing to draw me a convention sketch this weekend, that I could publish in my comic. At first he was resistant, because he says he doesn’t draw anything by hand anymore. All his work is straight off the computer now. He doesn’t create original work anymore.

He said it really doesn’t look much better now, when he does it that way. But we discussed it, and he grew open to the idea of actually drawing me something by hand. I told him what I had in mind, and asked him to think about how much he’d like as payment. I told him I would go check in over at his table later.

I asked if he was a fan of Bruno Premiani, because when I recently read the DC Comics Archives of Doom Patrol, I could swear I saw its influence on Brian’s linework. He agreed that he was.

I asked if he had read Dan Dare as well. He said he hadn’t, although he knew and seemed very familiar with the artist, and admitted he found himself using some of the coloring techniques.

He said he grew up primarily on DC Comics and not his homeland’s books like Dan Dare, and that a couple of the earliest comics he bought were giant monster comics, coincidentally.

I told him once again what a fan I was of his Judge Dredd comics. I mentioned how he had referenced The Creeper, Rondo Hatton, in a story arc. He didn’t say much about it, except that he occasionally would reference actors. When I asked who else, he reminded me that he had used the Marx Brothers in Judge Dredd as well.

When I stopped by later, he admitted he would prefer not to do a pin-up at the con, so that he could spend some time on it. We agreed on a price, and I paid him and wrote up a contract for him to sign. As I was leaving his table, I realized I hadn’t asked about keeping the artwork, and he confirmed that he would prefer to do the work on computer in his usual current fashion, and he would send me a file when it was completed.

As this sunk in, I realized how much I really would prefer to own a piece of artwork by Brian Bolland. I fretted over this through to the end of the con, and finally approached him again. I told him how I’m just self-publishing, and lose money every issue, and it would be nice to come out of it with a physical product for my troubles. Brian was understanding, and after making him a new offer, he said he’d been drawing convention sketches all weekend, and he felt he still had his touch enough that he would be willing to do do a piece by hand for me. I was overjoyed. Brian Bolland!

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