Diego Comic-Con 2003 (July 16-20)
and I left our home in Bellingham, Washington on July
11th around 9:00am with a car full of books. The drive
went smoothly (except for a speeding ticket) and we
were in L.A. by July 13th. There, we hung out at a friend's
cottage in Venice Beach and had a good time enjoying
the L.A. beach life for a couple of days. At some point,
I went running into the ocean and lost my glasses in
the turbulent water. That really sucked because I knew
I'd be sketching for the upcoming 5 days. Oh well...
at least now I'd have a good excuse if a sketch turned
arrived in San Diego around 9:00am on Wednesday, July
16th. Installing the booth was relatively painless and
by 5:30pm we were ready to greet the first bunch of
neighbor to the left was
Summertime Comics headed by Ryan Woodward
and his lovely wife Tiff.
Ryan and I worked on several projects together at Warner
Brothers Animation. He's a very talented and ambitious
fellow. It was good to see him having such success with
his own enterprise. Their booth displayed an impressive
line of high quality comics.
across the aisle from us was six time Eisner Award nominee
Jeff has a great attitude and wonderful sense of humor.
His work is very cool and unique. I picked up Ultra
Klutz: Volume One from him and I can't
wait to read it.
our right was ONI
press with a cool line-up of creators signing over
the 5-day period. It was good to see Steve
Rolston (and his girlfriend Sabina)
signing next to us again (we signed together on July
6 at Olympic Comics in Lacey, Washington).
Thursday July 17th, the convention really kicked off
and people started flooding in. The exhibit floor was
enormous. I'm told it actually measured 1 mile from
end to end. Some of the booths were gigantic. The Sideshow
Collectibles / Lord of the Rings area was
certainly among the most impressive display on the floor.
Attendance reports vary somewhere between 68 000 and
100 000 attendees. I'm not sure what the exact number
was but one thing is for sure, there was a lot of people.
first night we were in San Diego, we had dinner with
Amid Amidi from Animationblast.com.
Amid is an animation historian, editor, book and magazine
publisher, writer and artist (he had his own sketchbook
for sale at the comicon). We chatted over beer, salad
and pizza at a nice restaurant. I always enjoy Amid's
company and radical opinions. He's one cool guy!
the convention, several artists came by and dropped
sketchbooks at our booth. I was amazed at how talented
some of these guys and gals are. Here are some of the
sketchbooks that impressed me the most:
Sketchbook Session 2003: Filled with wonderful
drawings of girls, superheroes, anthropomorphic animals,
monsters and more. The seven artists featured include:
Paul Davies, Shane Corn,
and Kir Bolstic. All are very accomplished
illustrators / animators who are regular posters on
Glines Message Board (Shane wrote the introduction).
Butter and Monster Sandwich: Shane Corn's sketchbook
demonstrates a wide range of styles and abilities. Great
stuff! I'm glad to have one of my
drawings in this cool book.
Gone Wild!: Keith
Holven's sketchbook is a knockout! Appealing drawings
of girls. Wild renditions of superheroes. The sketches
are fluid and dynamic!
Ridge has put together a fantastic sketchbook with
a color cover to boot! Very accomplished draftsmanship
is on display on every single page.
Amidi's Bullriding in America: Probably the
strangest sketchbook I saw in San Diego.
Am Cartonist: Bob
Harper cartoony sketchbook is a nice sampler of
animation type designs and clever one-panel gags. Very
are a few more books that were given to me that deserve
mentions: The excellent Max Hamm Fairy Tale
Detective by Frank
Monk's Tale #3 by the talented duo of Laurie
Breitkreuz and Kandrix Foong,
the strange "A.M." from the
enigmatic Vezum, Runners
by Sean Wang
(sci-fi featuring cool aliens), an impressive Ashcan
by Johane Matte called Horus,
a sketchbook called Bags of
Knuckle by Mike Williams (love
the cars on the last page), and the very nicely drawn
Johnny Dollar, illustrated by fellow
Thériault. There were quite a few
more but these are the ones that made the biggest impression.
highlight of the convention was talking to John
Morrow, editor of The
Jack Kirby Collector. A few weeks ago,
John asked me in an e-mail if I'd like to write a piece
for his magazine. I told him a few ideas I had and John
responded very positively (I'll keep you posted on this
one). While at John's booth I picked up a copy of Kirby's
Victory: The Graphite Edition.
was happy to say hi to my pal Bud
Plant, who runs the most incredible store
at the Con. Bud is great and his staff is pure class.
While I was at the Bud Plant booth, I picked up the
massive (794 pages) second edition of The Slings
and Arrows Comic Guide: A Critical Assessment
(fresh from the publisher). I looked under "Z"
and found an
entry for my comic series ZED.
I was happy to see a nice review. My Detective Comics
Spore, was also favorably reviewed. That
put a big grin on my pulsating face.
inquiring for a couple of days, I finally found Alex
Pardee's obscure table in the small press
area. I was very much looking forward to getting my
shaky little hands on Alex's latest masterpiece Bunnywith....
Unfortunately by Saturday, all the inventory at the
Comic-Con was sold out! Apologetically, he handed me
a copy of MyBook of Shapes. Wow! No
doubt about it, Alex is a master of the grotesque, the
surreal and the absurd.
is always cool. I was able to show him a mock-up of
my upcoming book Parables:
An Anthology for which he is doing the
introduction. Dave is one of my artistic heroes. I just
love his stuff. His new graphic novel, Ripple,
is sheer genius!
talented folks we met and chatted with include: Thom
Trainor and his lovely wife Rhonda,
Mike Kunkel, Snakebite and
Team Red Star, Genndy Tartakovsky,
RandyLander and Don MacPherson
Terry Moore, Paul Linsley,
Huddleston, Scott Sava,
Silver and many more.
far as GAGNÉ International goes,
we did excellent. Sales were good and consistent. I
sketched for 5 days - hundreds of drawings without my
glasses. My new book The
Towers of Numar was our biggest seller
at the convention. The Demon
Dog - Insanely Twisted Rabbit sculpture was a sell-out.
starting to recognize a lot of familiar faces. I am
very lucky to have wonderful fans that support my work.
Thanks to everyone who stopped by!
convention doors closed at 5:00pm on Sunday July 20th
and not a moment too soon. We had a truly great time
but by the end of it, we were exhausted!
Gagné, August 1, 2003