Tag: Joe Staton

Albany Comic Con this Sunday

One benefit from having to miss the Armageddon Expo event in New Zealand this weekend is that I’ll be able to attend the Albany Comic Con again, at least for a few hours. As with previous shows, it’s being held at the Holiday Inn on Wolf Road in Albany, NY from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 24.

Other guests include artists Mike McKone, Matthew Dow Smith, Herb Trimpe, Joe Staton, Fred Hembeck, Mike Borkowski, Declan Shalvey, Mark McKenna, and Bobby and Peter Timony; sculptor Paul Harding; writers Todd Dezago, Keith Dallas and Nick Tapalansky; and plenty more. Legendary Fantastic Four inker Joe Sinnott, still recovering from surgery, is scheduled to stop by to sign for a few hours in the afternoon. Admission is only $5. The show site is here.

I’ll only be at the show until around 2 p.m., when I have to leave to coach my son’s final fall baseball game. I’ll have some Magdalena posters and Artifacts bookmarks to give away, a stack of Artifacts #1 copies to unload, and some other goodies. Hope to see some of you.

Cheers,

Ron


The Lunch Bunch

Thursday I was able to attend a lunch that gathered a lot of the comic pros who live within an hour’s drive or so. Doing the job we do, most of spend a lot of hours at home, without the kind of social interaction that most people with, uh, real jobs take for granted. So the chance to get together and swap stories is a welcome one.

I was the relative young punk at the table, with only two decades in comics under my belt. Clockwise from bottom left in the photo: cartoonist Fred Hembeck; Fred’s wife Lynn Moss; inker Bob Wiacek; legendary Kirby/FF inker Joe Sinnott; inker Terry Austin; me; inker Dan Green (in cowboy hat and shades); that’s writer-artist Jim Starlin’s bald head peeking out; Mark Sinnott (Joe’s son); writer-artist Walter Simonson; Silver Age artist Ramona Fradon; penciler Joe Staton; and writer Todd Dezago.

I’m fortunate enough to be able to call these people friends, and especially fortunate to be able to get together with them. We don’t do it often enough. I gave Walter a copy of Magdalena #1, the Ryan Sook cover of which was inspired by Walter’s iconic Thor #337 cover. Joe Sinnott shared some (literal) war stories. Starlin and I discussed the intro I’m going to write for his art book, which will be released by Desperado later this year. Fred revealed he’s going to be throwing out the first pitch at a Class A minor-league ballgame in July, and Fred, Mark and I commiserated about the Mets (as usual).

Walter related some stories of teaching at the School of Visual Arts, and also told a tale of Jim Shooter having John Romita, Sr. redraw a Thor head on one of Walter’s covers, because Shooter deemed the original Thor head not handsome enough. Mark Gruenwald, the editor on Thor, waited until Shooter was out of the office, got Tom DeFalco to okay Walter’s original cover, and sent the book off to press. Grueny was a clever fellow.

After a few hours, the gathering split up and everybody went their separate ways, most headed to their home studios to get back to work. But the afternoon was yet another reminder of how fortunate I am to be working in this business.

Cheers,

Ron


Magdalena graces Albany

Had a great time at Sunday’s Albany Comic Con. Caught up with old friends, made some new friends, and signed books from Silver Surfer to Green Lantern right up to Magdalena #1. The GL-centric panel with my buddy Joe Staton was a lot of fun, as we compared notes about our respective runs, and “our” respective Green Lanterns. David Pepose of Newsarama was in attendance, so there should be a report on the panel online sometime this week. David Pepose of Newsarama, who was in attendance, has posted a report on the panel.

The end of the GL panel was interrupted by the local chapter of the 501st Legion, who strode into the room to bestow Honorary Membership upon me. More on that in a post later this week, but suffice to say I was very flattered and pleased. It’s not every day you get a laser-etched plaque handed to you by a Stormtrooper in full armor.

I also got to meet the real Kyle Rayner at the show. He’s 4 years old. His mom and dad brought him by, and I have to admit, I was pretty stunned that someone thought enough of our everyman GL to actually give their child his name (“Kyle Rayner” is his first name and middle name). How cool is that?

The other highlight of the show was a cosplayer named Jen Wicks who wore a kick-ass Magdalena outfit all day. She posed for photos, including this one with me, as well as a group shot of me, Terry Austin and Matthew Dow Smith (who of course provided the art for the con exclusive cover of Magdalena #1). Yes, I know I need a haircut.


One of the nicest things about the Albany Con is the burgeoning local and semi-local comics community that’s developing around it. I’ve known guys like Terry Austin, Matt Smith, Todd Dezago, Joe Staton, Fred Hembeck and Lee Moder (who made it to the conn all the way from Pittsburgh) for years. But it’s been great to meet or reconnect with other creators like Dave Rodriguez, Nick Tapalansky, Saurav Mohapatra, Paul Harding, Declan Shalvey and the Timony Brothers, as well as critics/journalists including CBR’s Tim Callahan and Newsarama’s David Pepose. Virtually all the guests who attend the show end up wanting to come back, so I expect many of them will return for the fall show, which is scheduled for Sunday, October 24. Hopefully the guest list will include a few surprises. As always, you can watch the Albany Con MySpace and Twitter feed for updates.

Cheers,

Ron

P.S.
Saurav Mohapatra also posted some photos he took during the conn on his blog.


All thumbs

You’re looking at thumbnails –“thumbs” – for a variant Magdalena #1 cover. Now, I assume most people reading this blog would know that “thumbs,” or roughs, are small sketches. But I don’t want to assume everybody knows that.

first set

These roughs are by my buddy Matthew Dow Smith. The variant will be available at the Albany Comic Con, the “hometown” convention for both me and Matt, which will take place April 25. The show site is here.

The guest list includes me and Matt, as well as a number of other Hudson Valley creators that have all been my friends for years: Terry Austin, Fred Hembeck, Todd Dezago and Joe Staton. Terry, Fred and Todd, along with Jim Starlin and Bernie Wrightson, were regulars are the weekly Woodstock volleyball matches I played in until our five-year Florida detour. Coming to the con from a bit farther afield are Lee Moder, my artistic partner on Dragon Prince and the work-in-progress Shinku, and Saurav Mohapatra, a writer I edited at Virgin Comics. Check out the entire guest list; it’s pretty impressive for a “local” one-day show.

I’ve always been an admirer of Matt’s artwork, including Hellboy and Starman contributions and DC’s Day of Judgment series with an up-and-coming writer named Geoff Johns. Matt was my first choice when we needed a fill-in issue of my samurai-themed comic The Path at CrossGen. I thought his use of spot blacks would make him a good fit with the kind of work Bart Sears was doing on the series. Matt turned in a great job on his issue, and when Bart left the series, Matt moved to Florida to take over the regular art duties. We produced some issues I’m quite fond of, but it was destined to be unfinished business. Not quite a year later, CrossGen blew apart and Matt moved back to the Albany vicinity. A few years later, I settled in the same vicinity.

Matt’s first Albany variant, which he penciled and inked, was the Witchblade #131 cover for last year’s autumn con. The show was held the day after Halloween, so the subject matter was a natural. This time around, the obvious choice for a variant was my Magdalena series, which will debut just prior to the con. Without a natural theme this time, we discussed utilizing a background of the Albany skyline, featuring distinctive towers and an egg-shaped performing arts center.

The towers feature in three of the four roughs from Matt’s first batch (above), including one I suggested featuring a trolley-car diner. Matt also included a shot of Magdalena perched atop a church cross, an iconic image that would also be a comfortable fit for Daredevil or maybe Spider-man.

After input from con organizer John Belskis and Top Cow’s Filip Sablik and Phil Smith, Matt produced a second set of roughs (below). The diner concept was refined to include a neon sign featuring the Top Cow logo, and a peek at a couple of patrons inside that might well be Sara Pezzini of Witchblade and Jackie Estacado of The Darkness. The towers remained a background element in two of the roughs, but the lower angle on diner concept forced a different background for that image. Matt also added a shot inspired by look of golden age comic covers.

second set

So which one did we pick? Come back tomorrow to find out, and get a look at Matt’s finished pencils, which will be delivered to legendary X-Men inker Terry Austin for his distinctive contribution.

Cheers,

Ron


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