Yesterday my wife and I went to Big Wow Comicsfest in San Jose, Ca! We arrived around 1pm and didn’t leave until they kicked everyone out. As we hit the door, I saw the line to redeem Stan Lee autograph tickets. Sadness set in as I wished I had the funds available for that experience. But sadness left as soon as I hit the con floor. My wife, being the understanding and wise woman she is, suggested that I run around solo with my stack of comics to get various signatures in Artists Alley.
First on my list was Humberto Ramos, who was knee deep in a Superior Spider-Man blank variant sketch. He was nice enough to look up and sign my Mike Weiringo tribute book. Fairly close to him was Eduardo Risso. I’d never had the chance to meet Risso, but he seemed very mild mannered and kind. He signed my comics with a smile and went back to working on an art piece. I ran through and got more comics signed by Bill Sienkiewicz, Brandon Peterson, Art Adams, David Williams, and then met up with my wife at Ramon Villalobos’ table. We shot the breeze with Ramon as he humbly received money by the fistful before hopping over to visit Stuart Sayger.
Sayger’s prints were reasonably priced and I mistook a few of them for published covers. Sayger’s art was a nice cross between Sienkiewicz and Sam Kieth at his scratchiest. I find that Sayger is someone who I often forget about because he doesn’t do a whole lot of mainstream comic interiors. Whenever I see his stuff again, I realize how dumb I am for not paying closer attention to what he’s up to. After spending some time at his table today, I cannot stress enough that the big two are missing out on a unique voice for their characters that Sayger could provide. I could also easily see him having a boosted profile after making a runaway hit over at Image. Our visit and talk about Batman was one of the highlights of my day.
A few tables down, my wife and I were also able to spend some quality time with Drew Johnson. In my mind, Johnson had been an adequate fill in artist on Wonder Woman from a few years back. After looking at the prints he had available, there was no doubt that Johnson has grown into someone who could propel a mainstream title. His style reminded me a lot of Terry Dodson but retained enough uniqueness to make it his own. Any upcoming book with Johnson’s art will have a major aesthetic advantage
My favorite moment of the day was seeing my wife get her Fables: Peter and Max hardcover signed by illustrator, Steve Leialoha. Leialoha added her name to the mailbox on one of the pages, which was pretty neat. He did it in such a way that it almost looked printed onto the page. Leialoha was very personable and took time to make just the signing of a book a memorable moment.
Our last stop of getting things signed was meeting Bleeding Cool writer, Doctor Who illustrator, and the cover artist to The Amazing Fist, Josh Adams. Being at a convention that was art focused, Josh was the person I was most excited to meet. We’ve been friends ever since I hired him to do the cover to my book The Amazing Fist a few years back. (No, it’s not a shameless plug since I don’t have any copies to sell). We chatted about Joss Whedon, Doctor Who and pondered about what the most awkward thing would be to say to Matt Smith. The setup of Josh’s table was at the exit of the convention hall and it was connect to his father’s impressive, store like, booth setup.
We ended the day by eating Subway on the floor of the convention center and then wandering around to see people who we hadn’t made a point of going out there for. Oddly enough, I stumbled upon underground comix creator Jose Gabriel Angeles, (I wrote a column about him here). He was selling copies of his color mini comics, Happy World of Love. The treasure for me though, was discovering he had a 250 page, black and white tpb entitled Psycho-Shit-Fuck. This tome contains dozens of poignant, grotesque, and personal short comics that he made circa 2007-2009. I’ve always loved Angeles’ over-the-top stories with their crude, but intricate renderings of the most horrific images the human mind can concoct. I got to read some of it when I got home and it does not disappoint if you are willing to take the journey that Angeles provides. My favorite aspect about Angeles’ work is that it feels like he’s sharing who he is as a person and what he stands for. Maybe I’ve not looked hard enough, but I don’t feel like I see many of today’s creators using comics as a vehicle for personal expression. Angeles grabs that vehicle and thrashes it as he rides through questionable, and rough terrains that challenge the reader. As I gawked and gladly handed money over to Jose, it came time for the convention to close.
There was quite a bit there and I’ll be back the second day (which is when this will probably be published). The amount of artists there will make one’s head spin. There was plenty of depth and discovery but I know that Sunday will contain just as much as Saturday. GREAT JOB Steve Wyatt and staff. Good on you.