June 21st, 2012
Okay, so we’ve been to MoCCA Fest, Asbury Comic Con and Wizard Philly — all completely different.
MoCCA Fest 2012 came and went so fast I never got a chance to take any pictures. Judie snapped this one of comics ace report Heidi MacDonald of The Comics Beat, a plump, long-haired version of me, and the always entertaining Shannon Wheeler of Too Much Coffee Man and The New Yorker Magazine fame. It was long couple of weeks, doing Boston Con, working on the MoCCAFEST.org site up until the last few days (I’m a volunteer), and then jamming everything into the car again and heading in NYC for the weekend. We had a great dinner with Rick Parker and Jim Salicrup (sorry, no pictures while we’re eating), and that’s all I can remember. All a blur. So when Heidi invited us to join Fred Van Lente, Ben McCool, Brian Heater, Torsten Adair, and old pal Shannon Wheeler, I was ready to kick back for an after the con pint. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much and so hard. Shannon does that too me. What a great way to end a con.
Then on May 12, Rob Bruce and I threw our own con — Asbury Park Comic Con. It was probably one of the oddest venues for a con: the rock club The Asbury Lanes, which is actually a bowling alley built in 1963 and looks like a time machine.
We had special guest Evan Dorkin (pictured above), Sarah Dyer, Jamal Igle, Steve Mannion, Danny Hellman, Fred Van Lente, Ryan Dunlavey, Charles Soule, the pictures are on a disk somewhere — thanks Dad for taking those shots.
Here’s a few by Dan Mozgai: Good shot off exhibitors and fans having a great time at the first Asbury Park Comic Convention.
And just as the con was beginning, the venue, The Asbury Lanes was getting a facelift after hurricane winds at the beach mangled the iconic sign.
April 23rd, 2012
The crowd at Boston Comic Con this past weekend was epic! Here the patient fans are waiting to enter Saturday morning at the Hynes Auditorium. What a great crowd — I had so much fun, so many laughs and met so many new people and caught up with old friends. Ran into Pete Bagge, Bernie Wrightson, Jamal Igel, Steph Buscema, Bob Polio of New England Comics, Cliff Chiang, Paul Litch of CGC, Jim Calafiore, Mark McKenna, Bob Schreck and many others.
The debut of the Rat Bastard SMALL DOSES issue 1 went better than I imagined. Fans of the old books as well as new fans made me very optimistic about the future of creator owned titles and self-publishing.
A crowd of young guys descended on the Crucial Comics booth and snapped up T-shirts, stickers and comics, then brought more friends. They had so many questions — it was great fun, I dug their enthusiasm for Rat Bastard.
February 24th, 2012
I went up to MoCCA NY last night with Judie and Rob Bruce to hear some stories of Al Jaffee about his career and inspirations. At 91 years old, Jaffee is still one of the funniest humans on the face of the Earth. He told us how he came up with his famed Mad Magazine “Fold-In”, which was the opposite of a fold-out, which was popular in better magazines like National Geographic and Popular Science. He told stories of Hugh Hefner putting him and Will Elder in a room at the Algononquin Hotel to meet a deadline on a “Little Annie Fanny” comic for Playboy, only to find the obsessive Elder removing Jaffee’s work to constantly improve the already late artwork.
Throughout the evening, I kept thinking about my own relationship to Jaffee’s work; specifically “Snappy Answers For Stupid Questions”. When MoCCA’s Danny Fingeroth concluded the panel discusion, MoCCA president Ellen Abramowitz began the Q&A. After a few questions, I couldn’t contain myself, and rather than ask a question, I told Jaffee and the audience a story: “Mr. Jaffee, when I was about seven years old, I was reading “Snappy Answers To Stupid Questions” while in a car with my family going from North Jersey to visit my Aunt and Uncle at the Jersey Shore for the holidays. When we arrived, My Aunt came to the door to greet us and said to me, “My Cliff, how much you’ve grown!” Seeing this as an opportunity to use one of the lines in your book I replied, “Gee, and I had my heart set on being a midget!” And that’s when my father gave me a slap across the back of my head that I have remembered to this day.” The audience bursted into laughter, but more important; I got a laugh out of Al Jaffee. My life is now complete.
December 9th, 2011
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It’s the secondary and tertiary characters that can make all the difference between a good story and a mediocre one. How many times haves you read a comic or watched a cartoon and all the supporting characters appear to be spit out of from the same mold? Sometimes it’s a matter time — there is no wand that can be waved to make new characters simply appear, they need to be developed. Perhaps I spend too much time on that at times, but I’d like to believe it pays off. This is Sergeant Slag, who’s pretty much a one-dimensional character: he doesn’t like Roscoe’s kind. He’s a first class FURC-hater. And as haters tend to be, he’s rather myopic — he allows his prejudices to keep him from finding the the true criminals.
I have several pages of sketches of some sort of sergeant to accompany Detective Penski. The Penski character was already gruff, the sergeant had to be more of an ignorant clod. During this period, I experimented with all sizes, races, and even gender. This led me to think about their captain, who would eventually appear on the page as a politically savvy woman. She would have to be smart in order to become a captain — someone who was considering all the angles and ramifications.
Roscoe’s bike is a constantly evolving vehicle — perhaps like the Batmobile, with many iterations. I’m always trying to justify its design, as if it would ever actually fly. So I work with it for a while and think, jeesh, that thing would never get off the ground, or how does it really do this or that? Stay tuned.