thehefner: (Bill the Butcher: Reflective)
I missed seeing two of my favorite comedians from my favorite comedy troupe performing live. One of them in particular is a performer I'd love to have in my own audience, someone with whom I suspect we share a wavelength, and someone I'd dearly enjoy taking out for drinks. At the very least, seeing him live would have been a personal thrill.

I missed and am missing Baltimore Comic Con, where I could have seen a rare, painfully rare panel appearance of my favorite creative team in comics, and subsequently I missed out on finally meeting my favorite among them, a man who happens to be my favorite comic writer. I was ready to finally tell him what I thought of Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, a book which he charged me to read when we briefly corresponded in his blog's comments thread. I actually would have had something to talk about with this guy whose work has meant so much to me for almost twenty years. That's not even to mention the fact that I might have been able to finally get a drawing from a man who isn't just one of the finest creative minds at DC Comics, but also those closest thing there is to an official Two-Face artist. Owning a Harvey sketch from him would have been a crowning achievement.

I missed and am missing my favorite Fringe Festival, having made the unprecedented and horrible decision to cancel with just a week's notice. This is a Fringe populated by some of my best friends in the business, one in particular above all others, and the audiences are of the fleeting kind that remind me why I still do this. After a year of frustrating festivals, of disappointments both great (a couple) and small (too many), Indy Fringe would have felt like going back to the well and diving in headfirst. I didn't just want to be there. In some days, I needed it. I still need it.

I know that, if I had done the third, I couldn't have done the first and second favorite things. And yet, here they all are. All at once, these things which are more than diversions but events which are important to me on a personal level of all that drives me as a passionate fan and artist, separated from me only by a little bit of time and a little bit of money. Neither of which I have right now, or at least, neither of which I can spare. So here they are, yes. There they go. And there they've gone.

And yet... and yet again...

Instead of all that, I just spent the last hour with the main (but far from only) cause for why I missed all these things. This same cause ripped me out of my sleep yet again, screamed in my goddamn ears yet again, and puked up upon me yet again. And then I held him. And fed him. And heard his cries recede, his squirms settle down like head on a beer, as he stared up at me with that wide-eyed wonder he has as I read aloud some Harlan Ellison. After I couple pages, I glanced down to check on him, and saw that the pacifier had dropped out of his mouth, because his smile was just too damn big to hold it in.

Goddammit, Universe. You win. Worth it.
thehefner: (Venture Bros: Marvel Comics)

For a teeny tiny local con, the (first) DC Comic Con boasted a pretty surprising roster of guests! Local regulars like Steve Conley (STAR TREK: YEAR FOUR) and John K. Snyder III (who hasn't done much of anything since that Alan Scott Solomon Grundy comic ten years ago, which is a shame) are always expected.

But JG Jones? Nice! Jo Chen? Neato! The Luna Brothers? Oh, how I resisted the urge to tackle them and feverishly demand to know how the fuck the final issue of THE SWORD ends! And of course, it was great to see that they were able to snag local-boy-done-good Frank Cho.

Back when he lived here and did LIBERTY MEADOWS for the papers, our comic shop had him over to do signings every year or so. That's how we met, when I was a teenage clerk there at my first (and part-time current) job. I think I've mentioned here in the past that Cho remembers me, because to a cheesecake master like him, me being a real genuine Hefner is like being part of estranged royalty.

At one of those signings, I nervously asked if he'd be willing to do a drawing for me, without having decided if I wanted a Hal Jordan GL or Two-Face, because yeah, Hef, get Frank Cho to draw me someone WITHOUT boobs, great call! Maybe next I'll reanimate the corpse of Alberto Vargas to paint me a still life!

He agreed to do it, but we ran out of time that day, so he told me to catch him again next time, and he'd do it. Which I did, at SPX, when he was selling limited edition prints of a Playboy Playmate, who was actually there signing the prints alongside him. He warmly introduced me to her as a Hefner, and she responded with mildly interested politeness. Which, really, is all one could expect. He remembered that he owed me a drawing, and said that, again, he didn't have time. Maybe next year?

And so it's been for about nine years. I find Frank at a convention, he remembers me instantly and says, "I owe you a drawing, don't I?" And we part ways. The last time I spoke him was three years ago at Baltimore Comic Con, where he was accompanied by some middle-aged man who was clearly a producer or publisher of some sort, who laughed, "You've been waiting for Frank to do you a drawing for six year? Hell, I've been waiting for eight!"

I next saw him at last year's Baltimore Comic Con, where I'd hoped to introduce him to Henchgirl, to see if he'd say the words right on cue as my little way of trying to impress her with my connections from Comic Shop days. I realize that I'm still doing this, as I already have plans to introduce her to our old customer Brad Meltzer, whom she wanted to hug after reading GREEN ARROW: THE ARCHER'S QUEST. How many chances do you hear something like that and think, "Hey, I can make that happen!"

But at Baltimore, the line was too long, so we never did get to see Cho. Yesterday, however, his line was much shorter, pretty much just one or two people at a time. But maybe it was the fact that he was sitting elevated up on the stage of an auditorium, but the prospect of actually talking to him was more intimidating than ever. I had nothing for him to sign. I haven't been following his work lately to make a genuine comment, even in a sycophantic nature. All I wanted to do was to renew the game.

So I was just about to give up and lug my haul of back issues and cheap graphic novels to the car, when I notice that Frank Cho was coming right toward me. As I'm writing this, I feel like this all would be a much better story if it ended with him meeting me with a big grin, holding a magnificent, fully-inked drawing of Hal Jordan with a sexy green alien girl by his side, "There you are, Hef! Finally got it for you! Now when you gonna get me in the mansion? Ha ha, I'm incorrigible!"

But no. He actually wasn't coming to see me. The pathway was so narrow, and I was an obstacle on his way to the men's room. I jumped at the chance to say hi, nervous as all hell for breaking that convention commandment of talking up a guest when they're not at their booth.

After a moment's memory jogging, he remembered me from working at the comic shop, and actually stopped to ask how I was. I wasn't expecting that. With increasingly anxious awkwardness, I tried to quickly fill him in on on THE HEFNER MONOLOGUES, thinking he'd react to that. He didn't. He was very polite, waited for his chance to break away with a diplomatic "Welp, I gotta go to the men's room," and left.

I felt like an ass, and what's more, realized that he didn't mention the drawing. He'd forgotten it entirely. Perhaps it was inevitable. Not like I was going to ever get it anyway, but that was the point. It was just the dance, having that kind of small, recurring connection with someone else who has ballooned into fame and infamy alike.

When I related this (in much less long-winded format) via Twitter, I shrugged it off with, "So much for royalty!" To which [ profile] heykidzcomix then replied, "How dare he slight the Boob Prince!"

"The Boob Prince." I like that! So much better than the other nickname I figured I'd earned myself:

thehefner: (Simpsons: ...Comic Books?)
Since we were planning on spending only spending the one Saturday at Baltimore Comic Con (as opposed to the full weekend), I knew there'd be no point trying to do my usual con thing and try to commission Harvey-themed artwork.

So instead, I used that money to buy up a whole assload of animated-series-style BATMAN comics, which are some of the best Batman comics of the past 25 years that no one has ever read. Seriously, y'all can keep your Grant Morrison post-modern claptrap; even when it's fun (and it damn well can be fun), the stories of the Timmverse are the standard by which I base all Batman stories.

Plus, it was great seeing [ profile] dryponder again (you have my e-mail! Drop me a line sometime, for I am very anxious to discuss the thing! Y'know, that thing with the thing!), as well as finally getting a bit more facetime with the excellent [ profile] zegas (here's that story I told you about, the one about my quest for commissioned artwork at New York Comic Con! Sorry we couldn't have that beer together, but hey, I'll definitely be sure to give you a buzz if I'm in the NYC area!).

I shall now sequester myself in my room to delve into my mighty haul of comics, and then perhaps Henchgirl and I will read a couple of them aloud. With voices. Yes, we do voices. It's kind of amazing. In an incredibly adorkable way.
thehefner: (Default)
First, for those wondering when this was coming out, behold: the official solicitation of WEDNESDAY COMICS:

In July, DC Comics gives a fresh twist to a grand comics tradition with WEDNESDAY COMICS, a new, weekly 12-issue series by some of the greatest names in comics today!
WEDNESDAY COMICS is unique in modern comics history: Reinventing the classic weekly newspaper comics section, it is a 16-page weekly that unfolds to a sprawling 28” x 20” tabloid-sized reading experience bursting with mind-blowing color, action and excitement, with each feature on its own 14” x 20” page.
Spearheaded by DCU Editorial Art Director Mark Chiarello, whose past editing credits include BATMAN BLACK & WHITE, DC: THE NEW FRONTIER and SOLO, each page of WEDNESDAY COMICS spotlights the continuing adventures of DC heroes, including:
• BATMAN, WEDNESDAY COMICS’ weekly cover feature, by the Eisner Award-winning 100 BULLETS team of writer Brian Azzarello and artist Eduardo Risso
• ADAM STRANGE, by writer/artist Paul Pope (BATMAN: YEAR 100)
• METAMORPHO, written by New York Times best-selling writer Neil Gaiman
(bolded for those among you here who might be interested) with art by Eisner Award-winner Michael Allred (Madman)
• THE DEMON AND CATWOMAN, written by Walter Simonson (Thor, MANHUNTER) with art by famed DC cover artist Brian Stelfreeze
• DEADMAN, written by Dave Bullock and Vinton Heuck, art by Dave Bullock
• KAMANDI, written by Dave Gibbons (WATCHMEN, GREEN LANTERN CORPS) with art by Ryan Sook (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, ARKHAM ASYLUM: LIVING HELL)
• SUPERMAN, written by John Arcudi (The Mask) with art by Lee Bermejo (JOKER)
• WONDER WOMAN, written and illustrated by Ben Caldwell (Dare Detectives)
• GREEN LANTERN, written by Kurt Busiek (TRINITY, ASTRO CITY) with art by Joe Quiñones (TEEN TITANS GO!)
• TEEN TITANS, written by Eddie Berganza with art by Sean Galloway
• SUPERGIRL, written by Jimmy Palmiotti (JONAH HEX) with art by Amanda Conner (POWER GIRL)
• HAWKMAN, written and illustrated by Kyle Baker (PLASTIC MAN, Special Forces)
• SGT. ROCK, written by Adam Kubert (SUPERMAN: LAST SON), ilustrated by legendary comics artist Joe Kubert
• THE FLASH, written by Karl Kerschl (TEEN TITANS YEAR ONE, THE FLASH: THE FASTEST MAN ALIVE) and Brenden Fletcher, illustrated by Karl Kerschl
• METAL MEN, written by Dan DiDio with art by Ian Churchill (SUPERGIRL)
WEDNESDAY COMICS will arrive in stores folded twice to 7” x 10”, with the first issue set to reach stores on July 8.

Issue #1 on sale July 8; Issue #2 on sale July 15; Issue #3 on sale July 22; Issue #4 on sale July 29 • 1-4 of 12 • 7” x 10”, 16 pg, FC, $3.99 US

I haven't bought single comic issues for a couple years now, but I will be picking up every single issue of this. Daring concepts like this need to be supported, and the fact that it's featuring some of the greatest talent working alongside hot-as-hell indie newcomers on some of comicdom's greatest characters is just gravy.

Honestly, the only thing that could make this even better is if I could find out who this girl is and propose to her:

Found via [ profile] box_in_the_box, with whom I will battle in the Pit o' Death for this lady's affections. I mean, I love Plastic Man, but she pulls off ol' Eel's costume so much better that it's a wonder it wasn't a female character's outfit from the beginning! I tells ya, the Golden Age was a strange combination of innovative and questionable costume designs.

The fact that someone at Box's LJ responded to his query as to this girl's identity with "... Rachel Maddow?" just makes her all the more gloriously maddening. I must know who she is, if *only* to partner up costumes at a convention. But the question is, which female character should I man-itize to wow and woo Plastic Woman?

Sigh. Someday, Lady Plas. Someday.
thehefner: (Green Lantern: Bling Bling!)
New costume idea: Harvey Dent as a member of the Blue and Red Lantern Corps.

Think about it: a ring on each hand, with a split costume, but not evenly split down the middle. Rather, both sides are fighting back and forth for supremacy, with mini red and blue glow sticks strategically inserted in the schisms, hinting at the literal internal battle for his heart. (No mask, though; I mean, gee, I wonder who he could possibly be under that?)

If I were able to do Comic Con this year (and thus not touring the Fringe circuit at the time), I'd so be all over this glorious waste of time and money. This would be the year to do it too. Corps' t-shirts were selling like crazy at New York Comic Con, so GL-related stuff is totally hip right now.

Maybe I'll consider it for next year, assuming that THE BLACKEST NIGHT doesn't do for the various Corps what SECRET INVASION did for Skrulls.

If nothing else, I need fanart of this, pronto.
thehefner: (Simpsons: ...Comic Books?)
--Even if I weren't still kind of claustrophobic, this thing needed the whole convention hall, not the half it got. Egad. Sparta-levels of Madness. Additionally, a comic convention is not the best place to break in new shoes. Ow.

--And yet, it was all worth to hang out with the unspeakably awesome [ profile] bagelofdeath and [ profile] beckara (internet-famous authors of the Guillermo-del-Toro-approved strip [ profile] abe_kroenen) not to mention getting shitfaced with the also-awesome [ profile] tamburlaine.

--The straight-to-DVD brand-new animated WONDER WOMAN movie is awesome. Just very well done on every level. The animation's gorgeous, the writing is smart and resistant to cliche, and the voice acting was stellar (Keri Russell, Alfred Molina, and Oliver Platt all deserve praise, but the winner has to go to Nathan Fillion, who unsurprisingly steals the show. [ profile] kali921, watch this, and tell me if you still don't think Fillion could be Hal Jordan).

--Unfortunately, I saw WW at a panel, followed by a Q&A with the writer, the director, and man-god Bruce Timm. Which would have been awesome, if they hadn't done as they always do and opened the floor up to questions. I have never, never attended one of these where the vast majority of the audience questions aren't fucking idiotic. Some of these people are so desperate to have any reason to talk to their heroes that they'll come up with questions that could be easily figured out with Google and/or common sense.

--There was a little kid dressed up as Captain America, the costume all padded with plush muscles. His mask was off, revealing a mop of blond hair that flopped around as the kid hopped in pure joy and excitement and bliss because he was at a comic convention! When did we lose that feeling? It was so adorable, I just wanted to put on a Red Skull mask and chase him.

--Also, I understand there was a father/son (or was it daughter) pairing, where the kid was dressed as Robin and he was dressed as Harvey Dent. Not Two-Face, but Harvey Dent, with the suit and campaign button and everything. Utter awesomeness. Of course, if I were really wrong, I'd wanted him to actually be Two-Face... and carrying a baseball bat. Thank goodness I'm not really *really* wrong.

--As I cooled my blistering heels outside the convention, a worn and weary woman sitting on the bench next to me said, "Pardon me, may I ask you a question? My son dragged me here, and I'm just wondering... what is all this about? Why do people dress up in costume?" My immediate response was "Because it's fun," but I instantly realized that this was a woman to whom I'd actually have to explain the very concept of fun.

As I summed up this convention as a celebration of passion, I realized why I'd come there in the first place, and all of a sudden, the blisters and the claustrophobia and the obnoxious fans didn't seem to matter so much. Ultmately, though, she accepted my answer but clearly didn't understand it. It was all just too bizarre, too... pointless. Really, that's the question that was on her face: "What's the point?" I feel sorry for her poor son, but at least he'll always have Comic Con.

Just wear better shoes than I did, kid.
thehefner: (Harvey Dent)
I was going to give the full Comic Con rundown, but I am exhausted, cranky from being on the bus, and in desperate need of beer. But for right now, I've gotta talk about the original art I got this time around.

Even if you're not inclined to read my long-winded ramblings, I urge you to at least skim this one. For the artwork alone.

And even at NYCC, things took a turn for the Hefnerian... )
thehefner: (Default)
Okay, goddammit, who keeps messing with my icons? Because I dunno about you guys, but as of this writing, this blue guy is serious NOT my default pic. Also, my IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS "Blue" icon has been replaced with a Naruto icon. What the crap?!

All right, LiveJournal, you wanna play it like this? Fine. I'm going to New York Comic-Con. See how you feel going a *whole* almost two days without me, LJ. Assuming I don't get stampeded to death by fangirls or killed in an unfortunate "Quesada shanking" incident, I'd better have all my icons together when I come back!

Hell, I needed a new default user pic anyway. But what the hell?
thehefner: (Simpsons: ...Comic Books?)
And now, I have my sole regret for missing Baltimore Comic Con this year:

Bendis vs. Kirkman

That's twice now* that Robert Kirkman has seemingly broken through the pablum of these Con panels and their self-congratulatory smugness. I can't stand panels, since they're usually about as genuine as a White House press conference, but now I'm gonna make it a point to see every one of Kirkman's where I can. Not only does he write two of the very best monthly comics out there today--INVINCIBLE and THE WALKING DEAD--he has the both the insight and the vision to back up those huge balls of his.

I don't now how right he is, but he's bringing up the topics that Marvel and DC don't want people discussing since they're far more content to rest on their laurels and keep the ship going. But we in the comics industry, fans and professionals alike, need to be addressing all this. For all that I bitch about the current states of DC and Marvel, I still love those companies and their characters (and still happily follow enough books that I think prevents me from being a Comic Book Guy), but they're all too content to be big fish in a small pond, one that gets smaller as comic fans get older.

In the eight years I worked at Big Planet (with breaks for college), the vast majority of regular comic buyers were between twenty-five and fifty. Shit, when I first became a regular comic reader at age thirteen, I knew of maybe two other kids in my entire middle school who read comics. As I went to high school and then college, it stayed the same. Trust me, if anyone else read comics, we would have found each other. Geek radar is amazing.

DC and Marvel don't want to discuss how the industry is starting to resemble CHILDREN OF MEN here, but that was my experience over the past eight years, and Kirkman's findings only back that up. Hopefully people will listen, or at least the discussion will continue, now that Kirkman drank Bendis' milkshake.

*From San Diego 2006, when he drank Todd McFarlane's milkshake.
thehefner: (Simpsons: ...Comic Books?)
Sadly, I fear I'm gonna be missing Baltimore Comic Con this weekend. I was thinking of skipping out anyway as I really didn't want to go alone; I've learned that being solo at comic conventions can be an overwhelming, frustrating, and rather depressing experience. What started out as geek excitement soon gave way to a sense of hollowness and solitude. There's no one with whom I can geek out about the good stuff and snark over the bad stuff.

But the fact is, I just can't afford it anyway. Bad enough the Riddler costume, the NYC writing seminar, and the impending road trip are sapping my budget, but I just blew a goodly wad of dough at a liquor store yesterday. This place has an annual sale where most booze is sold at a dollar over cost! That's generally a $15 discount on everything, more or less! I got some Crown Royal, a Macallan 12 yr. scotch, Patron Reposado tequila (I came DAMN close to splurging $95 for a huuuuuuge bottle of the anejo, but I resisted, damn me, I resisted), and finally some now-legal real absinthe, which rather helped enhance the experience of LOST Season 2, let me tell you.

I essentially spent about as much money in that trip that I would buying back issues and commissioning Two-Face drawings from artists, so yeah, I think Baltimore is out. Besides, SPX is around the corner. And this year, that one will be far more deserving of my time, energy, and cash, ohhh yes.

Sorry, Baltimore. I guess Frank Cho and I won't be reprising our running theme of "Hefner! How are ya! I still owe you a drawing, don't I?" But then, we'll have plenty more years to do that one.

Dunno when I'll next be able to hit up a big convention. San Diego will almost certainly conflict with my Canadian tour (assuming I get in), as might Dragon*Con, which I'd never been to but probably should considering, like, ten of you peeps here on my f-list went. I felt decidedly left out. My nerd self needs the occasional convention experience. I just don't think I can do it alone anymore.
thehefner: (Bill the Butcher: They Tuk Er Jerbs!)
Once I saw the photograph* accompanying the A.V. Club's coverage of Comic Con, an unpleasant thought occurred to me, and I immediately sought verification by calling up [ profile] angrylemur, who actually is attending Nerd Prom.

I asked her, "How many Heath Ledger Jokers have you seen?"

Unflinchingly, and with a telling weariness, she replied, "Too many to count."

Yep, exactly as I feared.

Y'know, going to Ren Fest these past couple years, I've noticed that there always at least two Captain Jack Sparrows. Ren Fest peeps, you can verify this, can you not? How many do you see on any given day? How about season?

Now, I'm far from a Ren Fest purist, and while I love dressing up for photos and whatnot, I generally have little interest in outright cosplay. But it seems to me that the Captain Jack Sparrows (who also go to comic cons that way) and the Heath Ledger Jokers are cut from the same cloth: specifically, I mean "poseur douchebag with no sense of originality" cloth. I hear they sell it at Jo-Ann Fabrics now.

Seriously, how lame do you have to be to put so much time and effort in a Jack Sparrow or Heath Ledger Joker costume? Christ, people, show a little effort. But no, I fear we're just gonna be seeing more and more of these unimaginative, lame-o geeks in the coming years.

To a lesser extent, what's up with people who dress as Stormtroopers? Like, just regular ol' Stormtroopers, just like the same boring old Stormtroopers year in year out. What's the point? Aren't you trying to stand out and be cool?

I mean, look, Darth Vader's always gonna look awesome, but really, why would you want to be yet another plain ol' regular Darth Vader when instead you could be doing something like this:

title or description

Really. What's the point of being a geek if you're just going to be boring and vapid like everybody else? We could all learn a lesson from the awesomeness that is Hello Kitty Darth Vader.

God. And some people wonder why I dress up as Bill the Butcher at Ren Fest.** Christ, I should just take this as my cue to dress that way all the time. Just to provide some karmic balance.

*And really, what is up with that picture? Who's he trying to be: Griffin Dunne as Heath Ledger as the Joker?

**Well, aside from the fact that it makes me look AWESOME.

September 2012

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