Thursday, April 04, 2013

Doodling Flerpy Woops and More Conning Wonder

Work Doodle: Must be Wednesday
A couple of weeks ago I had a rough day at work. Between being antagonized by our company's CTO and issues with a fairly large development project, my Wednesday was not going well. In the middle of everything I sketched out a quick doodle that pretty much summed up the entire day.

Close Quarters Eskrima
I don't like using this space to brag, but, darn it, sometimes (and I mean sometimes) I can be pretty badass:

WonderCon Anaheim 2013 - Day1 - Part 2
When last we left our heroes, or in this case Benni and me, we were finishing up with lunch and ready to go tackle the convention floor. The exhibit hall was spectacular. It was a maze fitting Greek mythology, and I think there was even someone wandering around dressed as the Minotaur. The pathways of the labyrinth were constructed of booths and vendors selling comic book related merch ranging from t-shirts, to miniatures, to posters, to collectible mugs. Even the Christian Comic Arts society was manning a booth, though they must have felt like missionaries in Gomorrah. 

By far my favorite place on the exhibit floor, and where I spent the majority of my time, was artist alley. Each booth presented very different artists with very different styles. Most of it was right up my alley (so to speak) some of it not my cup of tea. The most exciting thing about wandering artist alley for me was the opportunity to meet one or two of the artists I regularly follow on Deviantart. Both of whom were insanely cool, and as the day went on they got to be insanely busy. I think Dark Kenjie might still be icing a hand-cramp. 

We wandered for a bit, right up until it was time to go to the first panel even I attended over the weekend, Quick Draw! This was kind of "Who's Line is it Anyway" meets "Pictionary" for cartoonists. The panel included three cartoonists who would take suggestions from the moderator and from the audience and do a quick drawing of whatever was thrown at them; hilarity ensued. The artists on the panel I attended were Jeff Smith, Scott Shaw, and Bobby London. I took a few pictures.

The first challenge was "draw the best possible version of yourself, draw yourself as you wish you could be." Jeff Smith drew himself with a mustache ala Sergio Aragones, Bobby London drew himself with Popeye arms and great hair. Scott Shaw's idealized self-portrait was...different...He promised that if you stopped by his booth later he would show you what was behind the black bars. My morbid curiosity was screaming about how awesome that would be, but my desire to leave without having to tear my eyes out eventually won the day. 
The next challenges was something I'm pretty sure I've seen on "Who's Line is it Anyway?" The challenge was "If they Did 'It.'" The idea is what if these two cartoon characters, one male and one female, got together and had offspring, what would they look like.

My favorite was Bobby London's who took "Olive Oil" and "Batman." There's a broody little girl who randomly will start singing "Gotham needs me, it needs me, it needs me..."
The next challenge was for the cartoonists to draw what they think is the biggest misconception about being a cartoonist. My favorite from this group was Jeff Smith, in no small part because he worked his most well known character, Bone, into the joke. The highlight of this challenge for me was turning to Benni and saying, "One of them is going to draw a giant dollar sign," I then pointed out Bobby London, "and it will probably be that guy." Sure enough he drew a giant "money bag" with a little doodle of himself looking all happy at the riches being a cartoonist has blessed him with (which it really hasn't). 
The next challenge, and the last one I'll put here, was "what would controversy in Popeye's life look like." The clear audience favorite here, even for all the groans it solicited, was Bobby London's. To be fair, he did draw the regular Popeye comic strip for a number of years. He was apparently fired from that position, which I didn't know until he quipped, "and now you can see why I was fired."
Still, this is hilarious, and as my wife says, "they are an older couple."

It bears mentioning that when Quick Draw! was over Benni and I left the panel room and took an escalator down where we immediately ran into this. The only thing I can say about it is this is categorically something you don't see every day. What this had to do with comic books, I don't know, but it was a fun, surprising thing to walk into. 

After the Quick Draw panel Benni and I left and hit the floor to go buy stuff, and there was lots of it to be bought. At one point we ended up at a booth selling half price trades and I bought a stack of trade paper backs. 

I had a lot of fun taking several more photos of costumes, and for the most part the cosplayers had fun getting their pictures taken. The best cosplayers had obviously invested a lot of time, passion, and money into their outfits, and they were thrilled when people showed an interest.

One of the first cosplayers I photographed once we were inside was this woman in a classic Jean Gray costume. This is old-school Uncanny X-Men from back in the 60's, long before she was called "The Phoenix" and was dying ever other issue.
 There were a lot of Whovians present, myself among them. Where I was wearing a shirt bearing an image of the TARDIS and the words "You never forget your first Doctor," this woman actually dressed up as the TARDIS. There were a couple of other TARDIS costumes wandering around, but I was only able to get the one. When the TARDIS is in human form I believe she prefers to go by "Sexy."
Who doesn't love LeeLoo? Seriously? Not only is this one of my all-time favorite science fiction characters, but the woman wearing her outfit from early in the movie freaking nailed it. The best part was when the guy sitting next to her at the booth started complaining about how all she does is talk about how great chicken is and how much she looooves her multi-pass. Always nice to meet someone who's a fan of the same things you are. 
Let's get this out of the way now; yes, her boobs are epic. Now I've said what everyone's thinking and I can talk about the photo. There were other women dressed as Power Girl wandering around the Con, and all of them were one extent or another, but this woman's costume really caught my eye. Power Girl is supposed to be Kryptonian from an alternate earth with all of the powers of Superman, and of all the women dressed up as Power Girl that first day, the one seen here was the only one with the physique to really pull it off. Also her costume was spot. on. I asked her about it and she made everything herself. My favorite part about this photo is something I didn't see right away. The cosplayer is standing behind a drawing of Power Girl in the same pose she's striking, which is propped up over a photo of her in the Power Girl costume. Overall it's a very cool effect. 

There were a few guys on the floor dressed as Ghostbusters. The guy pictured here was the first one I ran into. Like all of them the proton pack was something he made himself, and it featured blinking lights and LEDs that made it feel really authentic. He was really funny and when I asked him how long it took him to build the proton pack he said, "not counting the years of my childhood spent wishing I could build one?"

Another pair of classic costumes. This time it's Rogue and Psylocke, two of the all-time-great female heroes in the Marvel Universe. 

Not everyone was faithful to the comic books. Some, like the two women pictured here, put their own spin on classic characters. There were other "girl Loki" costumes on the floor, but this one was by far the best, and "girl Thor" was hilarious. 

This may have been my favorite costume all day. This photo doesn't really do her outfit justice, and I'll get to the reason why in a bit, but everything she was wearing was handmade, even the goggles. Most of her costume was leather and lace, both of which are tricky things to work with. She was even carrying a modified Nerf gun made to look like a steampunk revolver. The thing that caught me, though, were her eyes. The contacts really made her stand out, so much so that I first noticed here eating lunch when Benni and I went to grab a cup of coffee. I didn't want to bother her at lunch so I just kept an eye open for her the rest of the day and finally managed to catch her just before the convention staff kicked everyone out for the night. 

That was the end of my first day at Con. I left feeling tired, sore, and definitely lighter in the pocket book, but better than I've felt in a long time. Being in that environment with people who share my interests, passions, and who want the same things I do was a profoundly emotional experience. I left feeling truly, deeply happy for the first time I can remember in a long time, and with an overwhelming sense of belonging. These are my people, and I wish I could spend every day around others just like them. 

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