Thursday, April 22, 2010

C2E2 2010: Force Baloney

I went to the big time Comic Convention, C2E2, last weekend. It was pretty intense. I barely slept, ate little, and made constant moves in and through Chicago. Overall, I think it was a huge success, despite the fact that I didn't achieve any professional goals. I pitched those out the window almost as soon as I got there. In fact, Friday, when I rolled up onto the con floor, approaching the giant crazy huge big business displays of Marvel and DC, I immediately felt kind of nauseous. I haven't really gone to many big time cons in a while, and I kind of forgot how heavily the presence of commercial forces holds sway. I made my way to Artist Alley as quickly as I could.

Found my dudes M Gun and A Mech right away. Kicked it for a minute, then made my way around the floor. Found King Gum and Food One shortly after and proceeded to squat at their tables for most of the show. It was a total blast to hang out, and I'm grateful to have these decade long unbreakable friendships that feel like we just saw each other yesterday even though sometimes it's been years. Kindred Spirits. Comrades in Arms.

It's good to see evolution happening, Jim Mahfood's art has gotten so thoroughly buckwild and completely free in the past few years. I was knocked out looking at his originals. Seeing him or Dave Crosland draw for people is like watching brain-flowers growing in celebration hyperspeed. By comparison, I feel like a thuggish barbarian: heavy handed and brutal. A colossal mess of breaking things, falling apart. It's fleeting though, because I look around and notice that Jim and Dave, and a handful of others, they're pretty much out there way way way ahead of the pack.

For the most part there's a very strong sense of boredom looming over the majority of the tables in Artist Alley. I see the same big boob drawings, same bad ugly ideas perpetuated, same blank stare on the face behind the table. I see the dude who did one decent drawing ten years ago, got slapped on the back, and has been shilling that single move over and over and over since that day. He's happy, he's stoked, people LOVE that move. I realize this world definitely needs a thuggish barbarian, bringing the heavy brutality to the table. Maybe I love the fact that that's my role, that that's my position to take. Maybe the thing that occurs to me most over the course of looking at what washed up on the shores of Lake Michigan on Friday was "At Least I'm Not That Guy". Which, maybe that makes me a jerk. I don't mean to sound down on Artist Alley, but... Goddamn.

I did have some genuinely legit positive experiences. Saw Ivan Brandon for the first time in ages, but then barely hung out. He did give me a copy of the VIKING Hard Cover though, and it's as unreal and amazing as I expected. I met Eric Canete! One of my all time favorite dudes. Again, way ahead of the pack. His art is so full of intensity, so dynamic and killer. Looking at his originals, his pages, it was like a 16 week course in Drawing Like You Mean IT, packed into a few minutes. I rapped with Gary Gianni, and again, it felt like going to school for a bit. I actually really loved that conversation. I met Guy Davis, whose work has been a constant companion and influence on me for a very long time. I chatted with Jill Thompson for a minute about Beast of Burden. Saw Jamie S. Rich, who is totally OLD now. I think his Grandkids where there, dressed as Jedi Younglings. Saw Ignatz and EISNER AWARD WINNER Nate Powell! What a dude! I gripped Swallow My Whole, and we talked about growing into full time artists. I love that dude. He's another guy that I've only really met a couple times, but it feels like we've known each other since we were 15 or something. He was at Top Shelf's booth, which was absolutely holding it down in the belly of the beast. I never found Jose G and Mike Huddleston's table, but I saw them around, and then again at the afterparty Saturday night.

There was also a shining moment, what seemed like a half hour or so, but was really probably only just a few minutes. Andy and Ivan's table was next to some dude that had a line of people all weekend, so this line would inevitably stretch in front of their business and make it impossible for anybody to look at their stuff. At one point while I was there hanging with Andy, I noticed this little dude, maybe 7 or 8 years old waiting in line. He was just kinda looking at us so I said "Sup, Dude?". That was really all it took. He started talking about how The Force wasn't real, and it was all just made up- WELL NOW, Andy told him No Way, and pointed at me and told him I knew all about how The Force IS REAL... because I'm a Jedi. This, of course, launched into a really fun and hysterical conversation about The Force and how to use it (to find my car keys when they're lost). Mom gave us his sketch book, and I sketched a little weird big eared cat portrait, and Andy drew a full on R2D2 while the back and forth was happening. This little guy at one point said "The Force is Baloney", which led to us calling each other "Force Baloney", then "Force Macaroni", then "Force Anchovy" and finally, "Force Spumoni" which I don't think he even believed exists because how could there be an Ice Cream that tastes like FEET?!? At any rate, it was awesome, and a serious highlight of the Con for me. Engaging with a little dude about Baloney, and The Force, and making the show experience fun. It was great.

I was staying with a friend that used to live in Cleveland, Erin. Her, Andy MacDonald, and I killed a dinner at this awesome spot called Handlebar. They make their own pickles, and we split an order of the Fried Pickles, which were bangin'! I highly recommend this spot if you're ever in Chicago. The menu was all out Vegan/Veg stuff, and really good. I didn't do any other real Chicago-ish things while I was there, except hang out at a crowded bar, which, I was actually falling asleep for most of that though. Pretty uneventful. I did spend a lot of time driving around the city. I liked that, for the most part. Driving down Lake Shore in the afternoon, seeing it all at a slight distance... it's amazing. Driving deep down any street across neighborhoods is also pretty amazing. Maybe that's just me, maybe people hate traffic. I kinda get into it.

Saturday night was the Pop Cultour thing at Reggie's where Food One, King Gum, Jose G, Mike Huddleston, David Mack, Ben Templesmith, and CZR PRZ rocked some live art while DJs played ridiculous music. It was a lot of fun. Again, watching all those dudes draw, especially all huge like that, at a club, surrounded by drunk ass drinkies, while loud hip hop music blasts... it's something. I may have overstayed my welcome, but I think we peaced out just in time.

After all that, I didn't hit the Con on Sunday. I just headed out to my sister's house in the middle of nowhere (seriously, it's an hour and a half from Chicago) at 3am. Slept in my car for an hour or so before having breakfast with my nieces and nephew and then driving home all day Sunday.

Then I slept for 18 hours. Then spent a week in a stupor.

Now I have to put together CMD7.

No comments: