Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Marty's ECCC 2015

Dedicated to all the basterds who di'n't show:
Blair helped me set up Thursday night. I saw my pal Andy Suriano had a table nearby, so I left him a warning from Big Barda (you remember Andy did that A-MAZE-BALLS Big Barda in color fer me a couple ECCC's back, yah?). I just whipped this basterd out so quick n' easy...thought surely it must bode well fer the weekend's on-demand sketching. T'weren't so, sadly...I had some rocky moments! But then, it's never easy, izzit? 
My first customer was none-other than the hon. Stuart Ng hisself. Such a great guy! He said Dawn of the Dead was the scariest thing he'd ever seen. Then he saw this drawing.
 Grace likes Batman. In this case, Aqua-Batman.

Here is an outstanding example from Rick's amazing array of handmade Monster/Dino/Skeletal Victorian cards. As he said in the comments to the prev. post, he was dealin' all weekend!! Got a magnificent response, which was lovely to see. As were the cards! (Note customer's credit card in hand--I caught this as it was goin' out the door!)

There are two guys who run the marketing company that handles the Con's promotion; they come around every year with a couple of themed sketchbooks. Last year they had me do the lady books--Red Sonja and Black Cat. I remembered being really happy with these, but didn't get any pix...they brought the books around again this year and I was glad to grab a snap. And this year one of them asked me to do a Hellboy, which I did--and it KILLED. Baby Hellboy being held by a WWII era army officer asking for a clean diaper. I did it in color. I took photos of it. And the photos are nowhere to be found. DAM-MIT. The guy loved it so much he took it over to Mignola, who said he loved it (or at least so I was told). Woulda' been nice to hear THAT in person.
I did not vacate my post but for bathroom breaks. On one such sortie, I ran into Andy coming out of the men's room. He looked green. I asked the reason, and he said some poor girl had become violently ill in front of his table and vomited...and not just a little splurter. He showed me a pic (ick). We're talking ochre pool the circumference of a good-sized throw rug. He was waiting on the clean-up, trying to compose himself. I felt for the man. We'd already agreed to swap some work--one of his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle drawings for a FUME with sketch...but given his state, I had to do something a little extra special to lift his spirits. Hence this drawing of Inhumans Cosplay silliness.

 Colin dug the old-school Green Lantern. We decided he should seriously fanboy Neal Adams into a nervous breakdown.

I asked Joe what he dug. He said he wasn't that into superheroes...(my kinda guy!), but he'd been watching a lot of Ingmar Bergman lately...how about a Seventh Seal shout out? He really cracked up when I showed him this. Spent his last $10 for FUME, so I owed him something good.
With the movie ball rolling, Donny jumped in and asked for Snake Plissken. Can you tell I have Donny surprising Snake as the sole occupant of the Presidential Survival Pod?

Tuns out Donny (last name Cates) is a Dark Horse writer. He and pal/partner Elliot expressed admiration for my work, and they thought that if maybe one day something in the future might come up...? I said sounds good--call me!

Rick's pals Paul and Jon came by--super-nice guys. Paul was exasperated that I have yet to beg Mad Magazine for a job (Paul, I'm working on it!). It's Paul who's buying Rick's Creeple card up near the top of this post--he cited the exquisite lighting effects as the deciding factor. A man of rarefied taste!

Speaking of men of rarefied tastes...Ronnie Ashlock, caught facing the crowds with great courage and composure. He looked happier come dinner time that night, at our annual TAG Reunion chow-down. I did a semi-funny sketch of him in knightly garb, but danged if that photo didn't vanish with my Hellboys...no clue how they could've evaporated like that.... 
Probably my fave caricature sketch of the Con: a good likeness, bold n' confident lines, balanced on the page, and funny(ish). Like a real comic pro.

Of the commissions, weirdest was from a promo team sent out on behalf of a musical stage production looking to get some comic book illustrators to do little spot sketches of their show. They had handouts for reference. The story was quite something: Mt. St. Helen's erupts, releasing a giant lizard whose blood infects a young man who, in turn, becomes half-lizard. His nemesis is a ukelele-playing enchantress...while he whittles on the cello. I'm not making this up. They loved the sketch and doubled my "fee." Nice!

And yeah: pet sketches. I will let this one speak for itself. Dudes, Tom Moon got to stand next to me and hear the (very nice, very well-meaning and generously-motivated) commissioner map out what he wanted...11" x 14", color, 5 or so images of same dog...and when I said that was gonna cost $40, he baulked--! But that wasn't the half of it...it was more of the specific directions and strictures...however uneven the final piece, I think Tom will agree I earned that double Jackson! 

This was a gag involving a German Shepherd and a joke from "The Office." I added Dwight to flesh it out even more. Alex seemed happy. $40 well spent!
Overall, a really good time (Blair came along! We stayed in a great hotel downtown! We ate lots of tasty meals! We saw Rick and fam! and Tom n' Patty! And Ronnie n' Hiromi! And I even got to talk to Ron Thompson on the phone--!).

BUT, monetarily, I didn't do quite as well as last year. I put this down to my underwhelming presentation, and lack of a following for FUME (remember, last year I only had prints and sketchbooks--no comic). With my belated prep for this shindig (inexcusable at this level, I know), it was all I could do to get some product on the table. Needed to spend more time thinking about what could get passers-by hooked in and curious...must do better next year--WHEN WE'RE ALL THERE!

BTW, Rick did a great job at this--his presentation was well thought-out, even down to the black posterboard he used to cover the table's surface--it showed his cards off to striking --and effective!--effect. And of course, the doggie-gate mini-grid display wall was genius (we think he should call his publishing imprint "Doggie Gate Press").

That said, it WAS incredibly gratifying to have the positive response I did get for FUME. Those who stopped and looked often dug it (one notable exception: Rick's pal Royden, maker of "Rust," who showed a most TenNappel'ian disinterest in discussing anyone's work but his own--good to know!). Got lots more folk signed up for the mailing list. Also, for the first time ever we (Rick and I both) had buyers of the Monsters n' Dames charity book come by and BUY STUFF. Normally they only stop by to get an autograph (a flattering experience but one that becomes stress-inducing when you're trying to finish a drawing and people are waiting).

All in all, exhausting and elevating. Adding colored markers into the mix made for some rocky times, and I probably spent too much time with my head down working for too long on drawings that weren't paying enough, but...meh, that's where the challenge is.

Oh, one other glaring shortcoming on my part: when potential FUME customers would ask, "So, what's yer comic about?"  I could only stammer idiotically. This continued all weekend (Rick got me out of this jam lots of times--thanks Rick!). Before flying up for ECCC I'd thrown a wild stab in the dark for some celebrity endorsements to put on the back cover (Eric Shannower came thru--thanks, Eric! Ranjo sent...an emoticon). Didn't have the time to get them on this edition, but the one person I didn't know well who I'd asked was Eric Haven, the creator of the "Bed Man" strip that everyone here got such a kick out of (and who was a super-sweetheart when I met him at last year's APE Con). Much to my surprise he said yes. And in one of those great cosmic timing moments, he emailed his write-up as Rick and I were literally tearing down our booth and dragging our carcases out of the Convention Center. It was the perfect tonic to that twilight mood that hits when you're doing a load-out, soused in that post-Con half-elation, half-despair. Here's what he wrote:
 FUME is fun! Marty Davis knows his way around a brush pen. Bookish youngsters, lumpen outer space aliens and self-loathing rabbits all come alive in this collection of tales which shift easily between adolescent angst and the existential dread of adulthood. Fun... and unsettling.
"...Adolescent angst and the existential dread of adulthood." That's it!


Tom Moon said...

Great post! Thanks for showing all the drawings and giving an account for each one. Can you make the font on Eric Haven's review larger? Can barely make out what it says!

Tom Moon said...

I'm up late (it's 12:15) 'cause I've been fixing that continuity error in my comic that has slipped by me for two years! Had to fix it before I can go to sleep tonight.

MrGoodson2 said...

That guy definitely got 40 bucks worth of dog drawings.
I can tell you mad a ton of great connections. Everyone knows you now. I expect this next year to be you turning work down.
Stuart Ng making a special point of coming by is a huge indication of your penetration in the biz at this point.
Sounds like the main thing missing is pitching FUME. Pitch it. Make someone pay you to finish it and make you famous promoting it.

MrGoodson2 said...

That baby Hellboy must be found.

Rickart said...

The Baby Hellboy drawing was AMAZING! We need to look those guys up... they work for the con as PR guys, so they should be easy to track down.
I think that getting work vertical so that people can see it when they walk by is pretty critical. I didn't sell a ton of prints, but I had them up where people could see them and that drew some folks closer in to see what else I had to offer. If someone's eye lingered on the table for more that a couple of seconds I did my quick explanation of what the index cards were.

Davis Chino said...

Tommy--ha! Glad you fixed yr "error" (whatever that may've been--and no, TAG friends, he wasn't telling us what it was).

Is the font too small? I'll change it.

Elz, been meaning to comment on yr great cascade of drawings from a few days back--just behind. I'm loving the comic book stuff--and of course yr sketches are always grad A-1 Prime!

Maybe i was building myself up too much in this post, because I am anything but a "made man." Or even a marginally known figure...but I'm working on it.

I like the idea of having someone else print FUME! But it's the paying me part that seems tougher to ensure.

MrGoodson2 said...


A friend on the Okie Comic Creators , Scott Sackett , wants to buy FUME.

You take paypal don't you?

That email for paypal could be the other thing he wants- your contact info.

MrGoodson2 said...

I'll write you an email to transfer the data.

Rickart said...

Oh, and I should rise to the defense of Royden... I wasn't there for that exchange, so I don't know what went down, but I know that he's a pretty great guy. My guess is that he was in a comic con stupor.

Also, an idea has occurred to me about tracking down the Hellboy image... ECCC has a Facebook page that anyone who has liked it can post on. I'd suggest you post on their that you are looking to track down the owner of that book. I wouldn't be surprised if the guy, or someone who knows who that guy is, gets those posts from the ECCC page.

JMG said...

Awesome WORK!