July 2009


I’m fiendishly trying to prepare everything that needs to be prepared for my first trip to San Diego Comicon, the annual comic/geek movie Mecca held each July.  I get a pretty solid dose of the comic convention scene at New York Comicon each year, so I’ve never felt too bothered about not having attended SDCC (as it’s generally known), but with an actual book that actually exists in actual stores, it’s time to make the pilgrimage.  I’ll be signing copies of Strongman and meeting whoever wants to chat with me all four days of the con.  Here’s the schedule:

Thursday, July 23 – 11:30 AM – 1 PM (joined by the book’s artist, Allen Gladfelter)

Friday, July 24 – 11:30 AM – 2:30 PM (joined by Allen for the last hour and a half of that)

Saturday, July 25 – 3:30 PM – 5 PM (with Allen)

Sunday, July 26 – 3:30 PM – 5 PM (there’s a chance I might not be able to make this due to flight times, but Allen will still be there)

As I mentioned, I’m trying to get a number of things ready – SDCC is a huge opportunity to show off existing and upcoming projects.  Here’s my to-do list:

1. New Strongman promo poster highlighting positive reviews since the book came out.  Status: done, but I haven’t been to Kinko’s yet to get it printed.

2. 27 Pitch Art. Status: I (finally) have the colored and final art, but I have to lay in the letters and get it printed.

3. 27 Written Pitch.  Status: I have a draft partially done, but I have to improve it.  This is an exceptionally difficult task – perhaps more on it later – but it needs to be finished.  This is one for tonight.

4. Strongman 2 ashcan.  Status: I don’t really know.  The idea is to print up the first 11 pages of Strongman 2 in a mellow format (usually just sheets of 8.5×11 done at the local Kinko which are folded in half an stapled), include some of Allen’s sketches and call it a day.  They can be sold for a few bucks at the con, and serve as a nice mini-ad for Volume 2 and can even generate a little cash to offset costs.  I don’t have a lot of control over this, since I don’t know how much Allen has actually completed.  I’m going to check in with him tonight to see.

I also have to pack, which can be sort of a bear for a trip like this.  But still, I’m excited.  See you on the other side, unless I decide to update from the Con.

Looking back, late June through the first half of July is somewhat blurry.  I traveled a bit (for once not book-related, although more on that in a moment), did a lot of work, prepped for and pulled off a pretty big gig and… now it’s July 17.

Anyway, this update’s supposed to be about a few things that struck me from the few days I spent in Arizona at the beginning of the month.  First, if you ever happen to be in Scottsdale, Arizona, try to make time to see Taliesin West, which was Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home, and the place he was living when he died at age 90.  I’m not sure the images at that link do it justice (nor do my own snapshots), because it’s really the little touches of genius that make it an amazing place to see.  The average person has very little control over the architectural details of the place where they live.  Either it’s an apartment – essentially a series of boxes – or if it’s a house they almost certainly aren’t the person who designed it down to the last detail.  It was pretty revelatory to see the way FLW designed his home – everything is convenient, comfortable, beautiful, serene… and surprising.  Around every corner is an unexpected bit of design, from a fire-breathing dragon sculpture (that actually breathes fire – it’s hooked up to a propane tank, apparently) to a tiny fountain in just the right spot.  It made me want to become extremely wealthy – it’s the only way I could see myself being able to live in a place like that.

I also really enjoyed Sedona, which is a little New Age/spa town about 2.5 hours north of Phoenix.  Incredible red rock formations tower over the town, which was built in a sort of valley or depression between them.  At the bottom of the valley is a small creek, and my hotel was built next to it.  The climate changes from HOT (over 100 every day I was in Arizona, which wasn’t entirely surprising as it was late June) at “street level” in the town to very cool and pleasant down by the creek.  It’s oasis-esque, and my memories of that place will stick with me for a long time.

I liked the desert (and there were some aspects of it I LOVED) – but next time I’ll go in February.  The worst day, it hit 111.  It doesn’t matter how much water you drink, or whether you’re sitting by a pool.  Sure, it’s a dry heat, to quote the old cliche, but whatever.  I could feel my thoughts getting sluggish, and all I wanted was to COOL DOWN.  It got to the point that I would avoid going outside in the same way you would avoid putting your hand on a hot stove.  A bunker mentality arose very quickly.  Closest comparison I have personally is being snowed in.

I’m off to San Diego next week for my first run at Comicon.  I think it’ll be… something.  I want it to be productive first and fun second, but I’m sure I’ll get some of both.  I’m sharpening my Sharpies – hopefully they’ll get some use.  More on Comicon and my plans for it in the next post.

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