Saturday, June 28, 2008

Using Photos and Blue Wash Blacks

In the next issue of DRAW!, Bret Blevins and I are doing our Comic Book Bootcamp article on working with photos. The page above is from an issue of The Destroyer (better known as Remo Williams to you)I did around 1990, fresh from my stint sharing Al Williamson's studio. At that time I was really into doing the "Classic American Realist Style" as I call it, following in Al's steps and the steps of the great American realistic Comic strip artists like Alex Raymond and Stan Drake, etc.

One of the tools these artists employed to create such believable artwork was the use of photography for backgrounds and for figure work as well, often shooting the photos themselves, and like Al, often using themselves and friends as models.

In the page above I shot the pictures of the truck and the background myself, walking around then West Philly neighborhood I lived in at the time near U-Penn. Then after getting the pics developed I drew them down on the page using my Art-O-Graph 360 projector. Then using a blue wash, made from a light blue india ink, i washed in the black tones instead of using a pencil.

I stole this idea from Bret, who got it from looking at some old art and noticing that the artist used the blue was to "spot their blacks" instead of using the pencil to shade them in. the idea is that is kept the page cleaner and you could put the blacks in faster too. The ink was diluted to a color close to non-photo blue, so it wouldn't show up once it was shot for reproduction. Al even did this on some of his old strips to indicate where he wanted to put the zip-a-tone, or Ben-day dot screens. The blue wash you can see on the pencils above is a bit spotty due to the old xerox copy, but below you can see how Al handled the inks in his usual spectacular manner.

This "old-time" process was 15 years ahead of what many cartoonist do now by printing out the pencils in non-photo blue on the comic paper and then either going straight to inks, or tightening up the pencils. That's how I do a great majority of my work now. It's amazing how often as an artist you will think you've come up with a "new way" of working only to find somebody else thought of it 30 years before you did.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Quasar 10 Cover Sketch

Another drawing from the Vault of Manley, this time and unused sketch for Quasar 10. I forgot how many of these unused covers ideas I had done over the years. Instead we went with Q-man almost getting his arms cut off for his power bands like that scene with Farrah Fawcette cutting up Michael York in Logan's Run.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

July Creepertins Done

Ok, like I promised, here is the finished strip for July. I liked this one because I got to add some creepy blacks to it and I like drawing the goofy side-kick Doyle has. I also changed Doyle's name from Driscol in the first story I did because it's too long and takes up room in the balloons. I'm constantly trying to pare down the writing on the strip and shorter names are better for that reason.

Creepertins Pencils

Well it's that time of the month again, time to do my Creepertins strip for the Delaware Valley Magazine. It's always a bit of a challenge to come up with something that will stand alone, 30 days apart, and yet reveal something more about the characters. I think this one does that. Sometimes I just for for a quick joke, like last month's strip.

Next I'll ink this up, color it,and it's on it's way....

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


This is a drawing I did for my buddy Mark Schultz way back in 1987-88 when he was just first starting to do his Xenizoic Tales comic. In those days I was sharing Al Williamson's studio with Bret Blevins, and Mark used to stop up to hand out and work sometimes. I always loved what he was doing and one of the things we artists often do is to trade each other drawings or give drawings as gifts. I'd rather have a drawing than just about any other present. At that time I had also tried to have a go with my first self-published comic doing Wally Wood's Ani-man character along with Bill Pearson, the executor of Wood's estate. That never happened and so since Mark was a big Woody fan like myself, I did this drawing for him. Unfortunately this copy I found is slightly cropped.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Unused Quasar Cover Idea

While searching through the Manley Vaults I came across this cover rough for Issue #9 of Quasar which puts this around 1988-89. That issue featured Modock fighting the Q-man. But here I think the idea was still him fighting Modame, the female Modock, big-head? I don't remember now if Gruenwald changed his mind and that's why the cover was changed. Back at that time I usually did two or three cover roughs and submitted them to the editor. This one also had the Statue of Liberty in it, which is fun, but difficult to draw. I did find a book at some point on lady Liberty, but there was a battle that took place with Quasar inside the statue fighting Modoc who was outside. What a problem to stage! It was a real pain in the ass to try and find reference on that in the pre-internet days. You were limited to whatever you could find in the library or bookstore. I seem to remember that the statue was also closed at that time for repairs,making a photo trip there impossible. The web makes a lot of this stuff easier now as far as searching for reference goes, though they don't do comics like Quasar anymore. I made sure to leave plenty of room for copy on the bottom right as well.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Philadelphia Sketch Club Sequential Show

Last Sunday was the first Sequential show competition at the PSC. The Competition was open to all local cartoonist/illustrators and Rich Harrington who organized the show along with my buddy, Jamar Nicholas, put the word out through the grape vine and Craig's list. I was asked to juror the show. We had well over 30 entries from many local cartoonists in catagories from Comic book, comic strip, cover, pin-up and graphic novel. One of the great things about this was the fact I got to meet a lot of the local cartoonist and illustrators who love to cartoon living in the great Philly area I had never known about or met before. I am an unofficial member of the PCS, the Philly cartoonist Society headed by Jeff Kilpatrick, but it turns out there is another local group as well.

Man, there are a lot of cartoonists in Philly. The show was a success and so the hope is that next year we'll run the competition again and get a lot more entries. After the awards were given many of the cartoonist did what we love to do, we sat around and drew and had a few brews and rubbed kneaded erasers together and compared techniques. It was a fun event and I enjoyed getting to see and meet a lot of local artist, this is really the heart of what makes the PSC such a great organization and fun to be a part of.

Rich Harrington, your's truly and Jamar Nicholas

Thursday, June 19, 2008

No Heroes

I sad to have to pull out of attending the Heroes Con this year. A few things have popped up, the first main one being the stray cat, Scavee that I adopted when he walked into my house last Thanksgiving, was diagnosed with feline leukaemia yesterday. And I don't know what the final prognosis is for him yet as the vet is running more blood tests.

Add to that the fact I need to finish this issue of DRAW! for July release and I had two jobs suddenly come into the studio.

More later...

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Quasar Issue 10-Final

Here are the final three pages from Issue 10. Man, what a lot of drawing that issue was, but it was also fun at the time.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Quasar Part 7

Enough babymen--back to posting some more of Quasar 10 today. This was the best part of the story for me as I got to draw Captain Marvel, one of my fave characters from when I was just getting into comics. I loved, and still do the work of Gil Kane, and he did great work on that series. When ever I got to draw one of the characters I read as a kid, or ink an old pro, like I eventually did with Gil Kane on DC's Captain Marvel no less--, I felt like I had really arrived, I was really working in comics, or the comics I wanted to be a part of which is the best of the Silver Age. That's the esthetic, the skill level I strived for as a cartoonist, to be as good as the group of artists working in that era.

Hell, I still miss color dots , sometimes.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Wolverine's Hairy Nipple

Seems my last post got some people talking, and linking, which is always good. And a lot of people seem to be feeling the way I do when it comes to the state of the state of the business side of comics, and of course some feel defensive and don't agree at all.

Anyone making their daily bread as a pro comics creator is also I'm sure dealing with these ideas and problems. I don't care if you are Charles Burns or Jim lee,or one of the hundreds in this profession trying to make your living from your craft. We are all geeks to some extent, that's why we love anything, comics, sports, the beatles, etc. But the direct market is just the result now of something unhealthy, which is sad. But it has been sad a long time, that I write about any of this is not news.

The babymen of course will cry the most, cry for Wolverine's hairy tit, but suckle as they must, the return is bitter, and they know it. I just have to speculate if the reason things are so F'd up is because as a mass, the mental make-up of many in the direct market is to resist change at any cost? So, the result is a constant withering and to be frank, if one book starts selling better it has to come at the cost of some other book since they are not growing new readers. Readers are addicted yet unsatisfied, god how they cry about each new thing, new cross-over--yet they still buy it. I never understood that mentality, the guy who buys every issue of Spider-man or 56 Secret Storm War, yet hates it, but has to have it, has to stock it. We are doomed by too many of these guys and that's what hurts the business of comics, which does effect the art of comics in the end or ones ability to afford to make your living at it.

I know for many it's old news the things I am saying, or ideas they have already been thinking about, bitching to friends about,and this is also something publishing in general is dealing with--steady, yearly decline and a rapidly changing world. Five years ago you couldn't get any of the companies to hardly even using digital lettering, heck nobody used FTP.

There was no way you could scan your work and send it in. Today just things like that and the ability to do that means the difference between being able to get work or not, and of course are lowering the price on the publishers end, not having to pay for Fedex,etc., but now you must have the computer, scanner, ftp and DSL, cable, etc. And this is not always a bad thing either, but it does add cost to my end of production that John Buscema never had to consider.

But that digital wave has hit everyone now and it's sucking away revenue, and not everyone can hang onto the rocks. I suppose it's like the perfect storm in some regards. Dot com bust, 9/11, then the bad economy--the war, at the same time things speed up and the new generation comes along born digital, add in a hefty dash of the globalization of mass culture, a lot of shit starts seemingly to change fast. But the wave has been coming...One of the things you are struck by now if you are not a myopic babyman is how the entertainment culture has a much more harmonious feel globally. In every country now from Asia to the west, kids are reading Narutto. When I was in China last year, what were the kids reading in the manga cafes? Death Note, One Piece and Narutto. A buddy of mine from France says the same thing has happened there, the kids don't read Titin like they did nope, their Tintin is Narutto.

Now I'm not trying to bag on Narutto, and I have read some of it and can see why kids get into it, and one of the things that struck me was the fact that most modern kids, including most of my 19-20 something students HATE black and white films! There are the rare exception of course, but most babymen also hate black and white Indy comics too. Yet globally this generation eats up all the black and white manga they can get, and not once have I heard a manga kid say, "oh, I won't buy it unless it's in color."

So if modern readers will read small, off format (not bagable or boardable) comics in the multitude, why can't the direct market direct itself to get those readers into the pool? Why do they turn up their noses? I know some good stores don't, but they are by far the minority, maybe what, 10%. And as a person working in this market, a vendor basically, how can I survive if my clients won't grow their audience, my audience? And now everything is going the way of the path of least payment. last week one of my students in the CE class I teach told me about this site where you can download the current Japanese animae shows for free.

How do you compete with free?

The irony is that there are a lot of cool comics now, lots of good looking books and maybe more variety now than there was certainly in the 90's, yet anyone doing a non-superjock comic is hard pressed to sell anything approaching 10,000 copies. That's a big rub.

Big companies, big global entertainment companies are now getting their products all over the world. So, Disney as an example gets anything is does or buys, brands and redistributes everywhere, and while the companies like Marvel and DC have the most recognizable characters they are global with cartoons, movies and toys mostly. They do do overseas print editions, but face it, they don't hold anything near the audience of manga. And now I or anyone else dosen't need Disney to get entertainment, I don't need Fox, Warners etc. I just need to have an interest, high speed internet and a decent laptop.

So I'm interested in hearing what some of you think, Babyman or not. I think we are on the edge of the new world. The music biz wet sailing off the flat earth, will print publishers follow, or will they all go Zuda?

Does reading with a Zuda-like experience give you the same intimate feeling of a book? what does that do to the hobby of the babymen, the collectors, guys who want stuff bagged and boarded, signed, stored? Maybe that isn't important to most of the modern readers. I suppose if you are reading in Borders and not paying, you are a different type of fan, and in 3-4 years will you have moved on like the fans of old used to in the traditional comic fandom?

Monday, June 09, 2008


Much ruffling of feathers and a lot of sort of 'sour" news about the comics biz in recent weeks including the down-sizing of Tokyopop, the big tent-pole manga publisher and the slack-luster Wizard cons and what seems to be in a sense, a general slowness and malaze in the business of comics. The summer seems hot, hot, hot, but I just gather comics are not as hot. Despite there being at least 3 big superhero movies this summer I doubt that will swing up sales in the average comic shop in any big or long lasting way. And people still seem surprised by that as well. The only people who stand to benefit are the companies through their licensing---if the movie has legs. Otherwise it will be like Fantastic Four II, the cosmic energy sucked away fast, leaving lots of shitty toys and stuff nobody wants, including another sequel.

I am not surprised to read that Tokyopop was cutting back in such a big way, basically 50% of it's output and almost half of it's employees. It's always bad when people are let go, that's never a good thing, but I guess I am not surprised. At the local bargain book store near me, you know the kind, the type of store that springs up quick in a empty retail space in a strip mall like those Halloween stores, there were huge dumps of cheap manga across the back of the store.

All Tokyopop and Viz, etc. When I saw that, I knew there must be a lot of bleeding going on, and on top of that the manga section in my local Borders has shrunk, no longer having the two large isles plus the tables covered with the latest releases.

I have been saying to a lot of my comic peeps that there is just way too much stuff, we are so over saturated in media and entertainment that there has to be some eventual contraction. I think because we have so much of everything, nothing is special. I think most of us are just a bit jaded, and how can you really blame us. If you have been around as long as I have, well, you've seen so much that it takes a bit more for something to be 'special". I also thinks this even applies to the younger set, and in their case they have always been over saturated, the girls reading stuff in Borders, well, you get used to reading stuff for free because you always have been able to do it.

One of the things I have not seen anyone talking about ( maybe they have and I haven't seen it) is the return factor. With 2-3 years of huge growth into the book chains by trades, be it manag or superjock mean that there was always a big chance down the road that there could be big returns. I think most comic people are optimists. It's natural, that's why this material appeals to us. We all want 'happy days are here again." We want there to be some area where the medium is growing. But maybe we have to face the fact that we just can't keep growing in the same way, especially in light of how the younger generation goes about obtaining a huge amount of their entertainment--for free. Just look at the record industry. I know most of my students get their music for free as well as their comics and videos on website or places akin to a Limewire. they don't have a romance to the format that I do, that is clear.

One of the things I think the retailers and biz people in comics really miss is the perspective at times from outside the bubble of the social network they are in and as a working artist.

It's clear that teens to late 20 somethings don't buy entertainment in the way I did when I was that age. I had to buy things because there was no internet, heck even I use limewire myself, though I still buy a lot of magazines, books and music legit.

The last several years the big word in comics has been Manga! Manga this, manga that, animae this, animae that, and the fact, it's really become mainstream. manga is what comics were for people of my generation when we were kids. Most of my students who read comics, read manga. That demographic is clearly displayed in cons like Wizard Philly. That con is a babyman fest, alllll about the old superheroes and nada about what is really mainstream, which is manga. The population is mostly older white guys and guys down into their late 20's. In contrast, the last NYCC was a huge mix that included lots of teenage girls and lots on animae and manga stuff,a refection of my average class make-up.

There has always been to my mind a stubborn denial by most in the direct market that the direct market has become what I called The Walled City of Babymania. A literally walled off sub-sub culture of fetish collectors, out of the general publics view and taste. In the same decade that the and superhero comics disappeared from the 7-11's and the easy impulse buyer, and the spec-collector, manga has grown and grown because it's on TV and easily available where most people go.

I remember in the 80's when a few hardcore fans started bringing things over and the animae fandom started. I even dated a gal briefly who was into all that captain harlock stuff. I think people in comics are so desperate to see a ship on the horizon, some hopeful news because comics as biz has been suck for the last 15 years since the speculator boom–burst, yet they still deny the evidence in their face. So they go to shows like Wizard, where everybody is selling the same shit, the same fucking Wolverine issues, same dolls and toys to the same aging crowd, year after year and that crowd shrinks year after year. And then they bitch that the business sucks. Duh!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Art Out Weekend

Despite the broiling temperatures this early in June, I spent a lot of this weekend walking the streets of Philly, feeling more than a bit like Frosty the Snowman melting away, block by block. There was a lot going on art wise this weekend in Philly. First was the Annual Philadelphia Sketch Club Member's Show, hosted by the Newman Gallery, one of the oldest, if not the oldest gallery in Philadelphia. As a new member of the Sketch Club I had a painting, The Arizona sunset, in the show. You can look back a bit on the blog and see it close up.

At the same time this weekend is the annual summer Rittenhouse Square Arts Festivalwhere artist from all over the US come and display their work, for sale.
The summer heat and the economy may have kept some people away this year according to some of the artists I talked too. To be honest this is the type of show that you won't find any aggressive of controversial or edgy art. It's nice art, safe art. I didn't recall seeing any nudes. It seemed that it was mostly landscapes with a few artist doing figurative work. The best painters in the show in my opinion were 2-3 Chinese artist. They all had been classically trained in China, and had emigrated to the US. It's clear to see that the classical training which is still at the root of the art schools in China gave these artist a lot of facility in technique. I bumped into two friends from PAFA in the park, both painters and one of them said he didn't see any art in the festival, but he's young...and mean.

Again, even with the Chinese painters nothing was edgy, just nice paintings of Chinese girls in ceremonial dress, still lifes or landscapes, but their paint-handling was clearly superior, even if the subject matter was pretty prosaic and that really stood out. The human figure is clearly something that is really under represented at this show, and was last year as well from what I remember.

But despite the heat the park way busy with people having fun, looking at art, walking dogs, girl watching and a lively group of breakdancers took turns popping, locking and spinning through the hot afternoon drawing a steady mixed crowd on on-lookers and a constant smattering of applause. Funny how this street dancing has come back along with another huge wave of taggers and grafitti artists. there seems to be a fresh crop of kids you get into this stuff every few years.

The Sketch club show was packed, since every memeber is elligable to enter a pice in this non-juried show, there was a lot of memeber and art on display and members in attendance. The nice thing about this is having the show in such a nice, distinguished gallery and to get to see what the other memeber's art looks like.
My painting was hanging all the way over in the far corner, but I had many, many people come up and tell me how much they liked it and somone might actually purchase it. But to have your art in a gallery that has sold Pyles, Wyeths, and I believe even a Rockwell is honor enough.
Like Tony and Paulie Wallnuts, Jamar and I hung out and waited for the artists to come in and drop off their "envelopes".

After socializing and schmoosing with fellow members I headed over to the Sketch club itself to hook up with the Grand Poobah himself, Jamar Nicholas. Fortified with a fresh venti,Ice, Soy, Chia from Starbucks I dripped my way over to help Jamar as we are having a comic and sequential art show at the Sketch Club and they asked me to be the juror for this show, which is cool. Jamar was on hand to help co-run the show and to log in the entries as the artist showed up to drop their entries off. later we were joined by Rich Harrington and we logged in all the pieces and then we lined them all up and I juried the show, picking the winners. The reception is next Sunday. For a while it was just Jamar, Andrew Hart and myself, then Jeff Kilpatrick from the Philadelphia cartoonist society showed up. It was funny all of us hanging out in this great old American and Philadelphia establishment, which didn't even allow women as members until 1992-93. Now it allows cartoonist!
Jamar logs in the final pieces.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Quasar Part 6

Three moree pages from Quasar Issue 10 today.These pages were a lot more fun because I got to do some big super jock action! In a way looking back on these pages this story sort of reminds me of a Superman story because Q-man alway had that cape. And a cap always adds a dynamic element to a figure, a design element to lead the eye in a composition, but it also complicates it. Capes need to be dynamic and not some ugly, flacid shape that confuses the eye. Kirby is once again the King of this with his invention of that dynamic, starched cape he gave everyone. No cape drapes from the body in the way he drew them, but what he did was create this little archetype that we artists all borrowed to some degree when we do superheroes.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

More Quasar...

Two more pages today from Issue #10. Another thing strikes me about looking back at this work, the amount of story packed into the avergae issue of a comic then. I pick up books today and you don't even get a good bathroom read out of most. I wonder, how do the average 37-year-old comic readers feel about this? Are they even aware of it, feel that slight pinch of unfulfillment, like you could have another helping after the main course?

Then look at the manga books. The avergae reader really gets a big chunk, so I figure they must be way more satisfied as readers?

I guess for the most part, that older way of telling stories is done? I remember a lot of 7-8 panel pages in my early days, Mark Gruenwald was a writer who really put a lot of story in each issue and I think since we grew up reading that type of story and storytelling that seemed normal. the bulk of the comics my generation read had 6-7-8 panels a page. Kirby had that standard six panel grip for most of his comics. When the Image boys hit, story merely became a suggestion to string together pages of mostly pin-up style art, and to my mind, besides Erik Larsen, stortelling was never the main strenght of any of the founding Image artists. However, fans didnt seem to care and were almost at times able to project into the comic the missing elements or ingredients, or maybe that stuff isn't really all that important to 90% of comic readers, at least back then, if the eye candy had enough high-frutose to it.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Your Second Life

I have been getting some very good feedback on my post from the Philly con this past weekend and it brought up some thoughts on the show and the bigger cultural shift I see going on in the last few years.
The thing I noticed is that the costume element is the thing the media picks up on, all the local coverage in Philly basically played up this angle and the TV and movie actors..they could give a fuck about comics and artists, it's the cosplay-geek in a costume angle that appeals to them it seems. My theory about why this is happening is that it's because Halloween is such a huge holiday-soon to be as big as Christmas, adults now dress up. LOTS of adults. Geek Culture has really invaded mainstream of American life almost like crank and become acceptable, "normal" if you will.

People 60 years old play video games. People having these 'alternative" lives or second lives away from their daily life as accountants and bankers, teachers and moms is a lot more common than we probably think they are. Look at all the fat chicks that love the fantasy fair shit, dress up as wenches--fat acceptance! The Fairy con, the Suicide girls, you name it. some people use this maybe as way to gain acceptance,empower themselves, or esacpe, to be able to express something, be it fantasy, fetish or just the need to let the shit inside--out.

There is a huge need for so many of us to have a life that seems better, not so mundane, we want to escape to the fantasy world where 5 dollar gas, Aids ravenging continents, polar bears drowning, isn't every day news. I think globally this thing has just exploded because of all of these issues and people just don't want face the ugly, the grey, the sickness and feel powerless.

I'm sure if I was smarter, a PHD egg-head, I could make a zillion bucks off of this, but I think within a decade people will live these fantasy designer lives, be able to live a Theme Park Life. Groups of people will be able to live in these fantasy communities. I know that because I drew and lived in a bad neighborhood as a kid, had to see lots of violence and at times felt powerless and trapped, the fantasy of Superman or Batman naturally appealed to me. Who wouldn't want impervious skin when the drug dealers next door started shooting at each other and the bullets hit your house? Who wouldn't want to be able to put the fire out with your super-breath when the bad guys tried to burn your house twice?
I know why I like fantasy, why it swept me up as a kid.

We all have our reasons.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Philly Wizard-Post Babymen Report

Even Batman had had enough on Saturday and walked the rainy streets of Philly back to the Bat Cave.

Feh. That about sums up mine and the opinion of most folks I know attended this past weekend's Wizard Con in Philly. It was just a lame duck show, and both the shows space and crowds were a lot smaller. I knew something was amiss right away on Friday when we showed up to load in, the banner for the con wasn't hanging outside of the convention center as it has always been in previous years, that just seemed to sum it all up. Even the convention being held on the other side of the convention center had their banner clearly hanging up.

Guess they started cutting corners right off the bat.

There might be a lot of factors as to why this show was lame, maybe it was the rain and tornado warnings on Saturday, maybe the NYC show a month earlier stole the juice, maybe Wizards troubles and decline as an organization also factor, add in the shitty economy and gas prices, con fatigue, what have you. I don't know, but the show basically sucked ass. I'm sure if you were drawing 56 or Spider-Dude you were busier, but the crowd was just not there as it has been and instead of this being a turn-around year, this was the year I think that clearly says this show has seen it's best years and even as a reginal it's one I think you can cross off the list. i live 20 minutes away and next year i doubt I'll be back.I am not a fan in the traditional sense, I don't do shows as a fan, I do them as a pro, a guy who makes his living sometimes as comic artist and an educator, I do them to meet some of my fans, press the flesh, promote Draw!, network and meet my fellow pros and friends. So that I think always makes my experience different from the fan who just wants card signed or to get a sketch from Jim lee, or Kevin Smith and that is always the basis of which I make my reports from.

Even the Man of Steel wondered to himself, "Why did I come this year, do I really need anything?"

I really don't care about panels, I never want to do them when asked and really don't ever attend them, that's just not my thing.

Casual Friday Superman
My buddy Scott Cohn

Cons are a way to promote and do some business if possible, or they used to be. Frankly I think most of that can happen with the interwebs now. For me, at this stage of my career and my life I really just enjoy the social angle, to laugh and yak and have a good time with people I know, love and respect that I don't often get to see in person. I don't have a geek list, I am looking to buy nothing really, I see some cool stuff sometimes, but I am trying to unload the crap have, not get more. I do the show also as a businessman, so that said, my objectives are really different than a typical fan.

Traditionally, Friday is the slow day, Sunday too, but even Saturday was slow-- man, I could have watched grass grow as well as a lot of folks. Unlike NYC, where there was a lot of energy, and women, this show has the dank smell of Mel's Comic other words just hardcore Marvel and DC, no manga to speak of or animae, thus not too many gals walking the floor and not a lot of kids either. No Sony, no game stalls, not the huge card gamers like before. Really, it was clear that is this isn't the last show in Philly,(a much rumored rumor) then they will really have to do something amazing to try and save it next year and with it being scheduled the same weekend as Heroes, I think you can stick a fork in it.
The Baroness beats it back from the reading Terminal through the rainy Saturday afternoon.

Black Manta ties to hail a cab.
Venom shops for bargins

A good con today is about numbers. The volume of people. To get that, you need to expand beyond the Babymen, Wizards core demo. In the past I think they were a bit more aggressive in this area, they had Spike TV, and they had a bigger/broader retailer selection. It's clear that manga and animae are the champs with the younger set, so if you were a Narrutto fan, or Bleach or anything else, there was shit for you at the show. I friend of my buddy Scott, who was an animae and manga fan, said there was slim picking to find on the show floor.

Unlike NYC where you had constant Cosplay all weekend and roving groups of girls and much better mix, Philly had zilch. The feeling by nearly everyone was apparent on their face when you'd see them, "I shoulda' stayed home'. It's always been the case that Wizard has never been that supportive of anything beside the most babyman type shit, the Fathom, the Cyber-belly-whore-tranny looking crap. Super-jocks. But a decade ago you could safely do that as there were enough fans to be that selective and make some serious cake. But it''s clear that now the fans have other places to be, and Philly Wizzer isn't one of them. I'm sure they will say they had a bazillion people, they'll count the hair-lipped Amish gals across the street as attendees, but this was just a lame show and there is no way to spin it.

Dinner at Sang Kee Duck House--the best duck I've ever had!
Harley and Ivy shop
Scott Neely works his magic for the kids.

Alberto Ruiz!

As always the show is easy to attend, really maybe the easiest, their staff is cool, nice, efficient, you can get to the floor easy, park easy, load in and out easy, it's cheap, way cheaper than almost any other big show, by far cheaper than NYC or San Diego.but they have everything this show now lacks. Another plus is that Philly has good east within a few blocks, China town and more. So you should think with all of these plus factors that the show would rock?

I was so bored, I'd get up and walk a bit to relieve my ass from those fucking-nazi-designed folding chairs and so many people were sitting behind their tables with no traffic. I made my money back, and then some,and I hung out with my Philly crew and Alberto Ruiz, and Bobby Chu and his great gang from imagination studios, Ivan and Andy from NYC Mech,so on that angle the show is always fun. The Marroitt bar scene was dead, there were a few after parties, but man, compared to 2-4 years ago, it was a ghost town. But the plus is always eating at Sang Kee Duck House, and we also had great Italian Saturday night.

So I think next year I won't be back, or certainly not as a booth or table guy, maybe I'll rove and hang with buddies because for me that's the show's only saving grace.