Con around the corner…
So this weekend comes the first inaugural Pasadena Rock’N Comic Con. Will it be any good? We hope so, since we’re going to be part of it! It will be our second “first”, since we also exhibited at the first Long Beach Comic Con last year. LBCC was a great experience, but on the other hand might be a very different experience than this one, which is not focused on comics so much as, well, just about everything in popular entertainment.
I hope to see at least a few familiar faces (or new but interested faces) there. It looks like our table will be #915, near the middle of the exhibit hall, and will likely be listed in the program as either “Art of Dawn” or “Art of Dawn Wolf”. Our current banner also is for ART OF DAWN rather than Zombie Ranch, although if you get close enough we should have our scale model Cambot displayed.
Besides possibly recruiting a few new fans, or chatting up current ones, I think my main goal at the Con is to see if I can get Jim Steranko to sign my trade paperback collection of his “Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.” comics. The guy ain’t gettin’ any younger, and in my opinion he’s one of the all-time greats of sequential art storytelling. Look at this page, showing a dream sequence from one of his 1969 stories of Captain America, and keep in mind this is no experimental indy comic but right in the heart of the Marvel line-up. Yes, that rampant white space is all part of the original page. Steranko would break any and every rule he felt like if his instincts guided him to do so, and damn if I don’t consider those instincts correct. He had a famous sequence of panels from Nick Fury censored for being too suggestively passionate, and if you go look at the originals they are not at all what you could honestly term pornographic–they just have an eroticism to them that will reach out and grab you by the… well, whatever you like to be grabbed. Even the censored version is striking stuff, perhaps even moreso due to the wink-wink “non-sequiturs” of telephones buzzing and guns in sheaths.
Steranko just seemed to be pathologically incapable of drawing a boring panel sequence, even for scenes where nothing was really happening. Which isn’t to say what he did was inappropriate to the storytelling… it always seemed to fit in just right to get the points across. And when he did do his action sequences or dramatic reveals? Ooh boy howdy, were you in for a treat. Gigantic evil lairs, legions of henchmen, grandstanding villains… all the things that make a comic book reader a giddy ten-year-old again. Yes, I’m a tremendous fan of more restrained comic stories with depth and layering as well, but let’s face it, every so often I like to see some megalomaniac in a monocle raise his arms to the heavens and proclaim that ALL SHALL BOW TO THE SUPREMACY OF HYDRA!!! And then some cigar-smoking, eyepatched dude crashes through the wall on a motorcycle and KICKS HIM RIGHT IN THE FACE and shouts “NUTS!”, probably busting the panel wide open along the way. Or hell, how about just a moonlight serenade of Captain America owning some fools?
Steranko delivers. If I actually get to talk to him I have no doubt I’ll say absolutely nothing intelligent, but seriously, I’ll be deliriously happy just to get his John Hancock on my book. Must not forget book. I still kick myself for leaving all my Hellboys at home when Mike Mignola was so very accessible at the Expo earlier this year. You hear me, Dawn?! Do not let me forget my Nick Fury collection!
Bah, Dawn is notoriously forgetful at reminding me. You! Out there reading this! Email me on Thursday night and remind me!
And after all that, Murphy’s Law decrees Steranko will either cancel his appearance, or I’ll miss his signing time. But a man can dream…