My Free Comic Book Day

For the first time I really celebrated Free Comic Book Day this year.  It’s not like I’ve never participated, but I’ve always found it very lame.

Well, the industry has been working hard to turn this into a real fun day, and this year I actually had a good time.  My wife, of all people, found out about a fun local comic event (I can’t even get her to read my comics!)

SLG Art Boutiki

I went to SLG’s grand reopening of the Art Boutiki. Slave Labor Graphics has always been strange to me. I mean, I have a pretty large comic company right in my backyard, and I make comics, yet I have almost no relationship with them. Well, I have been rejected by them…

Their new store is pretty sweet.  A nice selection of books, some really cool art and some bizarre toys.  All very fun.  Plus a Tiki theme, and if there is one thing Hawaiian Mike enjoys it’s a Tiki theme.  Though is an odd theme to go with their macabre selection of Tim Burton-esque original titles.

Oh, and since it was free comic book day I got a bunch of free swag!

My Free Comic Book Day stuff

Yeah, that’s a lot of comics. And some good ones to boot. Titles you’ve even heard of that aren’t just throwaway issues. Plus some nice buttons and stuff. Free Comic Book Day has come a long way.

But the really cool thing was the mini convention going on in the back room.

SLG Free Comic Book Day Mini-Convention

And that’s where I really had fun. I got to pick the brain of some industry types and talk a little shop. I’m currently not scheduled to appear at any conventions this year, so I don’t know how much of this I’ll get to do, but this made me at least want to attend more.

I’ve been pretty depressed lately, for a variety of reasons, but talking to these good folks cheered me up.

Mick Gray, local boy and longtime inker at DC and I had a particularly long talk (see his cool signed print in my free stuff?). He is a really nice dude, and since we met the other day we’ve taken to talking online. He’s even helped me review my stuff.

He had some cool stories and interesting industry inside knowledge. Plus a really killer portfolio of his original inked work. Also, he’s pretty humble and easy going “I’m just an inker!”

This may shock you, because it shocked me. He was really impressed by what we’re doing with Black Snow: TDM and my art. Though he correctly pointed out that I need to work on my consistency.

So of course that depressed me…I am always questioning my talent level (or lack of) and wondering if I should even bother continuing to draw. But less about that…

I also had a long talk with Landry Q. Walker and learned all about Danger Club. It actually seemed really cool, though I was too cheap to pick it up even at a considerable discount. If you are having trouble paying bills you should really restrain from buying things like comics. At least that’s my theory.

The most interesting thing I got from the talk? Landry writes out every page in laid out, panel by panel detail, kind of like Alan Moore. He showed me some of the non-colored final art from the 6th book that he was reviewing. Here’s the really cool thing though, after it’s done he goes back and removes about two thirds of the dialogue because he can now see what is already conveyed in the way things were drawn. I found that mind blowing. Maybe because our writing is so lax around here.

He also agreed with me on a lot of my pet peeves about people unrealistically delivering too much dialogue during fights or moments that would generally be too short for them to be saying what they are saying.

He likes minimalism and realism when possible. Before meeting him I didn’t really know who he was, but now I think I’ll have to check out his stuff.

I also had some nice talks with John Hageman Jr. and Justin Sane (not sure if that is his Christian name) which were mostly about how to get published or some of the more technical aspects of self publishing. Picked up some good tips. Interesting stuff, to me at least.

So yeah, I had a nice day despite myself. And I’m working on my networking skills! It’s hard to succeed being a sad recluse these days…time to evolve I guess.

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