Archive for September, 2015

Well, now that I’ve had some time to sleep and time to recover, it’s time for my recap of the 2015 Salt Lake Comic Con!

The fun actually began the day before the convention. En route to Salt Lake City, I stopped at the Hill Air Force Base Museum to visit some favorite aircraft.

Marshall and I spent some time with an F86 Sabre.

Marshall and I spent some time with an F86 Sabre. I had the privilege of chronicling a dogfight between two Sabres and five MiG 15’s in Korean War.

Imagine this beast, the Warthog, painted with a snarling face, and you'll see one of the stars of

Imagine this beast, the Warthog, painted with a snarling face, and you’ll see one of the stars of the upcoming book Tiger on the Storm.

The volunteers at the museum were excited to hear about my work on military comic books and the fundraiser to help Tiger on the Storm go to print. I also spent some time and money in the gift shop to buy more perks for donors, but that’s a matter for my next post.

Setup didn’t go quite as nicely as it had in previous years due to the fact that we were no longer allowed to drive up the loading ramps and unload near our tables, and I’m still recuperating from back surgery. Thankfully, a few fellow denizens of Artist Alley helped me out.

Day one of the convention was absolutely once in a lifetime- it also being my daughter’s 16th birthday. Husband, kids, parents, in-laws, and a whole gaggle of teenage friends arrived, and despite the fact that it was a Thursday, I managed to sell a lot of books. The highlight of the day, however, was the number of artists who were willing and able to do a sketch for my daughter’s birthday. Her reaction upon seeing all the sketches: “I feel so loved!”

Days two and three passed- as I suppose they normally would after hosting a girl’s sweet sixteen party at the world’s biggest comic convention- in a bit of a blur. Since I was running a special perk for anyone who’d so much as drop a penny in the jar to help fund Tiger on the Storm, I had a relatively constant stream of people at my table picking out comics from my personal collection, including some fellow creators and their children. Todd Nauck was gracious enough to sign all the copies of Nightcrawler and Amazing X-Men I had brought to his table. Jim Butcher, though he was about done with his signing when my family finally caught up with him, took a moment to sign a few of my Dresden Files comics. I had a wonderful time visiting with Matt Hawkins.

And of course it was fun getting to visit with Bob Layton, who liked my Redneck Wonder Woman cosplay.

And of course it was fun getting to visit with Bob Layton, who liked my Redneck Wonder Woman cosplay.

Speaking of cosplay, besides those of my own cosplay family, this was my personal favorite. May they ride in glory to Valhalla!

Speaking of cosplay, besides those of my own cosplay family, this was my personal favorite. May they ride in glory to Valhalla!

While I didn't get a chance to meet Chris Evans, Hailey Atwell, or Sebastian Stan (who along with Anthony Mackie) were all at the convention, nor Scarlett Johansson, who wasn't, this whole group was just as nice.

While I didn’t get a chance to meet Chris Evans, Hailey Atwell, or Sebastian Stan (who along with Anthony Mackie were all at the convention), nor Scarlett Johansson, who wasn’t, this whole group was just as nice.

The cosplay competition was nothing less than impressive. To give you an idea of the caliber of the amateur division, my kids spent months making their Kaneki and Death Gun costumes. My daughter even made the pattern for Kaneki’s mask. They didn’t make the final round, but felt that those who did were worthy. The Voltron made entirely out of paper definitely deserved to win both the amateur division and best in show. As for the biggest cosplay event, Guinness Book of World Record representatives attended the convention to verify and document the world’s largest gathering of costumed comic book superheroes and villains- a gathering in which my nephew, who was at his very first convention, got to take part.

I got a little competitive spirit too and entered the nerd poetry slam hosted by Wasatch Wordsmiths. Marshall particularly enjoyed making the audience laugh by answering the question, “What’s a good dog do?” We came away from the poetry slam with respectable scores and great prizes. I got a Donnie Darko print by Patric Reynolds, a Totoro refrigerator magnet, and a cherry cordial flavored cake pop, which was especially appreciated as I was ravenously hungry at the time.

Spending time with the troops, comping them books, and listening to their stories is a highlight of every convention I attend.

Then there’s the whole reason why I write military comics to begin with. Spending time with the troops and listening to their stories is the highlight of the work I do and of every convention I attend.

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I got back safely yesterday from what has to be one of my favorite comicbook conventions. For the past three years, the Boise Public Library! (exclamation point intentional) has put on what has to be the most fun library fund-raiser in the state if not perhaps the whole country. Granted, it’s not a very big convention. It’s only one day. It takes place not in a huge convention center, but in the library (“!”?) itself and in the warehouse across the street. The farthest guests travelled to be there was from the remote, exotic reaches of Portland, Oregon. There were no movie stars.

Now while I am excited about the possibility of catching a glimpse of Sean Astin or Chris Evans from my table at the upcoming Salt Lake Comic Con, I liked how the lack of celebrities has had absolutely no negative affect on Library! Comic Con at all. Fans show up for celebrities, true. The fact that convention organizers had to expand the artists’ alley and retool the costume contest to accommodate everyone in attendance and keep the fire marshall from having a coronary shows that fans will show up just for a celebration of comics and local creators without any movie stars, especially if it’s for a good cause.

I’d especially like to thank Josh Shapel for doing another bang-up job with organization and with looking after all of us creative types, making this the most creator-friendly convention I’ve ever attended. I especially liked how the art contest entries were posted in the artists’ alley. The competitors, even the little kids, do indeed deserve a place among the pros. Seriously, I could see the eight-year-old who designed and drew “Library Luke” drawing professionally in ten years or even less.

I enjoyed getting to meet and chat with the other creators, especially my neighbors Steve Wilhite, Jacob Bear, and Dan Feldmeier. I also appreciate those who came by my table and bought a book or otherwise contributed to getting Tiger on the Storm printed. The book is closer to happening because of you.

To everyone who missed me, I’ll be at Salt Lake City Comic Con September 24-26. Please come on by!