Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Justice Society of America #54 Cover by Darwyn Cooke

Justice Society of America #54

As I wrote in my TCAF 2011 Report, Darwyn Cooke made mention of an upcoming cover he did, that he knew I would be interested in.

Reasoning, Stargirl is in it. Nearly three years ago, I was the lucky recipient of this awesome sketch of Stargirl (back when I was collecting Stargirl sketches). That sketch was the first time he's drawn her. And now, on the cover of Justice Society of America #54 (out August 24th, 2011).

And like I said in the TCAF 2011 Report, I'll be picking up a copy of that issue!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Motor City Comic Con 2011 Report

Another year, another trip to Motor City Comic Con. This time around, in addition to the con, sketches and celebs, I have tales of racism and cops. More on those later!

Also, for this trip, Danny and I spent two days at the con, and stayed over in Novi, Michigan. Although I did think that this would be a two day show, for me, with everything that's been going on in the past month or two, I didn't feel that the con was worth two days.

There were a lot of great guests, many that I haven't seen before. I just didn't know how much everything would cost. The cost of the hotel, extra admission, and frankly, the extra spending that would occur, while at the con for another day... and that's not including any potential sketches or commissions.

Danny, however, still thought it was a two day con, and agreed to cover the hotel room cost. Ugh... fine!

So, on to the con. Left Friday morning. Around 5:30-6am. Reached Sarnia border around 8-9am. Got through the border guard, with no troubles... then when we were let go, slowly leaving the gate, as two border guard were making their way across us, coming from somewhere, going somewhere. Point is, they were crossing in front of us. So, being human, we let the border guard cross. One of them for some reason, gets pissed, and stops us, just after being let go from the gate. Starts to drill us with questions.

Really? After one lets us go. We slow down, so you can cross... and you get pissed? Did you want us to run you over? Would that make you happy?

Anyways, we arrive in Novi, MI, before 11am. Decide to check out the Toys R Us there, before heading to the con. I ended up picking up a Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida Round 5 UFC Ultimate Collector figure, since it was on sale (and because I wanted one).

Got to the con, around 11:30am. Again, the lines were stupid. They need a better system, to deal with those that pre-purchased online, and didn't receive any passes. The "Will-Call" line was just insanely slow. Took about 20-30 minutes, just to get through that line, before getting onto the convention floor.

Once in, got onto Aaron Lopresti's commission list. I was 7th on the list. I was a disappointed with his new sketch policies, with him taking a harder stance on which characters he won't draw (Zatanna being one of them), at least I found out a few weeks back.

Then went to get some books signed by Tim Sale. Although I would have really liked to have gotten one of his "Fast Pass" sketches, I just couldn't afford it, this time around. I'm quite disappointed with that, because he still had the fast passes available. Oh well. The timing was bad.

Zatanna by Katie Cook (2011) Deadpool by Katie Cook (2011) She-Hulk by Katie Cook (2011) Cat by Katie Cook (2011)Katie Cook was another person that I wanted to see... again. Got my first sketch from her, three years ago. I was debating on whether I'd put down for a full figure commission, or head sketch. Timing wise, I went with the head sketch, but I did pick up a few of her cute mini-paintings, as well. The one of the cat, is for a co-worker of mine. She is also a guest for this year's Fan Expo Canada.

The rest of Friday at the con, was spent getting books signed, and helping out with getting sketches for Carlos (of Shockwave Comics).

Pretty much all of the books I brought to get signed (about 40-50 books), were signed by mid-afternoon... except the books for Jason Pearson, who I believe, did not show up for the convention at all. Still, it was nice to get books signed by Shane Davis, James Robinson, Eric Basaldua, Billy Tucci, Ale Garza, Talent Caldwell, Andrew Robinson, Eric Canete, Josh Medors, John Livesay, and Tony Harris.

After seeing Howard Chaykin sketching, I was itching to get one from him. Not sure of the price, I still went for it, to find out it was pretty reasonably priced.

Oh, the stories that man tells, are very hilarious... and offensive at times, but all in good nature... or I'm just desensitized to these things.

For me, I was just chilling around, and walking around the con, until it ended. Dinner was at Library Sports Pub & Grill, along with Peter (of All New Comics), Yoram, and Rob. Great place, with some great food.

After dinner, Danny and I headed to the hotel to check in (Baronette Renaissance). Nice hotel, not too far from the convention. Once checked in, we headed over to Target, to look at what toys they had, and for me to grab some snacks and some (non-alcoholic) drinks.

Once settled in at the hotel, and after catching the series finale of Smallville, we headed down to the Toasted Oak Grill & Market (restaurant/bar attached to the hotel), for a drink. While there, we noticed some sauces they had for sale (Old Fashion Apple Butter, Bleu cheese dijon mustard, cherry barbeque sauce, and others). Figured we'd pick them up, before heading home.

Veronica #204 Page 2Saturday, started off with some breakfast at Burger King, before heading to the con. I didn't have much planned for that day, other than picking up the Aaron Lopresti commission, the sketches for Carlos, and to see Torrie Wilson and Mickie James (former WWE Divas). All of those did not happen right away, so there was just a whole bunch of walking around.

Eventually, I found my way over to Dan Parent. He had some very nice original art pages, at a really inexpensive price. I saw that splash page of Veronica and Betty, from Veronica #204, and had to buy it.

Harley Quinn, Catwoman and Poison Ivy by Art Baltazar (2011)Later on, Art Baltazar had arrived (who was only appearing on Saturday), so I got in his line. I didn't really have any plans on getting a sketch, so I didn't think of who to get. While in line, I was thinking of getting a Catwoman sketch. Further along in the line, noticing people getting multiple character sketches, I decided to go with the Gotham City Sirens trio of, Catwoman, Harley Quinn, and Poison Ivy.

Catwoman by Aaron Lopresti (2011)This wasn't my first choice of character to get sketched. When Aaron Lopresti was originally announced as a guest, I planned on getting a Zatanna piece done by him. When I emailed him a few weeks back, he explained his new sketch policy, so I altered the request. I wasn't sure if I would get one or not, but ultimately, when I got to his table, I got on his sketch list.

I do like how the commission turned out, but obviously, I would have preferred to have a Zatanna piece by him.

Danny and I, both went to see Torrie Wilson and Mickie James. The items Danny and I got signed by Torrie Wilson, were sent to CGC, for the Signature Series program. I'll post it, whenever I get it back.


Torrie Wilson & Me


Me & Mickie James (TNA Knockouts Champion)


Me & Mickie James (TNA Knockouts Champion)


So, as I stated at the beginning, I have tales of racism and cops!

During the Saturday of the show, while I was bored and walking around, I stopped by some booth, rummaging through their back issues. Out of nowhere, this kid, that was with his father, just starts saying, "Ching Chong. Ching Chong." This continues for a little bit, with his father just ignoring everything, or not really caring that his son is saying stuff that's somewhat offensive.

Personally, I'm not easily offended by racism. I actually enjoy it, in a comedic fashion (ie Russell Peters and Chris Rock comedy), and will joke around amongst friends. However, I flat out hate racism, when it's used in a derogatory way.

Now, I don't know if this kid was just ignorant to what he was saying, whether it's something that he was brought up with, and taught by his family. Or, whether if this kid knew what he was saying, and was just trying to insult me. That didn't matter at that point. I wanted to punch that kid... then punch his father, then punch that kid again. I didn't want to start up some anything, so I just ignored it. Eventually, they walked away, and so did I.

Danny and I left the con, to head over to Toys R Us, for Danny to pick up some items. We then headed back to Toasted Oak Grill & Market, to grab the three sauces hat I mentioned earlier. While there, the chef that I had a brief conversation with the night before, asked if I tried their "Bacon Caramel." I had not, so he gave me a sample.

DELICIOUS!

I also bought a jar of that, which cost me $13. Expensive, for the size, but it's so worth it, in my opinion.

We headed back to the con, so Danny could pick up his last sketch of the con, then headed over to Bagger Dave's for dinner, before heading home.


Train Wreck Burger at Bagger Dave's


That was a good burger.

After that, we headed home. Got to the border, just before 8pm, and the line for the gates, stretched to the other side of the bridge. We crossed the border, a little after 8:30pm.

While driving back, it was raining pretty much the entire way. While on Hwy. 402, I was driving around 120km/h, when the speed limit was 100km/h. I was doing so, for a good chunk of the drive, until I noticed some flashing lights behind me.

AWW, SHIT!

I moved over to the right lane, in hopes that the cop would pass. They moved behind me. Scared, since I haven't been pulled over before, I started moving on to the shoulder, and the cop follows too. I didn't even get to a full stop, when the cop decides to just drive around me, and speed off.

Relieved, that I didn't get a ticket, I still thought that cop was a dick for doing that... but I guess it worked out for me.

Got home just after 12am.

And that's my Motor City trip for this year.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) 2011 Report

TCAF!

The 2011 Toronto Comic Arts Festival took place this past weekend (May 7th and 8th). Once again, it was a great show! I came out with more sketches, some reading material (I bought books this year!), and a cactus with a mustache!

The guest list did contain several familiar names that I always enjoy seeing, several familiar names that I wanted to see before, and a few new names that I wanted to meet.

Parker by Darwyn Cooke (2011) Catwoman by Darwyn Cooke (2011)Many of you know that Darwyn Cooke is one of my favourite comic creators (along with Jim Lee, and the late, Michael Turner), so it was nice to see Darwyn.

I am forever grateful for the sketches by Darwyn, as well. Just seemed wrong to have a "Catwoman" sketch collection, without one by the man that designed the current costume.

Darwyn also made mention of an upcoming cover he did, that he knew I would be interested to hear about. I won't reveal it, because I don't think I can, but I already know that I'll be picking up a copy of that issue!

Catwoman by Jamie McKelvie (2011) Batgirl by Jamie McKelvie (2011)Another creator that I wanted to see again, Jamie McKelvie. Love the sketches that he does. I decided to get two from him this year. Both came out awesome!

Little fact, it was Jamie McKelvie's birthday on Sunday May 8th, so Happy belated Birthday to him!

Catwoman by Becky Cloonan (2011) Black Cat by Danielle Corsetto (2011)Here are a couple more sketches, from creators I have seen before, but just enjoy their works (and sketches), so I wanted sketches from them again.

The Catwoman is by Becky Cloonan. I also picked up her new self-published book, Wolves. Great read! Quick, but enjoyable!

The Black Cat is by Danielle Corsetto. I ended up buying the McPedro plush. These plush are very well made. Not sure what I'm going to do with a cactus plush, but it was a fun purchase.

The Zatanna collection grew some more, at this show. Some of which, I thought I wouldn't get, but ended up getting.

Zatanna by Caanan Grall (2011) Zatanna by Marian Churchland (2011) Zatanna by Marley Zarcone (2011)
(L-R): Zatanna by Caanan Grall, Marian Churchland, and Marley Zarcone

Zatanna by Joy Ang (2011) Zatanna by Paul Pope (2011) Zatanna by Kate Beaton (2011)
(L-R): Zatanna by Joy Ang, Paul Pope, and Kate Beaton


I was considering getting a sketch from Caanan Grall (Celadore), back at Fan Expo Canada (I believe), but based on my overspending there, I cut him off my list then. From what I heard, his sketches were a little cheaper, back then, than now. I still went for it, and I am quite happy with how the Zatanna turned out.

I was pretty happy, when I saw that Marian Churchland was coming to Toronto, for TCAF. She was one name, that I found out about, during my time with the Joe Shuster Awards. I've picked up some of the books she's worked on, and enjoy her artwork. I have yet to pick up her graphic novel, Beast (I made the mistake of not buying it from her, at the show). I was hoping to get a sketch from her, and am very happy to have received one.

Marley Zarcone is another name that caught my eye. She has done some work on House of Mystery, and Madame Xanadu. If I'm not mistaken, she is also a Canadian resident (these things kinda stick out for me, after being with the Joe Shuster Awards). Marley also remarked the interior of the copy of Forgetless, that I bought off of her.

The one by Joy Ang, was something I was hoping to get last year. Last year, it just didn't seem like she was sketching, and didn't really look like she had anything to draw with, so I didn't bother asking (I did buy one of her prints, last year). Again, this year, it didn't seem like she was sketching, so I didn't bother asking... until Ryan went ahead, and asked if she was. So I waited until she was done with his sketch, before getting one for myself.

I wasn't really planning on seeing Paul Pope at this show, as I didn't really have anything significant, that I wanted to get signed. But, with my plans on attending TCAF on the Sunday, I figured I'd go and see him again. Thought it would be cool to get a Zatanna, by the "Jim Morrison of Comics."

The one by Kate Beaton, is another one, that I was hoping to get last year. She had an insanely long line, pretty much throughout the weekend, last year. The lines for her were long as well, but became non-existent, when she sold out of all the books and prints she had for sale. Figured I'd ask, and am thankful to get a Zatanna sketch from her, to add to my collection.

Superhero by Jillian Tamaki (2011)I was hoping to get a Zatanna from Jillian Tamaki, but was unsuccessful at that. She was willing to sketch a "superhero" that she made up, inside of a copy of "Inside Voice." Little bummed by being unsuccessful, but it was a gamble for me. Oh well.

White Queen & Black Queen by Agnes Garbowska (2011)The main reason why I went back to TCAF on Sunday, was to get a commission by Agnes Garbowska. I had the characters in mind, but I didn't know as to what pose or parody to do, so I didn't get on her commission list on Saturday. Still wanting the commission, I got on the list on Sunday, and just left it up to her, as to the pose.

My last purchase of the show, was a book that I've been meaning to get a little while back (okay, over a year ago). Lola: A Ghost Story, by J. Torres and Elbert Or (not in attendance).


With the exception of Wolves by Becky Cloonan, these are my purchases for the weekend.


I ended up staying for the bulk of the Sunday. I had originally planned on staying for a few hours, but did have to wait for the commission by Agnes Garbowska, to be complete (my fault, for getting on the list late).

TCAF was once again, a great show. Laid back, after the self-imposed initial rush (I did too much, too quickly, at the start of the show).

Kudos to Chris Butcher, and the TCAF crew & volunteers, on a job well done! Great show!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

TEENAGE SATAN, By Stephanie Buscema, Candis Cooke and Marsha Cooke!



TEENAGE SATAN, coming later this year! By Stephanie Buscema, Candis Cooke, and Marsha Cooke!


Tuesday, May 03, 2011

UFC 129! UFC FAN EXPO! FIGHT WEEK!

UFC 129I'm not going to do a full report, but I'll give a breakdown as to what happened this past week, leading up to the UFC 129.

Tuesday April 26th, 2011
- Chandella Powell (UFC Octagon Girl) and Dominick Cruz (UFC Bantamweight Champion) appeared at Athletes World: Vaughan Mills.
- I went to start off "FIGHT WEEK", by meeting these two, getting their autographs, and photos with them.

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Chandella Powell

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Dominick Cruz


Wednesday April 27th, 2011
- Went to the UFC Pre-Fight Press Conference, which featured Dana White, Tom Wright, Georges St-Pierre (UFC Welterweight Champion), Jake Shields, Jose Aldo (UFC Featherweight Champion), Mark Hominick, Randy Couture, Lyoto Machida.
- Got there early (about 8:40am), and was first in line, for the press conference.
- Went, in hopes of getting stuff signed, and to win UFC 129 tickets.
- Unsuccessful

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UFC Pre-Fight Press Conference


- Went to Athletes World: Square One, for the Rashad "Suga" Evans signing.

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Rashad "Suga" Evans


Thursday April 28th, 2011
- Worked during the day, so I missed all the UFC Festivities, down at Yonge-Dundas Square, and surrounding areas.
- Regretted not taking the day off.
- Went back to Athletes World: Vaughan Mills, for the Mauricio "Shogun" Rua signing.


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Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (not sure who the guy on the left is, in the photo)


Friday April 29th, 2011
- UFC Fan Expo: Day 1
- Arrived at UFC Fan Expo, around 8am (or a little after).
- Picked up the 2-day pass, within minutes... no large line to get tickets... their system processed everything really quickly.
- Got in the line to get in, which moved quick, even though it was packed, once the doors opened... on time, too!

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Line to get inside, after getting your pass


- Went straight to the Round 5 booth, to pick up the UFC Fan Expo Exclusive, Georges St-Pierre figure.

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UFC Fan Expo Toronto Exclusive, Georges St-Pierre figure


- Met Arianny Celeste at the Hayabusa booth.


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Arianny Celeste


- Noticed how insane the lines were for autographs.
- Decided to line up for Royce Gracie at the HMV booth (saw him fight on UFC 1, back in the days).
- Two hours early, for the signing, and there was still some people before me... not including the 4 people that cut the line, right in front of me.
Was still near the front, so I didn't care too much.

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Royce Gracie


- After that signing, walked by the HEADRUSH booth, and saw almost no line. Lined up to see Chandella Powell and Eddie Wineland.


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Chandella Powell

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Eddie Wineland


- Decided to line up for Cain Velasquez at the Dethrone Royalty booth, but Phil Davis was signing.
- Went to line up for him, but line was cut off, four people before me.
- Stayed in line, and kept my spot for Cain Velasquez and Josh Koscheck


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Phil "Mr. Wonderful" Davis

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Josh Koscheck

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UFC Heavyweight Champion, Cain Velasquez


- No real plan at this point. It was more walking around, and finding stuff to do, or people to see/meet.

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Kenda Perez


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Me vs. Danny, in the OCTAGON!

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Xyience Models: Amber Nichole-Miller (L) and Amanda Corey (R) with Me

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UFC Title


Saturday April 30th, 2011
- Arrived into UFC Fan Expo line by 8am
- Goals for the day, Jon "Bones" Jones and Anderson Silva autographs.
- Got in line for Jon "Bones" Jones, once doors opened.
- He arrived 20 minutes late, and the lines were long for him.

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Jon "Bones" Jones

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UFC 128 Poster, signed by Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and Jon "Bones" Jones


- After that line, got in line for Anderson Silva, at the Muscle Pharm booth.
- Line was one giant clusterfuck... or like 4 clusterfucks...
- Luckily, Danny won a line-bypass for the booth.

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UFC Banner, signed by Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, Anderson Silva and Cain Velasquez

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Closer look at the signatures


- Little bit of a break, since I didn't know what else to do, or who to see.
- Ended up at the Rogers Sportsnet/MMA Connected/UFC Connected booth, going for Shane Carwin's autograph.
- Got there early, and were doing free photos ops with a UFC title.

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Jason Truong, UFC Champ?


- Then got back in line, for the Shane Carwin signing... on Danny's item.

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Shane Carwin


- After, quickly headed over to the Xyience booth, to find Amanda Corey, as she does appear in the latest UFC Magazine.

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Amanda Corey


- Ended up at the Ecko Canada booth, for the Kurt "Batman" Pellegrino signing.

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Kurt "Batman" Pellegrino


- Found our way over to the Anthony "Showtime" Pettis signing line. This would cap off the signings at UFC Fan Expo, for us.

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Anthony "Showtime" Pettis



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Muscle Pharm Models, with Me


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Me vs. Popeye


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Joe Lauzon


- Called it a day at UFC Fan Expo Day 2, and headed over to the Rogers Centre, for UFC 129... while Danny went home.

Saturday April 30th, 2011: FIGHT NIGHT!

- Got to the Rogers Centre, picked up a program. Found that I still have some time, and didn't want to carry the programs, so I dropped them off in my car.

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UFC 129 Official Program


- Then went inside, grabbed a beer, then went to my seat.


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Views from my seat


- The building was electric, with all the energy from the fans in attendance.
- Cell phone reception sucked ass
- I was pumped for this, and I'm not even a big UFC fan.
- But this event, made me even more of one.
- Won't get into detail about the UFC Fight Card, but you should check it out on replays of the PPV, or buy the DVD/Blu-Ray, whenever it comes out. I know I will.

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Panoramic view of the Rogers Centre, from my seat


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I bought a shirt, while at the fight


- Some autographs that I got, but didn't obtain myself.

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Frank Mir, Cung Le, Phil "Mr. Wonderful" Davis, Jon "Bones" Jones


Helluva great week, that I enjoyed. I'm looking forward to the next UFC event in Canada. And if they have another UFC Fan Expo in Toronto, I'll be there.