I lost my voice. I was exhausted but everyone had a blast. I may actually be getting good at running comic cons. Stay tuned.
The comics talent was off the charts this year with Larry Lieber, Denny O’Neil, Mike Zeck, Geof Darrow, Yanick Paquette, Ken Lashley, Bill Wray, Kevin Altieri, Shannon Wheeler, Fabian Nicieza, James O’Barr, Don McGregor, John Higgins, Mike Grell, Dave Ryan, James Warhola, JM DeMatteis, Michel Golden, Ann Nocenti, Jim Salicrup, Danny Fingeroth, John Holmstrom and many more.
We also had great media guests including Bill Mumy, Angela Cartwright, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, and Dawn Wells, Danny Trejo, and Ernie Hudson.
Found this pic of a series of banners I designed to promote my horror/sci-fi con Monsters and Robots. I banged out eight of these in one afternoon with the help of the mighty David Smith cleaning up my concepts and color choices.
What was originally a news site about all things monsters and robots and their respective genres, morphed into a convention in 2016. For a new show, it had its marketing challenges, but the fans loved it and the vendors did well. But my Lyme disease came back around that time, so I shelved Monsters and Robots until 2018. More news about that soon.
I’ve been working on the East Coast Comicon for over a year — it’s the biggest event to date that I’ve ever run; 300 exhibitor booths, 10,000 attendees, 80 guest artists, a dinner Saturday night, guests flying in from all over the country and the U.K. So I’ve had my hands full — no complaints or excuses, but I just haven’t had much time to sit and draw. Really draw. I did a new cover for Rat Bastard #2, and I’ll post that here eventually, but I really haven’t been able to draw like I used to. So when I did try to draw, it was painful. No, really. Not physically, but it was agony trying to find the time, and then trying to crank something out. It’s not like turning on a faucet and the art just flows. It’s more like going back to the gym after being away for six months. It took me two weeks to come up with piece and get the likenesses down. It will be used for a poster with many other pop culture characters dressed as other pop culture characters. Hopefully I can continue now that I’ve cleaned all my encrusted Rapidographs and sharpened all my pencils.
Okay — some time has passed since I launched the Asbury Park Comicon. And at some point I’ll write more about what went into making it a reality. I could say it was a lot of work or it was hard, but there’s no way to measure that, and hard compared to what? We’d just come off of Hurricane Sandy — I think what the victims of the storm were going through was hard, what we went through was a challenge.
But with everything that life, nature, and city politics put in our way, we did reach May 30th, 2013 and the fans showed up. As did the talent. It was a glorious, if not frantic day. Friends from as far back as high school visited to wish me well (brought together through the magic of social media), as well as family, neighbors, old employees from my screen printing days, and the comics community.
We invited some great guests, some who’ve turned into friends. I especially had a great time with Ren & Stimpy co-creator Bob Camp and punk artist John Holmstom.
At one point at dinner with them, I laughed so hard I though shrimp would shoot out of my nostrils.
Other than that, the day was a blur with interviews, autographs, a costume contest judged by my neighborhood celebs Bryan Johnson, Mike Zapcic and Ming Chen of AMC-TV’sÂ Comic Book Men, and Brian O’Halloran of the filmÂ Clerk’s.
Oh, yeah — and here’s MAD Magazine’s Al Jaffee a week after turning 95 with me on the Asbury Park boardwalk. When I originally invited him 6 months earlier, he said, “Cliff, I’ll be there if I’m still alive.” To which I replied, “Me too, Al.” And a month later I was hit by a car. So never kid about that shit.
And it was Judie’s birthday and someone made her a special gluten free cake!
I have a lot more to say about this event, with Allen Bellman, Danny Fingeroth, Herb Trimpe, Evan Dorkin Sarah Dyer, Jim Salicrup, and will ad to this soon.