The toughest part about the poster for East Coast Comicon is when to begin. Start too soon, and miss whatever the zeitgeist is cranking out. Last year, I made a more political statement due to the absurdity of the choice the American presidential election produced.
This year, I happened to come across an unused concept sketch from back around 2003, for a back to school window display when we had a store in Laguna Beach, CA. The original drawing featured a school bus so I changed it to a Ford Econoline van to honor the comic retailers who set up booths at ECC. Without those guys, we don’t have a con! And they get no credit. They schlep tons pulp from town to town every weekend and provide us with incredible books where fans can make great finds. They are truly the unsung heroes of the comic convention world.
And a tip of the hat to Ed “Big Daddy” Roth.
Magazine illustrator Danny Hellman had offered to make a mermaid on the beach covered in tattoos, reading comics. The sketches were exactly the look I was hoping for and Hellman’s style is a favorite of mine. But he got really busy with some paying gigs, and I told him I’d jump in and bang something out. Being from the area, I knew Tillie was the character associated with Asbury Park since the old amusement park days. He can still be found on T-shirts, buildings, even tattoos. So I cast him as an Alfred E. Neuman poser, just as Alfred would do every month on the cover of MAD Magazine. It was a nod to our guest Al Jaffee, and to our collective humor about what we were doing — we were taking the piss out of the comic convention industry.
And there’s a 10 foot version hanging in Convention Hall.
A lot of people are still doing a lot of good for the people at the Jersey shore after Hurricane Sandy. The band P.O.D came to the rescue and I was asked to do this poster for the benefit. This is my first post since running Asbury Park Comicon — I’ve had a lot on my plate since that glorious day at Convention Hall back on March 29th, 2013. I’ll have a few thoughts and some photos, but first, I had to deliver this art and a whole bunch of other things needed to be dealt with to get Asbury Park Comicon 2014 rolling.
Here at the Jersey Shore, we have so many concerned friends who care for wildlife, but the future Animal Rescue Hall of Famer (if there was such a thing) is my friend Alison Evans-Fragale. It’s not enough that her day gig is being a nurse, but in her spare time, she’s rescuing beached Â seals, dolphins, and anything else that swims, crawls or flies. So when she asked me to make a poster for a fundraiser for the Marine Mammal Stranding Center, I couldn’t refuse.
I drew this a few months after 9-11, for a show at the Key Club on Sunset in West Hollywood. At the time it seemed it was a given we were gonna get Bin Laden.