MegaCon 2004 Report

When I said I’d be gone for a few days, I had no idea it would be over a week before I got back to updating the ZONE.

MegaCon was a great show. Big Beatty was sharing a table with Casey Jones [who does some of the best con sketches around]. Bob McLeod was just around the corner. I hadn’t seen Bob in probably 15 years… but boy, did the memories come flooding back. Bob, Beatty and I talked about all of the conventions we used to travel to, as well as the poker and pool we used to play. Bob sketched almost nonstop the entire show. The fans love them some Bob McLeod. And rightly so.

I ran into fellow fans and art collectors John “Johnny StarWars” Higashi [who wore his StalloneZone t-shirt] and James “The James” Howell. They were planing their strategies for the show. These are two of the nicest guys you’d ever want to meet. Before the weekend was over John Higashi was one of the seven people from the entire show to win an opportunity to purchase a sketch from Walt Simonson. [And what a sweet one it turned out to be.] I hope to get to spend more time with them in Atlanta.

Michael Lark sketched away all weekend long. I picked up two pieces from Michael. It was funny because when I expained my Stallone theme to him, I said, “So you can draw any Stallone character you want.” Michael said, “Great I know who I want to do.” I said that I would check back with him in a bit and as I started to walk away asked, “Who are you going to draw?” “Mickey,” Michael said with a smile. “Uh, you are going to draw Rocky and Mickey, right?” Michael laughed and said, “Oh, I see. When you said a Stallone character, you meant a character that Stallone played, not just any character from his movies.” Whew! Had we not cleared that up, I would have come back to find a very nice drawing of Mickey! As it turned out Michael did a scene from Rocky with Mickey, Rocky, and his cut man… you know the scene… “Cut me, Mick!” Michael was selling a really nice sketchbook as well, so I picked up one for me and another for a friend.

James O’Barr was there. I had initially hoped to get a Stallone sketch from him. That didn’t work out, but I did get James to autograph my copy of The Crow trade paperback. Maybe I’ll get the chance at another show.

Koi Phan was sketching away. I’ve been a fan of Koi’s since I first saw his sketches popping up on the internet. I went over and introdced myself. Koi not only remembered my name but said, “You’re the reason I came to MegaCon!” I had written him a couple of months ago asking if he was coming to MegaCon. I told him a bit about the show and that I hoped he could make it. He had no plans to, but decided to check it out on my suggestion. And that he remembered my name. How cool is that? I picked up a Stallone sketch for myself and a Batman for my oldest son’s collection. Koi does great work. Check out his site and I’m sure you’ll agree.

Walt Simonson came stopped by the table and I was able to get him to re-autograph my Alien and Manhunter trade paperbacks. He had first autographed them over 20 years ago! Walt is a really cool guy. He has an Elric series coming out later this year and the advance art looked awesome. A Stallone by Walt would be sweet…

Kelsey Shannon came by the table. Kelsey is flat out the man. Some kids were playing hack-sack near the table. I jokingly asked Kelsey if he wanted to join in and he replied, “I do know how to play.” That’s all I needed to hear and I had Kelsey in the game in no time at all. The funny thing is… Kelsey really knew how to play! Add THAT to his list of accomplishments… amazing artist, able to eat a block of cheese in an hour, and competitive hacki-sacker. Kelsey did a drop dead gorgeous Sly sketch for me. Big Beatty is going to ink it on blue-line so I’ll be able to retain the original pencils.

I ran into Cully Hamner on the way to the restroom. We had some small talk and he said he would be up for another Stallone. It’s going to be hard to top his first one, but I hope that he tries either at Atlanta or Heroes con later this year. Cully went to the restroom to get a stain off his shirt. As we were walking out of the restroom, I told him about “Shout” wipes. They’ll get out almost any stain and I try to always keep some at work. Cully said he’d check into them. Cully said, “Hey thanks for the tip.” He immediately followed that up with, “I guess I shouldn’t say that as we’re leaving the restroom!”

The Gaijin crew were busy all weekend. It was cool to meet Alison and to see Adam again. Since I got my Adam Hughes sketch, I haven’t tried for another, hoping that some lucky soul will be able to get his/her first… but I have to tell you, seeing the beautiful work that Adam does, I’m always tempted to get in line! Cully, and Kelsey and Brian and Karl were also very busy. I hope to get Brian to do a Stallone for me at Atlanta or Heroes this year. That would kick butt. Kelsey wore his StalloneZone shirt while he was sketching… talk about cool! Also, Gaijin had advance materials on The Ride on display. This book looks to be a winner. Tell your comic dealer to order you one or you may get left out.

Alex Saviuk stopped by the table for a few minutes and we talked about the life of a freelancer. He had me laughing because freelancers face the situation of not enough work or too much work due at the same time. Never a happy medium.

Phil Noto came by the table and when Big Beatty asked him how he was doing Phil said, “Great. I sold EVERYTHING.” This was on Saturday… with another day still to go! Phil and I discussed a Stallone sketch and Phil said he could have it to me on Sunday. We talked about either something from Nighthawks, which Phil really likes, or an “old school” Rocky. Phil decided to go with Deke DaSilva from Nighthawks and it is a beaut. I still hope to get a Rocky and Adrian from him in the future.

Wild Bill Black was there. Bill and I did a few circuits of the convention during the 3 days we were there. Bill presented me with the latest issue of FemForce [124] which features a backup story by Nick Northy and Jeff Austin. And one of the “stars” of the stroy… Detective Zablo! I’ll post more about that later this week. Mark and Stephanie Heike were there. Each time I passed them I’d trade them some cinnamon hard candy for some sour candy. Billy “The Playa from the Himalaya” Marimon was there. Rik Levins showed up. And it was great seeing both of them.

Tim Townsend made an appearance to drop off flyers for his Tim-O-Palooza. Tim hosts a party each year during the weekend of MegaCon. Tim had never met Bob McLeod and so I walked over with him. Bob had made some really nice comments about Tim‘s work the day before and so it was really cool to see two pros who appreciate each other’s work get a chance to meet for the first time. Beatty and I had intended to make it to Tim‘s party — we had the invite – – but after a trolly ride from hell at the end of a long day, we decided against the journey. Maybe next year…

Meanwhile back a John‘s table, he was sketching away. John had brought his markers and colors and was giving the fans more than their money’s worth! He did the best con sketches I have ever seen him turn out and he was diggin it. I can’t wait to see what he has in store for the fans in Atlanta and Charlotte this year!

The capper to the show was dinner with Big Beatty and Brad Vancata. Then it was back home to catch up on all the work that didn’t get done that long weekend. I’m almost caught up. I should be completely caught up in time to leave for AtlantaCon next month! [Actually, by the end of the week I should have scans of all of my sketches posted!]