Monday, June 23, 2008


Brent, Shazzba, Tommy, and David working the SCAD table.
This past weekend, 17 SCAD students (including myself) set out for the HEROES CONVENTION in Charlotte, North Carolina. There were tons of great artists there, not to mention a few comic book publishers. The highlight of the convention for me was “Indie Island,” a haven for cartoonists published by independent publishers. I got to meet the likes of Jeffrey Brown (Changebots, Bighead, Be a Man), Alec Longstreth (Phase 7), Liz Prince (Various Top Shelf Books), Andy Runton (Owly), and Matt Kindt (Superspy). I was also reunited with cartoonists I know from prior conventions: Kazimir Strzepek (The Mourning Star) and Duane Ballenger (Haunted Samidge, Give me the Creeps).
My friend Chris Schweizer was had his own table (right next to Brian Lee O’Malley of SCOTT PILGRIM fame). He was promoting his forthcoming book from ONI PRESS entitled: “Crogan’s Vengeance,” which I commend to anyone reading this blog. Chris also gave an excellent presentation on Character Design as part of the convention programming.
I got to talk briefly with Chris Staros of Top Shelf Productions, Dylan Williams of Sparkplug Comic Books, and Alvin Buenaventura of Buenaventura Press. I got some positive feedback on my ‘Zines and Mini Comics from Alvin, and Dylan Williams is possibly one of the most down-to-earth people I have ever met. I’m sort of courting Top Shelf and Sparkplug as possible outlets for my cartoons, so it was a relief to find a publisher that was so approachable. I highly recommend the Sparkplug series “Reich,” a comic about psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich researched, written, and drawn by Elijah Brubaker. I found issue one at Oxford Comics in Atlanta, and picked up issues two through four at the Con.
Another highlight was meeting Chris Duffy, comics editor of Nickelodeon Magazine. He, Alec, and Brian Ralph (Cave-In) gave a great, interactive presentation for kids on gag cartoons and sequential art. This included a presentation of some astounding 3-D work by Michael Kupperman, which required special glasses for viewing. There was a Pinocchio panel with a nose that really popped!
I only took a few pictures at the con, but hopefully they’ll give you a taste of the fun, friendly atmosphere there.
My Bro Duane Ballenger and me at INDIE ISLAND!