Category Archives: Conventions

Small Press Expo Announces Guests Brandon Graham and Phoebe Gloeckner

spx-logo-240SPX has announced Brandon Graham and Phoebe Gloeckner as guests at SPX 2015. This is in addition to the previously announced guests to SPX’s 21st Birthday Party, Kate Beaton, Luke Pearson, Noelle Stevenson, Michael DeForge, Gemma Correll, Noah Van Sciver, Matt Bors, Lilli Carré, Theo Ellsworth, C. Spike Trotman, Jennifer Hayden, Stuart Immonen, Scott McCloud, Bill Griffith, Kathryn Immonen, Derf, Jessica Abel (Sat. Only) and Ted Rall, as well as international guests, Frederik Peeters, Dylan Horrocks, Brecht Vandenbroucke, Bendik Kaltenborn, Anna Ehrlemark and Joan Cornellà.

Previously announced special guest Raina Telgemeier will be unable to attend this years show.

From his beginnings as a graffiti artist in his hometown of Seattle to his recent run as writer on the Image comics series Prophet as well as creator of his own comics Multiple Warheads, King City, Elevator and Universe So Big, Brandon Graham has been a vocal and passionate proponent of independent comics. Mr. Graham will sign his books as a fundraiser for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Stop by the CBLDF table to buy his works, including his latest from Image Comics, 8House: Arclight #2, as well as issues #2 and #3 of the science fiction anthology series he co-edits with Emma Rios, Island.

Diary of a Teenage Girl, Phoebe Gloeckner’s semi-autobiographical graphic novel published in 2002, was released earlier this year as a critically acclaimed movie starring Kristen Wiig. Garnering a 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Ms. Gloeckner co-wrote the screenplay to Diary that was a selection at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. Influenced by the women’s comics anthology Twisted Sisters, Ms.Gloeckner work was published in such titles as Wimmen’s Comix, Young Lust and the Robert Crumb edited magazine, Weirdo. A compendium of all of her comics work to date, A Child’s Life and Other Stories, was published in 1998, generating significant controversy, with public schools and library systems banning the book due to its frank portrayal of sex and drug use. Ms. Gloeckner is a trained medical illustrator and is an associate professor at the University of Michigan School of Art and Design. Ms. Gloeckner will also be signing her books at the CBLDF table.

SPX 2015 takes place on Saturday and Sunday, September 19-20, and will have over 650 creators, 280 exhibitor tables and 22 programming slots to entertain, enlighten and introduce attendees to the amazing world of independent and small press comics.

Small Press Expo (SPX) is the preeminent showcase for the exhibition of independent comics, graphic novels, and alternative political cartoons. SPX is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit that brings together more than 600 artists and publishers to meet their readers, booksellers, and distributors each year. Graphic novels, mini comics, and alternative comics will all be on display and for sale by their authors and illustrators. The expo includes a series of panel discussions and interviews with this year’s guests. The Ignatz Award is a festival prize held every year at SPX recognizing outstanding achievement in comics and cartooning, with the winners chosen by attendees at the show.

As in previous years, profits from the SPX will go to support the SPX Graphic Novel Gift Program, which funds graphic novel purchases for public and academic libraries, as well as the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF), which protects the First Amendment rights of comic book readers and professionals.

Fan Expo Interviews: Karli Woods

Fan Expo Toronto will be taking place this year between September 3rd and 6th, and Graphic Policy had the opportunity to talk with a few of their featured guests before the beginning of the convention.  Karli Woods will be attending the convention not only as a featured guest, a seminar presenter but also as a cosplayer.  She joined us to talk to us about what to expect.

Graphic Policy:  I think that a lot of people underestimate cosplay, thinking that cosplayers just pull on premade costumes.  Obviously it is not the case, as the costumes are usually self-fabricated by the dedicated cosplayers.  What is the creative process that you go through for costume design?  And how do you decide on a concept or theme?

gg_peach4Karli Woods:  Once I have decided on a new character to cosplay I draw up a quick sketch of the costume. I then go through my materials and see if there is anything left over I can use. Then I draft the pattern and figure out exact measurements and what fabrics, materials etc. I need to buy. Then I come home and sew! I usually give myself a month or so to complete a costume, just because I am so busy with keeping up to date with social media and filming for my YouTube Channel. I like to plan out a rough schedule of when I am going to start certain pieces, and have them finished by. It definitely helps to book a photo-shoot for the costume in advance. That way you have a deadline to work towards.

GP:  What skills do you consider to be most your most useful when creating a costume?

KW:  I have a couple really good friends who are super talented make-up artists, so I feel like they have definitely rubbed off on me a bit. I really do enjoy the hair and make-up process of cosplaying, so I have been filming quite a few make-up tutorials of my existing cosplays for my YouTube channel. It honestly makes such a difference, and completes the costume. Besides the hair and make-up I also really enjoy creating the accessories and weapons for costumes.

GP:  Are there any costumes that you made in the past that were very labor intensive but didn’t get noticed as much as you might have liked?

VelmaKW:  My battle armour Princess Peach cosplay was all made out of worbla and it was extremely labor intensive. This was only my second time working with the material. I want to re-do it when I get a chance now that I am more familiar with worbla.

GP:  Who do you think is a character that could catch on as a common cosplay costume?

KW:  It really just depends on the time and what’s popular. Elsa was super popular last year after Frozen came out, and I think we are going to see a lot more Harley Quinn cosplays this year because of Suicide Squad.

GP:  How come there are more Velma cosplayers than Daphne cosplayers?

KW:  I think people just are drawn to us nerds! Smart is sexy!

GP:  Are there any noteworthy people that you have met that you never thought you would have the chance to?

KW:  I have had some amazing opportunities to interview some incredibly talented people. A few that stand out to me are Stan Lee, Giancarlo Esposito, and Max Brooks.

IMG_0911-Edit8GP:  If you had to be trapped on a desert island with another cosplayer who would you choose?

KW:  Nicole Marie Jean because she would keep light of the situation and entertain me.

GP:  Tell us a about your featured costume for Fan Expo 2015.  It is Karli plus Harley to create Karli Quinn?

KW:  Yes that is correct. I like to name all of my costumes, and this one was very fitting. I am excited to wear this cosplay as I am really happy with the way it turned out. I love all the details I put into it!

GP:  What do you look forward to most at Toronto’s Fan Expo?

KW:  I love the FanExpo team! Toronto is also my hometown, so I am excited to see all my fellow Canadians.

Blevins, Isherwood, Jordan, St. Pierre, and Takara Coming to Baltimore

Buy your tickets nowBret Blevins and avoid lines for the Baltimore Comic-Con on September 25-27, 2015. The annual comics pop culture event returns to the Baltimore Convention Center for our 16th annual show in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. The Baltimore Comic-Con welcomes to this year’s show Bret Blevins, Geof Isherwood, Justin Jordan, Joe St. Pierre, and Marcio Takara.

Beginning his comic book career in 1981, Bret Blevins began a decade of working almost exclusively for Marvel Comics on many of their most famous characters, including Spider-Man, Wolverine, The X-Men, The Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Daredevil, Dr. Strange, The Fantastic Four, The New Mutants, Sheena, Ghost Rider, Conan, Solomon Kane, The Inhumans, the Punisher, Sleepwalker, Clive Barker’s Nightbreed, The Bozz Chronicles, Cloak and Dagger, The Trouble with Girls, The Destroyer, Terror Inc., and various licensed properties, including graphic novel length adaptations of the films The Dark Crystal, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Krull, and The Last Starfighter. Moving primarily to DC in 1993, Bret drew Batman, Superman, Supergirl, Starman, and Vigilante, and along the way drew Star Wars, Tarzan, John Carter of Mars, and Bettie Page for Dark Horse. A 146-page graphic of novel of Brian Jacques’ Redwall illustrated by Bret was published by Philomel Books in 2007. In the mid-90’s, Geof IsherwoodBret began working for Warner Bros. animation and won two Emmy awards while creating storyboards for the acclaimed Batman, Superman, Batman Beyond, Justice League, Static, Batman Brave and Bold, and Ben 10 cartoons. For Disney, Blevins has drawn storyboards for Tarzan and Atlantis, and copious artwork for various other Disney projects including Pirates of the Caribbean, The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh, Tinkerbell, Toy Story, Tron, and Wreck-it-Ralph. In addition to other miscellaneous advertising and illustration work, Bret is always busy drawing and painting from life, writing instructional articles for DRAW! magazine, and occasionally teaching.

Geof Isherwood drew comics for Marvel, DC, Broadway, and Heroes Of The North starting in 1982. Major title runs include Dr. Strange, Suicide Squad, Conan the Barbarian, Conan The King, Namor, and The ‘Nam. Geof has also worked on over 60 film and TV productions, including X-Men: DOFP and X-Men: Age of Apocalypse, Being Human (US), and The Fountain. Geof teaches in the Concept Art and Illustration program at Algonquin College in Ottawa, Ontario. Geof is now working for Renegade Media, drawing the final issue of the soon-to-be-released Necromatics.

Justin JordanJustin Jordan first came to the attention of the comic-buying pubic writing his creator-owned The Strange Talent of Luther Strode (with Tradd Moore on art) published through Image Comics. That title was followed up with two sequels, The Legend of Luther Strode and The Legacy of Luther Strode. He has also worked on DC Comics’ Green Lantern: New Guardians as well as runs during the “New 52” initiative on Superboy, Deathstroke, and Team 7. At Valiant Comics, he wrote the relaunch of Shadowman, and co-created Deep State at BOOM! Studios, Spread and Dead Body Road at Image Comics, and Dark Gods at Avatar Press. In 2012, he received a Harvey Award nomination for Most Promising New Talent, and contributed to the Eisner-nominated In the Dark: A Horror Anthology from IDW.

Joe St.Pierre graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and began his professional career in 1992 as a penciller for the fledgling comic book publisher Valiant, taking on writing responsibilities in time as well. His best Joe St.Pierreknown work at Valiant was a 10-issue run of the title Secret Weapons, which he wrote and drew. In addition to his work in commercial art and as a storyboard artist for just over 20 years, he has worked on titles at major publishers, including DC’s Aquaman, Batman, Green Lantern, Superboy, and Superman, Marvel’s Fantastic Four, Wolverine, X-Men, and he has the distinction of being the artist who most probably worked the most first issues featuring Spider-Man or Spidey family characters. He is currently working on his own title, New Zodiax.

Amongst the seasoned luminaries, Marcio Takara is a relative newcoming, having worked in comics since 2006. His art has graced the pages of Marvel Comics’ Marvel Adventures Super Heroes, Captain Marvel, and Armor Wars, Image Comics’ Dynamo5, BOOM! Studios’ The Incredibles and Incorruptible, and DC Comics’ Blue Beetle, The Flash, and Smallville: Lantern. He has also launched a successful Kickstarter project with writer Bryan Q. Miller called Earthward, and provided artwork for the game League of Legends.

Small Press Expo Sponsors Keith Knight, Miss Lasko-Gross and Diane Noomin at the National Book Festival

National Book FestivalSmall Press Expo (SPX) is proud to announce it is again a sponsor of the Library of Congress National Book Festival. As a part of this sponsorship, SPX is bringing Keith Knight, Miss Lasko-Gross and Diane Noomin to the National Book Festival.

Keith Knight is a musician and cartoonist. His works include The K Chronicles, (Th)ink and The Knight Life series. He has received the Comic-Con Inkpot Award for career achievement, multiple Glyph Awards for best comic strip and the Harvey Kurtzman Award for best syndicated comic strip. His art has appeared in various publications worldwide, including The Washington Post, Daily KOS, San Francisco Chronicle, Salon.com, Ebony, ESPN the Magazine, L.A. Weekly, MAD Magazine and the Funny Times. The first collection of his Knight Life strip is The Knight Life: Chivalry Ain’t Dead (Grand Central).

Miss Lasko-Gross is a comics artist and author known for her semiautobiographical graphic novels Escape from Special and A Mess of Everything. Her first graphic novel was nominated for YALSA’s Great Graphic Novel award, and A Mess of Everything was named by Booklist among the top 10 graphic novels of 2009. Lasko-Gross has contributed to and worked on a variety of comics and collections. Her latest graphic novel, Henni (Z2 Comics), features a girl with cat-like ears and a tail who questions the religious rules of her community.

Diane Noomin is a comics artist best known as the creator of Didi Glitz. She is one of the original contributors to Wimmen’s Comix and is the editor of the anthology series Twisted Sisters. Her work has appeared in many books, magazines and underground comic publications, including Weirdo, Young Lust, Short Order, Arcade, El Perfecto, True Glitz, Aftershock, Real Girl, Lemme Outta Here, Mind Riot, Titters, Dangerous Drawings, The Comics Journal/Special Editions, The New Comics Anthology, The Nose and The Nation. Noomin has received an Inkpot Award and been nominated for Harvey and Eisner awards. Her book Glitz-2-Go (Fantagraphics) is the first collection of more than 40 years of Didi Glitz comics.

The primary goal of this sponsorship is to bring creators from the indie comics community to the National Book Festival to provide greater exposure for them and their works to the diverse audience that attends this prestigious festival.

The National Book Festival takes place Saturday, September 5, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington, D.C.

Keith Knight will be in the Graphic Novel Pavilion, signing his books from 6:00PM-7:00PM, and from 7:15PM – 8:05PM will be on a panel with his fellow cartoonists Lalo Alcaraz and Scott Stantis.

Miss Lasko-Gross and Diane Noomin will be in the Graphic Novel Pavilion signing books from 6:00PM-7:00PM, and will be on a panel with Trina Robbins from 8:10PM-8:55PM.

Fan Expo Interviews: Robert Bailey

Fan Expo Toronto will be taking place this year between September 3rd and 6th, and Graphic Policy had the opportunity to talk with a few of their featured guests before the beginning of the convention.  Robert Bailey has had an amazing career in the art world, one which has taken him from oil paintings from the Second World War, to superheroes and Star Wars.  He joined us to talk about his career and what you can expect to see from his work.

Graphic Policy:  You have recently moved away from oil panting to pencil to do your art.  Do you find that it changes your approach to art, in what you choose to depict? Are there characters that better fit in one and not the other?
Robert Bailey:  I retired from oil painting about four years ago, due to a shift away from World War II subjects, and  because of market changes. I find pencil to be of course much faster and fluid. Large oil paintings can take up to a month, and a $25,000 painting is tough to sell. So the pencil drawings fit most budgets, being smaller and much quicker to do.
bailey004GP:  Are there any characters that after having worked on them, changed your appreciation of them?
RB:  The character I appreciate most from drawing her over and over again is Natalie Portman. I never tire of depicting her face in pencil. I would crawl ten miles over broken glass, just to kiss her feet.
GP:  Your favorite characters from Star Wars are C3P0 and Yoda.  What is it about these characters that are special for you?
RB:  C3PO and Yoda are opposites to depict. One being mechanical and the other living flesh. C3PO is very funny, and always amuses me when I am drawing him. Yoda is very quick and easy for me to draw, and he has many facial expressions. Fans love him, and he is the number one seller.
GP:  Do you have a favorite Star Wars movie?
bailey001RB:  My favorite Star Wars movie is The Empire Strikes Back. The Hoth battle scene really presses my buttons. Love it.
GP:  What is your impression of the next wave of Star Wars movies?
RB:  The next wave of Star Wars movies are very promising indeed, and I anticipate plenty of action. But of course this series is now fan driven, and they will decide if they are successful or not. But Disney appear to know what the fans want, and they will deliver.
GP:  The depiction of superheroes can be quite different from other art.  Does working with Marvel change your approach to the rest of your artwork?
bailey003RB:  Marvel….I don’t think that depicting their characters has changed my overall outlook on the other work I have done. Generally speaking, Avengers take longer to draw, because they are all human and faces and bodies slow me down, so three or four in one scene takes a while. Spiderman is the hardest to do….all that webbing. It can be discouraging.
GP:  The Marvel Cinematic Universe has changed both movies and comics.  Do you think that it is now as iconic for movie fans as Star Wars or Indiana Jones?
RB:  The Marvel Cinematic Universe…..well, there are enthusiastic fans of that, and many are Star Wars fans, too. But from what I have observed so far, both on the screen and with fans, is that Star Wars still rules. Of course, that could change. We will have to wait and see. Indiana Jones….well, it’s like Sean Connery is the original James Bond and Christopher Reeves is the original (well, almost original) Superman. I feel that subsequent actors playing an iconic character are battling uphill. Newer generations of fans are more accepting, but the old school prefer the original actors. That is what I have heard from fans.

Reedus, WWE Undertaker, Neal, Somerhalder To Attend Wizard World Tulsa, October 23-25

Ian SomerhalderWizard World continues its 2015 schedule with its second trip to the Cox Business Center at Wizard World Comic Con Tulsa, October 23-25. Norman Reedus, WWE Superstar Undertaker, Vince Neal, Ian Somerhalder, Bruce Campbell, Sean Astin, Christian Kane, Soneque Martin-Green, and Taryn Manning headline the roster of celebrity guests scheduled to attend the pop culture extravaganza.

Reedus, Campbell, Astin, Martin-Green and Manning will appear on Saturday and Sunday, Oct 24-25; Undertaker, Neil and Somerhalder will attend on Saturday; Kane is scheduled for all three days.

Other stars appearing include Alexandra Breckinridge, Tricia Helfer, Milo Ventimiglia, Charles Martinet, Phil LaMarr, Jason David Frank, Mark Meer, and Ted Raimi.

Wizard World is also the home of the most creative comics artists and writers on the planet. Artist Alley at Comic Con Tulsa will feature Neal Adams, Billy Martin, Tom Cook, Jai Nitz, Phil Ortiz, John Beatty, Arthur Suydam, Greg Horn, Michael Golden, James O’Barr and many others.

In addition, all full-price Wizard World Comic Con Tulsa attendees will receive a limited edition exclusive variant cover The Walking Dead comic, drawn by one of Wizard World’s talented artist guests (to be announced). Comics will be issued at registration while supplies last and VIP attendees will receive an additional black & white sketch version.

Tulsa show hours are Friday, October 23, 3-8 p.m.; Saturday, October 24, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Sunday, October 25, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Fan Expo Interviews: Craig Yeung

Fan Expo Toronto will be taking place this year between September 3rd and 6th, and Graphic Policy had the opportunity to talk with a few of their featured guests before the beginning of the convention.  Craig Yeung joined us to talk about his accomplishments in the medium and who he might like to draw one day.
Graphic Policy:  Who are some of the comic artists of the past that inspired you and your artwork?
yeung003Craig Yeung:  Am I limited to comic artists? haha. I derive a lot of influence from all over from Bouguereau to Bob Peak, Terada to Robert Mcginnis, Mucha to Coby Whitmore. I’m kinda all over the place. In terms of comic art, I guess I was initially influenced by the Image founders, that’s kinda the era that I grew up with. Artists like Jim Lee, Silvestri, Turner, but nowadays I like artists like Alex Raymond who did strips and had to draw without the benefit of color. There’s also a slew of incredible artists  working today that constantly raise the bar.
GP:  Are there any particular series, characters or stories that you have worked on that have been especially memorable?
CY:  Runaways will always be dear to my heart. We had an amazing creative team and management believed in the project from the get go. It was one of those few opportunities where they let a new title grow it’s own following. You don’t see that often  with the big two.
GP:  You have worked on a lot of big name projects, but is there one that no one knows about that you think deserves more praise?
yeung001CY:  There’s a couple projects I’ve done recently that I’m particularly proud of. One is an anthology of short stories “Girls Night Out”, written by Amy Chu (Soon to be writing Poison Ivy League for DC and another project for Aftershock Comics) and colored by Juri Hayasaka-Chinchilla. It’s a slice of life story that revolves around an elderly woman with dementia. It’s a more down to earth story and relies on those quiet moments. Also adapted by Amy and colored by Laura Martin, I just finished a story for the Baltimore Museum of Art. It documents the life of Princess Miao Shan and presented by the Asian Art Gallery in the museum as an interactive comic to supplement the information about some of their artifacts displayed. It’s kinda cool seeing comics used as a teaching tool.
GP:  Among your recent works is the comic version of the Arrow television series.  Is it easier to draw when you have real life people to base your illustrations from?
CY:  For the Arrow series, since I was inking it, the heavy lifting was done by Joe Bennett. I did occassionally refer back to character screen shots, but Joe did an awesome job capturing much of the likeness. I personally find it easier to keep consistency with the work if I have real people to base off of.
GP:  When you draw a certain group of characters on a regular basis, do you find that you start to like certain characters more or to get an affinity for them?
yeung002CY:  I think this is definitely the case, although I think it comes down to how the character is built through the scripts that give you that affinity. For example, some of my favorites is Molly from Runaways and Felicity from Arrow.
GP:  Aside from characters is there a specific genre that you prefer?  Fantasy or sci-fi?  Post apocalyptic or dystopian?
CY:  I like them all, although anything sci-fi tends to be more intense when drawing because of all the tech. I’ve also been a huge sci-fi fan over the years, I think Syd Mead had a big influence on that. However, it’s difficult to find a good sci-fi story these days. I think it’s because we have such amazing special effects today, we expect so much more.
GP:  Are there any characters that you would like to get a chance to draw?  Or maybe one that you have worked on already and would to get more opportunity to draw?
CY:  I think maybe on a main Spiderman title. I’ve worked on a few offshoots before ( Marvel Age Spidermans), but I grew up reading Amazing Spiderman and Peter parker, the spectacular spiderman so I think it’d be cool to work on one of the main flagship titles.

X-Files Star David Duchovny Added To Wizard World Comic Con Pittsburgh On Saturday, September 12

David DuchovnyDavid Duchovny, best known for portraying such iconic characters as Fox Mulder on The X Files and Hank Moody on Californication, will make his first-ever Wizard World appearance at Wizard World Comic Con Pittsburgh on Saturday, September 12 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. The two-time Golden Globe winner is currently starring in the NBC TV series Aquarius and earlier this year, Duchovny released his first-ever novel, Holy Cow, which landed on The New York Times’ Bestseller List.

Aside from his most recent achievements, Duchovny has appeared in numerous television shows, including The Larry Sanders Show, Twin Peaks, Life With Bonnie, and Sex and the City, alongside his illustrious film credits including The X Files Movie, Zoolander, Beethoven, Kalifornia, Full Frontal, The Rapture, Evolution, Return To Me, Julia Has Two Lovers, Chaplin, and Playing God . Other feature credits include Trust The Man, The TV Set, and his self-directed and self-written House of D.

Recently it was announced that Duchovny and Gillian Anderson will reprise their X-Files roles in a new series due out next year.

In addition to Duchovny, Ian Somerhalder, William Shatner, Jewel Staite, WWE Superstar Dean Ambrose and Diva Paige, Ernie Hudson, Adam Baldwin, Dean Cain, and Lou Ferrigno headline the roster of celebrity guests scheduled to attend the pop culture extravaganza.

Pittsburgh show hours are Friday, September 11, 3-8 p.m.; Saturday, September 12, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday, September 13, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Wheatley, Hempel Lead Insight Studios to Baltimore Comic-Con

Pow BamMark Wheatley and Marc Hempel, the creative pioneers who launched Blood of the Innocent, Mars, and numerous other creations, will explore things a little closer to home with their appearance at the Baltimore Comic-Con, September 25-27, 2015 at the Baltimore Convention Center. This is the sixteenth annual Baltimore Comic-Con, and this marks Insight Studios Groups‘ sixteenth straight appearance at the show. They will be joined by studio mates Jerry Carr, G. D. Falksen, Allan Gross, and Evelyn Kriete.

Despite vibrant and incredibly varied solo careers, Mark Wheatley and Marc Hempel have been frequent, highly successful collaborators. Their work together has included Tarzan, Jonny Quest, Titanic Tales, and Doctor Cyborg, among other projects. They are presently at work on a fully restored and lavishly produced re-issue of their acclaimed graphic novel Breathtaker for Titan Comics. Long out of print, it was originally serialized and then collected into a best-selling trade paperback by DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint 20 years ago. Their work, both together and separately, was extensively profiled in IS Art: The Art of Insight Studios.

BreathtakeerOn his own, Mark Wheatley has most recently had his work for CBS Television featured on The Millers and Super Clyde, and he’s presently part of a team that is developing a live stage show featuring Dick Tracy, Tarzan and the Green Hornet. In print, his work has been featured in the acclaimed Jungle Tales Of Tarzan from Dark Horse Comics, on the cover of the Meteor House release of Exiles Of Kho, the Phillip Jose Farmer series novel by Christopher Paul Carey, and his own well-received new art book, Stars, which presents elaborate line art portraits of actors, musicians, and authors. With a track record that includes Frankenstein Mobster, Radical Dreamer, Return of the Human, Hammer of the Gods, EZ Street, Skultar, and Lone Justice, Wheatley is an Inkpot, Mucker, Gem, Speakeasy, and Eisner award-winning creator. He has lectured at the Library of Congress, exhibited at the Norman Rockwell Museum, created set pieces for The Black Eyed Peas, designed for Lady Gaga, and contributed designs to ABC’s Beauty and the Beast. He will be announcing an innovative new project at the show in collaboration with studio members G. D. Falksen and Evelyn Kriete.

“America’s Most Beloved Semi-Obscure Cartoonist,” writer-illustrator Marc Hempel, grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and now resides in Baltimore, Maryland, where he plies his craft on such diverse projects ranging from his own Gregory, Tug & Buster, and Naked Brain to Disney Adventures, and from Clive Barker’s Hellraiser to “The Kindly Ones” in Neil Jerry CarrGaiman’s The Sandman. Hempel’s art has also appeared in MAD, Marvel Fanfare, Epic Illustrated, Heavy Metal, Flinch, My Faith in Frankie, The Dreaming, Lucifer, Munden’s BarNickelodeon Magazine, and a 21-page Escapist story for Dark Horse Comics. His series The Love Brothers has appeared in Aces Weekly.

Cryptozoo Crew artist Jerry Carr will debut a select number of large and small stretched canvas prints, illustrating a variety of furkini-clad jungle heroines and the monkeys who love them. At the Baltimore Comic-Con, he will also unveil new, limited edition poster prints, depicting all kinds of alien, primate, and reptilian critters. His and Allan Gross’ Cryptozoo Crew has been optioned by Alcon Entertainment.

GD FalksenG. D. Falksen is an author, lecturer, public speaker, and MC. He also studies history and has consulted for Disney. He is the author of The Ouroboros Cycle series and The Transatlantic Conspiracy, a YA mystery novel forthcoming from Soho Teen. Other fiction includes The Strange Case of Mr. Salad MondayCinema U, An Unfortunate Engagement, and The Mask of Tezcatlipoca. He is also a voice actor and co-writer for the animated film Hullabaloo and an accompanying educational series titled Ask The Professor.

In addition to Cryptozoo Crew, Allan Gross has written for comic book companies including DC Comics, Dark Horse, and TokyoPop, as well as the Tarzan newspaper strip for United Features Syndicate, and cartoons for television. He wrote Road Song, the Doctor Cyborg graphic novels The Clone Conspiracy and Outpatient, and the novella “Bride of the Beast HullabalooMan” in Titanic Tales, collaborated on the writing and editing of Gray Morrow: Visionary, and wrote the definitive retrospective on Insight Studios, IS Art: The Art of Insight Studios. He recently launched a successful Kickstarter project for his new quirky graphic novel, Life’s Questions Answered, and he’ll have a special signed, pre-publication edition available at the show.

Evelyn Kriete is an editor, producer, artist, stylist, marketing adviser, social media strategist, and new media coordinator. She is also a crowdfunding consultant for Indiegogo and Comicmix. Through crowdfunding, she has raised over $1 million for various projects, including the animated film Hullabaloo, which she is producing alongside film creator James Lopez. She has previously worked on the staff of literary publications such as Weird Tales and Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine.

Fan Expo Interviews: Lee Scion

Fan Expo Toronto will be taking place this year between September 3rd and 6th, and Graphic Policy had the opportunity to talk with a few of their featured guests before the beginning of the convention.  We got to talk to Lee Scion, an outstanding cosplayer who is one of the featured cosplayers at the event.  She will be showcasing new costumes as well as conducting seminars on cosplay.

Graphic Policy:  Can you tell us what your first costume was?  And how did it turn out?

lee003Lee Scion:  Though I had made myself Halloween costumes before, my first actual cosplay was Lulu from Final Fantasy X. It was hands down the largest project I had tackled at that point. I wasn’t sure how much time I actually needed, and truthfully I was really bad for procrastinating on actual construction because I grossly underestimated how long I would need.  Because of that some of the details I wanted to include (such as hand embroidered trim) had to be scrapped. I did however manage to completely hand make my wig, get the dress done and make my first corset. All in all I am proud of what I did for that costume with the time and skill set I had back then. However, I would one day like to completely redo the costume.

GP:  What skills do you consider to be most your most useful when creating a costume?

LS:  I am luckily very good with pattern drafting and sewing, so anything that is a fabric garment I am generally very apt at making. This comes in super handy as it is almost impossible to find suitable patterns for most costumes. I love projects that are sewing heavy and very structured pieces such as corsets and properly tailored coats, so having strong sewing skills makes those type of projects a lot easier!

GP:  Does being a cosplayer give you a different perspective on what life would be like for a superhero?

LS:  That is a tough one to answer, I am not sure I would say it does. On some level I can say I understand what it’s like to put on a costume and run around being someone I’m not in everyday life, however when it comes down to it I don’t have superpowers, I don’t change the world, and no one is trying to kill me (that I know of). I’m just me.. in a costume.

lee005GP:  Part of the illusion of cosplay is not only the costume but the setting.  If you could choose any real world setting for a photo shoot, where would you go and which character would you choose?

LS:  The place I think I would be most interested in shooting, could I do a photoshoot anywhere on earth, would be the Five Flower Lake in the Jiuzhaigou Valley nature reserve in Sichuan, China. The lake itself is shallow and perfectly clear with dozens of ancient trees sitting just below the surface. It has a very unearthly feel to it and one of my dream photoshoots would be recreating Aerith’s death scene from Final Fantasy VII in a lake such as Five Flower. Jiuzhaigou Valley is however a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Biosphere Reserve, so interacting with the lakes and other nature within the park is strictly prohibited. Meaning this is a dream photoshoot I know will never happen.

GP:  One of the biggest developments for comics in recent years is the resurgence of comic book movies.  Does having such lifelike looking characters on the big screen force cosplayers to modify their approach?

LS:  I wouldn’t say movie versions of characters force cosplayers to modify their approach. However, they do offer another version of their favourite characters they can create. Comic book characters in particular tend to have many different outfits giving cosplayers a wide variety of options for exactly what they wish to do. I always appreciate having the option of recreating the very detailed costume designed for comic book movies, but also having the option of creating something much more graphic and closer to the comic artwork.

When you are creating a garment that someone else has actually made you can look and see exactly how it was made: where the seams are, what materials they chose, how pieces attach. When you create something based solely on a drawing however you are often tasked with figuring out how things have to go together, as most comic book artists don’t have to consider how, or even if, their clothes will work in the real world. I find this gives artwork inspired costume a much more personalised feel than those of direct garment recreations.

lee004GP:  Crossplay is catching on quite a bit as well, but it is probably more accepting for the girls than the guys.  Any advice for the guys dressing up as their favorite female character?

LS:  My advice for men who want to crossplay as their favourite female characters is do what makes you happy! Cosplay should never be for anyone but yourself, so you shouldn’t worry about what other people think. There is always going to be someone who dislikes what you are doing, no matter how perfect you are, so just do what makes you happy!

Some crossplayers like to go all out, shave their legs, contour their faces to look more feminine and pad out their bodies to make a more womanly shape. There are many amazing tutorials out there for how to achieve this, and if you delve into the drag community you can find endless information and tips. That being said, I have also seen many amazing male crossplayers who have simply made their favourite characters costume and worn it as they are. One of the best male crossplays I have ever seen was a man dressed as Sailor Moon at Fan Expo who had a full beard and visible chest and leg hair.

GP:  What should we expect to see from you in Toronto?  Any special plans?

LS:  My costume plans are a little up in the air for Fan Expo Canada. However, I will be running six panels over the weekend ranging from wig working to armour making. There are several costumes I would like to make, but my panel prep comes first. The only costume I can say for sure will make an appearance is a classic Jem costume from Jem and the Holograms. It will be truly, truly, truly outrageous!

All photos are copyrighted to Lee Scion

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