Welcome back to the second installment of our NYCC 2011 coverage! For those few that might not know, the Jacob Javits Center played host to one of the largest comic conventions on the East Coast, and I had the pleasure of being able to spend a few days in what some might call “Geek Heaven.” When I left you guys I was attempting to erase the memory of an unpleasant encounter, and finished up my night looking at action figures, playing video games, and talking with some great men and women in the industry as well as some cool fans. Well, during day two I planned on doing something I didn’t get much of a chance to do last year, and that’s actually hang out in Artist Alley and enjoy myself. There were plenty of people I wanted to meet, but there were three artists in particular that were a must for me. Sara Pichelli, who has been drawing some fantastic panels in Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man. John ‘Roc’ Upchurch, whose work in Image’s new title Vescell has been great, and last but not least, Szymon Kudranski, whose work in Spawn and Penguin: Pain and Prejudice is just dope! Unfortunately our camera man, Eric, didn’t bring his books for Pichelli to sign on our first trip to Artist Alley, but he still took some fantastic shots while I got mine signed! Also, to prove how nice of a guy I am, I even let him hold my signed copy for a second. But only a second.
Let’s rewind a bit, because I’m getting a little ahead of myself. Way before we got to Pichelli’s table we had to fight our way through a very long line of fans who were waiting for Rob Liefeld. Regardless of what you think of his skills with the pencil, he’s still responsible for the creation of one of the most famous characters in the Marvel Universe. So there was plenty of Deadpool action all over the place, and there were also con attendees who had a lot of pouches on their belts, but I’m not sure that had anything to do with Liefeld. He was all smiles and handshakes and even took the time to go over a portfolio when his line thinned out for about two minutes. Eric was even able to get out from behind the camera and get a pic of him and the Image co-founder! We left just in time, as another swell of rabid fans were making their way to Rob’s table, and I saw the two guys who are responsible for one of my new favorite titles. Jim Zub and Edwin Huang are the creative team behind Skullkickers, and I just so happened to have my trade with me. My two companions, Eric and Cam, hadn’t heard of the title, so after introducing them to the creative team behind the book they picked up a few issues and are happily enjoying the adventures of Baldy and Shorty. Jim gave a bit of info on the upcoming anthology issue and when the next arc would be starting, then the guys were more than happy to let us take a few shots of them. I can see how there’s so much humor in the issues, because Jim was pretty damn funny as we just chilled for a bit and he personalized my trade when he signed it in true Skullkicker fashion!
It was meetings like this that really offset the crappy encounter I had the previous day with a creator, but little did I know it was about to get a lot better. Several feet down from the Skullkicker crew I saw the very familiar Vescell logo, and little did I know that this would be one of the highlights of my day. Walking up to the table the guys introduced themselves to us and I talked with ‘Roc’ and Rapheal, and it was during this conversation that there was a spark of recognition. I was recently talking about this title during one of the Contest of Champions podcasts in which I described a dope fight scene that included a vibrator and a literal one-eyed monster. To my surprise these guys had actually heard the podcast and enjoyed it. After a few laughs about that, the series’ writer Enrique showed up and all of us just had a great conversation about Vescell in particular. They asked a couple of questions and wanted a fan’s honest opinion, and it was just a very cool and real vibe the whole time. The creative team has a vision about how not only Black characters are portrayed, but also how Black creators are viewed in this industry that even furthers my support of what these guys are doing. We’ll definitely be talking with these guys later on, and if you haven’t done so already I’d suggest snatching up a copy of Vescell and get more than 22 pages worth of good story for $2.99! After getting some signatures and picking up some books, we let them go as a crowd started to form. I was actually kicking myself later for not getting a sketch from ‘Roc’, but that will be rectified soon.
One of the best things about Artist Alley is the HUGE amount of talent all in one room, and whether it’s a well known artist or someone you’ve never heard of before you will definitely walk away with some eye catching, face melting artwork. It’s also the best place to get something signed without the hustle, funk, and long lines of the showroom floor. There’s time to actually talk and relax a bit while you stroll around the isles. It was actually during this time that camera man extraordinaire, Eric, noticed Sara Pichelli. It was also at this point the painful realization came to him that he didn’t have any of his Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man books with him. Since she was in the middle of a sketch, he politely asked if he could take her picture before just snapping away with his bright flash, possibly causing her to mess up. Take note you overzealous fanboys who just go up to an artist and damn near blind them with your cameras. She took a couple of minutes to speak and was just as personable as she could be, and I’ll admit that she’s got one of the cutest smiles I’ve seen. Yep, I said it! We didn’t want to hold her up any longer, so we quickly moved on and Eric made a mental note to bring in those Spider-Man books the next day. I think the kick in the gut was when his brother was able to score the first two issues from Midtown and get them signed that day!
So far I was able to get to see two out of my main three, but to my chagrin (say what?) there was no Kudranski to be seen. Though I really couldn’ t be too down because I was at freakin’ NYCC and having a great day! We made our way up and down the aisles just checking out the work from various artists, and just talking with people we had heard of and those that we hadn’t. There was just way too much eye candy to take everything all in at once. By this time in the day the cosplayers were in full effect, and being the guy that I am many of the outfits that were on display were to my liking. Though one was quite disturbing as I saw a little girl around the age of five but no older than seven rocking a White Queen costume. It really made me want to punch the parents in the face for dressing their kid up to look like a prostitute, but I had to just slowly walk away. If by the very slim chance the parents of that kid ever read this article, just know that I’m expecting karma to kick you in the ass at some point in your life for what you did to your kid.
Well, that’s a wrap for the second recap, and things are just getting started. I’m thinking that things can only get better, but then I get the feeling that my nemesis is lurking around somewhere just waiting to strike. We haven’t crossed paths yet, but it’s still pretty early in the con and there’s still plenty of time for Iceman to screw something up like he did last year. Be sure to check us out all week for NYCC 2011 recaps. For now I’ll leave you with pics courtesy of E. Snell Designs.