I’m in Ohio today; I’m typing this from the library of Worthingway Middle School in Worthington, Ohio. I’ll be speaking to the kids here today, then this afternoon I’ll speak at Kilbourne Middle School, and tomorrow I’ll be visting McCord Middle School. School appearances are always fun for me, and this time I’m expermenting with some new material, a “workshop” on writing and drawing a comic strip. Wish me luck!
Then, Saturday and Sunday, I’ll be at the Mid-Ohio Comic Book Con. I’ll be at table 1013; please come and say “hi” if you’re there.
Here’s the line art for the still-ongoing drawing I’m making of “Oracle’s Last Supper,” featuring nearly every female hero of DC’s “Bat” family arranged in a “Last Supper of Christ” pastiche, plus a dog. There are 17 figures in all. Please click to see it larger.
It’s still not finished — there will to be two versions, a hand-inked version that will be auctioned for charity as part of Women of Wonder Day, and a computer-colored print — but I kind of like the clean look of the line art.
From left to right, the characters at the table are Katherine Kane (the original 1950s Batwoman), Betty Kane (the original 1950s Batgirl, Katherine’s niece), Robin (Stephanie Brown), Spoiler (Stephanie Brown), Batgirl (Barbara Gordon), Batgirl (Stephanie Brown), Oracle (Barbara Gordon), Batgirl (Cassandra Cain), Batwoman (Kate Kane), Huntress (Helena Wayne), Robin (Carrie Kelly), Black Bat (Cassandra Cain), and Batgirl (Charlotte “Charlie” Gage-Radcliffe, aka Misfit). In the background is Robin (Rochelle Wayne) sitting on a robot dinosaur; Blackbat (Barbara Hardy) on the giant rook; and Robin (Trish Plover) flying near the ceiling. And the dog in the foreground is Ace, the Bat-Hound.
These are figures from a drawing-in-progress I’m working on, featuring the Last Supper done with 16 Batgirls, Batwomen, female Robins and female Black Bats. Plus Oracle,Spoiler, Huntress and Ace the Bat-Hound.
I just did an author visit at the Agnon School in Cleveland via Skype, and it was so much fun! I got to talk to their 4th grade class, do live drawing demonstrations for them, show them an animated film of my drawing process, and answer their questions.
And when I was done, I was right here in my studio in Oregon.
To conclude: living in the world of the future is teh awesome.
Here are the live drawings I did for the kids. When I do this presentation, I first demonstrate for the kids how to lay out a face by using the eggshell-with-a-cross method, which is a very easy method. Then, I call on the kids to answer questions like “what should the nose be like?” or “what expression does this person have?,” and then I draw whatever they tell me to. (I draw a lot of mohawks and afros, therefore.) It’s a lot of fun. After the presentation is over, I email the drawings to the librarian, so she can print out a copy for any kids who want.
Right now it’s mostly well-off schools that have Skype setups, but nothing about being able to use Skype is so outrageously expensive that any school couldn’t do it. All that’s required is a computer monitor large enough to be seen by the whole classroom, and an internet connection. For the kids growing up now, talking to creators and other folks from all over the world is increasingly becoming an ordinary part of education.
Many thanks to Aimee Lurie, the kick-ass librarian at Agnon School who put this all together!
Ongoing work-in-progress for a drawing that will be auctioned off as part of this year’s “Women of Wonder Day.” The woman in the drawing is Rochelle Wayne, who was Robin in an “Elseworlds” Batman comic set during the French Revolution. Rochelle Wayne was designed by the wonderful José Luis García-López; my attempt to draw García-López hair looks pretty silly, but it was fun to try!
The completed drawing will include 4 female Robins, 5 Batgirls, 2 Batwomen, 2 female Black Bats, Huntress, Spoiler, Oracle, and Ace the Bat-Hound.
I’ve realized this year that a major reason I go to comic book conventions isn’t for fun, but because I feel a need to be legitimized as a cartoonist. After so many years of getting nowhere with cartooning, it means a lot to me to go someplace where readers, and especially other cartoonists, will say “Oh, you did Hereville? That was really good.”
It’s also, sad to say, why I enjoy being nominated for awards. (Did I oh-so-casually mention that Hereville was nominated for an Eisner, a Harvey, and an Ignatz? I did? Well, then, let me just casually mention it again.)
I was talking about this to another cartoonist — someone who has won major cartooning awards and is published by a prestigious company. And he told me that despite all that, he still feels the same need for legitimization. It never goes away, apparently.
In conclusion: Maybe I’ll try to go to fewer cons this year.
Katherine (Kathy) Kane and her niece Betty Kane were the original Batwoman and Batgirl, in the 1950s.
This was kind of interesting to sketch. I had to draw things I virtually never draw, like — well — superheroes. And high heels.
I’m in the San Diego airport, waiting until it’s time for me to check in for my flight in five hours or so. (For various reasons, this made more sense than the alternatives).
So: Some random, tired notes about Comic-Con:
I’ll be at Comic-Con in San Diego this week, starting with preview night tonight and through the end of Comic-Con on Sunday.
I’m in Artists Alley, table DD-5, a fair amount of the time. I’ll have copies of Hereville and my new short story, How To Make A Man Out Of Tin Foil, with me.
I’ve never been to Comic-Con before — which is to say, I’ve been to the comic book convention that takes place in San Diego before, but as far as I can recall I’ve never been to it since it became, you know, COMIC-CON! I’m completely intimidated by the sheer hugeness of Comic-Con, but also excited.
I’m planning to spend some time going to panels, looking at other cartoonists’ tables and trying to enjoy the con, so I won’t be at my table every minute — but I’m planning to be at my table at least a few hours a day, possibly more. In addition, I’ll be doing a Hereville signing at the Abrams booth Friday and Sunday mornings.
Comic-Con is so huge that you pretty much need a strategy to attend. I’ve decided not to try to attend any of the really BIG events — the Whedon appearance, the Matt Smith appearances, and so on — because it would require too much time spent in line.
Although seeking a chance to talk to the big celebrities can lead to extremely treasure-able memories. Winter McCloud told me a great story about getting called on to ask Kristin Chenowith a question at a panel at a previous Comic-Con. (Chenowith, who is less than five feet tall, commented, “wow, you’re as tiny as I am.”) Winter (who is not shy, and who is, like me, a big fan of musicals) asked Chenowith if she’d sing just for a few moments. The crowd erupted in applause at Winter’s request, and Winter was rewarded with this performance:
These are possible covers for a short self-published comic I might have with me at Comic-Con. Please let me know which design you like best.
UPDATE: And a fifth option (variation on the first option):
UPDATE AGAIN: Option number six (variant on #4)