Comic Art Friday: The WonderCon job

I know, I know… I’m a week late with the annual WonderCon post. It’s been busy around here. Learn to deal.

WonderCon 2010 took place at San Francisco two weekends ago, and while I didn’t count noses, it certainly appeared that neither the shift in dates (in previous years, WonderCon was in February) nor the inclement weather (it poured rain much of the weekend) hurt business any. On both Friday and Saturday — especially Saturday — Moscone Center brimmed to the gills with the sort of geeks, freaks, fanboys, fangirls, and fans of indeterminate gender (and, for that matter, species) that a comic book and fantasy media convention generally attracts.

This was an unusual con for me, for a couple of reasons. For one, I had a voiceover workshop on Friday afternoon that I was determined to attend, so my time at the con on that day was curtailed considerably. For another, I didn’t walk away with my customary windfall of newly commissioned art, scoring only one new piece for my collection.

Ms. Marvel and Wonder Woman, mixed media by comics artist Dan Parent

That one piece, however, is pretty sweet.

Dan Parent — longtime artist, writer, and editor for Archie Comics — created this cute commission for my Common Elements theme. In addition to being the de facto matriarchs of their respective superhero universes, Ms. Marvel and Wonder Woman share at least one other “Common Element” — both have backgrounds in the military. Carol (Ms. Marvel) Danvers is a colonel in the U.S. Air Force, while Wonder Woman, in her assumed guise as Diana Prince, spent World War II as a U.S. Army lieutenant.

Not by coincidence, as rendered by the charming Mr. Parent, Ms. Marvel bears an uncanny resemblance to a certain Betty Cooper, while Wonder Woman looks rather strikingly like one Veronica Lodge. Below, we see the proud creator with his newest masterwork.

Dan Parent, WonderCon 2010

And yes, that’s all I got. I had decided in advance of the convention to focus my acquisition efforts on artists whose work isn’t already represented in my collection. For whatever reason, there weren’t a lot of those artists in attendance this year. I’d hoped to make a stab at Adam Hughes’s commission list, as Adam was scheduled to make his first WonderCon appearance in five years, but work-related complications forced him to cancel a couple of days before the con. So, I made the best of the circumstances.

That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy myself thoroughly — I did. Among the highlights…

I renewed my acquaintances with a number of familiar faces in the comic art community, including Tony DeZuniga and his lovely wife Tina, Ernie Chan, Danny Bulanadi, Ron Lim, Thomas Yeates, Walt Davis, and Tom Hodges.

“Gentleman cartoonist” Keith Knight, with whom I always enjoy chatting, autographed a copy of his The Complete K Chronicles for me, as well as an anthology of his Th(ink) strips for my friend Damon.

I caught superstar artist Frank Cho in a rare unoccupied moment, and got him to autograph his latest sketchbook. I also seized the opportunity to express my appreciation for Frank’s Shanna and Jungle Girl. (Drat… I forgot to mention Liberty Meadows. I love that too, Frank.)

I rescued artist Colleen Doran‘s notebook computer, which had slipped out of her tote bag into the aisle without her knowledge. I’d love to have Colleen draw a commission for me one of these days, so I’m hoping that my act of heroic alertness will gain me sufficient favor to help persuade her into one when she has time.

One of my comic art heroes — Mark Schultz, creator of Xenozoic Tales (better known in the popular culture by the alternate title Cadillacs and Dinosaurs) — spent a good 15 minutes talking with me about his latest projects, including a single-volume collection of Xenozoic scheduled for publication this fall. Mark also signed a pair of his sketchbooks for me.

My favorite panel — as it is almost every year — was hosted by the dynamic duo of Sergio Aragonés and Mark Evanier, creators of Groo. For reasons utterly beyond comprehension, WonderCon’s organizers seem hellbent on shoving Sergio and Mark’s popular lovefest into a smaller venue every year. This time, we attendees were sitting practically in each other’s laps, and even more were turned away at the door, to Mark’s loudly expressed consternation.

In case you were wondering, one-time Bionic Woman Lindsay Wagner still looks spectacular in person. Whoever does her makeup for those Sleep Number bed commercials, in which Ms. Wagner appears positively cadaverous, ought to be horsewhipped.

My giddy middle-aged fanboy moment: Getting my copy of Supergirl #50 autographed by Supergirl herself, Helen Slater. (I managed not to drool. I think.)

Supergirl issue 50, autographed by actress Helen Slater

That’s about it from WonderCon.

And that’s your Comic Art Friday.

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