Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Up and at 'Em!

I forgot to mention, I have another blog you may wish to check out. 

I know I need a big, fancy website to showcase my artwork for potential employers to see, but I don't have the time or money for that right now. So, in the meantime, I have set up a blog to showcase my stuff. Most of the things up there are the examples of the stuff you have all seen before, and most of it will be deleted as I update the blog with new things. For the moment though, you can check it out by clicking here.


Toy Scum!

Greetings All!

Sorry for the paucity of posts lately. The month of May seems to have slipped by with only one post (two, if you count this one) from me. Sorry about that. Some fun things did happen to me in May, and I shall post about them eventually. They will be worth the wait believe me. I can't wait to tell you about the road trip Perfect Wifey and I took to visit my old "art" school. Hilarity and personal  insight will abound, believe me!

Today though, I wanted to share with you a couple of encounters I had that have nothing to do with cartooning or anything like that. Today, I want to tell you about my most recent "Adventures in Action Figure Collecting". 

Regular readers of this blog know I am addicted to little plastic replicas of my favorite pop culture characters. Call them "toys", "dolls" or what you will; I love action figures, and I get a lot of pleasure out of collecting them.

Unfortunately, a lot of other people do too. They, however, are not into collecting simply for the pleasure it brings them, they are into it for the profits it brings them. You see, there are a lot of action figure collectors out there. In fact there are so many, that sometimes certain popular characters are hard to get ahold of, since so many folks want them. This has led to the unpleasant situation of a bunch of people with plenty of free time, but a limited amount of scruples, scouring stores to buy up hard-to-get toys so they can resell them. 

Although I  have read and heard plenty of stories about this bunch, I hadn't really ever encountered any of them. Until this past week, that is.

One of the lines of Action Figures I really love is the line based on characters from the Star Wars films. I had quit buying them, but lately the manufacturer,  Hasbro™, has been producing figures that strike a cord in the geek in me, and I must have them all. One of the figures I really want is the Gamorrean Guard. The GG are the green pig guards at Jabba the Hutts' palace in the film, Return of the Jedi. Hasbro™ has made a dandy little replica of this  character, and I really want one. Badly. So do a lot of people. This toy is really hard to find, at least in stores at a reasonable price.

Imagine my surprise then, when during a trip to a local Wal-Mart (shudder!), I spotted THREE of these hard-to-find figures! Unfortunately, they were in the hand of a fellow consumer. The person in question was a text book "geek": a twenty-something unshaven/unbathed toad wearing a filthy Mr. Spock tee shirt. "Gee, any more Gamorrean Guards left?", I asked him. "No, I got 'em all!", he gleefully replied. "Damn, that's too bad. My son really wants one, and I was hoping to get him one for his birthday", I replied. I know this was a lie, and lies are  bad, but this guy had THREE of them, and I was hoping to appeal to his (non-existent as it turns out) sense of compassion. "Huh! I got lucky", he gloated, and shuffled away. What a scumbag! He couldn't even offer some lame lie/excuse as to why he was buying all of the available stock. He just took pleasure in the fact that he cleaned out the inventory of  a desirable character, and left some fictional kid (not that he knew the kid was fictional) with an empty birthday. 

This guy really cheesed me off, but he was nothing compared to my encounter a few days later.

I was at my local TARGET™, picking up  some necessity, and I decided to swing by the action figure section to see if there was anything worth picking up (FULL DISCLOSURE: Whatever I pretended I  was going to TARGET™ for, I was hoping to find a Gamorrean Guard). There , in the action figure  aisle, I saw a Dad with his son, a lad of about four or five years of age. The Dad had two of the same figure in his hand. It wasn't a figure I wanted, but still I wondered, why did he have two? His son asked the question for me: "Daddy, why  are you buying TWO of that?", he queried. "Ha! One's  fer me, and one's to sell on eBay and make some MONEY!", scummy Dad actually said, out loud! The fact that this guy  was not only a scalper-scum but was passing this behavior on to future generations reduced me to a foam-spitting maniac and I honestly don't recall the rest of my shopping trip.

I know in the grand scheme of things, toy scalpers/hoarders aren't really that big a deal. I just hate that opportunists and selfish people have to make trying to enjoy a hobby such a stressful experience. If there is any point to this post, it is this: Don't but anything from eBay that you can buy in a store,  no badly how bad you want/need it. You will just be financing the lifestyle of the most wretched hive of scum and villainy you would ever meet.

Unless you wanna buy me a Gamorrean Guard, of course...

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Another Con Job

Yep, it happened again. I went to the Boston Comic Con(vention), and had a terrible time.

I wrote all  about this last year, so I won't repeat myself (much), but what the heck has happened to comic cons?! Back in the day (we're talkin' the Seventies) comic cons were great! It was a weekend-long nerdapalooza of all things geeky! Anything a nerd would love: Comics, Animated Cartoons, Obscure Movies, Comic Strips and more were there on display for all to enjoy. The attendees were different too. Back then, comics weren't "mainstream". Comic fans were an isolated bunch, who were sure that our interests weren't shared by the population at large. Seeing so many like-minded geeks at a con reassured us that we were "not alone". Also, all forms of cartoon-type entertainment were represented. You could find funny animal comics, Star Trek stuff,  underground comics, Anime (called "Japanese stuff", back then) and more! Today, it's superheroes, or nuthin'.

The convention I attended last weekend was a different story. Sure, there were the vendors, but that was about it. Thanks to the success of mainstream superhero movies and the like, the con experience has become all about selling crap to the masses. The con  had an impressive lineup of guests, but they were all hawking their latest  projects and selling their autographs and drawings. Back in the day, the pros would do quickie sketches gratis, and sign autographs till their hands wore out. I understand why pros are hesitant to do free sketches nowadays, what with all the EBay slime balls out there, but charging for an autograph? Come on!

There was also no entertainment at the con I attended. No movies, nothing. Sure, they had a few panels where clueless nitwits interviewed some of the pros in attendance, but the one we sampled was awful: An interview with a comic book legend, hosted by a guy who seemed to know nothing about his work. The only highlight was when a big fat guy in a Batman outfit walked in during the middle of the  presentation and sat down. No one reacted, like Batman  showing up was no big deal.

All in all, the experience was a bust. Maybe though, the people behind the Boston Comic  Con will contact me, and I can advise them on how to improve next years con. If they don't, I won't be back.

One highlight: I reconnected with my old teacher, comic book legend Joe Kubert (Pictured above. BTW, that isn't Photo shop  magic, that is how big my forehead is!). Joe was a guest at the con. He was very important to my development as a cartoonist, and it was nice to tell him how much he meant to me. He pretended to remember me, which I appreciated. Come to think of it, he should remember me! After all, I once playfully pinched his cheek, and lived to tell the tale.

I just remembered, another pathetic aspect of the con: All the ham n' eggers trying to sell their self-published books. It was really sad to see. It convinced me to publish my Kaptain Keen book through some legitimate channel.

So, to sum up: No more Comic Cons for me. I'm moving on to something more legitimate.

Like  a Star Trek convention.

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