While You Were Out: Dispatches from Beyond SDCC 2008

Categories:  Features, Interviews, News

Chalk it up to the sophomore jinx, but the Second Annual Astoria Comic Con isn’t going quite so well as I had hoped. Sure there will be naysayers who insist that it has something to do with the fact that once again I stubbornly insisted on holding it the same weekend as the San Diego Comic Con. And then there’s the fact that I didn’t advertise or really mention it to anybody. And, of course, nitpickers will likely point out that I held the thing in my tiny backyard in Astoria, Queens.

Honestly, though, I think the whole thing is just a matter of building proper buzz, and that sort of thing takes at least three years of unsuccessful backyard conventions to build. Maybe next year J. Scott Campbell will return my phone calls…

We’ve still got another day-and-a-half to turn this whole thing around. And believe me, once word gets out about those discount-priced hugs, attendees will be fleeing the San Diego convention center like rats from a sinking Watchmen sneak previewing ship. At least it didn’t rain this year–yet…

In the meantime, we put out the word to some of our cartoonist pals and asked them why the hell they weren’t at SDCC either, this weekend. Check out responses from Jeff Smith, Evan Dorkin, Renee French, Tony Millionaire, Tom Hart, and many, many more, after the jump.

Bonus: almost certainly the most adorable picture in the history of The Hatch.

Liz Baillie: I was too busy having the second best day of my life ever on Friday to even remember San Diego existed. Also my brother is in town this weekend.

Brian “Box” Brown: I finally got to read ACME Novelty Library #17. Plus, I figured hanging around New York I’d maybe run into Paris Hilton, oh wait..

Evan Dorkin: Visiting family, going to a pool party, working on character/prop/background designs for an animated segment Sarah and I wrote for Yo Gabba Gabba! season two, reading Cat Eyed-Boy, playing with my daughter, sleeping.

Chris Duffy (Nick Mag): I’m working–getting back to some cartoonists about Nick Mag work. That way when they return they’ll be like, “oh my God, Chris worked all weekend while I partied with Joss Whedon! I must make good!” Plus, my sister is visiting and I’ll show her my part of the Hudson Valley.

Renee French: Mostly been making drawings for my project Toaster Lodge and then at night going to the movies. We saw Werner Herzog’s movie, Encounters at the End the World, which i want to see again, and Guillaume Canet’s film, Tell No One, which was great. But mostly just drawing and putting a lot of them up on my blog.

Tom Hart: I spent Friday in a final eight-hour critiquing and sharing session with the 37 SVA pre-college cartooning teenagers. Keith Mayerson, Lauren Weinstein, and I spent three weeks teaching them comics, cartooning, drawing. They finished 10 page stories and the last day we plastered the walls with the original art and read each story out loud. It was fabulous, though Lauren had to run to SDCC and couldn’t be there. Saturday I spent in a post-class funk. I skated around the park, thinking I was seeing the faces of my students everywhere: look! There’s Kevin! Look, is that Mia? Oh! It’s Sarah! Sunday is to cleaning, getting back to drawing ,and going to the farmer’s market.

Dean Haspiel: I’ll be in Montauk, NY on a beach with my girlfriend at our friend’s clam bake party. I don’t eat clams so I’ll probably eat hot dogs and burgers. I might read a comic book or two, while scoring a tan.

Jeff Mason (Alternative Comics): I got married last weekend and we went on a short honeymoon. This weekend we went to our friend’s big birthday party. After having gone to the show every year for many many years, San Diego has really just become too overwhelming for me. For me, going to San Diego is kind of like going to the Olympics, except that it happens every year, and that I don’t get the help of the USOC.

Tony Millionaire: I was busy at the drawing table all weekend working on episode eight of The Drinky Crow Show. I figured I’d let somebody else win all the Eisners this year.

Sarah Morean: On Saturday, I will attend JP Coovert and Jacie Anderson’s wedding. They met at SCAD while he studied comics and she studied fashion design about six years ago. Now he’s got his master’s from the Center for Cartooning Studies and she designs patterns for Target. She liked him in college because they both wore Chuck Taylors. For their wedding, they’re wearing “No Sweat” Chuck Taylor look-a-likes. “All the sentiment, without the sweat.” The ceremony will take place in the Japanese Garden at the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory in St Paul, MN. I’m very excited for them. On Sunday, Leah and Cooper are making pizza for me and Will at their place. Also, I will knit.

Mari Naomi: I’m drawing comics, attending figure drawing class, and celebrating my best friend’s birthday and our 20th friendship anniversary!

Aaron Renier: Dressing up like Hurley on Lost and finding old candy bars to eat under my couch.

Eric Reynolds (Fantagraphics): A picture says it all, no?

Jeff Smith: I’m in the middle of a year-long hiatus from all comic book shows. I have some friends who live on a lake, and I’m going swimming tomorrow. Nice place with sailboats and cliffs to jump off. But I enjoy reading about the Comic Con on the blogs. Have fun, everyone. See you next year!

Jeremy Tinder: I’m (sadly) not in San Diego because I’m working on comics! I’m working on a 24-pager called Mister Misty, which should be released later this year or early next year. I’m also teaching a lot of kid’s classes in animation, digital video production and drawing this summer, so I’m pretty worn out. I might attend SPX this fall-I’ve got a 10-pager for the new issue of Papercutter, which should be out for the show. I hope to have new books out next summer, to warrant an appearance at Comic Con.

Julia Wertz: Moving, drinking Bloody Marys midday, dusting the crumbs out of my keyboard.

Skip Williamson: I’m in White River Junction VT. Almost as far away as I could be and still be in the U.S.

David Yurkovich: Moving into a house this weekend. After years of apartment life, we finally are settling into a house with an orange tree and a pool. So, wish I was there, but I’m looking forward to going for a swim tomorrow.

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