Saturday, July 24, 2004

SDCC: Day Two

Long day. Again.

Hit the small press area in the morning and met some folks who are working hard to make books. As always, the quality is variable, but they get credit for trying at least. Jetted away from there to hit the Sc-Fi network's panel on the new Battlestar Galactica, and that was a good one. Writer Ron Moore, along with actors James Callas, Aaron Douglas, Tricia Helfer, and Grace Park were along for the show, and it was an exercise in good fun and humor, as opposed to the fanboy attack at last year's con. Helfer is even sexier in person than she is while seducing Callas on the show, and Grace Park appears to have created her own legion of slobbering fans, even while stuck in a bulky flight suit on the program.

The rest of the day was a mixture of things. I went and talked to creators I know, having chats with guys like Jimmy Pamliotti, and I had my Hollywood moment, meeting and talking to Patton Oswalt, who's a really nice fellow. I hit Terry Moore's panel in later afternoon, covering it for Newsarama and finished the day by walking more than even remotely necessary and putting too much wear and tear on my poor self. Last night was spent eating and partying with good friends, and spending over a half hour in the cab line at the Hyatt, meaning I didn't see bed until almost 3am. So I'm shutting up now.


Friday, July 23, 2004

SDCC: Day One

Breaking News: it's still bloody huge.

I packed a lot into yesterday, and suffered quite a bit of pain for it. First, I met a lot of small press publishers. Now, many small press efforts are amateur hour at best, to be charitable. But I give them credit for at least trying. They are, to a fault, deeply enthusiastic about their comics, and are dying to get them in front of people. For my part, I came back to my room last night with a good dozen small press pamphlets, plus a trade or two. And that doesn't count the trades/graphic novels I got from them, not to mention the serious publishers who passed stuff on to me. After one and a bit of days, I'm already another month down in regards to my review schedule. Woof.

Got to see and talk to some friends/faves yesterday as well. Had the chance to talk to Steve Lieber for a while, and watch him draw an absolutely stunning commission of an archer firing on horseback. The commission was just for an "archer," and as usual, Steve went the extra mile. Awesome. I also hooked up friends Matt and Joe with Steve's recent minis. Matt, Joe and I also spent a short time with friend and fine scribe Tom Spurgeon. Tom has likely forgotten more about comics and their history than most people will ever know. He's also up for an Eisner tonight for his excellent book about Stan Lee. Good luck, Tom!

Also got the chance to chat up Brett Warnock of Top Shelf, the crew at Devil's Due Publishing, and the swell guys at Viper Comics. Old pal Brian Joines was sharing a table with guys like Dan Wickline and Tone Rodriguez, and he was in his usual amusing form. Joines is a guy who is just waiting to bust out, and his story in the recent NOBLE CAUSES: EXTENDED FAMILY #2 was really quite good.

Sat in on the Godzilla panel, and it was a lot of fun. Chris Gore was on the panel, and as usual, he really livened it up. Gore has personality to spare, and he's not a dick about it, which is nice. I was going to stay for Richard Kelly of DONNIE DARKO fame, but I decided to roll through the floor one last time and call it an early day. Hunger and soreness were killing me, and Friday night is always a long one here in SD. Dinner at the Old Spaghetti Company probably tasted better than it actually was, but that's what hunger will do for you...

More tomorrow...


Thursday, July 22, 2004


It could have been handled better.

Preview night is supposed to be three hours long. That means the fanboys are chomping to get in, sweating up a storm in line, and generally creating a ruckus. Particularly when the con organizers shave thirty minutes off the night for unknown reasons and don't start letting people in until 6pm.


So I made quick rounds of it. Hit the Khepri booth to say hello to friends. Rolled over to Fantagraphics to touch base with some pals. Hit IDW's booth to meet up with my MPS editor and friend Chris Ryall. Then I made a pass through some publisher booths to offer greetings to folks I know and haven't seen in a while like Tom Beland, Rob Osborne, Greg Rucka (whose wife Jen Van Meter and their adorable baby were with him), James Lucas Jones, and others. I also bumped into Matt Brady and picked up a panel assignment, so I'll be contributing to Newsarama for the first time.

Closed the night with drinks with friends Joe Rybandt and Matt Maxwell, and slept like a rock. I'm off to day one!


Monday, July 19, 2004

Cleverer people than me have written a shitload of things about EIGHTBALL #23.
Read their reviews. Debate their takes. But recognize that this is an incredible piece of comics literature, whether you approach it as a slap to the face of the modern superhero concept or as a stunning look at the pathology of a modern serial killer. It's great. Award-winning great. The lovely and talented folks at Fantagraphics have published it. Be brave and buy one.

Sunday, July 18, 2004


Written by Sean Stewart and Drawn by Steve Lieber

Ask for one from Steve Lieber

Some comics automatically make me happy, just by existing. Many of those comics are drawn by the great Steve Lieber.
Now, don’t get me wrong: I don’t believe that Lieber puts out genius level work every time he puts pencil to paper. Like many artists, he has his quirks, and (in my opinion) Steve’s biggest quirk is one of the stranger ones in the business.
Mason’s Law Of Lieber: The more Lieber is paid, and the more high profile the gig, and the more characters the story contains who wear costumes, the lesser the work from Steve. Jobs where there are no costumes and superpowers = Lieber at his best.
I swear to you: I know this sounds goofy, but compare Lieber’s work on something like WHITEOUT to his work on BATMAN. It doesn’t even look like the same guy. The throw in the fact that someone else is usually inking his stuff, and there’s a colorist getting in the mix, and it just looks like Lieber-lite.
Now that we have that out of the way, I can point to this charming little exercise as more proof of my theory. In this lovely mini-comic, Lieber gives us eight wonderfully drawn pages of just people. People like you see every day on the street or at the grocery. Oh, and some dead people, but even they look normal.
Adapting and promoting Sean Stewart’s new novel PERFECT CIRCLE, “Family Reunion” introduces the reader to William “Dead” Kennedy, a fellow with the unfortunate and somewhat unpleasant ability to see the dead, and those dead have some unfinished business. Plus, he’s unemployed, having lost his job at Petco for eating cat food. He isn’t exactly a lucky man.
This is a pretty slight eight pages, but we’re given enough of Dead’s background to make him interesting, and those family members we meet, living and dead, show some literary promise. I suspect that the novel will be quite good. But the real star here is Lieber; I put my mind to it, and I honestly couldn’t think of anyone else I would rather see illustrate a tale of this type and length. His ability to animate real, breathing people on the page is a thing of wonder, and you never get the sense of him working from model in any way, shape or form. They’re unique, from their clothes to their features, and you always feel like you know them.
Steve Lieber, without a doubt, is the one man I would want to draw my comics. Sean Stewart has both my admiration… and my jealousy. “Family Reunion” is definitely worth your dollar.
review materials may be sent to: Marc Mason, P.O. Box 26732, Tempe, AZ, 85285