Sunday, September 16, 2007

Comic-Con 2007!!! (Part 6 - And the Rest)

Over one month ago, from July 26th to July 29th, I attended the San Diego Comic-Con.

On August 3rd, I posted my first series of pictures of my adventures (and misadventures) there.

And now, on this day, I finally post the final chapter, and finally get this leaden monkey off my back. SO, let's get to it, shall we.

Now, this will be slightly different than my previous entries. So, if you're expecting another 25 pictures taken at the convention, get out! ....No, wait, come back. It's so...lonely here. Wait, where was I, oh, yes. These are things that wouldn't have fit in with my previous entires.

The first one is actually a video that I took (as a side-note, I hope you enjoyed my little excursion into the realm of moving pictures). I forgot exactly when I took it. I believe it was Saturday, because I was alone, and it was probably after my companions had left to go donate blood. But that's kinda irrelevant. What is important is that I was just walking outside when I see this group of......singing pirates? What the hell? Take a look:

So yeah. I kept on getting peeved at that "professional" cameraman who was getting in the way of my shots. I guess he was more important because he had a tripod. Anyway, the video has been a sensation on YouTube, garnering a staggering 190 views. All sarcasm aside, it has a pretty high comment/view ratio (being 3.15%, whereas even the most popular videos are closer to a ration of 1.3%, not counting a couple of videos that actively encourage commenting). But, thanks to the comments and a private message, I was able to find out that this group is called "Pirates Charles." I've thought about that for a while now, and I still have no idea what it could mean. But they were pretty good (they sounded better in person than they did in the video). It was a treat to see them.

Remember that bear that was supposed to be for that movie. Well, right behind that bear was a big booth that you could go into, and inside was a large green screen. You could have your picture taken in front of this green screen, and though the magic of technology, an entire scene would appear around you. Now, the scene that they were using for this so happened to be one of the posters for this movie. Personally, I think that little girl in that poster looks a little depressed, despite the fact that she has a huge armored polar bear as an ally. Now, if I had a polar bear as my friend (and steed, perchance?), I would be flippin' ecstatic. Hence, my expression in what I'm sure will be the poster for the sequel.

Okay, now that I got those miscellaneous items out of the way, it's time to introduce:

The Many (Drawn) Faces of Andrew (Schnorr)

When I went into this years Comic-Con, I had an experiment in mind. Last year, I had brought with me a Composition Book with which I obtained many people's signatures, and even a few sketches from some select artists. If you haven't seen my photo-blog from last year's con, I highly encourage it, if only for that group of pictures. It's a real treat.

So, anyway, last year I had just gotten a bunch of excellent, but rather unrelated, sketches from a group of artists (primarily those who work for Magic: The Gathering, because those are the ones I know). So this year, I wanted to do something different. I wanted a common theme. A common subject. But what? WHAT?

And then I looked in the mirror.

It was all so clear at that moment. A visage of such beauty, matched with an ego of such grandiosity, was simply begging to be the subject. And so I decided that I would ask each artist to sketch some form of me.

This was a lot more difficult than it sounds. First of all, do you know how awkward it is to ask them for it.
Me: "Excuse me, would you mind doing a sketch?"
Artist: "Sure. What do you want it to be?"
Me: ""

Of course, with my silver-coated tongue, I was a bit more eloquent than this. In fact, I explained the entire experiment to each of the artists. While a couple of them seemed rather disinterested, the majority thought it was a pretty cool idea, and looked through to see what their talented brethren had done.

The second problem was more monetary in nature. You see, last year I was lucky enough to get most of my sketches free of charge. This year...not so much. Maybe it was the way I approached them last year (I didn't explicitly ask for a sketch; I told them to "do whatever [they] wanted." Or maybe the artists are wising up to us cheapskate fans, and milking us for all we're worth. Whatever the case, this experiment put a sizable dent in my pocketbook, with the average sketches ranging from $5 to $20. Now, before you cry "highway robbery!", keep in mind that $20 was just my limit; some artists (who, despite probably being well-known, I had never heard of) were offering sketches for $100! And that's not including color. Also, know that a few of these I purchased as part of a slick "combo deal". Finally, consider the fact that I was prepared and willing to pay these prices, painful though a few of them may have been. Don't make me whip out my old Supply & Demand graph!

And, before I ramble on any more, let's get started!

Randy Gallegos
I think I'm going to name a new personality archetype after Randy. That is, the kind of person who, when you look at them, seems to be very friendly and approachable. Then, when you actually talk to you, they're not out-and-out rude or mean, just a little cold; definitely more-so than you were expecting. And then when you finish with your conversation and leave, you feel unsatisfied and somewhat offended, even though he didn't really do anything. Simply put, the further you are from him, the closer you want to get, and the closer you are, the more you want to get away. I had the exact same feeling last year.

Maybe it was because he seemed a little...I don't know...disturbed about my experiment. And, despite my telling him to let his imagination run wild and not limit himself to a realistic sketch, he went and drew the single most realistic one! And it's small! And it doesn't make me look too hot! And he wanted five bucks!

In short, after my first piece, I was having serious doubts about my experiment. Luckily, it was all uphill from then on.

Katie Cook
This was a nice young lady whose gimmick was pen-and-crayon sketches for a dollar.I like the way it turned out. Seems almost trendy. Now, you may be wondering what that saying on that shirt is all about. Well, remember when I was saying, way back in my first part of this series, that I was wearing a t-shirt with a Che-ified version of Star Trek's Jean-Luc Picard? Well, as I said before, the people at the Star Wars booth didn't take too kindly to that, and I had to assure them that I did, indeed, enjoy Star Wars as well. Well, I had told this story to Ms. Cook, who was interested in my shirt. I guess she was so tickled by it that she incorporated into my sketch.

Tommy Castillo
This was a guy who obviously prided himself on his "dark" and "nightmarish" work. Hell, his booth was called "Tommy Castillo's Nightmare." So when I go up to him to ask him to sketch me, he seems a little incredulous. After all, I'm not a nightmarish figure, am I (am I?!)? I was able to calm him down when I told him that the idea was for each artist to put their own spin on me. After all, I know what I look like; I don't need a bunch of perfect likenesses.

So, he took a good look and me and got to work. I didn't really see what he was doing until he asked "Have you ever wondered what you'd look like as a burning zombie Hell-demon?" As I clumsily replied, "" He said, "well, there you go." So, it appears that if I ever become some sort of demon, the bags under my eyes will become even more prominent.

Shelly Block
Shelly Block was the first in a series of artists who really felt they simply couldn't do a human face. For those people, my answer was to just do something like what they'd do normally, but add a goatee to it. Now, this lady, she was a Disney comics artist. In particular, she drew for Donald Duck comics (which I honestly didn't think existed anymore). So I was hoping for some duck-like creature, most likely a duck. But no, she had to cop out and do a mouse. And there's something not quite right about that goatee...

Therese Nielson
Perhaps the sketchiest of the sketches, I like this one nonetheless, probably because its the most similar to my own style of drawing. The one thing I wish was that people wouldn't include that hideous Comic-Con badge in the sketches. It's bad enough that I was immortalized with them on film; those I can at least Photoshop. But being drawn with them? That's forever.

(Yes, I realize I could easily erase them with an actual eraser, but that would be terrible. Shame on you for thinking that.)

Ben Thompson
Ben Thompson must love profile shots. He did one last year of a dude with a helmet, and this year he did one of me. I really like how he kind of fantasified me, despite making me less of a shining knight and more of a barbarian. Do I really seem like the guy to carry around a club? What's really cool is that he transformed my sunglasses into some kind of mage-punk fantasy goggles. A really nice guy, too.

Dave Garcia
Now you may wonder, what the heck is this supposed to be? Well, then you obviously don't know The Tick. The Tick is a more absurd superhero, almost a mockery of the idea in general, but he's pretty funny. His battlecry? "Spoon!" That's basically all you need to know about this...

...Except, what's that blue stuff on the page? Why, it's the work of...

Jim Hillin
Who this guy is, I have no idea? Why he decided to draw on the left page of the sketchbook, when everyone else was clearly drawing on the right, I have no idea. Why I have that somewhat emotionless face in the sketch, I may be able to explain. You see, the thing about having someone sketch you is that they actually need to see what you look like. Hence, you need to be standing there the whole time, so they can look up and see what they're doing. This would often be for (relatively) long periods at a time...that is, several minutes. It's amazing that I can walk around for hours, but make me stand still for a few minutes, and I get really uncomfortable.

So, anyhoo, I guess this guy has a webcomic, and I'd be rude not to give it a mention (that was the only way he'd give it to me for free), so it's called Wire Heads. Haven't looked at it, myself, but there you go.

Paul "Kapitan Kartoon" Dale
This guy was a real comedian, and I'm not being sarcastic. He was really entertaining, cracking jokes with every other sentence. The person who was talking to him before me was one of those people who is such a nerd-in-appearance (that is, shoulder-length hair, partially covering their face; pock-marked face; wearing a t-shirt two sizes too big), that I honestly couldn't tell if it was a guy or girl (I think it may have been a girl). They were talking about how much they liked the guy's nude portraits, because they apparently liked hentai (that is, Japanese cartoon pornography). When that...person left, the Kapitan told me that "it's kids like that which make me want to suck up more Social Security."

The Kapitan's deal was that he was drawing anime caricatures of people. I thought it was a perfect fit for my experiment, and indeed, it turned out rather well. Except...that face seems a little...young, doesn't it? I guess he was going for the chibi, or "cute," look.

Thomas M. Baxa
Tom was another really nice guy (you see, most of these people were cool). But he seems like he contradicts himself. He talks about really happy, friendly stuff, and then he draws really creepy, albeit cool, things. Here, he draws me as a zombie, which is obviously a favorite amongst the "nightmare" crowd.

By the way, a quick interjection: would you have known this was a sketch of me had there not been a goatee attached? I sincerely doubt it. That is one of the reasons I have one. I am almost universally recognized as being me; no one ever mistakes me for someone else. And I love it!

Mike "Gabe" Kahulik
This was one by the guys who do the Penny Arcade comic. They did free sketches, despite what some people may tell you. The guys are very sociable, but I was lucky enough to get them at a relatively unoccupied time. I also had a little gift for them. You see, they share a love that I do: reading SkyMall catalogs. Hell, they even made their own fake SkyMall page (which you can only truly appreciate if you've read the catalog). So, I was sure to pick up a copy for them on the way down. When I gave it to them, they were most appreciative, and thanked me for a minute before poring through it, looking for the most ridiculous stuff they could find (which isn't very hard). So, there's always the possibility they'll do another comic about SkyMall. There's also the very small, yet existent, possibility, that when doing another comic, that involves some peripheral character, that they remember my face that was just drawn one, and slip it in there.

...And when they do, that's when I'll sue for royalties! Hah!

Ken Meyers Jr.
This one took me by complete surprise. If you look at Ken Meyers' gallery, you see that it's filled with traditional mediums and near-lifelike renderings of people. So I was expecting a pretty realistic sketch (not true-to-life, necessarily; a picture can be realistic while still being fantastical). What did I get? A caricature. A goddamn caricature. A goddamn caricature that has my neck as thick at the rest of my head (I immediately went into a bathroom to look in the mirror and see if my neck was that thick; it isn't, thank God).

Still, I can't really stay mad at the guy. He was really kind, and he put a lot of effort into my piece. And the fact that there's so much stuff about writing was not the result of the traditional caricaturist question, "So, what do you like to do?" Ken and I had a good conversation, where he picked up that I was a writer. He also gave me the sketch for free if I were to buy one of his prints. I ended up buying a nice angel picture to eventually add to La Pared de los Angeles. He even told me to come back later and show him my sketches when I had got more. Unfortunately, when I tried, he had already left. So Ken, if you're reading this...well, that's a little unsettling, actually.

Joey Mason
This was another guy who didn't really give a hoot about who I was or what my experiment was. He seemed more interested in talking with his boothmates, even when I was standing there, looking at him. In truth, I had gone to him twice. The first time, he had simply asked me to come back later, because he was too busy talking to someone else. Why would I come back, though, if he was so rude? Well, his style was pretty unique, and I wanted to get as many different kinds as I could, so I had to suck up my pride and let him draw me, even if he didn't give a hoot. And that's all I have to say about that.

Attila Adorjany
This was another example of a guy who said he couldn't do me, and so did his own thing instead and just added a goatee (that red thing on the chin). Which I didn't really understand, because the guy had a bunch of actual pictures (including those of humans) all around him. I guess he felt like he couldn't do me justice in a sketch, whereas he'd been drawing these little guys all weekend and was feeling pretty confident in them. Whatever. The color is pretty nice, and so was the guy. It was his first time at Comic-Con, and so he was telling me about his experience and the lessons he learned for next year (one lesson being to bring lots of stuff to sell, because it will sell). It was a nice conversation, so I don't mind the fact that the picture's really weird.

Cyril Van Der Haegen
Ah, Cyril. By far, my favorite artist at the convention, both this year and last. Nice man, cool Slavic accent, awesome name, awesome signature, and a devotion to skill makes him one Class-A dude. In fact, he was the only person from anywhere to remember me from last year. That blew me out of the water. I ended up talking to him every day, but it wasn't until the last day that he actually did the sketch. I didn't care, though. He was such a fun guy to talk to. His girlfriend even offered me chopped up fruit from the local farmers' market. Plus, he likes H.P. Lovecraft. Score!

And this was the second year I bought a print from him. The first was a Magic card called Circu, Dimir Lobotomist. My mom can't stand that one, but I love him. I just love the idea of some shady doctor-dude wiping his nose wise his arm and saying, "*Sniff*, next." (There used to be better resolutions of the picture, without the watermark, but dirty pirates have changed the game).

This year, the piece I bought from him was another that my mom will probably not like, called "Gabriel's Revenge". I try not to refer to it by it's title, though, because that's not what caught my attention. What caught my attention was the fact that this is almost exactly how I envision Fate in my long-since-worked-on novel series The Chronicles of Fate. Literally, it jumped out at me (okay, not literally). Funnily enough, when I told Cyril this, he said that that was kind of like what the character in the painting was. Great minds think alike, I suppose. I told him that I had to get it, and so I did, along with the sketch. It was a limited edition, number 2/100. Even though that's almost as low as it can get, it doesn't sound terribly impressive, does it?

As for the sketch itself, it's a sort of Lovecraftian view of the twisted "Writer's Brain" (he also learned I was a writer, well, when I told him that I had a seven-book series planned). He remembered to add the goatee. Oh, you don't see the goatee? Well, just look at the ends of the tentacles. >_<>
Phillip Moy
Phillip Moy is apparently one of the main artists who worked on the Powerpuff Girls. He wasn't one of the particularly nice ones, nor was he particularly cold. Kinda lukewarm. Anyway, I thought that if I was getting a bunch of different versions of myself, a Powerpuff version was inevitable. So, I had him draw it. And yes, the clothes I'm wearing in the sketch are what I was wearing in real life, my camo pants and my Picard shirt (again). And I think those are sunglasses on top of my head. That, or really weird shading.

He has me giving a kind of tough guy look, which is fine and good, but sometimes, I wish people would portray more of my THE_BOLSHEVIK side, like my Mii avatar does. Still, I guess I just naturally exude testosterone (I should really have a doctor look at that, by the way), so all portrayals of me will be of the rough-and-tumble variety.

Patrick Blaine
And finally, we have this. Patrick Blaine was actually at the Top Cow Productions booth as a special guest artist. I stood in line for at least an hour just to get a sketch from him (it's okay; I wasn't doing much else). He was an extremely kind man. When I asked him how long he'd been there, doing sketches. He said since 10am (it was currently 2pm or 3pm). I asked why he hadn't left when his time slot was over a couple hours earlier. His response? "There are still people in line. I'm not going to leave them hanging." Now that is a class act, ladies and gentlemen.

Now, as for this picture, you may be wondering what it is. Well, when I described the experiment to him, he said, "You wanna know something? If you shaved your head, I think you'd look like Kratos." Now, Kratos is a character from the video game God of War, which is one of the few games that has ever tempted me to buy anything related to the PlayStation. And yes, he has a very prominent goatee. Take a look. Personally, I'm inclined to agree that, hairless, I would somewhat resemble him. Halloween Costume 2007? ...Possibly, but I think I'd have to firm up my abs first. Anyhoo, Kratos is a really angry dude who kills Greek gods and such, and so that's what's with the aggressive flavor text.

And the kicker? Guess how much he wanted as payment? ......Nope, lower.......lower......lower still. Nothing! The guy wanted nothing, despite the fact that it's an extremely well-done piece. I even offered to pay him, and he refused. True gentleman, there.

........Aaaaaaand with that, I end not only my "Many Faces" experiment, but my series on Comic-Con 2007 as a whole!

I sincerely hoped you enjoyed it. While I will admit that nothing really comes close to the experience of actually being there, I hope you at least got a good idea of what it was like.

I also hope you appreciate the work that went into this. Looking at all six parts of the series (viewable by clicking the "Comic-Con" tag below), they combine for a total of 16,750 words. That's about 2/3 the length of The Tapping Wand. That's a lot! And this definitely kept me up late at night when I even had the time to work on it. In fact, it's nearly 5am as I'm finishing this. Why so late? Well, that's really the only time I have. This whole thing has been a huge labor, but it's been a labor of love, and I'm happy to have done it. I hope you feel the same.

And so, from now on, we shall resume normal Lobotomist's Dream programming. Until then...


Anonymous said...

Pretty cool pics, thanks for sharing them!

Anonymous said...

A good way to end a good series. Here's to ComicCon 2007 and here's to ComicCon 2008, and of course, the blog that is the Lobotomist's Dream...

I only fear what a sketch of me would look like.

-Comrade Chavez

Anonymous said...

I love the idea. How cool to tap into their creativity and unique flavor.
The last one is very cool. I hate to say it but I like the one by the mean guy, Joey Mason...I like the art. I think your idea was brilliant. How cool to always have these. You are wise beyond your years. I appreciate the effort and thank you for sharing. I think even I would enjoy comic con
Glad you took me. Love, Mom

test said...

Hey Andrew--Googled myself tonight and came across this blog entry.

I remember the request and sketch. Sorry I came off as a prick, your first impression is far more correct--the second, well...let's just say I happened to blog about it a year or so ago specifically!