Tuesday, August 5, 2008

It's about time I posted about all the cool stuff I got at the Comic-Con, isn't it?

---When I first went to the Newgrounds booth, I didn't expect there to be so much hype, but my expectations were completely wrong. The booth was large, spacious & jumping! They had four monitors with 4 Xbox's showcasing a demo-version of the new game Castle Crashers. I stepped up to the screen & played a few rounds, enjoying myself (as well as the company) & had a really great time.

On one of my last few visits to the booth, I decided to get myself a little keepsake from Newgrounds, so I bought this little figurine:

It's a small little posable figurine of the Orange Knight. He came with a base, a removable shield & 4 weapons (a sword, an axe, a mace/club & a dead fish) & a cool case to put him in. I would have gotten a Green one (since green is my favorite color) but since the Orange guy was my first character to play as, I chose him instead. Besides, the knights looks better in orange than green anyway.

Luckily, I got my case signed by Dan Paladin, the creator, art director & lead animator of Castle Crashers (as well as his previous game, Alien Hominid) , whom I briefly met at the Newgrounds party a few nights earlier.

Check out the game when it comes out later this month! It's a load of fun!

---One of the few booths I repeatedly headed back to was Jeff Pidgeon's table at the Red Window Inc. Booth. Being an admirer & knowing his work from his blog & his credits from a majority of the Pixar films as a story artist (which is a job I'd love to have someday), I had to at least say hello. He is a very nice & funny guy who was real fun to talk to.

While I was there, I bought a few things from him, including one of his cool "Happy Beaver" vinyl toys...

...whom I had Jeff sign on his bottom...

...as well as this really cool t-shirt he designed. Hey, I like birds & I like jazz. Double win!

Stationed next to him was another Pixar story artist, Bill Presing. I really do admire his work, especially his simple yet elegant sketches of girls (whistles like a fox). I picked up a copy of his book Belle du jour as well as a DVD of Rex Steele: Nazi Smasher. I'm looking forward to checking out the DVD as soon as I can.

Oh, Bill also signed my book, too:

One last thing I got at the Red Window Booth was a copy of Afterworks 2, a good sized comic collab book featuring a lot of artists & animators from all over the animation community. It's a really cool book & it's worth checking out.

--- As I was walking through the aisles with my friend Chris, he spotted this really cool poster. At first I thought it was a map of Middle-Earth or something like that, but upon closer inspection, I discovered it was something that totally blew my mind!

It's called the "Map of Humanity", where it organizes many well-known cities & locations based on it's emotional &/or moral standing. & not only does it pinpoint real cities, but also fictional ones (ex: Babar's Kingdom, Springfield, Mayberry, etc.). It was put together by an illustrator named James Turner, & I definitely have to give the guy credit for putting the time in effort to creating this map. Click on the image to take a gander!

---- I briefly stopped at the Bill Plympton Booth to see what he was up to. While I was there, I picked up the Animation Show DVD boxset, containing both Volumes 1 & 2.

Bill even signed both DVD cases for me!


Here's one of the last things I bought on the trip. I was subliminally persuaded into buying the Sam & Max: Freelance Police DVD after taking a peek at my friend Chris' copy of a Sam & Max book. While I am aware of Sam & Max, I have yet to read any of their books or play their games. I'm definitely gonna check out a bit more on Sam & Max, along with a few other comics I've been interesting in checking out as well.

---- While many things I bought at the Con were spur of the moment surprise buys, some things I was looking forward to far in advance. One of them was:

The book, kinda like the Afterworks book, is a comic collaboration between a few animators & artists from Dreamworks. I learned about this book from Jenny Lerew's blog, Blackwing Diaries (link found on right), who wrote & illustrated the story Point & Shoot.

In conjunction with the release of the book, the artists had a signing at the Dark Horse booth. Being an early bird, I was the first on line for the signing. It was a pleasure finally meeting the likes of Jenny, David Pimental & the others in person, who each signed & drew a little sketch in the book:

Simply awesome... Make sure to buy a copy from Amazon.com or your local comic shop or bookstore!

---- Oh God.... where do I start on this one?...

One of the biggest things I was looking forward to at Comic-Con was Chris Sanders' Kiskaloo booth. It had to be one of my favorite booths at the entire Con! I came back almost twice a day!

I ended up buying one of everything from Chris' booth. I left with a Kiskaloo book, a large "Hammock Girl" poster, a limited-edition Kiskaloo pin, Chris' 2nd Sketchbook, a bunch of free pins & tattoos & finally, the piece de resistance: Chris' "Maile" vinyl figurine (that baby's goin' on top of my animation desk in my studio)!

He also signed my sketchbook!

I wish I had more time to talk with Chris, but he was a very busy guy, not only managing the booth, but working on some new sketches as well. Luckily, he had some really great help helping him keep the booth in order. It's a shame I didn't get any of their names.

---Like Scrambled Ink, this next book was one I was looking forward too getting at the convention:

Who is Rocket Johnson? is another comic collab book made up by Disney artists, with each "story" in the book being each artist's own idea & interpretation of who Rocket Johnson is. Is he/she a superhero... a fighter pilot... an airplane, the list goes on!

While they had a limited-edition copy signed by ALL the artists, it was about $250! Besides, even if I DID wanna ante up to get it, I'd be afraid to even read the damn thing. Luckily, I got he next best thing, a standard copy signed by three of the book's contributors: Steve Anderson, Sam Levine & Chris Ure!

While I was checking out the Rocket Johnson booth, I turned to saw none other than FLOYD NORMAN standin' right next to me!!! I spoke to him for a few minutes & I told him that I definitely wanted to check out his panel that he was having later that day. Unfortunately, I lost complete track of time that day & realized that I missed the panel right when it became too late. It's a crying shame I didn't get to see his panel (in fact, I didn't go to ANY panels this year). It was probably one of my biggest regrets of the entire trip.


Another event I was eagerly awaiting to see was to pick up a copy of Ben Balistreri's new book: SEAWEED. I discovered his blog less than two weeks before the Con & I glad I found it when I did! His appealing designs for SEAWEED are the kind of things I really yearn to see in comics, as well as animation. The style of the book is very much like that of many well-known French comics & graphic novels, simply beautiful stuff!

On Sunday, I went to his book signing right before I left the Con. I'm glad I was one of his first visitors to his first ever book signing. I would assume it was a very surreal moment for him. He even sketched out a perfect picture of Poisson the fish in record time!

Make sure to check out SEAWEED! I'm eagerly awaiting for his next SEAWEED book, hopefully coming out soon!

Oh, & while I was at the Stuart NG booth where he was signing at, I also snagged a couple old copies of Animation Blast!

---- What can I saw about Stephen Silver that nobody else has said before? He's one of the best character designers around & I got a chance to meet him & pick up two of his books: Stephen Silver's Sketchbook & The Art of Silver.

The coolest part was he also did a caricature of ME in one of the books! DEAD-ON EXACTLY! Thanks, Steve!

---- To me, there's only really 2 good shows I still watch Cartoon Network for: The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack & Chowder. & luckily, they were both having signings at Comic-Con this year! Lucky me!

While waiting in line for each signing, they gave out a mouse pad promoting Fusion Fall, a new online game on Cartoon Network.com & some neat keychains.

Here's a closer look at the charms:

The signings were a real blast, & I got really cool drawings from the artists & actors:
Capt. K'nuckles drawn & signed by J.G. Quintel

Flapjack drawn & signed by creator Thurop van Orman

Chowder drawn & signed by creator C.H. Greenblatt, Tara Strong (voice of "Truffles) & Dwight Schultz (voice of "Mung-Daal")


--- Another big event for me was the book signing of Eric Goldberg's new book: Character Animation Crash Course!

To me, Eric Goldberg has got to be my favorite animator of all time. Just look at his work on the Genie in Aladdin & the 'Rhapsody in Blue'/'Carnival of the Animals' sequences in Fantasia 2000 to see why! He's one of the main reasons I wanted to be an animator in the first place! So I was definitely bustin' out all over knowing that I was finally gonna meet this guy face to face!

I patiently waited in line to buy a copy & again on line to meet Eric. While I was waiting on the signing line, since I was one of the first few people on line, the nice people at the booth gave me a free T-Shirt! SCORE!

I was about third or fourth in line, so I didn't have to wait too long. At last, I finally got to meet & shake hands with him! What a feeling! I told him how inspired I was by his work & that I was training to be an animator too. We talked for about 2 minutes about his flamingo animation, how his wife Susan was doing & his upcoming work on The Princess & the Frog coming out next year. I said goodbye & left the booth, feeling like I was floating in mid-air. I opened my copy of his book & read...

BEST DAY EVER, without a doubt! I hope I get to meet him again someday, but 'til then I gotta work on my animation! Got to get in top cartoon shape! So while I read Eric's book cover to cover, you should do so too. Buy the Character Animation Crash Course NOW!!!

**& speaking of Eric Goldberg, Clay Kaytis of the Animation Podcast just posted part one of his interview with Eric! It's over an hour long.... which means over an hour worth of Goldberg goodness!!! Click on the Animation Podcast button on the upper right & lend an ear!**

Well, that's all I got. But after having to carry it all around San Diego, packing it, having it all shipped home & waiting 'til Monday to get my hands on it again, it was all worth it. Now if only I could find places to put all this stuff.... Make sure to check out all the people's websites & blogs I mentioned using the links on the right!


Oswald Iten said...

Wow, this Goldberg dedication is awesome! I also met Eric Goldberg two years ago in Annecy but was too much in awe to ask him for an autograph.

I hope amazon.com will soon deliver my Animation Crash Course.

Michael J. Ruocco said...

It's an amazing book, Oswald. You'll definitely enjoy it. I just read it from cover to cover last night & it was a very informative & fun read. In a way it's like an Animation 101 type book, but Eric takes it further than that. I haven't checked out the CD that comes with it though, but I probably will today.