This weekend the Trekker Empire is on the march once again for our first-ever appearance in the Fresno environs! I’m excited to set up camp at the fresh, new ZAPPCON at Table AA37. Above is my rendering of the show’s icon, “ZAPP”. Several of my Periscope Studio mates will be there as well. We’ll set up a mini-Periscope Island and be on our very best behavior. On Saturday, we’ll e having a panel at 3PM talking about the studio– how it works, what we each get out of it, and why it’s simply irreplaceable for many of us as a workspace and as a comics community of our own. Drop by and say howdy– it’s going to be a fun weekend!
Anyone else noticing what a terrific time this is for exhilarating, visionary science fiction comics and GN’S? The above photo is of a handful of trades I just scooped of my studio shelf for this photo to make the point. All are new/very recent books. Some by creators who’ve done lots of work for major publishers, some who’ve been cutting their teeth on small press or self-publishing projects. All who have been inspiring and dazzling me with their fresh, vibrant books. All who demonstrate what a wide range of approaches and stories”science fiction” can encompass.
While I’ve been shaping Trekker for a long time now, and while the series is pretty well set in its approach and tone, reading these new works and seeing how the writers and artists keep pushing to find new techniques, fresh ideas and flashes of surprise keep challenging and feeding me as I work on each new Trekker story.
When I talk to people about comic-making, I often here that familiar question, “Where do you get your ideas?” And I’ve come to answer with a very familiar equation to many of us. “Garbage in, garbage out.” If you want to write and draw well, you need feed your mind, your imagination and your skills by seeking out the good stuff. For a storyteller, hearing a good yarn-spinner, seeing a great film, reading a masterfully written short story can all help you learn how to select detail and pace a story. And reading a great comic where the words and pictures work together to create their special, magical blend to summon up a world of the possible has never been easier to do then now, when so many creators are doing such amazing, polished works.
If you like Trekker, you are going to love any of these books. Check them all out, they really deserve your support!
Still on something of a high after last weekend’s Baltimore Comic Con. Trekker got a generous and enthusiastic reception from the superb fans at this extremely well-run and still completely comics-centric show. I was busy all weekend, and met a great number of both new and long-time Trekker readers. As physically exhausting as a convention can be, I find them equally emotionally energizing, when the fan reaction is as strong as these conventions have been for Mercy’c stories.You might notice that my display now includes Trekker’s new unofficial spokescritter. Since we finally included him in one of the prints featured at the shows, Scuf has decided he’d like to take a bigger part in things. He’s generally well-behaved at these events. I just need to keep him away from my coffee. And actually, as the stories continue, we’ll be seeing a bit more of Scuf. So, I hope to keep the rascal happy.One of the highlights of the show was being surprised with a terrific set of custom-made Trekker laptop and tablet bags! The wonderful folks who host the fan podcast Trekker Talk (see link in the right column) printed these up and presented them to me at the show. I was floored and flattered and excited to use them! Darrin and Ruth also came prepared with an excellent set of questions for me, so we had a lively interview covering the creation of Trekker, the way things are going and where it’s all heading. I expect they’ll be posting that episode soon, and I’ll let you all know about it when it’s up!
A big part of any show is doing some conventions sketches, and this show let me do a nice array from the always-delightful Catwoman to a novel mash-up of Fury Road’s Furiosa and War Boys with a “Walking Dead” twist. It’s taken me some time to get really comfortable with sketching at the shows, but I’ve settled into a routine by now, and they are always a lot of fun.
One more great high point of the weekend was closing the show with a mini-Kubert School reunion with Tim Truman and John Totleben, two of my cronies from back in our art-student days. We hadn’t been together in many years, and it was great to see that we all have fine families, thriving careers, and a passion for our lives and our work. And it was also a reminder of how lucky I was to spend those crucial years surrounded by some of the best guys and most talented young cartoonists on the planet.
Three more fall shows coming up! But I’ll be hunched over the drawing board when I ‘m not on the road to keep the Trekker tales coming! See you here next Monday.
Here’s the poster that debuted last weekend at Portland’s Rose City Comic Con. It was a terrific event in every way– wonderful fans, well-organized and run convention and a very enthusiastic feeling to the whole proceedings. And on top of it all, many, many connections with both brand-new and long-time Trekker fans. And for me, that’s what it’s all about. Nothing compares with the boost I get by sharing Trekker with the wider and larger audience I find at every show I got to. And I created this new poster to celebrate a big and busy fall convention season.
Next up, Mercy and company are on the road and will be at the always-epic Baltimore Comic Con this weekend. The Trekker Empire will be set up at Booth 215 Friday through Sunday. That’s right– this year the Baltimore show expands to a third day! Well-deserved and many would say well overdue. Baltimore has been consistently one of the best, most professional and successful shows in the country for many years now. Can’t wait for the show to open at 11AM tomorrow.
Following Baltimore, I’ll be at shows in Fresno and Tacoma, WA in October. And I’ve just added an exciting new convention in Eugene, Oregon for November 14-15! That’s a lot of roadwork, but Mercy and I are up to it. Hope to see many of you at a show somewhere along the way.
I just had to post once more about the upcoming conventions, because just under the wire I have finished a new print that I’m very excited to share. Mercy hangs out with Molly and Scuf in this brand-new piece. I didn’t know if always-busy ace colorist Jeremy Colwell would be able to get this done in time for Rose City this weekend, but I should NEVER doubt Jeremy! He finished the colors, they look amazing and perfect, as always, and I have prints ready to go! I’ll be bringing them to shows from now on– I’m very pleased with the way this piece turned out. It’s a particularly important Trekker illustration for me. If you want to see the finished results– including those colors by Jeremy– and to read my thoughts on the why’s and how’s of making the piece, I have assembled lots of process shots and the final image in a Patreon Post for anyone at the $3-level of support and above.
As Trekker goes on, Patreon becomes a more and more important means of supporting this on-going series. It makes me less dependent upon taking on outside projects for income, thus freeing up more hours that I can pour directly into producing Trekker. Ultimately, it can also help to finance getting the new volumes into print on a much more timely and desirable schedule.
Mercy’s stories will become more and more interwoven from this point on, and getting to spend more of my time working exclusively on her adventures will be tremendously helpful in making all the details work and fit as well as possible. So, I hope you’ll check out that Patreon.com/trekker page and see if you can lend a little bit of that all-important on-going support. Scuf would approve.
That said, not everyone can or wants to “pledge”like that. And this is where the conventions come in. Besides being a great way to meet and greet each other, the shows are another way you can offer support directly to your favorite creators, by picking up a book or a print, getting a sketch, or simply by introducing a friend or two to something new and exciting that you’ve found in the hall that day. I get amazingly happy when that happens for Trekker! We creators LOVE to bring our work to the shows. We LOVE meeting you guys and talking with you. We LOVE having you help us spread the word about comics you feel passionately about. And we are absolutely inspired and motivated to keep making our labors of love by the enthusiasm and appreciation we see and hear from you. There are tons of wonderful, comic-centric, comics community-building conventions popping up all over the country. It’s a super-exciting time for comics both as a fan and as a creator. Shows like the two I have coming up over the next couple of weekends, in Portland and then in Baltimore are great examples of this.
I hope you’ll all find a chance to get to a great locally-produced show in your own area, wherever that might be. You’ll meet a lot of very happy people enjoying a great event and celebrating a pastime/artform/livelyhood that is richly rewarding. If that sounds like a great way to spend a weekend, I’d agree! See you at a show soon.