Monday, June 30, 2008


Figured I'd give a look at my experience at Wizard World Chicago 2008 (can't we just call it Chicago Con?) and the important thing is that it is MY experience. That means I won't have anything about any panels and the announcements that came out of that because I didn't attend any. For the pictures I have, it's primarily creators and no costumes. First off, I was set up next to Transfuzion Publishinig, a venture started by me and Rafael Nieves.

We were part of the MOB RULES contingent which was organized by Raf as a very loose coalition of creators that would share space together. Not really a stronger alliance than that but obviously, in some ways because of the loose association, it leads to a stronger one for later. The Mob Rule had spots 4600-4616 which I believe was 9 tables in a row. There was me, Transfuzion, Nate Pride, Rafael Nieves, General Jack Cosmo Productions which was Aaron Shaps, Michael Beazley, Jim McKern, and Adam Lahners, Doug Klabuba, Juan Arevalo, Tony Maldonado, Juan Gomez, Len Kody, Rex Mundi's Eric J., Dan Doughtery, Lamorris Richmond, Stu Kerr, Ralph Griffith, and Tom Roberts. Hope I didn't leave anyone out.

I heard from some people that the show seemed slower than last year but I thought the crowds were pretty good and fairly consistent. We had a good spot so that probablyy helped. I sold a lot of books, both Transfuzion and mine, and I did see a trend for people picking up graphic novels based on the subject matter which appealed to some peripheral fans. Worlds of H.P. Lovecraft moved well as did Jack the Ripper. Zululand got a lot of interest. As usual, Renfield and Saint Germaine sold well. Deadworld is pretty much a given, of course, but it seems with each con, I move more and more of the CD collection of the first 46 issues (some 1,500 pages). I sold out on Friday but luckily, Eagle One Media was also at the show and he had brought extra stock so I got a chance to get more. But I'm just about out again and I didn't have a chance to get to their booth during the show again.

For most of the friends and creators I came across, I'll just use the pictures that were mainly shot by Nate Pride. Nate handled quite a bit of the production for Caliber and most of the books that were printed were put together by him and he also designed much of the look and logos of the books. If you go way back to the beginning of Caliber, that was me...the good stuff came when Nate took it over. Nate drove with me to the con and it seemed like old times...going back to the Caliber days. A lot of people don't realize what a good artist Nate is as he was so involved in production, he never got too many chances to show off his work, but his portfolio at the con got lots of attention and too man commission sketches he's going to have to mail some. Nate and I hung out with Rafael, Juan Arevalo, Tony Maldonado and Juan Gomez most of the time and picked up a few extras along the way. Had a great time. We were usually some of the first ones at the Hyatt bar which was the "happening" place and then we'd leave to grab dinner before going back. Later, around 11-12, is when the bar became packed. Good mix of creators and fans all intermingling together. If you go to Giordano's Pizza and get the stuffed pizza, just be aware that you will not eat more than two pieces so order accordingly. One pizza will feed four people. I forgot that and will probably do it again if I go next year.

Talked at length with Steve Leaf of Diamond Comics and I think he's a Vice President of something. If not, he should be. We talked about the old ways of the industry and the new way of it. I prefer the old and he has to prefer whatever gives him a paycheck. Good guy and just shows that you have to separate a company from the people there. Although I don't have a problem with Diamond, I know a lot of people who detest what they do...but if you remember that business is about the bottom line, I can't see how people can get so upset. Stealing a line from The Godfather, business is business, it's not personal (in most cases).

Had a brief conversation with Bob Layton and it centered on Future Comics which was his foray into publishing and going direct to stores and consumers. It didn't work out but we both agreed that it would be a vast different set of parameters in today's connected world.

Met up with Matt Anderson who does the charming White Picket Fences and got to meet some of the other creators involved with Ape Entertainment. To my surprise, Paul Daly, who did a few projects for Caliber early on, was also doing a project with Ape. We played booth tag for most of Saturday before finally hooking up together. It was good to see him and see that he's back into comics.

I also got a chance to hook up a bit with Tim Vigil who is working on some of the Frazetta book. People who weren't around in the early 90's may not remember just how big Vigil was back then. I give him some credit in helping Caliber Comics launch as his cover story on Caliber Presents #1 was our big roll out.

Chuck Moore who puts together the Comic Related website where the Transfuzion blog is hosted stopped by as he was arranging podcasts. We're going to do a longer version upcoming which will also cover the Caliber years in addition to what's new at Transfuzion and Desperado. You really should check out the site if you haven't because it's not just message boards but also blogs, news, reviews, podcasts...a great informative site at

Had far too many brief conversations and not enough long ones so it was obviously a fairly busy con. Here's some pictures.

The Transfuzion Booth at Wizard World Chicago 2008. We went with low level signage as we were told that large displays in Artist Alley were not allowed, but quite a few people had them. I think its the trend of the future that more and more people are moving to Artist Alley because the costs of "Small Press" booths are just too much, especially at some shows where placement is horrific. I have to admit that for most of the actual booths this year, the placement was much better than last year.

I had the King Zombie prototype mask on display and that got a lot of attention and lots of people asked about the King Zombie (from Deadworld) action figure coming from Shocker Toys. The mask proved to be a great "picture spot" for kids especially.

Rafael Nieves and me. We're responsible for Transfuzion but the policy is that if you want to compliment the company, you contact me. If you want to bitch about something, it's Rafael. He may not be up to speed on that policy yet but he'll get there. I never take a good picture but usually Raf fact, some woman came up to him just to get a picture of his hair.

Phil Hester is one of the nicest and most talented guys in the business. I still think his Fringe series he did with Paul Tobin for Caliber in the beginning days was one of the best things Caliber ever published. But Phil would rather work for large publishers and make lots of money. Actually Phil is one of the few "mainstream" creators that keeps a hand in the independent comics arena.

Got a chance to talk a few times with Mike Perkins. Mike did a number of things for Caliber in his early days and of course, most people know him now for Captain American and Union Jack. It was just announced that Mike will be dong the art chores for Stephen King's THE STAND. Good for him as he deserves all the success he gets. I didn't get a chance to hang with Mike too much as his schedule was unbelievably busy.

Stu Kerr of Ralph 'n Stu but Ralph Griffith was probably entrenched in the dealer's area. They're releasing the complete OZ collections via Transfuzion and relaunching Arrow Comics.

Eric J. co-creator of Rex Mundi. He ended up in Mob's Rule and we welcomed him with open arms but we forgot to tell him that he had to buy the first 16 rounds at the bar. Maybe he did hear that 'cause we could never find him at night.

Three guys that made the con so enjoyable for me. All very talented and a great bunch to hang with. Juan Gomez,
Tony Maldonado, and Juan Arevalo. Damn, I hope I got them in the right order. (Just kiddin' guys). Look for their names soon on some exciting projects....

The crew from General Jack Cosmos who really know how to put together a display. Shown here are Adam Lahners and Michael Beazley.

Len Kody, had his comic, CHICAGO: 1968, the story of the Democratic National Convention on hand for people to check out.

Dan Dougherty is an artist that really deserves more attention. Nice guy who is hooking up with Raf on one of the projects that will help launch Transfuzion's excursion into all new material.

Tom Roberts was one of the Mob Rules guys but this was the first that I met him. Lots of great pulp books but the highlight of his stuff s the gorgeous book on ALEX RAYMOND.

Jim Calafiore got his start at Caliber and now has a good home at DC which keeps him busy. He's doing a new cover for the CAMELOT ETERNAL collection that Transfuzion will be putting out in the next few months. He said that he already started working on it. Camelot Eternal was a series he did for Caliber.

Scott Story who puts out his Johnny Saturn through his publishing company, Story Studios. He wasn't part of Mob Rules but since I see him at all the conventions I do, I figure he's worth a pix.

Overall, I thought it was a good con. I had a few boxes less leaving than I had coming in so that's always good. I never have high expectations for Wizard World as it is a superheroish convention for the most part but because of the people there, I always have a good time and it usually ends up being a trip worth taking just for other business matters.


TMALO70 said...

Oh Yeah, I guess another Goal is too get that Gut of Mine down, a lot...

Thanks Again Gary for Your words of Encouragement, and Sharin' what You know with Me...

Talk to You Soon,


ShojinStudios said...

I second that motion (minus the gut part) But yes Gary next year will truly great as well! You know there was a lot of talent in this year's Con I hope we get more of a flux similar to this one next year. i really enjoyed hanging and discussing comics and the industry i think I get more out of that then anything else. I checked out Mike Perkins work and immediately fell in love with his work. Great guy and a real down to earth fellow. Also meeting so many fans and artists alike really gave me good vibes as to how fans perceive artists in this medium. Obviously in a much better light then a few years back. I'm glad you enjoyed yourself Gary, here's looking forward to next year!

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