Sunday, November 15, 2009

Part III of III. APE (Alternative Press Expo)

Got everything ready the night before so just had to basically jump in the rental car and speed off for APE. This was the first day of the 2 day show. Saturday, October 17th, 2009. I saw the sign out to the side of the place and grabbed a quick shot with my little Canon camera. Parking was around the building to the other side. Both days I left I got lost leaving as I was all turned around, but I got a nice shot of the city at night because of that. (See photos at the end of this posting.)

The trip of everlasting, "surprise costs" continued to find me as parking next to the building, even for exhibitors, was $12 a day. I already had my badge from the night before so just went right to my table and it was where they said it would be so it was just a matter of remembering how to set up my banner stand (have to relearn how to fit it together each time I use it.) and get everything out for the show. I was near a side door which turned out to be great because the first day in the convention center was very hot. They opened those side doors at some point and that was a relief. I'd brought some water bottles, snacks, and my Pocari Sweat so I was all set.

My table is all ready for the crowd.I found a familar face, the creator of Bob the Angry Flower (Actually it is artist creator Stephen Notley). was in the movie I shot with Dean LeCrone at the 2006 San Diego Comic-Con. I told him about the movie Dean and I had made and he was excited to see it. So I gave him a copy. Eager to find out what he thought of it. He told me on the 2nd day of the show that sales were much slower than what he was used to at San Diego Comic-Con. He didn't know if it was because he has lots of loyal customers at that show, or if it was the economy, or that he didn't have a new issue for sale of his book for APE. Maybe that was part of the reason he was so angry.

Stephanie was promoting Shish Kaboom a company that will be hosting a comic book contest and the winner will get published by their company and have their books sold at all the comic cons at the Shish Kaboom booths. Their sight only has a newsletter sign up area so far but you can email them for more info: I hear from their co-founder and CCO, Chris King that their first contest will be in the next few weeks. As soon as she came over to my table she looked familiar to me. I couldn't figure out why. Only now do I realize that I've been watching too much Dexter, and she reminds me of the actress that plays Dexter's sister. (In real life the actor that plays Dexter and the one that plays his sister are married.) It was great to have someone come over to my table at all, as for a while there was just the usual, running of the con. Folks that only glanced for like .001 seconds at my area as they raced by. Eventually I'd see some artists that I knew, and knew me. Some had contributed to my anthology Slam Bang. I had a husband and wife come over and look through my complete portfolio. They seemed to have fun asking me tons of questions. I'd only brought my smaller portfolio and not the super thick one I usually bring but they seems to love looking through it. It mostly has samples of my 3D work that I did for gaming companies.

Matt Voss, a fantastic comic artist, found my table. He had contributed to Slam Bang #1 vol III, the first large issue. He says he will contribute to my #5 vol III, Fast Food issue. I sure hope he does. See more of his work here:

Another creator familiar with Slam Bang and who I'd worked with before, Paul Allen. People see that name on his book Doc Paradox that I put out, and they think I made that name up, and I really did that book. I have to try and assure them, no, Paul Allen really exists and here is a photo to prove it. He did a series of one page cartoons called Brains for Slam Bang a few years back and now he has a small publishing company putting out his BRAINS comic book. That company doesn't have a web site yet but I'll scan and show the cover of his book here as soon as I locate it. (Yeah, my office is a mess.) I later went over to his table and shot some video, that I'll post here in the future.

I'll post a look at his cover to his comic Doc Paradox #1 (still available from in the meantime.

I also taked quite a bit with the very talented artist Allan Angel. He did the art for Lost Legends. It is a square bound graphic novel he drew and all of the art looks to be done with pencil or pastels in shades of black and white.Check out He is very good and I got a shot of him on the floor drawing comics during APE. He can just sit anywhere and be creative.

He and I talked quite a while during the show as he was helping the booth to my left. He also drew a small digest comic with writer Chris Perguidi. Here is Chris working the table next to me.Here are some random shots around the convention:This was in front of the Integrity Comics booth.

Shane White an old friend of mine from back in the days when I was working for the gaming companies. At Boss Game Studio around 1999 and 2000, we worked on Stunt Racer 64 for the Nintendo 64. Shane has been doing more and more comics over the years and has two fantastic comics out now from NBM Publishing. Things Untold is his latest book. See the video I shot interviewing Shane here:

Shane says that he is working on two new graphic novels at the same time! He also likes to try different art styles. I can't wait to see what he is working on. I bought his 2 new books and read Things Untold right away and I love it. I reviewed the book on my Small Press Newsroom blog here:

After having fun talking to comic artists, looking at their books and interviewing some on video, day one was over. I got lost after leaving the parking lot and went out of range of my maps. I didn't panic, I just looked around and saw a great night view of the city. Wish I had my tripod with me. I did get these shots:
I then found my way back to the hotel and hit the In and Out Burger. The line was so long they were taking your order from the window of your car in the parking lot.I made it to the hotel and rested up for Sunday, the last day of the show.

I get to the show 1 hour early to set up and walk around the tables before the crowd arrived. I walk around to the front of the show and there is a mob of people all with boxes, backpacks, etc....I find out the APE folks will not let us in until just minutes before the show starts. In all of my years of going to shows like this, this was the first time I wasn't allowed in as an exhibitor to get my table set up before the mob were let in. Everyeone just stood around looking confused for most of an hour. It did give me time to take some shots of the front from accross the street showing the angry exhibitors, etc... I get in and have 10 minutes to get everything from under the table and set up. Weird way to run a show. Some, I'm sure, didn't have enough time. I wondered around the show more on Sunday and went to the very back of the back 500+ tables and found BikiniKat. I saw this funny pink head and asked the girl to put it on and I'd get her photo. She went to put the head on me! I said, "No, No, I'm the photographer." So she got a friend sitting with her to put it on. The guy was so funny posing that I kept shooting and assembled this set of poses. For info on BikiniKat visit: went back to Shane's table at some point and got this shot of him signing his books for me.

Another artist that I'd published in Slam Bang. Now, if I could only remember his name....I made notes someplace...arggggh.To wrap this all up, I had a great time. Sure, I'd of had much more fun if my wife or Dan and his wife had been able to make it, but I think I made the best of it. I met lots of new artists to contribute to Slam Bang. Got to see some old friends and took many photos and some video. I also shot an interview with Jim Blanchard, a very talented artist who has tons of books out. He has been at this for years. I'll post the video I shot of him here in a future blog and on YouTube. My area there is Subscribe to my video channel.

I also forgot to mention that Friday at some point I rushed over to The Cartoon Museum and got in about 40 minutes before they closed that day. (Thank you Christina Wald for telling me to check this out.) I saw some great comic book art and it was well worth visiting. I bought a book in their book store: : Gene Colan: Visions of a Man Without Fear! I got the last copy they had in the store. It was a publication that the Cartoon Art Museum put out itself.

OK, that is it for now. Thanks for reading all of this. One last shot of me flying back to KY....

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Last Gasp Comix Warehouse or Part II of III

OK, let's recap. It is Friday, October 16th, and I'm in San Francisco. I've just survived an action packed, gut wrenching climb up 100's of steps and back down. I then locate a fantastic Japanese Resturant for some Phai Thai. Now, all full, rested and ready for action, I locate the offices of Last Gasp Comix Warehouse. It is very fortunate that I write down everything, like the address of LG. They have no logo, name, anything on the building except for the large 777 on the side. I park nearby and walk around to the front where I'm told the entrance to the party is. I see a small handwritten sign by the alley in the back telling me that, yes, this is the place. I'm to get my badge at 5:00pm for the next two days of fun, and sales, at APE (Alternative Press Expo). I've never been to APE and I'm all psyched. I get to the front of the building and there is one guy standing outside smoking. Nothing else is going on. No signs for anything, no giant Last Gasp logo on the building...OK, I already said that. The guy looks up, sees me stranding there thinking, and he says, "You here for the APE party?" I say, "Yeah." He points to the stairs and says, "Next floor up." I make my way up some light colored wood stairs with white walls. Looks newly remodeled. At the top of the stairs is a simple wooden door, with a door knocker. Like a door to someones house. A small house. I see a little note on the door.

On the little post-it note it says, "This is APE, Come In." And I see the Lasp Gasp Please Knock gold plate over the gold eagle door knocker. I open the door and see a medium size lobby that is crammed with books, and stuff all over the walls. I see no one at this desk. I look left and see more stuff but no one there. I look right and down a short hallway I see some guys behind a table. Before I can say anything, I'm told that the badges are not ready and will be ready in one hour. "Please have something to drink and eat and wonder around the warehouse." I see 4 or 5 guys sitting at the end of this table. On the table is a huge cake with the logo of APE on it. I get a shot of it. The guy behind the table tries to jump out of the shot, but he is too late. I've stolen his soul. (For my collection.). I have a copy of Slam Bang the Explosive Comic Anthology in my hand and I show it to one of the guys sitting at the table. He looks at if for a second and hands it back. No comment.

I walk down the hall which has offices in cubicals on the left and giant circus canvases on the right. Looks like a cool place to work. The offices remind me of when I worked at Sierra and Microsoft, where everyone has comic books, figures and robots, etc....all around their rooms. (See, I'm cool. I guess I don't look cool enough.) These guys have strange posters that look like something during War War II. "Stay Productive, Wasted Time is helping Hitler." Or something like that. I figure these guys are pretty hip. Though, so far I'm not getting that feel from the people working here. These guys are all shy and only sit looking at each other. They have a guy and girl walking around with trays of food and I grab some. I see a sign telling me to go farther back for drinks etc...I'm having a blast just looking the place over. I see some cool/strange stuff, and a wall of famous art by some famous underground artists. Crumb, Robert Williams, etc...

I don't see very many other guys walking around at first but it starts to pick up. They are all doing the same things I'm doing. eating, drinking and looking at the interesting decor. I walk up to a guy and say, "How's it going?" He walks away, looking at a book. I walk up to another guy, about my age, and take his photo. He looks at me like I have some evidence on him, I shouldn't have. I say, "How's it going?" He looks at me and blinks, and turns and walks away. I wonder around some stacks of comics on metal shelves. They have quite a selection of underground and different comics and books, that is for sure. I find some cardboard signs on a wall beam leading me to the restrooms and other areas. I find a room with a long table of food, and a guy tending a drink table. This guy is friendly and I get a beer in a bottle. This will relax me. I don't drink, so I'll have to sip this and take it slow. I see a girl with a tray of sandwhiches and she has me take one. I go and sit down in a room with some pinball machines and lots of images on the walls. Some guy is talking to 3 or 4 other guys and girls who are sitting and drinking. I sit down in a plush, cooshy chair. I almost lose my beer as the seat is a foot deeper than I thought, or the chair is worn completely out. So, I'm a bit jarred but ready to get in on the conversation and.....they see me and shift positions. The guy talking moves closer to the group, and one of them scoots their chair so that I'm now only seeing the back of them, and can't see anyone else. OK, it's a private conversation, I assume. I then just lookaround, taking photos, eating, and watching a guy playing a Capt. Fantastic penball machine.

I've now walked around pretty much all of the place and see a girl talking to one of the employees that is at his desk in one of the interesting cubicals. She tries to include me in the conversation but no one else can get a word in. It's about where she lives and my mind is going blank...time to switch to ice water. No more beer for me. I make another run for the food and look at my watch and it has been one hour now. I go back up to the front and some of the cake is gone and I look up and see a long line now for the badges. Sheeeeet.

I get in line and comment to someone else looking at the line, who also arrived on time. And we make some comments about, "Good thing I was on time, so I'd have to wait an hour to wait in line." etc....I get a chance to see the clearance rack of books, some good deals. I can only check one bag at the airport and not sure how much of my books I'll sell at the show, I can't really grab a bunch of books right now. I'm also way over budget for this adventure but what else is new. I'm here to try and have fun, also, right? I get to the end of the line, tell them who I am, and get a package with my badge, my wife's badge and Dan Burke and his wife's badge. Now I'm reminded again, that I'll only need one. So I tell them and they say, "Just give it out to someone." So that is what I ended up doing. The guy at the hotel that helped me to my room was asking about my trip and I said something about the comic convention and he was all excited. He liked comics and I told him when the show was etc. The guy that brought me my $30 sandwich was also talking about comics as the other guy had told him about me. So when I get back to the hotel I give the first guy two tickets for the show. He thanked me and looked like he would try and go. He was off during the days, and worked nights.

After getting my badge, I didn't see any reason to hang around any longer so made my silent exit back to my car. I did see a very cool painting in the alley behind their office. A bunch of portraits in color. I did my best to get a shot of it, as it was behind some locked bars and I had to shoot between them.

So getting my badge early was great. I got the program book (they had put in everything I told them, exactly! Wow.) and was all set for the next two days at APE. It was worth it just to look around and for all the photos I got.

Next: Part III, the actual APE con. My report with photos and video!

Jump to Part III (APE convention):