Sunday, September 6, 2009

2 Days @ Dragon Con = Lifetime of Memories.

There's a weird stereotype that floats around about the people in the south having a slower lifestyle, but I just sat down, slumped in the couch, sorted through about 500 photos, and stared blankly at the TV as Robert Osbourne introduced "The Karate Kid" on TCM, where he described Ralph Macchio as a "high schooler who has to learn some "karate chops" from his old asian janitor who has a liking for collecting cars", and I feel SO much slower right now than anything i witnessed in the last 48 hours in Atlanta, GA. Because from what I can tell, whether it was the 50,000 people wearing the same colored t-shirts, transforming downtown into a giant tailgate party for their college football game, or the bars overflowing with jeweled-out 3-6-Mafia dopplegangers and bowel-shaking basslines, or the 600 stormtroopers wrestling with Steampunk Jawas in front of the Marriot, it was obvious that people from the south just like to rage. Fast, long, and hard. And that ruled.

As i had said before, I have always wanted to go to Dragon-Con as a fan of everything nerdy, but because of it being so far away, I never really had the chance. But HOLY SHIT, after only spending 2 days there just now, i have to warn you, if you become a part of my life in any significant way, and try to stop me from going back every year, i'm cutting you off!

The first time I went to the San Diego Comic Con, back in 1999, I had this same feeling. Completely caught by surprise, unexpectedly overflowing with blood of excitement from entering a brand new parallel universe filled with living versions of things loved but had only previously seen in 2-dimensions. But, over the years, as Comic Con grew, and became over-saturated with the general public just wanting to see what was going on, and corporations hosting private parties and hiking up prices and blah blah blah, now Comic Con is simply a place to see some friends once a year (if you are lucky enough to even cross paths with them) and the feeling i get, as a fan, isn't the same as it used to be. Because of that, I kind of lost a little excitement about going to conventions. I mean, if the biggest genre convention in the world was giving me a headache...

Enter Dragon Con 2009.
And enter me being a 12-year old again.
I know, realistically, i will never experience this same, unexpected feeling again, even when I go back next year. But regardless, that old, circa-1999 Comic Con feeling rushed back into me like the ebola virus this past weekend, and I couldn't be happier.

THE GOOD about Dragon-Con:
* EVERY person that attends is a genuine fan of something there. there is NO ONE who "just wants to see" what's going on as doesn't want to "be caught" going there.

* 90% of the people dressing up MAKE their own costumes. Fuck that store-bought shit, they spend all year making costumes that rival any of the things they are replicating.

* Most of the people in costumes aren't even dressed up as something that EXISTS in pop-culture anywhere. Instead, they just make some shit up, give themselves a story, and roam around like they own the world.
ME: "Oh cool, Boba Fett, but like...why are you wearing a crown and have a zombie-hand and a sword?"
BF: "Because I'm not Boba Fett, I am simply a Mandalorian named Brattin Fott who has discovered time travel and teleportation and have traveled many lands to earn the title of King. Oh, and one time I died in Europe so I had to be resurrected but the resurrection spell kinda failed so my hand stayed decomposed."
ME: "I love you."

* There are no "convention center" rules and regulations. No security guards telling people to grow up. The hotels that host the event just LET YOU DO WHATEVER YOU WANT. And EVERY person there drinks and rages and parties-out their frustrations. The closest term i can use to describe Dragon Con would simply be "Nerdi Gras". I mean, shit, there was a stormtrooper playing bagpipes, I watched the Big Daddy from Bioshock fall over into a vase and break it while his Little Sister held his giant drill-hand, we saw a Chewbacca with angel wings puking in the hotel fountain, i saw Morgana from Darkstalkers get fingered on an escalator, my friend Kiersten was basically raped by 2 aliens on ecstasy but it looked like the most fun rape ever. So yah, that shit ruled.

* And, unlike comic con, i DID actually get to see and hang with old friends and had a chance to make new ones, and meet new people and artists that I couldn't even get close to before at Comic Con. It was intensely inspiring.


So, without any further banter, here are some of the more decent photos from my 2 days the event. Unfortunately, out of over 500 pictures, my excitement level was obviously apparent because most of them were blurry as fuck. But my memories are CRYSTAL...

The ZEROFRIENDS crew in our hotel room, a few hours before the con, AKA the night before my mind was blown. From Left to right: Kiki, Sean Leopard, Darren, Meggie, covered with a ME blanket.

The night consisted of an intense Connect 4 tourney, which Darren from Zerofriends dominated. But i came in a close LAST.

"NOW," says this guy-thing, "time for COOONNNNN.....babay."

Look that me and 2 dudes in "Dumb & Dumber" costumes? NO! It's me and ONE dude in a Jim Carrey costume and a CARDBOARD CUTOUT in the middle. seriously, how perfect is this shit? Its cardboard! I let dude join Cardboard City as the ambassador, as it only seemed right.

Sean Leopard, who politely "assed" her if he could take a photo with her.

STEAM PUNK ROCK with myself and the lovely miss Tara McPherson.

Chris Ryniak and I with our great old friends at TOYBREAK, who recently did a cool review of my Walrus Rider Toy on their show!

At the Zerofriends booth.

Signing some Homesick books.


I got lost in this dudes outfit for like 24 minutes, but upon my escape, he let me take a photo with him. We may or may not have totally hooked up later.

Decorated (or ruined) some clothing and accessories for fans.

OK, so, this chick, whose name was PERRY, claimed to be named after her Grandfather, Raymond Burr, who played PERRY MASON in that show...umm...PERRY MASON back in the early 60's. Perry Mason was my Mom's favorite show, and she even watched all of the reruns nonstop when I was growing up. So i wanted to impress my mom and take a picture with this girl and show it to my Mom. Turns out though (I usually research the shit out of things before i blog because of cases like this), that PERRY MASON WAS GAY, never had any kids! Hence, no grandkids. I feel scammed. Even though she DOES look just like him circa the 60's. I'm sorry Mom, maybe next time.

Head-crab FTW.

Meggels can't believe that Darren is pretending to be in college.

Myself and Friend/Art/rock/Earth-Goddess Tara McPherson, who we were lucky enough to get a booth next to and chill with amongst the chaos. If you aren't familiar with Tara's work, you should check out her WEBSITE HERE. Tara has been KILLING it around the world with posters, comics, paintings, installations, and just overall good vibes, and her art is as mesmerizing. She got the cover of the Dragon Con program too! word!

One of my few purchases, in fact (i had to fly home so i couldnt buy a bunch of stuff but oh time!) was this print from Tara, which i love to death.

Oh my DOG!

I also got a chance to chill with rad illustrator/DJ Jim "Food One" Mahfood, who I have crossed paths with a few times, but never quite as "sexy and intimate" as at Dragon Con! I discovered Jim's art YEARS ago when he was doing the Clerks comics and became a huge fan when i read Stupid Comics and 40 oz comics a little while later. since then the dude hasn't stopped. Look for future collabs soon;) And check out his ART HERE. We traded goods and i got stocked up on some of his newer books that i missed. Thanks, homie.

PS, my laptop, though sitting on my thighs, is somehow making my neck sweat. gross.

Conquering the night with old pals/fellow lunatics Huck Gee, Carlos East, The Baroness (from Kid Robot), & Sket One.

This dude, artist Ben Lande, and his friend and artist Aaron Crawford were hanging out at the con, and he had a tattoo of my Urkel piece!

Typical crowd shot, but i kept wondering why Dr. Manhattan didn't just teleport everywhere. that foot traffic sucked. What a patient doctor.


I scribbled on one of MAD's Cre8tive Peeple for a fan. Thought some saggy tits and some spider eyes would be cute.

From this high, all the nerds just looked like nerdy ants.

Sean The Leopard recited the entire plot of Chasing Amy while somehow simultaneously looking for a ring he dropped, resembling something that i can't quite put my finger on...

Conquering the mountain that is DJ Lil Greencard.

Smelling milk. The Leopard is blurry as fuck.

Please don't be mad, but i left this dude's card at my booth before i bounced, but this guy rules. He won my annual award for nerdiest tattoos on the (Middle) Earth! He had way more than this, but these are some of my favorites. so sick.

He also is a dope tattoo artist himself as he recently did this nerdy tattoo on his friend!

If you know his name, let me know, he deserves a plug.

Dinner at a fancy FRIED CHICKEN spot with the ZF crew. Yah, thats right, FANCY FRIED CHICKEN!


The Leopard ran into this dude in the bathroom, who was crying that his WIFE JUST PUNCHED HIM IN THE EYE! Wife-fail, dude.

I spoke on a panel for the very first time, which focused on the current state and perception of "Lowbrow Art", alongside (from left) COLIN CHRISTIAN, TRAVIS LOUIE & CHRIS RYNIAK. The panel was a great first time experience. I was nervous at first, and very humbled by the sheer knowledge that Travis, Colin & Chris had not only on our genre of art, but on all types of art history in general. It was great listening to them and (hopefully) absorbing some lessons from them. Eventually I loosened up and allowed myself to talk about Werewolves having multiple dicks and my experiences without art school. Thanks to designer/artist MARK MURPHY for hosting the event and making me feel pretty comfortable for my first time. Though, even once i started getting a little comfortable, it was still a little scary knowing that artist Brandt Peters and Kathie Olivas were amongst the audience.

Me MAYBE knowing what i am talking about, but probably not.

I love "To Catch A Predator", so its only natural that I also love when The Predator catches me.

Myself and Chris Ryniak picking up applications to join the made-up Mandalorian army. I hope they accept my application. I'm gonna look ill as shit in that armor!

So, when the ZF dudes get back, I'm sure more photos will surface, but for now, I'm back to work, and I can only pass the time by remembering the good old days 2 days ago.Word.
xo, DragonCon, xo.

Lastly, because i feel you need some moving pictures in your life, here is a glimpse at the FUCKING ROAD WARRIOR PARADE that they had! YES, IM SERIOUS.