Sunday, March 31, 2013

Wonderful Wondercon

My love affair with comic books started at an early age. Every summer my family would jam into our car and drive to Mississippi. It was a four day drive fueled by watery Koolaid, ritz crackers and comic books bought at gas stations. Once we got there my grandmother had crates of comics from a drugstore that had the covers torn off, remainders that hadn't been sold. I was in heaven reading my way through Richie Rich, Wonder Woman, Lil Lulu, Dot, Batman and all the Classic Comics, illustrated versions of Shakespeare and Dickens.

One of the lovely perks about being an illustrator is getting pro passes to Comic Book conventions. I've been going to the San Diego ComicCon for somewhere around twenty years but this was my first Wondercon.

Cosplay - Characters in Costume

There were a ton of people in costumes of all kinds, superheroes, elegant steampunk adventurers, Storm Troopers and Wookies, anime and video game characters. Here are a couple of my favorites...

 An adorable Angel Castiel from "Supernatural"

 My favorite for innovation, "CatDog" from the Nickelodeon cartoon.

I saw lots of Doctors from Doctor Who, mostly Tens and Elevens, but also a couple of Fours with long scarves and a Five, complete with celery boutonnière. This guy in red is Doctor Horrible from the online musical.

Small Press

My favorite part of going to comic book conventions is seeing the small press sections, indy self publishers. In the last couple of years the San Diego ComicCon has grown so huge that these small visionaries renting small tables have been replaced by slicker money backed imprints. But here at Wondercon they were out in full force.

A few of my favorites...

Wylon Robotical the world's only flower delivering robots...

I bought a little field guide to these innovative creatures. See more of them here:

 This array of whimsical handmade toys is from Victoria Rose and Ann Sidenblad's booth, Rawrz Toys. Lovely stuff!

This caught my attention, Tapastic. It's a website that hosts webcomics, similar to the way YouTube hosts videos. The interface seemed very elegant and accessable for iPads and other e-readers. I look forward to checking it out.

 How can you not love "Penguins Vs. Possums"

All in all, it was a great event. When I first started going to comic book conventions I was one of the few girls in a sea of guys. Then about ten years ago I started seeing a mom pushing a stroller or a bored girlfriend with her fanboy boyfriend as well as indy tables with female authors and illustrators. Around six years ago I started seeing more Anime and girls would attend wearing hats with kitten ears. Now, I am happy to say that half the people are female, dressed as superheroes, Frodos, angels, Edwardian Adventurers, My Little Pony, Tintin, warriors and yes, Doctors and even Captain Jack Harkness.

It makes me happy to see doors opening and a new generation of women reading comic books, making comic books, writing, drawing and dressing up like heroes. 

Do you have a favorite character? Who would you dress up as?


Here's a photo of my own video game character offspring on the right, Xemnas from Kingdom Hearts. He is posing with a cute girl in a blue dress holding a fanged brain. I can't pretend to know that that means.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Spring Me

Spring comes early here. All the rest of the country is freezing cold and dark. We are planting and planning. The wonderhub built a bunch of new raised beds and cleaned and replanted all the pots.

 My adorable mother-in-law bought us a flat of heirloom tomatoes and basil at Roger's Gardens. They had a special event called Tomatomania, which is the perfect name for a place that sells two hundred varieties of tomatoes. They had everything from romas to beefsteaks, tiny yellow cherries and pink blushes, black zebras and Amish varietals. Now, I'm dreaming of summer pizzas and tomato salsas.

So now are 'maters are in pots up to their necks in good soil, with three aspirin at the roots in full sun. They've doubled in size in the last week.

 We had some beautiful guests over last night. Joel and Tori McKinney and their daughter Abby. They are artists that live on the Banks of Plum Creek, in Walnut Grove, Minnesota.

We noshed on cheese and baguettes, drank beer and tea and talked about art. We talked about making art, learning art, art in the schools, selling art,  teaching art. Joel and Tori lead summer workshops in bronze casting, ceramic tile murals and fiber arts. How cool is that?

 Tori is an amazing weaver and fiber sculptor. She told me about a spraying diluted bleach on stencils tie-dye technique for dark fabric that I have to try.

 Big Joel and Little Joel. We named our kid after this guy.

 Joel 2.0 and Abby hit it off great. Abby draws Manga and they were off talking their own language.

One of the things that we talked about was how little art education kids get in schools. Big Joel talked about taking middle school kids to an Artist Co-Op and having them pick several artists and write about what they liked and didn't like didn't like about their work.

Art teaches critical thinking, decision making, planning, hand eye coordination. Making art tethers you to the real world and lets you think past it. Making art is a gift that we should give our children.

What are you making this week?



 "Invent your world. Surround yourself with people, color,
 sounds, and work that nourishes you." ~ SARK