Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Post con. 

We're back. Everyone seems to agree that the show went extremely well. I might write a bit about what I remember, but I don't think I'm going to do the sort of big con report Parker and I have done over the past few years. You've all seen pictures of the Elvis Stormtrooper at this point; one more wouldn't add much to the conversation.

Maybe the best part of the con was spending time with Jim Ottaviani. He enjoyed, I'm told, the best show of his career as a writer/publisher, and even though he brought more of every single title to the con than he ever had before, once again he went home without a single book in his bag. His Einser-nominated Suspended in Language was flying off the table. And as he sat at his booth in San Diego, they were talking about him in Detroit.

Some sad news: has died. I'd always liked his art. As an adult with over a decade in the business, I appreciate his rock-solid craftsmanship, and how he managed to integrate the influences of Neal Adams and Milton Caniff into his own work- as unlikely a synthesis as I've seen anywhere. As a kid though, I found the intensity of his stuff thrilling, even flat-out scary, in a way that the straight-out horror comics I read could never match. His work in the 70's in Brave and Bold and The Spectre was full of dark, disturbing imagery, and he had a gift for communicating movement and impact with gesture and composition that made the action and violence he depicted feel almost disturbingly real.

That probably doesn't sound like an endorsement, but it absolutely is. I was a youngster looking for vicarious thrills, and his illustration made everything in his stories feel more significant, more immediate. He raised the stakes in every story he drew, and that's a big part of what the job is all about.

Mark Evanier has a look back at the man's life and career.

FLYTRAP, the small-batch comic I premiered at the con, did extremely well there. Some reviews are starting to pop up on the web. Yet Another Comics Blog says some nice things about it, and Pop Culture Gadabout and Comics Should be Good were enthusiastic about it as well. (Before you click over to those last two, I should note that they're both pretty heavy on spoilers. If you've got the book on order, or plan to pick it up from me in Chicago, don't read them.)

Some people at the Brian Vaughn board seemed to like it too.

If you write about comics on your blog or for a website or print publication, and would like to see a copy of Flytrap, email me at steve (at) stevelieber (dot) com. And if you want to order a copy, go here.

Finally, here are a pair of good, blistering editorials from Dirk Deppey of the Comics Journal: One. | Two.

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