Jose Garibaldi provided this awesome sketch for me; he’d just drawn Maria’s Wedding for Oni Press, which sang so very true to me when it came to families and weddings and the best of intentions and all that. Since then he’s worked on a variety of projects, but most prolifically a lot of Jingle Belle comics. (The adventures of Santa’s slightly naughty hockey-playing daughter, as written by Paul Dini; they’re rather hysterical.)
I love that this one tells a whole story, and while most were upbeat and adorable, this one shows the down side to my sketchbook’s theme. Nicely done.
Doug TenNapel, when he drew this sketch for me, was probably still better known for his work on the computer game Earthworm Jim, but he’d just had the graphic novel Creature Tech published. Since then he’s had a lot of graphic novels published (I believe the most recent is Ghostopolis), but I have to admit that Creature Tech is almost certainly still my favorite.
Anyway, TenNapel took a distinctly different (and funny) approach to the book. Maybe he was trying to purify my book after Brian Azzarello’s sketch two pages earlier?
Craig Thompson is an artist who to most people just exploded out of nowhere. While a fortunate few already knew about him thanks to his mini-comics, most readers (myself included) were introduced to him when his debut graphic novel, Goodbye, Chunky Rice, was published by Top Shelf in 1999. It’s about a turtle moving away from those he loves, and both the physical and emotional journey.
From that point on, everyone was all, “What’s he going to do next?” and when I got this sketch, his follow-up (clocking in at 600 pages) Blankets had just debuted that weekend, a book about first love. I remember him apologizing as he drew this for me, saying that his hand had been cramping from signing and sketching in everyone’s books, and that it wasn’t as elaborate as he wanted it to be. But I love it, and it’s small and sweet and to the point.
I’m happy that his new book, Habibi, is set for this fall—it’s been too long since Thompson’s last book. (He did publish a travel journal since then, Carnet de Voyage, about the trip he took to do research for Habibi.) If nothing else it means he might start hitting conventions again, and the soft-spoken Thompson being out there has been a face I’ve missed.
Most people know Brian Azzarello for his work as the writer for 100 Bullets, his crime-meets-conspiracy-meets-revenge-meets-thriller series. But one thing I didn’t know until 2003 was that he actually went to art school (or at least, so he claimed), and he offered to draw in the wine book.
Did I mention before that 100 Bullets is a rather twisted book? No? Well, after this it might not be such a surprise. Could not stop laughing once he was done.
The (unknown to me at the time) 50th drawing in my wine book was also the first one I got at San Diego Comic-Con in 2003, courtesy Joel Priddy. His first graphic novel had recently out at the time, Pulpatoon Pilgrimage, which is just like your average road trip if the three characters are a minotaur, a robot piloted by a goldfish, and a walking plant.
It’s the last character that Priddy used to tweak just a bit for the wine theme, and it’s his soft, delicate lines that still stand out some 7 1/2 years later. These days I see Priddy show up on occasion at Project: Rooftop where people submit their redesigns of classic characters. Every time I find myself hoping that Priddy’s working on a new book that we can see soon. He’s too good a talent to be gone for too long.
Farel Dalrymple‘s comic book series Pop Gun War was one of those series that is hard to describe but instantly grabs your attention. Think magic realism in an urban jungle, and a sweet main character who happens to have wings, and… yeah, I’m not doing it justice, but it’s great.
Since those initial five issues (which are collected into a book courtesy Dark Horse) he’s worked on other projects like drawing the first story arc on Caper (about the Jewish mafia in San Francisco), and most notably illustrating Jonathan Lethem’s revamp of Omega the Unknown. I hear he’s working on a new Pop Gun War series now. I hope so. His unique brand of strangeness is much missed.
I’ve known John Gallagher for years, thanks to working on the Small Press Expo together. His main comic is Buzzboy, about a superhero sidekick that steps up to the big leagues, although these days I’ve noticed he’s done a lot of other all-ages comic projects for a variety of publishers and packagers. It’s always nice to see John and his sketch of Buzzboy below amuses me to no end.
Roger Langridge is one of those comic creators that I always wonder, “Why isn’t he a superstar?” He writes, he draws, he letters. He tackles comedy, satire, superheroes, science-fiction, or any other genre needed. And he’s always a class act (talking with him at conventions is a joy) and turning out beautiful work no matter what.
When I got this sketch from Roger, he was best known for Fred the Clown, a comedy/satire that looks deceptively simple but is anything but. He’s worked on a lot of comics since then, most recently a Muppet Show comic that managed to actually be as funny and inventive as the original show (a real feat!), and is wrapping up an unfortunately short run on Thor: The Mighty Avenger with Chris Samnee.
Whatever he does next, I’ll buy it. That’s a given.
Ted Naifeh‘s an artist whom I remember first encountering in the early ’90s drawing an issue of Dark Horse’s Comics Greatest World, although I suspect he might be a little shocked I still remember that book. He’s done a huge amount of work since then, from Gloomcookie to Teen Titans, but my favorite comic of his is, easily, Courtney Crumrin.
If you’ve never read Courtney Crumrin, it’s about a sarcastic girl who (along with her useless parents) go to live with her great-uncle that turns out to also be a warlock, and Courtney gets into all sorts of trouble and adventure. My description isn’t doing it justice, but trust me, it’s fantastic.
When I got this gorgeous sketch from him, he was a guest at SPX and I thought he was putting in all the extra effort with a second color and such because I ran the show. Then I found out a few hours later, nope, he had no idea who I was, he just put in all the extra effort because that’s what he does for everyone. Which, to me, says it all about what a great guy he is. Naifeh’s the bomb.
A Sean Bieri sighting is always exciting to me, in part because half the time it’s utterly unexpected. Sometimes he’s just wandering around a convention with no table, mini-comics in hand. Other times I’m surfing the web and suddenly I come across a new Bieri project. You get the idea.
He’s consistently funny and clever, though, and his Jape mini-comics are always worth buying if you get the chance. Trust me. I haven’t seen Sean in a few years though, but I hope we cross paths in person sometime soon.