Disclaimer: These are my personal favourite moments. There were almost certainly more interesting and exciting things going on at SDCC, and I certainly saw more and did more than is in this post, but I wanted to boil it down to the moments that meant the most to me.
Mirto introduced me to Milo Manara shortly after we moved in together. He is an Italian artist and author who creates graphic novels of a provocative, even erotic, nature. I was surprised, given his usual work, to see a spotlight panel focusing on him at SDCC, and even more surprised that the man himself would be there. It turns out that he is working on a series of The X-Women and that Dark Horse are republishing his older works, and in some cases digitally recolouring them.
The Saturday spotlight panel, however, was so much more than just what he’s up to, and I am planning a whole post on that panel.
What was special was that on Sunday afternoon I had the chance to meet him, shake his hand, say “Grazie”, and have him draw on and sign the inside cover of Mirto’s favourite Manara book.
Ben Templesmith, artist, writer, and tentacle-lover, has been my favourite graphic novel artist since I first stumbled across Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse in my neighbourhood comic store. Being of a somewhat shy nature, I merely watched him paint from afar during the business of Saturday on the exhibition floor. I did, however, marvel at his clean shirt cuffs and tweeted as much.
Sunday morning on the exhibition floor is a welcome relief. With many of the attendees nursing hangovers, or steeling themselves for an afternoon of bargain-hunting, the floor was empty. I took this opportunity to have a nice chat (but sadly no cup of tea) with Mr Templesmith, and he remarked on having read my tweet from the previous day. I grabbed a copy of Fell and surprised him by telling him that I had read the Wormwoods but not Fell.
Just being able to have that one-on-one time with someone whose work, and dress sense, I admire without a crowd around me was a great way to start a Sunday.
Each double-page spread has a painting in Brian Froud’s unique style, all coffee stains and watercolour, of a goblin. Or several goblins. Or some sketches of parts of goblins. On the facing page is a description of the goblin as written by Terry Jones, with all the surreal humour you would expect.
I think I was about nine years old or so at the time and it rapidly became my favourite book. It still is a book that I go back to every few months. I remember filling page after page of drawings of goblins and, while I don’t draw as much now, the combination of fantasy art and humour stuck with me and is one of the cornerstones of my taste spectrum, if there is such a thing.
I had the great fortune to speak to Brian and Wendy Froud on Sunday afternoon as they signed a Dark Crystal poster, and had the opportunity to thank him for the book and for inspiring me all those years ago.