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In its 24th year, the Motor City Comic Con in Novi, MI outside Detroit has grown larger and attracted more fans than ever before.   A recent update on the Con’s Facebook page confirmed that over 30,000 fans attended the 3-Day show.  While it’s true that there was heavy traffic to enter the parking lot and long lines to enter the hall, indie artists reported triple the sales of last year’s show due to the high volume of people through the door.

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This is the front of the line on Saturday morning an hour before doors opened.

Here’s a rundown of the guests that this reporter had the chance to interact with.

Lloyd

David Lloyd

V for Vendetta artist, David Lloyd’s latest project is a 21-page noir thriller in Aces Weekly Volume 1.  Aces Weekly is an exclusively digital comic anthology available at http://www.acesweekly.co.uk/home.

Perez

George Perez

The Great George Perez attended the show, delivering commissions and sketching sharpie headshots in between countless autographs.  Mr. Perez’ latest released work is the cover of Legion of Super-Heroes #20, available this month from DC.

Anyone wanting to catch up on Perez’ past work need look no further than this month’s Superman Vol. 1: What Price Tomorrow? Tpb and Crisis on Multiple Earths Vol. 6 Tpb.

If that’s not enough, his influence is felt across the New 52 as characters he created may be followed monthly in the pages of Nightwing, Red Hood and the Outlaws, and Justice League.

Kitson

Barry Kitson

Barry Kitson is currently nailing it on Valiant’s Bloodshot title!  Issue #11, containing Barry’s artwork is out this month along with more Barry pencils in the Harbinger Vol. 2 Tpb.  Furthermore, it was just announced that Barry will be illustrating the aftermath of this summer’s Harbinger Wars event in Harbinger #15.

Kitson cares deeply for his fans and this weekend was a prime example.  When Barry saw gridlock on the road leading to the convention center saturday morning, he chose to make the journey from highway to convention hall by foot rather than keep his fans waiting!

Swierczynski

Duane Swierczynski

Speaking of Bloodshot, the writer for that title and Valiant’s big summer event, Harbinger Wars, Duane Swierczynski, was present!  Duane’s also involved with the revival of X for Dark Horse.

Clark

Matthew Clark

Notice a trend developing?  Bloodshot #11 Variant Cover artist Matthew Clark was stationed across the aisle from Swierczynski.

Manning

Dirk Manning

Horror comic writer and Bleeding Cool columnist Dirk Manning was dressed to impress while promoting his recent release of the Write-Or-Wrong column collected edition.  Dirk’s next project is a flip book called Love Stories (To Die For) containing two comic book horror stories.  The book will be available from Image Comics’ partner studio, Shadowline, in September.

McKenna

Mark McKenna

Industry veteran Mark McKenna’s new creator owned project, Combat Jacks, is about humans terraforming a planet while they’re attacked by Jack O’ Lantern monsters.

Kirkham

Tyler Kirkham

Tyler Kirkham, fresh from delivering the incentives to those that pledged to his successful kickstarter project NAWRG, set up in prime convention hall real estate.  In short, NAWRG is a story about a troll that lives with a family, but the story contains a deeper meaning on how adopted pets bring great joy to people.   Tyler’s recent work includes Red Hood & the Outlaws, Superman, Teen Titans, and Green Lantern: New Guardians.  His next project is Action Comics #22.

Paquette

Yanick Paquette

Yanick Paquette made his DC debut two years ago in the pages of Batman Inc. and continued his DC work with the New 52 Swamp Thing series.  Yanick’s next project is Wonder Woman: Earth One where he’ll reteam with Grant Morrison.   Yanick remarked on how he loves the way that Grant consistently surprises him and he never knows what Grant will put into their stories.

Hunt

Ken Hunt

Ken Hunt is an artist on the cusp of breaking through to the mainstream, currently working on a top secret cover for a future DC release.

Bisley

Simon Bisley

Englishman Simon Bisley was particularly interested in the Detroit Redwings t-shirts that local hockey fans were sporting, remarking on how cool the winged wheel design was.

Kolins

Scott Kolins

Scott Kolins recent Orang Lantern backups in DC’s Threshold title will soon give way to a Larfleeze ongoing series with his art and written by Keith Giffen.

Forney

Sean Forney

Local hero Sean Forney is in the midst of his own kickstarter project The Scarlett Huntress!  The Scarlet Huntress features Sean and his wife Stephanie sharing art and writing duties.  The story is a modern take on the Little Red Riding Hood mythos.  He’s almost at his goal and your pledge could be the one that puts him over the top!  http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/838034909/scarlet-huntress-anthology

Defoy

Jay Defoy AKA Jay A.D.

Young talent Jay Defoy recently completed the first issue of his creator owned title Threadcount: The Tale of Norman Crest.  It’s about a man that gains superpowers that seem ridiculous at first but turn out to be a fun crime fighting asset as the story goes on.

Richard

Sara Richard

Sara Richard’s artwork has a fun fairytale influence to it.  She spends her days drawing adorable My Little Pony Covers.  Check her out.

Spaniards

From Left to Right: Ramon Bachs, Miguel Sepulveda, Manuel Garcia, Andrews Guinaldo, and Pere Perez

These five artists traveled from Spain to meet their fans and deliver high end commissions.  They’re pictured holding pieces that they did for comic art connoisseur Ari Shapiro’s Batman on Gargoyle themed collection.  Reportedly they were commissioned as a group since they share a common rep.  Once they started work, the artists competed with each other over whose piece was strongest and which Ari would like most.

Roadkill

Roadkill

Until next time, dear reader!

In Memory of Josh Medors

I first encountered Josh Medors’ work when discussing the rising popularity of sketches with a friend.  My buddy showed me a piece that Josh had done for him.  He advised me to talk to Josh if I was interested in growing my own sketch collection, as Josh worked hard for his fans, producing convention sketches that were often mistaken as published pinups.

Josh’s published work consisted of indie creations (Willow Creek), covers (Moon Knight, Living Corpse), and interior work (GI Joe: America’s Elite, 30 Days of Night).  He worked on a number of other horror and fantasy titles such as Fused, Grimm Fairy Tales, Frank Frazetta’s Swamp Demon, and Child’s Play; however, his biggest impact was on the convention scene.  Josh’s popularity spread like a grass roots movement.  Once he drew for someone, that person inevitably showed their new artwork to all their friends, which continued to build Medors’ fan base.

When I finally met him a few months later on Free Comic Book Day at Packrat Comics in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio, Josh had already been tragically diagnosed with a rare form of spinal cancer.  Throughout his chemotherapy treatments, Josh was as strong and true a soldier as the characters he drew.  He made numerous convention appearances, sometimes at the Hero Initiative Booth and sometimes at a table with his friend and fellow artist, Sean Forney.  Josh’s output slowed a bit while being treated, but the quality of his work never faltered.  It was a rare privilege to commission Josh that day, and when he insisted on taking my piece home with him to finish, I realized how dedicated and unique of an artist he was.

I next met Josh at the Motor City Con in Novi, MI where he presented me with one of my earliest and most favorite Wolverine drawings.

Despite his immense talent, Josh had an unassuming and relaxed demeanor.  He was friendly and eager to talk with fans.  Josh was a great listener with the ability to take a sketch idea, internalize it, and create a piece of artwork that included the necessary elements of the character along with his own stylistic choices, evidenced in the above artwork.  He told me that he wanted me to have a sketch that I could show off to others, as my friend did to me.

Over the next few months I acquired two more Wolvie pieces by Mr. Medors.

                                

Josh created a moody effect by adding highlights to artwork drawn on colored paper, as demonstrated in all three pieces.

Months later at Wizard World Philly, I met Ariel Olivetti, an internationally known artist who also excels at creating the effect of adding highlights to artwork on colored paper.  After commissioning Mr. Olivetti, he was interested in looking at the rest of my collection.  He opened the portfolio to Josh’s first piece, was immediately intrigued, and commented on its professionalism.  In a fun turn of events, he continued to leaf through my portfolio, eventually stopping on my other two Medors sketches.  He inquired about the artist, without realizing it was the same in all three cases!  Olivetti’s English is limited, as he hails from Argentina, but Medors’ artwork transcends the language barrier.

The last time I saw Josh was at this year’s Cincinnati Comic Expo.  I made a point to tell him that his hard work did not go unnoticed and one of the fans I created was none other than Ariel Olivetti.  Josh was thankful, and remained modest.  He sketched all day, steadily completing pieces.  He even said he was pain free and feeling great.  It appeared to me that he had beaten the cancer…

…Which made his death last week that much more surprising and heartbreaking.

Josh Medors was a colossal talent.  We’ve lost a true hero that enriched our community, but he’ll live on through his family, his friends, and through his work.

Mid-Ohio Con Becomes Wizard World Ohio in 2012

The 2012 convention season is in full swing!  The Ohio Comic Con, formerly the Mid-Ohio Con, is hosted by Wizard in the great city of Columbus!

Wizard Conventions are more of a pop culture celebration than a traditional comic con.  Their diverse guest lists tend to attract wrestling fans, sci-fi fans, and TV fans right along with those of us whose main reason for attending the show is to hobnob with the best creators in comics.

Tommy Castillo hosted the Drink ‘N Draw on Friday night.  This was a truly personal experience where amateurs and pros alike gathered to share some fun times over beer and Bristol board.  We exercised our creative muscles under the care and guidance of Tommy with his fellow judges, Primo Cardinelli and Stuart Sayger.  My table was challenged to draw “Batman vs. Stewie on a Farm in Late Fall/Almost Winter” while others had their own unique set of characters and circumstances to bring to life.  While this reporter didn’t place in the amateur category, I appreciated the friendly and personal environment that Tommy and Wizard created, clearly out of a love for artwork and the desire to present opportunities for unsung talent.  Mark my words; someone is going to hit it big after they win this event!  Jay Fife took first place in the pro category, winning a free table at an upcoming Wizard show.

Wizard has been criticized for changing the “Mom and Pop” atmosphere of the Mid-Ohio Con to its more commercially-driven present incarnation.  I present the Drink ‘N Draw as proof that a family vibe still exists at the show.  Bravo Tommy!  Bravo Wizard!

Neal Adams, mayor of New York (practically), is hard at work on First X-Men for Marvel, but took time out of his schedule to meet his fans, and hold a Q&A panel where he discussed his favorite character to draw, working with Stan Lee, breaking into the business, and fighting for creator’s rights to have original artwork returned to them.

Alan Davis flew in from the UK!  Mr. Davis is presently gearing up for a top secret Marvel project that he couldn’t release details on.  However, his modern work typically appears on special projects outside of main titles where Mr. Davis can place the utmost care into his pencils to deliver the highest quality possible, far ahead of looming deadlines (i.e. Justice League: The Nail and Avengers: Prime).  Note that Mr. Davis inspires such loyalty from his fans that a few good natured art lovers eagerly stepped up to the plate to assist in managing Mr. Davis’ endless sketch and autograph line.  Another thankful collector presented Alan’s wife, Mrs. Davis, with flowers to thank her for visiting our country with her husband.

Mike McKone attended!  McKone recently moved to San Diego.  After years of being a Wizard mainstay at east coast shows, this is a rare appearance for him on the right-hand side of the country.  Fans welcomed McKone with open arms, who said he was pleasantly surprised at how cosmopolitan the city of Columbus is.  Mike’s favorite characters are The Hulk and The Thing in that order.

Mexican superstar Humberto Ramos made it to the show!  Ramos remains one of the premiere Spidey artists and his work can be found there most months.

Jorge Molina came up from Mexico! Jorge was excited about the Cable cover he just finished, which will serve as the character’s first post X-Sanction appearance.  Cable will be sporting a new look without his machine parts for a short time while his character transitions between X-Sanction and the upcoming Cable and X-Force.

Tyler Kirkham is moving from Green Lantern: New Guardians to Teen Titans!  Issue 0, featuring Tyler’s artwork was just released.

Image Comics writer Dirk Manning arrived promoting the upcoming collection of his online column Write or Wrong and his current webcomic Tales of Mr. Rhee.

Local talent Sean Forney sketched for fans at the Hero Initiative booth!

Jordan Gunderson attended the show promoting his brand new “Ink and Blood” art collection.

Chad Cicconi of Action Lab is gearing up for a huge announcement on a new project.  Watch the news sites, fans!

Watercolor artist Carla Wyzgala stays hard at work on webcomic Surreality, but she’s never too busy to meet her fans!

Sketch card artist Erik Hodson has been in the comics industry for over 7 years as an independent publisher and creator.  Check out his light hearted webcomic Chad the Fat Kid.

I asked CM Punk of the WWE a question during his Q&A panel regarding his love for Ed Brubaker comics.  Are you curious for more details?  Check out the fitness guru’s answer at the 17:45 minute mark here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYeYIYidC7w&fb_source=message

My final thoughts on the Ohio Comic Con?  Let’s review what makes a convention great.  Fans interacting with creators?  Check.  Creators interacting with each other?  Double check.  Celebration atmosphere?  Wizard crafted a pop culture festival complete with tattoo artists!  This show was awesome.

   

Up next are panel wrap-ups from Q&As with Patrick Stewart and John de Lancie as well as Val Kilmer.

Special Thanks to Brian “Jimmy Olsen” Jones.

Attention Midwest readers!  The Cincinnati Comic Expo is this weekend!

Fans, old and new alike, will enjoy meeting superstar creators like George Perez, Whilce Portacio, and Tony Moore!  The guest list includes a reunion of Swamp Thing creative team members John Totleben, Rick Veitch, Thomas Yeates, and Steve Bissette!  They’re appearing right alongside indie heroes like Dirk Manning, Andy Bennett, Josh Medors, Sean Forney, and Dave Aikins plus more.

Read about it here:  http://cincinnaticomicexpo.com/

ShortBox will be on the scene, so give a shout when you see me.  If you don’t attend the show, catch up on what you missed when I post my review next week.  But there’s nothing quite like being there.