Category: CONvergence

Why I want Greg Weisman at CONvergence 2016 (And You Should Too!)

I wanted to show you all the art print I recently colored. I created a black-and-white line art version of this print for CONvergence 2014, to commemorate the radio play that Greg Weisman wrote then produced entirely at the convention. But I just colored it this month. This is the very first time it’s been colored.

Radio Show Recruits - prev

And here’s a recording of the radio play, “Recruits”. It is a mashup of Young Justice, Gargoyles, and The Spectacular Spider-Man. and it features CONvergence 2014 Guest of Honor Marina Sirtis.

Why am I sharing these things? Well…

Most of you know that way back in 1999 I helped start a science fiction convention here in Minnesota called CONvergence. (Yes I have a second career as a con runner in addition to my career as a comic book artist.) Many years later the convention is still going strong with 6-7,000 annual attendees. One of our favorite repeat guests at CONvergence is Greg Weisman, among other things, creator of Disney’s Gargoyles, producer and writer for The Spectacular Spider-man, Star Wars: Rebels, Young Justice, and, of course, my collaborator on DC’s Young Justice comic book. Beyond Greg’s impressive list of writing and producing credits, he always makes a great convention guest because he’s a great talker and great panelist – great both in terms of quality and quantity. No guest ever does more panels at our convention than Greg Weisman does. (Seriously, he’s broken records.)

This is how you'll usually find Greg Weisman at CONvergence: on a panel

This is how you’ll usually find Greg Weisman at CONvergence: on a panel

So, some of us are trying to bring Greg Weisman back to CONvergence this year. How, you ask? Well,  he’s been good enough to volunteer to be our guinea pig for a new program CONvergence is piloting called “Fan-Featured Guests” – guests brought in by an outside group with approval from and working directly with the CONvergence Guests of Honor Department.

That is SO CRASH!

The funding for bringing in a Fan-Featured Guest is provided entirely by the group bringing the guest and can be crowdfunded, fund raised, or privately donated. This means that the budget to have Greg as a guest at CONvergence 2016 isn’t coming from the convention budget, but rather from a third party – in this case, a crowd-funding campaign that Hal and I are running. As of right now, it’s 70% funded!

I’d particularly love to see Greg back as a guest at CONvergence this year because Khary Payton (the voice of Aqualad on Young Justice and Cyborg on Teen Titans) will be a Guest of Honor as well. (And strangely enough, so will I! After having been a guest at most of the other sci-fi and comics conventions here in Minnesota, I’m finally going to be a guest at the convention I helped start. It’s a little surreal. But I’d love to have TWO members of the Young Justice family there with me to join in the fun.)

The last time Greg was a guest at CONvergence in 2014 he wrote and produced the radio play at the beginning of this post – a mash-up of three of his TV shows: Gargoyles, The Spectacular Spider-man, and Young Justice. Marina Sirtis was also a Guest of Honor at CONvergence that year and she provided the voices of her characters Demona from Gargoyles and Queen Bee from Young Justice. The rest of the characters were cast from volunteer attendees of the convention, during the convention. I wasn’t kidding when I said Greg produced the play at the con. He held auditions and everything. I mean, this was a hell of a thing.

Greg has said that if he returns to CONvergence this year, he’ll write and produce another radio play, and this time we’ll have Khary Payton to lead another cast of fan volunteers. I would do a new art print to commemorate the new play as well.

Greg and me with Young Justice fans at CONvergence 2014

Greg and me with Young Justice fans at CONvergence 2014

You can probably tell where I’m going with this. I’m inviting you to contribute to help bring Greg Weisman as a guest to CONvergence 2016. We have a number of rewards for various contribution amounts, including the new color version of the 2014 radio play print. I’ve also donated copies of prints I’ve done based on Young Justice and on Greg’s novel and audio play Rain of The Ghosts, which will be signed by both Greg and myself. Those prints can be picked up at the convention or mailed out if you are unable to attend.

Hold the phone. Why would you support the campaign if you are unable to attend?

Well… Some of the rewards are things like Khary Payton (Aqualad, Cyborg) recording a custom greeting for your voicemail. You could have Greg Weisman or me do one too, but if it was ME I’d want the Khary Payton option. Or you could have one of the art prints mailed to you. On top of that, the radio play will be recorded and made publicly available after the convention, so that’s a new, original production by Greg Weisman for everyone.

Also, if you don’t want “Black Manta’s Celebrity Hot Tub” to be a real thing, I don’t know what’s wrong with you. Because it will definitely be a real thing if we can get Greg Weisman to CONvergence 2016.

Click here to view the crowdfund campaign.

And please share this with your friends. Together maybe we can all give this effort the last push it needs!

CONvergence 2015 Guest of Honor Badges

Since co-founding the first CONvergence in 1999, I’ve drawn unique, custom badge art for every CONvergence Guest of Honor, every year. It’s time consuming, but I believe—both as a convention runner and as a frequent guest at conventions myself—that it creates a powerful first impression towards CONvergence being a unique convention experience.

I usually try to reference something from a given guest’s body of work in a clever way, as well as try to incorporate our mascot, Connie, on badges for Guests who have been to CONvergence before and are already familiar with the character. Here are the custom Guest of Honor badges I created this year for our CONvergence 2015 Guests.

CVG 2015 GoH Badge prev - Wesley Chu

Wesley Chu

It’s always a challenge designing a badge for author guests if I don’t know of a recognizable visual “hook” associated with their work. But when I saw multiple references by Wesley in various bios and interviews to trying to perfect his “Blue Steel” look (he’s a big Zoolander fan), I knew what I had to do. Upon meeting him, Wesley said to me about his badge “How did you KNOW?”

Follow Wesley Chu’s blog at http://www.chuforthought.com/

CVG 2015 GoH Badge prev - Nicole Dubuc

Nicole Dubuc

When I read that Nicole Dubuc had not only written a Flash comic but had voiced Iris-West Allen on Young Justice in addition to writing episodes of the series, I was tempted to do something with that theme for her badge art. I was worried that it was just my Young Justice bias showing, though, so I instead decided to work with the bigger milestones of her career. Kim Possible was one of Nicole’s first writing gigs and she developed the recent Transformers: Rescue Bots. She told me at the con that Chase happens to be her favorite Rescue Bot! Now if only we’d had more time to talk Young Justice

You can follow Nicole Dubuc on Twitter as @NicoleDubuc.

CVG 2015 GoH Badge prev - Chad Frey

Chad Frey

Chad Frey has been a set designer and art director on more films that I could even begin to work with, and I didn’t really know which were favorites or his level of contribution to each beyond the job title. I ended up focusing on his design work for Oz the Great and Powerful and had elements from his other films swept up by the cyclone, including references to Transformers, Cloverfield, The Green Hornet and even Mad Men.

Learn more about Chad Frey on his website, www.FreyArt.us.

CVG 2015 GoH Badge prev - Charlotte Fullerton

Charlotte Fullerton

While I try not to over-use Connie on our Guest Badges, I knew it was safe with Charlotte. She’d been to CONvergence before when her late husband (the great) Dwayne McDuffie was a Guest of Honor, so she knew who Connie was. It was kind of a no-brainer to dress Connie up as Ben 10, as that franchise has dominated much of Charlotte’s career for several years, including her role as story-editor on Ben 10: Omniverse.

You can follow Charlotte on Twitter at @TheCFullerton and on Facebook at The Charlotte Fullerton Page.

CVG 2015 GoH Badge prev - Lee Harris

Lee Harris

Lee Harris is an author and editor, currently Senior Editor for the new Novella imprint at Tor.com, which presents the usual issue I have with finding a visual hook for someone known for work in a non-visual field. I ended up going for a fun graphic treatment of a picture of Lee himself, which seems to have worked. Lee commented “You must be a great artist. You managed to make me look cool.”

I have to note that Lee was fantastically funny our annual, very silly SMACKDOWN! panel. It was great getting to spend some time chatting with Lee over the con weekend!

Learn more about Lee Harris at his blog, www.LeeHarris.com, and follow him on Twitter as @LeeAHarris.

CVG 2015 GoH Badge prev - Jennifer Ouellette

Jennifer Ouellette

Sadly Jennifer is the one Guest of Honor I never managed to meet face-to-face over the convention weekend. All you really need to know about Jennifer’s badge art is that one of her books is titled “The Calculus Diaries: How Math Can Help You Lose Weight, Win in Vegas, and Survive a Zombie Apocalypse.” I feel like I nailed 3 out of 4 elements of that title. All four if you consider bits of a zombie being missing as weight loss.

Jennifer writes the blog, Cocktail Party Physics for Scientific American.

You can learn more about Jennifer Ouellette on her website, www.jenniferouellette-writes.com, or follow her on Twitter at @JenLucPiquant.

CVG 2015 GoH Badge prev - Gordon Smuder

Gordon Smuder

I’ve been friends with Gordon for many years and have been lucky enough to collaborate with him on a few projects. I flat out asked him if he had a preference for what he wanted on his Guest of Honor badge. I swear I thought he said “No puppets,” which baffled me because Gordon is best known for his puppet building and for puppet-based projects like Transylvania Television and his upcoming Vermin (Featuring MST3K Alumni Trace Beaulieu). So I went with something I knew was one of Gordon’s great fandoms: The Herculoids. Gordon said he LOVED the badge, but that he’d told me “No MUPPETS.” Why the heck would I ever have considered putting Jim Henson Studios characters on Gordon’s badge? Ah, well…

You can see many more of Gordon’s puppet creations at www.thepuppetforge.com.
Learn more about the Vermin web show and its Kickstarter at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/792672696/relaunch-vermin-web-show

CVG 2015 GoH Badge prev - Toni Weisskopf

Toni Weisskopf

Another stumper: Toni Weisskopf, publisher of Baen Books. I didn’t want go to the “portrait” option for a third time, so instead I did a fun graphic treatment of the Baen logo. I lucked out again as Toni loved it. I don’t think I ever saw her face-to-face again after the Guest Reception on the night before the convention properly began, so I hope she had a great con weekend!

http://www.baen.com/

CVG 2015 GoH Badge prev - Bryan Thao Worra

Bryan Thao Worra

And finally, Bryan Thao Worra was another 2015 guest I’ve been lucky enough to have been friends with for a few years. When I asked him about badge art preferences he mentioned a couple of options, including adding something to his collection of Naga artwork. So for a multi-year attendee CONvergence panelist, one more Connie. This one being Connie as a Naga, with each of the Medusa-like crown of snakes sporting their own Connie-style antenna.

You can learn more about Bryan Thao Worra at his blog, thaoworra.blogspot.com, and follow him on Twitter as @thaoworra.

So that wraps up all of the CONvergence 2015 badge art. You can check out my 2014 blog posts featuring the CONvergence 2014 Guest of Honor Badges and the CONvergence 2014 membership badge art as well! And if you’re interested in checking out more badge art from previous years, I’ve got most of it posted on my blog under the “Badge Art” tag – click here to check it out!

CONvergence 2014 Guest of Honor Badges

Since co-founding the first CONvergence in 1999, I’ve drawn unique, custom badge art for every CONvergence Guest of Honor, every year. It’s time consuming, but I believe—both as a convention runner and as a frequent guest at conventions myself—that it creates a powerful first impression towards CONvergence being a unique convention experience.

I usually try to reference something from a given guest’s body of work in a clever way, as well as try to incorporate our mascot, Connie, on badges for Guests who have been to CONvergence before and are already familiar with the character. Here are the custom Guest of Honor badges I created this year for our CONvergence 2014 Guests.

CVG 2014 GoH Badge prev - Amy Berg

Amy Berg

One of Amy’s projects is the digital series, Caper, for Geek and Sundry. It seemed appropriate to highlight one of the superheroes from that show, so I drew the armored alter ego of The Machine.

CVG 2014 GoH Badge prev - Emma Bull

Emma Bull

Emma Bull is probably best known in the Twin Cities for her Minneapolis-based urban fantasy novel, War for the Oaks, so I wanted to visually reference that setting, including the novel’s protagonist, Eddi McCandry, and the shape-shifting phouka.

CVG 2014 GoH Badge prev - C Robert Cargill

C Robert Cargill

Cargill is a long-time friend of CONvergence as well as a personal friend of mine. Knowing his tastes, it was a no-brainer to suit him up as Ace Hunter from Megaforce, with Connie along for the ride on his jet-powered, flying motorcycle.

CVG 2014 GoH Badge prev - Sarah Clemens

Sarah Clemens

Much of Sarah’s work features the characters of Magnus the cat and Loki the Norwegian Speartail Dragon, so doing something with them seemed the obvious choice. I understood Magnus & Loki are known to be pair of troublemakers, and somehow a “Usual Suspects” motif emerged…

CVG 2014 GoH Badge prev - Matthew Ebel

Matthew Ebel

Musician Matt Ebel includes many references to robots, including GLaDOS from Portal. So I placed GLaDOS in front of a keyboard and added Matthew’s trademark beard. This was the design from this year that I most questioned how it would go over, but Matthew was delighted with it. Whew!

CVG 2014 GoH Badge prev - Scott Lynch

Scott Lynch

This was Scott’s first time as a CONvergence Guest of Honor but he’s been attending the convention for many years, so I had no problem casting Connie as the Gray King standing in front of Red Seas Under Red Skies from Scott’s Gentleman Bastard series of novels.

CONvergence 2014 welcomed several Guests of Honor with connections to Disney’s Gargoyles as part of our celebration of the Gargoyles 20th Anniversary. In light of this, I did a mash-up of a Gargoyles character with another thing a given Guest of Honor was known for. 
CVG 2014 GoH Badge prev - Greg Guler

Greg Guler

Greg was Lead Character Designer for Gargoyles and currently serves in the same capacity on Phineas and Ferb, so his badge featured a mash-up of Brooklyn and Phineas and Ferb’s Agent P.

CVG 2014 GoH Badge prev - Frank Paur

Frank Paur

Frank was the Supervising Producer on Gargoyles and in recent years has served as art director and director of many Marvel animation projects, including Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, so I drew Dr. Bruce Banner transforming into Gargoyles’ Broadway, in an homage to the cover of The Incredible Hulk #1.

CVG 2014 GoH Badge prev - Marina Sirtis

Marina Sirtis

Marina Sirtis was the voice of the villainous Demona on Gargoyles, which stood in stark contrast with her role as Counsellor Deanna Troi on Star Trek: The Next Generation. So I couldn’t resist putting Demona in Troi’s uniform… With a phaser rifle thrown in for good measure.

CVG 2014 GoH Badge prev - Greg Weisman

Greg Weisman

I’ve been lucky enough call Greg a colleague and a friend for several years. The majority of our work together was on the Young Justice comic book for DC Comics, so dressing Goliath as Young Justice’s Nightwing seemed oddly appropriate. Whelmed, even.

So that wraps up all of the CONvergence 2014 badge art. If you didn’t see it yet, be sure to check out the CONvergence 2014 membership badge art as well! And if you’re interested in checking out more badge art from previous years, I’ve got most of it posted on my blog under the “Badge Art” tag – click here to check it out!

CONvergence 2014 Badge Art

Each year, CONvergence commissions volunteer art for its Membership Badges that feature our CONvergence mascot, Connie, and references that year’s convention theme. We have different badge art for each of the four different age categories we produce badges for, and inevitably I hear people wishing they’d gotten the artwork on a different age group’s badge.

When I produce the badge art (which almost always, but not always the case), I try to keep the colors bright with a different color scheme for each design so that the small membership badges are as easily identifiable as possible for our volunteer badgers and staff under the various lighting conditions around the convention.

Without further adieu, here were the CONvergence 2014: A Midsummer Night’s Dream Membership Badge Designs!

Adult Badge: Connie and her slightly evil sister Connie Mark 2 as Detective Elisa Masa and Demona from Gargoyles, flanking Goliath.

CVG 2014 Adult Badge RGB
Ages 13-17 Badge: Connie and Mark 2 again as Sam and Dean Winchester from Supernatural, with their creator Professor Max as Bobby.

CVG 2014 Ages 13-17 Badge
Ages 6-12 Badge: Connie as Kiki from Kiki’s Delivery Service.

CVG 2014 Ages 6-12 Badge
5 & Under Badge: Connie riding Falcor from The Neverending Story.

CVG 2014 5 & Under Badge

CONvergence also produces custom badge art for each of its Guests of Honor. It was no different for our 2014 Guests! Check out my CONvergence 2014 Guest of Honor badge art post!

If you’re interested in checking out more badge art from previous years, I’ve got most of it posted on my blog under the “Badge Art” tag – click here to check it out!

CONvergence is Imminent!

1937734_10151902092756372_244166107_o (1)

CONvergence is Imminent! Per usual, I’m finishing up last minute things before heading to the hotel tomorrow. I’m really looking forward to hanging out with Greg Weisman and talking Gargoyles and Young Justice all weekend.

I’m also on two shipping panels on Saturday night. I blame Tumblr for that. You can’t see it, but I’m right now comically shaking my fist in the direction I presume Tumblr to be. Yeah, Tumblr, that will teach you.

Anyway, if you see me around the con, ask me for one of my cool Time Lord Batman Ribbons.

alsobatmanribbon2

 

I’ll post my CONvergence schedule below with links to the online schedule so it’s easy to join my events. In addition to my signings, I will have a few of each of my art prints available in the CONvergence art show.

 

My CONvergence 2014 Schedule:

 

Thursday

2:00pm – 3:00pm Fan Art and Social Media  (Atrium 2)

Discuss how the latest social media platforms and visual blogging sites (such as Tumblr and Pinterest) are enabling more exposure for artists–fan and otherwise. Panelists: Shawn van Briesen, Jennifer Lundstrom, Hal Bichel, Fes Works, Christopher Jones

3:30pm – 4:30pm Parallel Man (Plaza 1)

FREE POSTERS at the panel!!

Clipboard01

Take a look at the new sci-fi adventure coming to you later this year as a comic, a computer game, and in development as an animated TV series, feature film, and toy line. With local creators Jeffrey Morris, Rob Callahan, and Christopher Jones.
Panelists: Christopher Jones, Rob Callahan, Jeffrey Morris

7:00pm – 8:00pm Opening Ceremony (Mainstage)

If it’s not exactly a magical invocation, it is nonetheless our official kick-off for the convention! Join Connie as we welcome our Guests of Honor, give out some awards (including the Mark Time and Ogle winners), and get this party started.
(I co-wrote/produced this. My voice is in it, but I won’t be on stage.)

8:30pm – 10:30pm Smackdown (Mainstage)

Bring your wand and cloak to this year’s Smackdown for some Magical Mayhem! Wizards, witches, warlocks, and sorceresses will be judged as our panel of “experts” decides who lives and who dies in our mystical iron cage match!
Panelists: Amy Berg, Tim Wick, C. Robert Cargill, Melissa Kaercher, Tim Uren, Molly Glover, Joseph Scrimshaw, Kelvin Hatle, Christopher Jones

11:30pm – 12:30am Physics of Impossible Costumes (Atrium 7)

We’ll discuss the physics of our favorite highly unlikely costumes, from unreal women’s shapes and male upper bodies to unrealistic body armor.
Panelists: Ryan Consell, Sarah Barsness, Marie Porter, Karine Charlebois, Christopher Jones

Friday

12:30pm – 1:30pm From TV to Comics (Plaza 2)

We’ll discuss the TV shows that expanded into the comicverse, such as Buffy, Smallville, and Gargoyles. Did they succeed? Were any of the comics improvements on the shows? How did canon change during the transition?
Panelists: Shawn van Briesen, Jonathan Palmer, Greg Weisman, Greg Guler, Karine Charlebois, Christopher Jones

2:00pm – 3:00pm SIGNING  (Autograph Table in CONvergence Central)

I’ll be selling and signing Young Justice trade paperbacks and prints along side Greg Weisman and Greg Guler.

8:30pm – 9:30pm Gargoyles Q&A (Mainstage)

Join the cast and creators of “Gargoyles” to talk about the show and comic books.
Panelists: Greg Weisman, Christopher Jones, Marina Sirtis, Frank Paur, Karine Charlebois, Greg Guler

11:30pm – ??? Young Justice Meet-Up  (Garden Court)

Everyone who attends gets a SYMBIOSI ribbon (while supplies last!)

alsobatmanribbon2

Writer Greg Weisman and artist Christopher Jones host an informal gathering for fans of Young Justice! Come hang out, chat, get autographs and take photos. Cosplay is encouraged but not mandatory!
Panelists: Christopher Jones, Greg Weisman

Saturday

12:30pm – 1:30pm SIGNING (Autograph Table in CONvergence Central)

I’ll be selling and signing Young Justice trade paperbacks and prints.

10:00pm – 11:00pm Blue Mug (Edina Room)

Ever wonder about the sexual habits of Gargoyles? Ever wonder who was sleeping with whom among the Young Justice Team or the cast of Spectacular Spider-Man? Join us for for a late night peek at your favorite animated series. This panel will get blue!
Panelists: Greg Weisman, Christopher Jones

11:30pm – 12:30pm Which Supers Should Hook Up?  (Plaza 2)

If Thor and Storm got together, they would have cute little thunderbabies.
Panelists: Lyda Morehouse, Kenneth Konkol, Lathan Murrell, Samma Johnson (mod), Christopher Jones

Sunday

11:00am – 12:00pm SIGNING (Autograph Table in CONvergence Central)

I’ll be selling and signing Young Justice trade paperbacks and prints alongside Tim Lieder.

12:30pm – 3:00pm Art: Impossible (Bloomington Room)

The artists return to the Thunderdome with new challenges to challenge their brain and their artistic integrity. Join us to find out how artists can achieve the IMPOSSIBLE!
Panelists: Tim Wick (mod), Christopher Jones, Melissa Kaercher, Jerry Belich, Louis Frank, Dawn Krosnowski, Ruth Thompson

3:30pm – 4:30pm Young Justice Panel (Mainstage)

Some of the creative minds behind the Young Justice TV and comic book series will talk about this fan favorite.
Panelists: Greg Weisman (mod), Marina Sirtis, Christopher Jones

5:00pm – 6:00pm Closing Ceremony (Mainstage)

It’s not over ’til the gynoid sings – or something like that. Join Connie and our Guests of Honor as we say farewell to another convention. Shenanigans may ensue.
(I co-wrote/produced this. I won’t be on stage.)