Posts tagged: CONvergence

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.)

Hal-Con 2013 was Awesome!

HAL-CON Logo

OK, I’ve been back for more than a month but I’m in the middle of several projects and moving to a new apartment, so I’m only getting around to this Hal-Con write-up now! And, it’s going to be long. Really, really long. Here’s the short version: Hal-Con was AWESOME. Here’s the long version:

In spite of being a life-long Minnesotan, I’d never had the occasion to cross the northern border and visit Canada. So when I was invited to be a guest at Hal-Con in Halifax, Nova Scotia I jumped at the chance! Hal-con appeared to have some shared DNA with CONvergence, the Twin Cities science fiction convention I helped start back in 1999 and still volunteer for today. Hal-con is also a fan-run nonprofit and even has their own robot mascot, Nelson, with a whole back-story involving an alien taking the form of Hal-Con’s landmark clock tower. (Nelson needs to meet CONvergence’s Connie one of these days.)

1467438_10153508568900201_1283059232_n

The Halifax Town Clock

Nelson

Nelson, the Hal-Con Mascot

Most conventions I attend fall into one of two basic types: The comic con type model where I set up at a table for the weekend and the con structure is basically a large trade show open for a set number of hours each day with an emphasis on a dealers and signings, or the more “social” style convention like CONvergence and many others, where the convention is in a hotel and the event runs late into the night if not around-the-clock, with more emphasis on parties, programming, and other social events and entertainment. At that latter kind I can usually put some prints in the Art Show to generate some revenue to offset my expenses from attending the convention, and then I can happily spend my time doing some panels and signings and otherwise just being social at the con. There’s plenty of variation from convention to convention, but usually a given convention clearly fits into one of those two categories. Hal-con came at the end of a marathon of convention appearances for me, so when I finally went to nail down the fine details of my appearance there I discovered I’d have to plan for a third type of convention, sort of a hybrid between the two.

tk101310wtcc1

The Halifax World Trade and Convention Center

Hal-Con is a young and rapidly growing convention and is bursting at the seams in their current venue, the Halifax World Trade and Convention Center. As they’ve been trying to make changes to the convention to work within the confines of that venue, they’ve eliminated their Art Show (which apparently wasn’t the huge deal there that it is at CONvergence and many other conventions), and Comic Artist guests weren’t being given any tables to set up at with the assumption that some time to do signings would be enough. The problem with that, of course, is that I couldn’t do my usual elaborate table set-up at the convention and let it stand for the weekend, and a couple of hours per day at a signing table doesn’t allow time to do commission sketches, as that drawing time has to be squeezed into the the occasional five minutes of down time between talking to fans, signing books, selling prints, etc. At most comic conventions, it can often take me more than 2-3 hours just to get in 20-30 minutes of drawing. Doing commission drawings with only a couple of hours a day at a signing table wasn’t going to work.

So my trusty convention partner Hal and I devised a third model of convention set-up just for Hal-Con. We arranged to have 5 of my most popular prints to be available all weekend at the convention’s Merchandise table, which ended up working really well. We also developed a super-compact, quick set-up version of my table set-up that could fit into a single small suitcase.

DrinknDraw GROUP format

We also reached out to the fine folks at the Where Monsters Dwell radio show and podcast (local to Halifax, and working with the convention to organize much of their comics programming) to help us organize an after-hours event for myself and the other attending comics artists who were in a similar situation, allowing us more drawing time and face-time with fans. This became the Drink’n’Draw at a nearby bar called the Foggy Goggle. More on that later. I got onto every panel I could fit into my schedule that I felt I could contribute to, and late in the game was approached the Strange Adventures comic book store to do some signings at their booth in the Dealers Room. It was going to be a very busy weekend…

1017295_587235604647372_822190244_n

Poutine at the Toronto airport.

Our adventure began by flying from Minneapolis to Toronto, where we had a long-enough layover to grab some lunch. It seemed appropriate to celebrate my first arrival in Canada by sampling poutine, which I’m told is a Canadian health food. And yes, I wore a Captain America shirt on my flight to Canada. But only because I don’t have any Alpha Flight shirts.

Prior to the convention, guests were warned to be prepared for the November Halifax weather. Of course, being from Minnesota, this wasn’t going to be anything we were worried about. Actually we’d been having our first real cold snap of the season before the trip, so it was a good 15-20F/10-15C degrees warmer in Halifax than back home in Minneapolis.

1395179_587315964639336_1259118377_n

With Mark and the Hal-Con mini-van at the Halifax airport.

We were met at the airport by Hal-Con volunteers, and were directed to a Hal-Con branded mini-van driven by volunteer Mark to take us to our hotel in the city. Our first look at the city was at night and in the rain. After arriving at our hotel we grabbed some dinner and called it a night, ready for the convention weekend to get started!

Friday

1471953_588623671175232_1090509129_n

The Christopher Jones Art Team at Hal-Con 2013: Stephen LeLacheur, myself, and Hal Bichel.

We were met in the lobby of our hotel by Stephen LeLacheur, who had volunteered to be my Personal Assistant for the weekend. Hal-Con has a similar system to CONvergence where each guest is assigned an assistant (CONvergence calls them Liaisons) to make sure they find their way around, get to their appearances on time, and generally have help while they’re at the convention. Steve proved to be a great companion for the weekend and immeasurable help navigating the crowded convention center quickly to get me from event to event. Sometimes even getting that suitcase full of prints in and out of a storage area on an upper floor while I was sitting on a panel. He even went above and beyond and got me to a nearby Staples for some last-minute printing and procured some art markers to replace ones I failed to pack. Hal was her usual big help all weekend long, but the extra help and especially a native guide was a huge benefit given my packed Hal-Con schedule, so cheers, Steve!

1426495_587589284612004_46267902_n

At my print display at the Hal-Con Merch table with Crystal, one of a number of volunteers who helped sell my stuff in addition to the fine Hal-Con merchandise.

Steve directed us to the Halifax World Trade Center where the convention was being held. My first stop there was at the merchandise table to set up my prints. After that, I dropped off the original drawing I’d done of Hal-Con’s mascot Nelson as a contribution to Hal-Con’s charity auction. I also located the table for the Strange Adventures comic book store and introduced myself in advance of my signings there over the weekend.

● 1:45pm –­ 2:45pm: Process Panel with Peter Chiykowski and Ian Boothby.

This was a pretty general discussion of how comics get made, how freelancers work, and how technology is changing that process. There was also some talk about working in the industry and the importance of networking at conventions and on social media. Good stuff.

● 3:30 – 5:00pm: Signing at Strange Adventures

Time to grab the suitcase of prints and my banner and head for a 90-minute block signing at Strange Adventures.

1457470_587592301278369_558594387_n

At my first Strange Adventures signing of the weekend.

They’d stocked some Trade Paperbacks featuring my work, and my time there was a nice warm-up for…

● 5:15pm –­ 6:15pm: Signing in Autograph Area

This was when the new lean and fast table set-up was put to the test and it worked like a dream. The hour-long block of time blew buy in no time it all, then everything came down and went back into storage so I could run off to…

● 6:30pm –­ 7:30pm: Ethics of Doctor Who

It comes as no surprise that Doctor Who is popular, especially weeks before the show’s 50th Annivesary, but I was amazed by how PACKED this room was. Standing room only! I mean, Peter Davison was at this convention, but this was a panel free of Who-celebrities; just fans talking about the show. It was a lot of fun and I had a great time. I would happily do a panel with these awesome fans again any day!

The Ethics of Doctor Who Panel

The Ethics of Doctor Who Panel

1459658_587708884600044_901436083_n

The Ethics of Doctor Who panelists: Nathan Dennison, Swasti Arora, Jay MacKinnon, Lauren Marie, & me.

● 7:30pm –­ 8:30pm: Young Justice Meet-up

I’ve been organizing these informal Young Justice Meet-Ups at most of the conventions I visit for the past year. They’re a great way to draw the Young Justice fandom out of the woodwork and keep it alive and healthy. I invited Young Justice writer and co-producer Greg Weisman to the first one at the Gallifrey One convention in February 2013 , and now he’s doing them, too. I never am sure what to expect from these meet-ups. We just say when and where it is, that it’s a meet up both for cosplayers and other fans of the show and comic, and see what happens. An important aspect to them is that they’re informal, a chance for fans to meet each other and have some face time with anybody associated with Young Justice who can make it, and usually they include signing stuff and photos. The Young Justice Meet-up at Hal-Con had a few cosplayers but was mostly fans that wanted to hear about the show and the comic, so we spent most of the time doing Q&A, although we did get a few photos at the end.

Young Justice Cosplayers at Hal-Con

Young Justice Cosplayers at Hal-Con

1390474_587714341266165_501145412_n

“Jazz Hands” at the Hal-Con 2013 Young Justice Meet-Up

● 9:00pm: Drink-n-Draw at the Foggy Goggle

It’s hard to get one of the handful of bars near the convention center in Halifax to let you reserve much space on a Friday night. They know they’re going to be packed, so why set aside space they might not fill? Given that, the Where Monsters Dwell guys were only to get a reservation for 12, yet by that Friday the Comic Book Drink ‘N’ Draw Facebook Event had 54 people listed as “going” and an additional 39 “maybes.” Be sheer numbers we managed to take over one end of the bar, and every table seemed to have someone with a sketchbook out, drawing. Lot’s of artists talking to fans and each-other, and lots of drawing done. Much thanks to the Foggy Goggle and the Where Monsters Dwell crew for making it happen!

Billy Dee Williams as Two-Face

Billy Dee Williams as Two-Face

While there, it occurred to me that one of the celebrity guests at Hal-Con that weekend was Billy Dee Williams, who had played Harvey Dent in the 1989 Batman film (in addition to some other space movies he’s apparently known for.) He’d taken the role with the expectation of playing Tw0-Face in the sequel. Things happened behind the scenes and that villainous turn never came to pass, but I thought it would be fun to draw a Billy Dee Williams Two-Face. I pulled up a photo of Billy Dee Williams from that era on my smart phone, and about a half-hour later I’d drawn the sketch you see above. I think my Hal-Con assistant Steve thought I’d performed sorcery at the table! I was immediately asked if I was going to show the sketch to Billy Dee Williams, but I had no expectation of even SEEING him over the weekend. Usually at conventions I’m so busy doing my own stuff I never get to the panels or stand in the lines that would be required to see the celebrity guests.

Saturday

● 10:00am –­ ­ 12:45pm: Signing in Autograph Area

Saturday started with a nearly 3-hour stretch in the Autograph Area. It was nice to set up and then just stay put for a while and interact with fans. We got word that my Sonic Envy print was nearly sold out at the Merchandise Table, so we got them most of the rest of my on-hand stock and arranged to get some more printed up to meet the demand.

Zatanna Stopped by to say "iH"

Zatanna Stopped by signing to say “iH”

● 1:00pm ­ –­ 2:00pm: Showcase on Christopher Jones

I wasn’t clear on whether I was going to be interviewed or on my own at the “me” panel for the weekend, or whether I should have some kind of visual presentation. As it turned out I *was* on my own, and the room was equipped with an internet-connected laptop feeding video to a screen, so Hal rode shotgun on the panel, pulling up images from my web site to illustrate my talk. The Connie/Connie Mark II animations I helped produce for CONvergence 2010 got a great reaction from the Hal-Con crowd. (See them here: part 1, part 2) Because, if anybody was going to appreciate the robot convention mascot thing, it was Hal-Con! We even showed my rambling “response to tumblr” video.

Next up was my only real break of the day so Hal, Steve and I headed up to the rooms that we being used as Hal-Con’s Green Room area. We walked into one of them and there sat Billy Dee Williams. We’d heard that his flight had gotten in late and that he was quite tired, so I was reluctant to bother him, but after being assured it would be OK, I pulled out my Two-Face sketch from the previous night and approached him. I explained the thought behind the art and showed it to him, and added that he’d be welcome to the artwork if he wanted it, to which he replied “I was just going to ask you if I could have it.” He graciously let me get a photo with him and the art, but I wanted to let him rest in the privacy of the green room area so after that I left him alone, feeling I’d accomplished a mission of some kind.

Billy Dee Williams with my Two-Face Sketch at Hal-Con

Billy Dee Williams with my Two-Face Sketch at Hal-Con

Then it got better. There weren’t any open chairs in the room where Mr. Williams was sitting, so we walked next door and found some seats in the corner, opposite where some of the convention’s actor guests were gathered and chatting, including Garrert Wang and Jewel Staite.

At this point I should mention that this day Hal was wearing her newest cosplay, Catalina from Space Cases, a show that was produced by Peter David and Bill Mumy that was basically a similar premise to Star Trek: Voyager but done as a kids show. Hal loved this show as a kid, and especially the rainbow-haired Catalina, who was the ship’s engineer. Oh, did I mention that Space Cases was Jewel Staite’s first TV series, playing Catalina when she was 12?

12-year-old Jewel Staite in Space Cases

12-year-old Jewel Staite in Space Cases

We didn’t want to bother Jewel, Garrett, and company so we just sat down in the corner to talk amongst ourselves, but after a few minutes when some of them were getting up to leave, Jewel came over to Hal and said that she had never seen anyone cosplaying Catalina before, and asked if she could get a photo with her. She then posted it on her Instagram.

Hal as Catalina with Jewel Staite

Hal as Catalina with Jewel Staite

From Jewel Staite's Instagram

From Jewel Staite’s Instagram

And THAT is having something work out better than you could have ever planned for.

After this we got to chat with Garret Wang a bit, hearing of his involvement with fandom, that includes running the Star Trek programming track for Dragon*Con, for which he flies to Atlanta five times a year on his own dime for meetings. We also got to hear his George Takei impression. I’m still not sure which was more impressive.

It was around this time we heard some detail of what was going on downstairs. After a couple of years of offering non-day-specific day passes without issue, that in combination with Hal-Con’s growing attendance and agreeing to make the Dealers Room accessible without a convention badge meant that they had gotten swamped beyond the capacity of the building. People were unable to get in, and when word got out to people in the overcrowded areas that if they left they might be unable to get back in no one wanted to leave, making traffic jam even worse. Some understandably frustrated fans were unfortunately venting their frustration at the convention volunteers who were desperately working to address the situation, making a bad situation worse. As a long-time convention organizer and volunteer myself, I know how circumstances can force you into positions that don’t make sense from the outside, or how situations can arise that seem avoidable in hindsight but that blindsided you at the time, so I felt for the Hal-Con folks that were now just trying to alleviate the problem. Hal even jumped on Facebook and said some things defending the convention and trying diffuse some of the anger, which seemed to make her a hero to a few of the Hal-Con volunteers. I like it when other people notice how awesome she is. :)

Suffice it to say that the Hal-Con organizers are taking a hard look at what didn’t work this year and are already at work making things better for 2014. It’s all part of the growing pains of running a popular nonprofit event!

● 3:30pm ­ –­ 4:15pm: Con Runners Panel

The Con Runners panel fell during Saturday’s overcrowding challenges, which meant that the Hal-Con runners who were slotted to be on the panel were unexpectedly busy. Still, it was great to sit down with some of the guys organizing the new East Coast Comic Expo, and compare notes about some of the challenges and planning involved when starting a convention. As you can see, we quickly formed a bond. I hope I can make it up to their convention in the coming years!

East Coast Comic Con con runners and me

East Coast Comic Con con runners and me

● 4:30pm –­ ­ 5:30pm: For the Love of Comics with Ty Templeton, Tom Fowler and Wordburgler

It’s always fun to sit on a panel with comics professionals and fans and just talk about the things we love about comics, from what got us interested in comics as kids to the state of the industry today. Ty Templeton is a living encyclopedia of comic books. He has the impressive/scary ability to identify 40-year-old Batman comics by the advertisements on the backs. Also, Woodgod is a really funny name.

Ty Templeton, Tom Fowler, Wordburgler & I talk about why we love comics

Ty Templeton, Tom Fowler, Wordburgler & I talk about why we love comics

● 5:45pm –­ 6:45pm: Signing at Strange Adventures

After an hour talking comics on a panel, it was off to talk more comics with fans at the Strange Adventures booth, where I did this piece for the Strange Adventures sketch cover collection.

Joker Sketch Cover for Strange Adventures

Joker Sketch Cover for Strange Adventures

● 7:00pm ­ –­ 10:00pm: Stargazer Soiree

The Stargazer Soiree was a reception where Hal-Con volunteers & attendees who bought a Hal-Con Warp Speed Pass could meet-and-greet with Hal-Con Guests. When I walked in, I was almost immediately approached by some fellow whovians who were eager to continue the discussion from Friday’s The Ethics of Doctor Who panel. I’m always happy to talk Who.

Talking the Ethics of Doctor Who at the Stargazer Soiree

Talking the Ethics of Doctor Who at the Stargazer Soiree

I had more conversations at this thing than I can even remember, and met a lot of really cool people! I also got to take a couple photos with Hal-Con organizers in their formals!

Joni, Hal-Con Director of Communications

Joni, Hal-Con Director of Communications

Sam, Hal-Con lead comics guest PA

Sam, Hal-Con Lead Comics Guest PA

Also, Adi the Adipose.

Adi the Adipose

Adi the Adipose in formal wear

Sunday

● 10:00am ­ ­ –­ 1:00pm: Signing in Autograph Area

I have to say, it was nice to start the third day of the convention by sitting and meeting fans for three hours. Quite a few folks stopped by to pick up art prints during this signing, and I sold several copies of my Re-Animator print! It’s not usually a huge seller, so obviously there are more than a few H.P. Lovecraft fans in Halifax. :)

● 1:15pm ­ ­ –­ 2:00pm: All Ages Comics with Troy Little and Brenda Hickey

One of my ongoing rants and a panel topic I suggest at most conventions I’m lucky enough to be invited to is All-Ages Comics. Often they are regarded and marketed by mainstream comics as for kids, rather than entertainment that is meant to be enjoyed by people of all ages. This has lead to fewer and fewer truly all ages mainstream comics being available, but IDW and smaller publishers seem to be embracing the market. Troy Little and Brenda Hickey were right on the same page with me about our appreciation for all-ages material, and it was great to have this discussion with them!

All-Ages Comics Panel at Hal-Con

All-Ages Comics Panel at Hal-Con

Me with Monster Mike, Troy Little & Brenda Hickey

Me with Monster Mike, Troy Little & Brenda Hickey

A break! I took the opportunity for a quick tour through Artist Alley, as it’s one area of Hal-Con I hadn’t made it to yet. I ran into Gargoyles comic book artist, Karine Charlebois. We took this picture to tease Greg Weisman. Because we could. And Gargoyles is awesome.

Greg, Karine and I are having a Gargoyles party at Hal-Con without you!

Greg, Karine and I are having a Gargoyles party at Hal-Con without you!

I also finally got to meet CK Russell, a talented artist whom I’d been talking to on and off on twitter for a while.

CK Russell and me at Hal-Con

CK Russell and me at Hal-Con

● 3:15pm ­ ­ –­ 4:00pm: Batman ‘66

In the running for my favorite panel at Hal-Con was talking with Ty Templeton about our mutual love of the 1960′s Batman TV series and our work on the Batman ’66 comic for DC. I think my favorite part of the panel was when Ty and I started geeking out over the minutia of drawing Adam West!

Dynamic Duo

Dynamic Duo

4:15pm­ –­ 5:45pm: Signing at Strange Adventures

At the end of the day on Sunday, most of the comics artists guests returned to the Strange Adventures booth, which had become sort of a booth-away-from-booth for many of us at Hal-Con. Many thanks goes to Strange Adventures for sacrificing some of their retail space to host us at the convention and giving fans more opportunities to see us! Now that’s a community comic book store!

Comic Artists signing at Strange Adventures booth

Comic Artists signing at Strange Adventures booth

When Hal-Con wrapped up, many of us comics guests went out to dinner, where we had the surreal experience of sitting next to a Russian hockey team. Also, I had Lobster served in the shell for the first time. I just never had and I figured there was no better place to try it than Maritime Canada! I do not regret my decision.

After dinner, Hal, Steve and I decided to go to the Hal-Con Volunteers Party and hang out with all the awesome volunteers who helped make the convention happen. I did my best to stop at every table and thank everyone personally for all their hard work.

Hal-Con 2013 Volunteers

Hal-Con 2013 Volunteers

Putting on a volunteer-run convention like this is no small feat and every single Hal-Con volunteer should be proud of this thing they have helped to create, and the fantastic fan community around it. I was truly honored to be invited as a guest. The Hal-Con community really did remind me of the CONvergence community, and those of you reading this whom I’ve worked with on CONvergence will know exactly what I mean by that.

I wanted to end with some shout-outs to some of the volunteers who really made me feel like a Rockstar at Hal-Con. 

  • Jennifer Lambe (Con Chair and Director of Guest Relations)
  • Joni Crocker (Director of Communications)
  • Samantha Bonin (Guest Coordinator)
  • Lisa MacIver (Travel)
  • Stephen LeLacheur (PA)
  • Renee and Robert (Gaming)

Thank you for all your hard work and for taking such good care of me!

There are a few more pictures of my Hal-Con 2013 experience, including some of Hal-Con’s fantastic cosplays, on Facebook. Click here to see them! And please tag yourself/your friends!

Thank you for everything, Hal-Con!

Thank you for everything, Hal-Con!

CONvergence 2013 wrap up

There are too many friends connected with and people to thank to list them all here, but I wanted to share some highlights I thought might be of interest.

CONvergence Opening Ceremony began with a live musical sketch called “Avenue Who,” which is basically what would happen if Avenue Q and Doctor Who made sweet, sweet love and had a baby.  It was written by Tim Wick, Chad Dutton and Gordon Smuder, with puppets built by Gordon Smuder.

The cast included:

Tim Wick as Purple Monster
Molly Glover as Pink Monster
Nick Glover as Leonard Nimoy
Windy Bowlsby as Mary Poppins
Courtney McLean as The TARDIS
Jeff Neppl as The Doctor
Christopher Jones as A Dalek
Laszlo Nemesi as Sherlock Holmes
Gordon Smuder as Dr. Watson
and last but not least…

Connie as herself! (With special thanks to Connie’s personal assistant Dawn Krosnowski)

I’ll be sharing video as soon as it becomes available, but until then you’ll have to settle for some photos! (My thanks to Peter Verrant from the CONvergence Photography Department for these!)

1052613_10152025125244867_910782438_o

Purple Monster (Tim Wick) and
Pink Monster (Molly Glover)

1039660_10152025125604867_1344075819_o

Leonard Nimoy (Nick Glover)

1048162_10152025125544867_1400945044_o

The Doctor (Jeff Neppl) offers Mary Poppins (Windy Bowlsby) a jellybaby

882224_10152025125734867_524911402_o

Sherlock Holmes (Laszlo Nemesi) and Dr. Watson (Gordon Smuder)

1065231_10152025125689867_133502093_o

Did I mention that The Dalek (me) had a song?

1053172_10152025125444867_130693786_o

The TARDIS (Courtney McClean) spoke like a Minnesota mom.

1040723_10152025125564867_1346133501_o

Connie with handler/personal assistant Dawn Krosnowski


One of the year’s Guests of Honor was Caitlin Blackwood who played young Amelia Pond on Doctor Who, and now at the age of 13 our first guest to be younger than the convention! Filmmaker Emily Hagins was 14 when she was first a CONvergence guest. Now 20, Emily was in attendance and in a completely unnecessary display of pop and circumstance, helped us crown Caitlin as our new Youngest CONvergence Guest of Honor.
Crowning Caitlin

Emily Hagins crowns Caitlin Blackwood as the new Youngest CONvergence Guest of Honor. Photo by Peter Verrant.


Opening Ceremony concluded with a special appearance by Inspector Spacetime as played by Travis Richey, who Hal Bichel and I had arranged to bring to CONvergence after having met him at the Gallifrey One convention. Hal and I are big fans of both Community and his Inspector Spacetime character’s unofficial spin-off Untitled Web Series about a Space Traveller who Also Travels Through Time, but after meeting Travis at Gally, we knew that he was really great with fans, good on a panel, and trying to build awareness of his Kickstarter campaign for Untitled Web Series season 2. It just seemed like Inspector Spacetime at CONvergence 2013: British Invasion HAD to happen.

It was a special treat for me to get to write a little scene for The Inspector in which he interacted with Connie and expressed his intention to visit the previous years of CONvergence he had missed (one of the advantages of being a time traveller) and that we was looking for an associate to join him in his adventure, preferably someone with experience as companion to a traveller in space and time. Of course he chose Caitlin Blackwood, and the two of them left the stage hand in hand, with the Inspector telling her that they were leaving immediately, “no waiting!”


1048037_10152025126419867_749893341_o

Travis Richey as Inspector Spacetime in the CONvergence 2013 Opening Ceremony,
Optic Pocketknife at the ready!
Photo by Peter Verrant

Susan Lundberg - Human Being & Inspector

Travis Richey with Community’s Greendale Human Being (in reality Hal Bichel, who helped bring Travis to CONvergence!)
Photo courtesy Susan Lundberg.

Photo Courtesy Dawn - Connie Dawn Inspector

Travis Richey backstage in the MainStage Green Room with Connie and Dawn Krosnowski.
Photo by Peter Verrant


Later in the weekend, Travis debuted the Untitled Web Series Season 2 Teaser Trailer as part of his Inspector Spacetime panel, which revealed that plans for Season 2 include Guest Star Robert Picardo from Star Trek: Voyager. You can see the trailer here and contribute to the Kickstarter. One of the contribution incentives is an Inspector Spacetime print by me, which will be revealed in the coming days!

I’d like to thank Travis for coming to CONvergence and being such a good sport about joining in our shenanigans, Hal Bichel for organizing the IndieGoGo campaign that helped us cover the cost of bringing Travis to the con, and of course everyone who contributed to the campaign!

Immediately after the Opening Ceremony was this year’s SMACKDOWN panel, which this year was S.U.P.E.R.S.P.Y. Smackdown. The competitors ranged from Jason Bourne and The Black Widow to Inspector Gadget and Danger Mouse, but eventually Emma Peel won the day! And yes, we had a James Bond lightning round that pitted Daniel Craig’s abs against Sean Connery’s accent. You know, this isn’t the most serious competition… Big thanks as always to co-conspirators Tim Wick who acted as Emcee, and Melissa Kaercher to handled created and operated our Video Scoreboard. Thanks also go to Romeo Azar who created our intro video!

382549_10151539679409053_338198899_n

From Left to Right: Kelvin Hatle, Dawn Krosnowski, Joseph Scrimshaw, Jeremy Stomberg, Christopher Jones, Tim Uren, and Caroline Symcox.

Saturday at 2:00pm I had a signing at the Autograph Table alongside Travis Richey, and happily we both enjoyed a fairly steady stream of fans. Hopefully I’ll get a couple of signings scheduled for CONvergence 2014.

It’s never a convention without cosplayers. Given that I spend so much of CONvergence running around, you’d think I’d get tons of cosplay photos, but I’m actually not too quick on the draw with my camera phone and get far more photos when I’m at an Artists Alley table for the weekend (especially when I have help!). That said, I did manage to snag a photo with some Young Justice cosplayers as I was on my way in to Sunday’s Art: Impossible panel.

IMG_20130707_135838_391

Me with Red Arrow, Stealth Mode Kid Flash and Artemis cosplayers at CONvergence 2013. Photo by Tony Karna.

Art: Impossible is our new improv art panel, Emceed again by Tim Wick along with Dawn Krosnowski. (I just can’t seem to get away from those two!) I think the panel was pretty entertaining, with an assortment of artists creating art based on a multiple “challenges” of various lengths. Winners bidders from the previous evening’s art auction got first pick of original art produced during the 90-minute panel.

Finally on Sunday was Closing Ceremony which found Connie having a hard time with the idea that she had to wait an entire year for CONvergence to return. Inspector Spacetime appeared again and offered to take Connie directly to CONvergence 2014 so she wouldn’t have to wait. I’d like to think I added two entries on The Inspector’s roster of Time-and-Space-travelling associates: Caitlin Blackwood and Connie!

Closing Ceremony ended by previewing plans for CONvergence 2014, which features an Urban Fantasy theme and will spotlight the 20th Anniversary of Gargoyles with a roster of guests that includes Gargoyles show-runner Greg Weisman.

CVG 2014 Ad - prev

Promotional art for CONvergence 2014

I’m really looking forward to next year’s convention, and part of me wishes I could skip directly to July of 2014 with Connie. Then I remember how much I want to get done between now and then, and I’ll happily take all the weeks I can get!

Here are some quick links to my other CONvergence 2013 posts:
CONvergence 2013 – Guest of Honor Badge Art.
CONvergence 2013 – Registration Badge and Souvenir Book Cover Art
Posters I created for CONvergence’s Costumes are not Consent campaign.

981365_10152025122979867_1603658046_o

Christopher Jones, Dawn Krosnowski, and Connie