Frank Miller, Neil Gaiman, Bill Sienkiewicz, Bernie Wrightson, and Dave Gibbons at the 1991 San Diego Comic-Con.
Jackie Estrada is a Comic-Con legend. She knows everybody. And she’s photographed everybody. Her work has appeared everywhere, including the recent PBS program on superheroes. She’s been a supporter of Comic-Con from the very beginning and administrator of its Eisner Awards since 1990. She has vivid recollections and has documented them in her first book, Comic Book People, which covered the ’70s and ’80s. Now comes Comic Book People 2 which covers the ’90s. It’s a perfect next step in seeing the history and behind-the-scenes fun that is Comic-Con International in San Diego as well as the Chicago Comic-Con, WonderCon, the Small Press Expo, and APE. And you can make this new book a reality by joining in support of the Kickstarter campaign going on now through March 13. Join in your support and visit the campaign right here.
Batman, meet Uncle Grandpa. Oh sure, we are going to see a full-on Batman at this year’s Comic-Con International in San Diego. But there’s also room for other compelling characters, like sweet little ole Uncle Granpa. It sounds surreal already, doesn’t it? Well, if you like comics greats Don Martin, Gary Larson, and Robert Crumb, as well as Golden Age-era animators such as Tex Avery, then Uncle Grandpa has something for you! Uncle Grandpa debuted on Cartoon Network last September as the #1 telecast of the week among boys 6-11. That says it all, right? You can hear it from Uncle Grandpa himself, Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. (ET/PT). And you can read the new comic book series coming to you from KaBOOM!, an award-winning imprint of publisher BOOM! Studios, and Cartoon Network Enterprises, the licensing and merchandising arm of the network. More details follow:
Greg Koudoulian is a distinguished supporter and archivist of Comic-Con International in San Diego. His roots go back to the early years of Comic-Con. He has an impressive collection of rare memorabilia that has reached the level of museum quality. And Greg knows everyone.
Yes, you read that right, Conan O’Brien will be broadcasting from Comic-Con in 2015. True Comic-Con fans are quite familiar with announcements made way in advance. I’m sure Conan will get a lot of love and support from his fans at Comic-Con International in San Diego.
If you go to Comic-Con, in San Diego, you are likely to notice other forces at play besides comics and pop culture: the Pacific Ocean, the United States Navy, and the nation of Mexico. Writer Sam Humphries, with artist Dalton Rose, taps into the last on this list with great results in his self-published comics series, “Sacrifice.” Humphries has gone on to launch an impressive career (Ultimates, Uncanny X-Force, Our Love is Real). And now what started it all, “Sacrifice,” has been collected into a gorgeous hardcover published by Dark Horse Comics. The book will be released on August 21 in comics shops, and on September 2 in bookstores.
When you’re a teen who just wants to hide from the San Diego sun, curl up with a Joy Division song, and then suddenly finds himself thrust back some 700 years into the age of the Aztecs, there is no time to hesitate about anything. Sam Humphries is the John Hughes of comics. He is totally in tune with youth angst. He has taken Hector’s rage, his struggle with epilepsy, with fitting into high school, with debilitating anxiety, and he’s shouldered him with the fate of the Aztecs. Humphries doesn’t provide any easy answers. Hector is not going to get away with a simple life lesson.
Check out that front cover art and the art throughout. Dalton Rose is right in step with this over-the-top tale. The driving force is Hector. As Rose describes in the notes at the end of the book, Hector is “a nice cocktail of angst, insecurity, and courage.” Much like the other characters, and even the background to some extent, Hector is rendered in energetic, sharp lines in keeping with the story’s high energy. Rose also praises another character, Itzcoatl, a foil to Hector, who Rose keeps mysterious under his costume. And then there is Malin, a hell on wheels, who is the driving force behind, and in front, of Hector. These are all bold, yet very vulnerable, characters trapped by, but fighting against, forces leading to a very real end to the Aztec nation.
“Sacrifice” is remarkable for many reasons, not the least of which is all the history it so neatly packs into this story. It cleverly handles the classic time travel theme of attempting to alter fixed points in time. Are some things simply unalterable? Hector struggles with his role, his fate, among the Aztecs. At first, he simply wants to go home. Hey, he’s just a kid who somehow fell through a fast food parking lot and is now just way over his head. It is the beautiful young princess/warrior, Malin, who talks some sense into him. Before long, Hector finds himself totally immersed in the Aztec culture. In the end, should he even try to alter history and attempt to have the Aztecs overpower their Spanish invaders?
Humphries and Rose do a great job of taking a story with a lot of fantasy and science fiction elements and keeping it both quirky and grounded. We know that Hector has issues he’s dealing with back in the present day. What we also know is that Hector is a Mexican-American. He does struggle with that dual identity with one foot in each culture and no balance. And we also know that Hector’s family lived near the Black Mountain, which plays a significant role in Aztec history. Not only that, Hector’s father was fascinated with Aztec folklore and regularly recited stories to young Hector about gods, warriors, and Spanish invaders. Is it any wonder then that, when Hector’s life began to crumble, he sought higher ground, all the way up to Aztec temples?
“Sacrifice” gained much praise as a self-published comic series. For those who are already familiar with Sam Humphries and the work he is capable of (a tribute to Jim Henson’s Fraggle Rock was a turning point, quirky, but a point on a significant turn, nonetheless!), well, it just makes complete and utter sense to celebrate the collected “Sacrifice.” So, keep in mind, the book will be released on August 21 in comics shops, and on September 2 in bookstores. Visit our friends at Dark Horse Comics for more details here. And plan to order you copy from Things From Another World here.
The stats here will not come as a surprise to regulars of the San Diego Comic-Con but it will prove enlightening to newcomers. Comic-Con International: San Diego is the place to be for the annual pop culture extravaganza of a lifetime. And, remember, it all began with some teenagers eager to have a place to meet to swap comics and celebrate related fandom back in 1970. Enjoy this colorful and informative graphic from our friends at BuyCostumes.com.
Comic-Con International: San Diego returns to the San Diego Convention Center in 2013, beginning with Preview Night on Wednesday, July 17, with the four days of the event running Thursday, July 18 through Sunday, July 21. 2013 marks the 44th year for the show, making it the country’s longest continuously-run comics and popular art convention.