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Jeff Soto: Comicon

Written by Trippe   
Wednesday, 01 August 2007 08:57
Jeff travels to San Diego for this year's Comic Book and Pop Art convention.
Jeff Soto takes a trip this year's Comicon convention in San Diego that went down July 24th - 27th, 2007. For those that don't know, Comicon is the largest/ most complete/ original comic book/ pop art covention that takes place every year for the last 38 years... Below are Jeff's words and images.

Me and Dan Santat at the Comicon on Friday, the only photo I got before my camera died. This is gonna be a decent sized entry.

Left early Thursday morning so I could make the 2 hour drive and still get parking under the convention. The night before I came down with a cold, I had serious stuffed up sinuses, runny nose and just felt like shit in general. The drive down really sucked, not to be a whiny byatch but I'd only slept a couple hours at most the night before, and I just felt like curling up and sleeping. I almost turned around twice.

Once I got to the Con, I decided to sleep in my car down in the parking dungeon. Yeah, it was stinky, hot and humid down there. I tried to sleep but I was feverish and very sweaty. So I put my seat back, and thought, I'm a man, I can be shirtless in public (besides, who'd see my fishbelly white flab down in a dank parking garage anyway?) I took off my shirt and put my arms up to air out my sweaty pits (wow, this is turning out gross). I fell asleep like that and woke up suddenly an hour later unable to move my arms which were dead asleep. I jumped up, and looked to my right and there were three guys looking back with surprise in their eyes. Hi. Shit. So I layed back in my seat and clumsily put my shirt on with asleep limbs.

I crawled out of my car. Smiled at the three asian guys that saw me jolt awake. And headed to find a bathroom.

I got into the exhibitor's hall right when it opened at 10, went and found Mark Murphy where I'd be sharing a booth. This is my 12th year attending the Comicon, and only the second time I've had a booth to park all my stuff. So nice to be able to stash my backpack and walk around. This booth was to be our home base for the next 4 days, this was where we laughed, cried, ate our lunch (usually overpriced mediocre cheeseburgers with buns the size of floatation devices), and overall had a pretty fun time.

That first day I did a ton of drawings but I was really feeling pretty ill. I probably spread colds to everyone in the “Toy Growers Garden” or whatever they're calling it. I was trying not to shake hands but people wanted to. It doesn't matter, I handled so many sketchbooks, sharpies and giant Qees that were then passed around to more artists that I wouldn't be surprised if half the Con got my cold. Sorry.

I missed a couple parties because after drawing hundreds of drawings and being nice to so many people all I wanted to do was take some Nyquil and crawl into bed. It's not hard being nice to so many people, I enjoy meeting my fans, it's just exhausting to always put on your happy face and draw good stuff when your feeling under the weather.

I made it through the first two days somehow and by Saturday I felt awesome. I had a little nagging cough but cough drops work wonders. My pal Jon came out from Vista and we got to walk around for a couple hours. All this time I didn't really get to take any photos. I took a couple then my camera ran out of batteries and I couldn't find anywhere in the convention that had them for sale. So I did some drawings. Mark Murphy was a great booth partner, we had a lot of fun. What a generous guy. Saturday night he threw a party at his place. Here's what happened:

Mark Todd and I got a ride from San Diego illustrator Pamela Jaeger. On our way to the party Mark saw some indie comics guys and waved. Jacob Covey promtly flipped us the bird so we busted out our guns and started shooting. I think Jordan Crane got hit in the shoulder. Suckas.

When we arrived Mark Murphy had the serious food and drink setup going. This dude knows how to throw a party. Taquitos, self serve tacos, chips, salsa, guacamole, rice & beans etc. Very good stuff. Someone made me a pretty strong Marguerita.

I decided to show people around Mark's place. He has an awesome art collection, some Joe Sorren pieces, a big Tim Hussey, a Manuel O'Campo, etc. and some weird hand molds that are actually pretty cool.

I ended up making friends with artist Gin Stevens and his girl Elizabeth. Super rad folks. (note: He doesn't look dead in real life, it's just the picture). He's part of the Igloo Tornado, an artist collective. The other guys never showed up.

John Goff played his bagpipes for everyone. Pretty sweet, I've never heard them up close like that. Afterwards the Goff brother provided the music- check their stuff- SSI.

I talked to my booth neighbor Jermaine Rogers about Texas.

The Munson smoked some herb on the Murphy front porch.

I was cold because I didn't think to bring a sweatshirt (who knew? It's still hot at night where I live). Mars-1 was there and we finally got to talk for a while. Great guy, I can't say enough about Mario. And I got to meet David Choong Lee who was also really cool. So Mars was telling me UFO stories, creeping me out on a foggy full moon night and then Mark Murphy comes up and starts telling ghost stories. Ask him sometime.... creepy stuff. I was pretty freaked out- was i shivering in fear or from the chilly SD air?

A lady died in Mark's house a long time ago. It was in the upstairs bathroom, and her ghost is around....

Joe Ledbetter came by and introduced us to this guy Jack who's a world champion yo-yo guy. I looked him up online- Jack Ringca. Wow, this guy was doing some crazy shit with that yoyo.

I ended up talking with Martin McIntosh from Australia, Mark Todd, husband and wife duo Brandt Peters and Kathie Olivas, and Joe Ledbetter. I was still really cold. Woops I forgot to draw/paste a head on myself.

Towards the end of the night these guys came looking for the Igloo Tornado.

After everyone was gone we found that someone tracked dog poo into Mark's house. Sonoffa! There are some reports it was Mike Bertino (sorry really dumb inside joke).

The last day I brought my camera. I didn't want to take photos of all the people dressed up as the same shit every year. So I just shot friends mostly.

Jeremy Kove and Jermaine Rogers guarding our booth Sunday morning.

Aaron Mason and family came out. Gavin had fun.

Eric Nakamura from Giant Robot is always so nice.

Nichole (AKA ToyBaroness) from KidRobot had me draw some stuff in her secret sketchbook. Only the chosen few know what's in there...

Never did end up saying hi to old pal Tara McPherson. Every time I came by she wasn't around.

Mitch O'Connel was there in Artists' Alley with copies of his book. When I came back to pick one up they were sold out.

Dov Kelemer got half the attendees their badges.

Kozik's sign. Hmm..

Ron English cow chick. Is that Ron next to her? I didn't even notice when I took the photo.

Roman Dirge and Steven Daily looking sharp over at Slave Labor.

Brandt Peters and Kathie Olivas seemed to be pretty swamped with fans.

Gary Taxali Vader helmet.

Grasshut had the coolest booth as always. (That's also Martin from GR on the left making a guest appearance)

Bwana and Martin had a good Con (and they deserve it!)

Annual Mark Todd and Esther Pearl Watson Comicon photo. Thanks for the ride back to my hotel Mark!

Tom Neely and Levon Jihanian from Igloo Tornado. Some guys were looking for you last night.

By Sunday afternoon I was ready to go home; actually I was kinda ready after that first day. The convention is a lot of work and stress, it's getting crazier every year. Our booth did really good, and I'm hoping to do the same thing next year. Thanks goes out to everyone who came by, we appreciate the support.

Good to be home again... and now back to finishing work for my September solo show!!

For more on Jeff, check his site: jeffsoto.com {moscomment}

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