Who watches the Watchmen? A few hundred people at least, all of whom were in line ahead of me at last month’s Baltimore Comic-Con (Sept. 5-7) for Dave Gibbons’s autograph.
Gibbons is, of course, the artist behind Watchmen, the 12-issue miniseries published by DC in the mid-80s. The accolades heaped on Watchmen are as legendary as the series itself. It was the only graphic novel to appear on Time‘s 2005 “100 Greatest Novels” list, and it appeared again in 2009 on the magazine’s “Top 10 Graphic Novels” list. In 2008, Entertainment Weekly ranked Watchmen thirteenth on its list of the best 50 novels printed in the last 25 years, calling it “the greatest superhero story ever told and proof that comics are capable of smart, emotionally resonant narratives.”
I have loved Watchmen since it came out, and when I saw that Gibbons, who lives in the UK, would be in Baltimore, I booked my flight immediately. By “flight,” I mean I got up at 5:00am and drove the six hours from Raleigh, NC, passing through Washington just miles from the White House and getting stuck in horrendous construction-related traffic that even President Obama is, apparently, powerless to prevent. Other great artists and writers were there, including Steve Leialoha, Walter and Louise Simonson, Greg Capullo, David Finch, and Al Milgrom, who does few conventions these days. Denny O’Neil left early due to a family emergency, and the wait for George Perez was four hours (!), according to one woman who endured it.
But Gibbons was, for me, the star of the show. I waited about an hour in his line, and when I got to the table, I found him to be gracious, funny, and down-to-earth. He was impressed by my Graphitti edition Watchmen hardcover (the first graphic novel version of the series) and my Marvel Comics Doctor Who #1 (for the wife, a consecrated Whovian). But he oohed and ahhed—actually, we all did—over something another guy had: the 1994 computer game Beneath a Steel Sky, still in the box. Gibbons did the background art for this game, and he said he had never signed a copy before. Get it on eBay, young man!
The Baltimore Comic-Con has long been a two-day affair. This was its first year spanning a third day, and everyone I talked to thought it a success. Vendors especially were pumped-up because their rate stayed roughly the same despite the extra day. They also praised the convention staff for being responsive and professional. Sales were good, too: one dealer sold an Action Comics #252 (first appearance of Supergirl) for $900.
Dr. Chilton, the captor/tormentor of Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs, says that Baltimore “can be quite a fun town, if you have the right guide.” The only guide I needed was the folks at this year’s Comic-Con. As you are planning your convention schedule for next year, mark down September 25-27 in Baltimore. It won’t be a baaa-d decision.
They don’t look like minions, but I’ll take their word for it.
Deadpool doing what Deadpool does.
Hello, Walter Simonson!
Hello, Louise Simonson!
Don’t blink. Or wink. Or think about blinking or winking. Especially when drinking.
The line to see Dave Gibbons.
And, finally, Dave Gibbons, holding my newly-signed Watchmen hardcover (which, if it were shirt, I would never wash again).
Frank J. Barbiere, Chris Mooneyham, Howie Noel, and Ryan Browne appear at Third Eye Comics on Saturday, October 25th for Halloween ComicFest 2014!
Third Eye Comics
2027-A West Street, Annapolis, MD 21401
Jaysen Headley appears at Forbidden Planet to sign copies of his new book “A Love Story for Witches” on Wednesday October 29th at 6:00 p.m.
832 Broadway, New York, NY 10003
Join KPBS at Villainous Lair Comics & Gaming for a special panel discussion about comics and graphic novels moderated by KPBS Education Reporter, Matt Bowler. Panelists will include:
Join us after the event for refreshments. Copies of the book will be available for sale, and the author will be available for signings. Find more information about the One Book, One San Diego program at KPBS.org/onebook.
One Book is sponsored by the Linden Root Dickinson Foundation and Jerome’s Furniture. Additional support comes from Lloyd Pest Control and SDG&E.
Villainous Lair Comics & Gaming
3220 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116
Artist Tommy Castillo appears at Yancy Street Comics on Saturday, November 8th at noon to sign the re-release of George Romero’s TOE TAGS graphic novel!
Yancy Street Comics
9409 US 19 (inside Gulfview Square Mall), Port Richey, FL 34668
Series creator Kurt Sutter appears at Barnes & Noble to sign Sons of Anarchy: Bratva on Saturday November 15, 2014 at 2:00 PM! This signing is wristbanded. Please check back with store soon for guidelines.
Barnes & Noble – The Grove at Farmers Market
189 The Grove Drive Suite K 30, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Actor Tony Hale (Veep, Arrested Development) makes an exclusive Raleigh engagement on Saturday, November 8th from 6:00 – 9:00 pm. Co-sponsored by Quail Ridge Books & Music and the NC State University Department of Social Work
Raleigh is excited to welcome Emmy-award winning actor Tony Hale (Veep, Arrested Development) for an exclusive engagement at the Hunt Library on Centennial Campus at North Carolina State University. The event will be held on Saturday, November 8th, from 6:30-8:30pm, with Hale discussing his acting career and his new children’s book, Archibald’s Next Big Thing. Prior to the event there will be a VIP reception, proceeds from which will benefit the NC State Social Work Enhancement fund. Books will be sold at the event.
Released by Boxing Clever Publishing, Archibald’s Next Big Thing is the extraordinary adventure of an extra-ordinary chicken named Archibald Strutter as he takes off on a fantastic journey in hopes of finding his NEXT BIG THING. Through new friends and experiences, the wide-eyed, semi-bald chicken finally discovers that, while looking for the next big thing isn’t a bad thing, we should always remember that big and beautiful things are all around us…right NOW.
Regarding the inspiration for the book, Hale said, “The thoughts of an actor aren’t very different from Archibald’s. I always find myself looking ahead to the next big role, the next big opportunity, obsessed with the question, “What’s next, what’s next, WHAT’S NEXT!?’ But embracing and enjoying the PRESENT is a message I want both my daughter and myself to remember. Every. Single. Day.”
Follow Archibald on his amazing adventures at adventuresofarchibald.com, Twitter: @MrTonyHale, or Instagram: @theadventuresofarchibald.
The mission of the NC State University’s Department of Social Work is to prepare students for practice that is sensitive to the social, economic, cultural, demographic and political contexts that shape our state and beyond. Within a framework emphasizing professional ethics, social justice, diversity, strengths and community engagement, the Department seeks to equip students for leadership roles and effective practice.
In keeping with this mission, we encourage our students to develop skills, knowledge, and values that advance the dignity of all people. We are dedicated to promoting this framework in our teaching, advising, practice, and research.
Quail Ridge Books & Music is an independent shop with a friendly, knowledgeable staff dedicated to providing the best in customer service. Founded in 1984 by Nancy Olson, the store provides a wide variety of carefully selected books, events, discussion groups and town hall meetings. New owner, Lisa Poole, bought the store in 2013 and is dedicated to keeping it local! Please visit us at quailridgebooks.com.
Boxing Clever is a St. Louis, Missouri agency that provides creative, strategic solutions to the advertising, marketing, interactive and promotional needs of clients. Since 2004, Boxing Clever has delivered award-winning design, messaging and campaign platforms to companies, businesses and charitable organizations alike. More information on Boxing Clever Publications at boxingcleverpublishing.com
Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul, Breaking Bad, Mr. Show) signs his new book at Powell’s City of Books at Thursday October 30, 2014 at 7:30 pm!
NOTE: As with all Skylight Books events, this reading is free and open to the public (first come, first served). But because we’re expecting a large crowd at this event, we’ll be giving out numbered tickets to the signing line to keep things organized. To get a ticket to the signing line, you must purchase a copy of A Load of Hooey here at Skylight Books. Tickets will be available starting September 30, 2014. They will be available in-store, or you can order on our website and leave a note in the “Order Comments” field. We will also hold a ticket for you if you order and pay for a book over the phone. In addition to books, you may bring one item of memorabilia to be signed (but no pieces of paper please). Due to time constraints, Bob Odenkirk will be unable to pose for photos with individual attendees, though you are welcome to take photos during the event and from the line. Please also refrain from making an audio or video recording of the event. Thank you for your cooperation!
Bob Odenkirk is a legend in the comedy-writing world, winning Emmys and acclaim for his work on Saturday Night Live, Mr. Show with Bob and David, and many other seminal TV shows. This book, his first, is a spleen-bruisingly funny omnibus that ranges from absurdist monologues (Martin Luther King, Jr’s Worst Speech Ever) to intentionally bad theater (Hitler Dinner Party: A Play); from avant-garde fiction (Obituary for the Creator of Madlibs) to free-verse poetry that’s funnier and more powerful than the work of Calvin Trillin, Jewel, and Robert Louis Stevenson combined.
Odenkirk’s debut resembles nothing so much as a hilarious new sketch comedy show that’s exclusively available as a streaming video for your mind. As Odenkirk himself writes in The Second Coming of Jesus and Lazarus, it is a book to be read aloud to yourself in the voice of Bob Newhart.
1818 N. Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Comedy legend John Cleese (Monty Python, A Fish Called Wanda) appears at the JFK Library on Friday November 7th in conversation with NPR’s Robin Young. Tickets are $60 and include one copy of his memoir So, Anyway… available through Brookline Booksmith.
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
Columbia Point, Boston, MA 02125
Toll free (866) JFK-1960
Tim Seeley, Mike Norton, and Jenny Frison appear at Challengers Comics on Saturday, October 25th at 8:00 pm to sign REVIVAL!
Snacks to be provided by Upton’s Naturals.
This will also be the official CHALLENGERS Comics + Conversation Halloween party so costumes are requested and prizes will be given out! Secret Panel will be giving prizes to the best Revival themed costume.
1845 N. Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60647