C2E2 – Friday April 26, 2013

10:30am – table is all set up.


Tessa manning my table.
Tessa manning my table.

11:00am – doors open to the public.

Video showing all four sides of the convention floor.

Let the festivities begin!

Business of Cartooning Conventions

Convention Prep – AHHHHH!!!


Here’s some quick tips and reference links in regards to working a comic convention.

Padre Bernardo Working the Floor

  • You are there to promote yourself, so have business cards and submission samples on hand. Business cards should have a web address to pages with an online portfolio, not a site where you reblog other people’s stuff.
  • Remember that your primary goal is making contacts, not soliciting work. Publishers are primarily there to hawk their wares so they may not necessarily even have anyone on hand to look at portfolios. Have a mailer/submissions package ready to drop off if they don’t and try to get contact info regarding their submissions editor.
  • Understand that “cold calling” publishers at their booth can be very hit or miss. Research the publishers that are on hand. Do your submissions suit the kind of work they publish? If not, don’t waste their time or yours.
  • Keep it professional, upbeat and friendly. Also, be prepared to be talking to people working the floor who are of no help – take it in stride and move on to the next person who possibly could be of help. The more prepared you are for the realities of working the floor (which can be very draining), the less chance the experience will take the wind out of your sails.
  • Research the artists in Artists Alley before the con as a lot of time can be wasted wandering aimlessly – hunt out artists who have a style or area of business that you have an interest in. Understand that there’s usually more time for shop talk in Artists Alley than a signing booth. Also don’t expect an artist to be on your schedule – if there’s a long line and she/he is busy, you may have to circle back. Working Artists Alley:

  • Do a dry run where you set up your table beforehand at home to make sure it works for you and you have everything you need. The webcomics reality game show Strip Search had an episode where they had contestants set up a convention table and then critiqued them – some good points were driven home.
    Thanks to Mandie Brasington for the heads up on Strip Search.
  • I like to use a big suitcase with wheels on it instead of lugging my stuff around long distances – you end up WAY too sweaty before you’ve even started otherwise.
  • Bring some cash so you can give people change.
    I also recommend picking up the Square which accept credits cards with your iPhone, Android or iPad. If there’s internet access, having a laptop and letting the customer use Paypal is an option as well (but a little more cumbersome).
  • Bring stuff so you can sketch and when you’re sketching make it visable to attendees if possible – this is just good showmanship.
  • Don’t have all the merchandise on your table lying flat so no one can see what you have unless they’re right on top of you. Office supply stores have some sturdy plastic display stands – check out dollar stores & discount stores for display stands as well.
  • Bring a water bottle and healthy snacks – any food sold by vendors near the con is usually WAY overpriced.

In regards to display stands: They can get a little expensive, but you can save money by improvising and being creative.

Below are some odds and ends – an old office supply paper holder, some models I have, and clipboards and small display stands bought at the dollar store.


Now here they are set up to display the Comics Revues I have for sale.


Next up are a couple plastic display stands. The one on the left was a little over $10, the other is an 8″ x 10″ photo holder from the dollar store.


And here they are set up. The larger prints are off my Canon Workforce inkjet printer on photo paper. The 4″x 6″ cards are artwork I created and printed up for only 12 cents a piece as photos at Walgreens. And of course all artwork I printed has my website listed so people can find me if interested.


What you have to be careful of when trying to go cheap is not to make it LOOK cheap. Spend the money where needed – the last thing you want is to look unprofessional.

And speaking of which, pay attention to your personal appearance and hygiene. Take a shower – wear some clean clothes.


I had a table next to an artist once (no one I’m connected to here on Facebook) that literally REEKED. If you’re trying to network and you smell like you’ve been doing your laundry in the restroom at the Port Authority in New York it may not bode well for you…

Last but not least, here’s a couple informative blogs recommended by Heidi MacDonald of The Beat. plus a post of my own.

First Time Con Set-Up notes – David Petersen

Working a Show – Arnie Fenner

Networking and the High Cost of Conventions – Jim Keefe

All for now. Hoping the preceding was of help and wishing you all the best on your ventures!

-Jim Keefe

Artist Spotlight Artists - Cartoonists Conventions Joe Kubert

Joe Kubert – Saying Thanks…

Joe Kubert (1926-2012)
Tribute: Part 3

I’m rounding off my tribute to Joe Kubert by reminising about the last time I saw Joe. It was the spring of 2012 at the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo.

For the Kubert School panel, Joe Kubert alum (and current President of the Kubert School) Anthony Marques moderated, as Joe sketched and answered questions. Here’s just a few highlights featuring Joe’s comments…

The following video is Joe sketching Nite Owl from the Before Watchmen series. The image was projected sideways on a large screen – my video is rotated to one side so the drawing can be seen right-side-up. While Joe sketched Anthony was fielding questions.

What amazed me during Joe’s drawing demo was that every time Joe was asked a question instead of Anthony (and this is not seen on the video) Joe was so focused on the drawing that Anthony had to repeat the question numerous times just to get Joe’s attention – repeatedly – EVERY time.

Joe finally apologized saying that when he’s drawing,  that’s where he’s focused, so he’s not listening to the conversation going on around him.

THAT’S how focused Joe was while drawing – it was remarkable and inspiring to watch…

After the drawing demo Joe stayed for a short time to meet and greet fans. I went up to say hi and the guy standing in line in front of me told Joe he was a huge fan and then asked for Joe to sign his arm so he could then get the signature tattooed.

Joe immediately protested, “Why would you do that? I can’t…”
The fan persisted and Joe kept protesting until the guy’s friend explained it wasn’t a spur of the moment thing, that his friend really was that big a fan.

Joe finally acquiesced.

This last little clip is of Joe signing the fan’s arm.

My time with Joe was relatively brief. It had been years since I had seen him last, but he recognized who I was after I mentioned the Flash Gordon page we had worked on. A smile lit his face and his strong handshake followed. He asked me what I had been up to and I told him about my freelance and teaching.

I then told him, “I just wanted to thank you for my career.”
That warm smile again and the handshake.

And that was the last time I saw Joe Kubert.

There’s more to say, much more, but I’m going to leave it at that.
My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends – he’ll be sorely missed.

Joe Kubert self-portrait from back in the day…

Joe Kubert Obits and Remembrances From Around the Web:

New York Times Obituary

Washington Post


Dick Siegel: National Enquirer

Tom Spurgeon: The Comics Reporter

Bill Schelly: The Comics Journal

The Comics Journal: Joe Kubert interview from 1994

Neal Adams

Steve Bissette – Updated

Mark McMurray’s Tribute
Mark is a long time friend and classmate from the Kubert School.

Artists - Cartoonists Conventions

San Diego Comic-Con 1998

The following are some pics from 1998 of my one jaunt out to the West Coast to attend the San Diego Comic-Con. Wouldn’t have been able to afford it if not for fellow Kubert School Alumnus Tom Toby putting me up for a couple nights.

Still remember playing a James Bond video game until the wee hours and laughing my ass off with how little I couldn’t control my shooter – the view from other players was my character running in circles with his head down shooting everywhere. Good times.

San Diego Convention Center – August 1998

The Convention floor.

Bud Plant Comic Art.

Who doesn’t like dinosaurs?

Original comic art on display.

Extensive time rifling through comic book bins – my fingers start to bleed.

Caught entering the Con without his ticket.

The people I saw dressed as Klingons only spoke Klingon as well.

I’m not sure if this is a costume.

Spider-Men by the Marvel booth.

Deborah Abbott in costume with her husband Manuel Carrasco behind her in the hat.

Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez.

On the right – Dave Stevens.

John Romita and Jim Mooney.

Taking pics as we leave the convention.
Here’s fellow Kubert School Alumnus Pat Lowry.

Kubert School Alumni Mark McMurray and Pat Lowry back at Tom Tobey’s place.

Mark McMurray, Tom Tobey and Pat Lowry.

Some recollections I jotted down at the time.

• Waking up and going into Tom’s back yard to get some “San Diego sunshine” only to have my face immediately entwined in spiderwebs that were strung between bushes on either side of me – then running around like a crazy person trying to get them off with the frantic thoughts of the huge spiders (black widows?) we had seen in the front yard the previous day.

• Watching a bootleg copy of a pilot for the Justice League with a pot bellied David Ogden Stiers as the Martian Manhunter.

• Mark’s rental car having the futuristic miracle of GPS.

• Commiserating about the biz for awhile with Jim Mooney – then getting a “discount rate” of $40 for one of his signed Man-Thing pages. He also gave advice regarding selling originals, “Some pieces through a dealer will sell for top dollar, otherwise price to sell.”

• Meeting Steve Leialoha and having him sign a Howard the Duck page I had recently purchased that he had inked.

• Peter Maresca’s booth having a ton of old Sunday comic sections from the 1930’s – Beautiful!

• Handing out some flyers I had brought along promoting my work on Flash Gordon and thinking, “I need bigger breasts to be noticed here.”

• Looking for Mark McMurray before Eisners, but limiting my search to between two food stations.

• Excerpt from Evan Dorkin’s acceptance speech upon winning an Eisner, “Since no one else used their time allotment (for acceptance speeches), I’ll use them.”

My only regret is that I didn’t take more pictures. Hoping to make it out there again in the not too distant future…

Artists - Cartoonists Conventions

SpringCon 2012 – St. Paul, Minnesota

Great time at SpringCon 2012 this year.
It was a beautiful day Saturday so the crowd lined up for when it opened went off as far as the eye could see.

The line on Saturday going off into the distance…

Setting up I was lucky enough to get a table dead center in the Grandstand.

My daughter Anna manning the table for me.

Great people on either side of me as well. Drew Blom on the one…

Drew Blom

…and Ben Tye, Jay Rasgorshek and Kirsten Bonafield manning the MCAD booth on the other.

BenTye, Jay Rasgorshek and Kirsten Bonafield

Lots of MCADians in attendance – best of all they were behind tables selling their wares.
More pictures at the MCAD Comic Art Tumblr.

And Speaking of MCAD, Adjuct Teachers Paul Fricke, Terry Beatty and Tom Kaczynski were also in attendance

Paul Fricke with daughter, Emily.

Paul’s daughter Emily hit the ground running selling her miniature clay figurines and jewelry she sells on her Etsy shop – I may have her in to talk to my Pro Practice class if I teach that one again…

Martin Powell and Terry Beatty

Terry Beatty – to the right of writer Martin Powell – is currently the new artist on the Phantom Sunday page for King Features. You can subscribe to it at

Tom Kaczynski

Tom K is the publisher of Uncivilized Books. The imprint publishes limited edition, hand-made booklets and coming soon, The Voyeurs by Gabrielle Bell. Tom showed me a proof copy and it looks BEAUTIFUL.

Lots of other artists in attendance as well. Here’s a few I snapped pics of…

Bob McCleod giving a panel lecture.
Gene Ha doing sketches for fans.
Pablo Marcus
Don Rosa
Dan Jurgens

Special thanks to Dan Jurgens who took some time out from the NEW 52 books he’s doing for DC Comics to speak to my MCAD Pro Practice class this past semester.

Bob Lipski

And Bob Lipski is one of my daughter’s favorite cartoonists. We have every Upton Girl collection in print.

Jose Delbo was also in attendance – No picture here as I already devoted an entire blog post to meeting up with him.

All for now – wrapping up with my favorite costumes I saw…

Spacesuits inspired by Wally Wood .