This is going to be a post about comic books, and the names of writers, authors, and titles are going to be tossed around with no regard to anyone who has no idea what I'm talking about. However, that's what the Google Machine is for, isn't it? It's akin to your parents telling you to look up that word you don't know in the dictionary.
Anyway, yesterday I got to meet one of my top three favorite artists, and he couldn't have been nicer. Number one on the list is Todd McFarlane, Spider-Man artist extraordinaire. I have a signed poster that my cousin Jim got for me (without realizing that he was my favorite artist). I also bought his big book of artwork (the signed edition). And I've seen him hold court at San Diego Comic-Con. So I've had the McFarlane experience. Number two is Frank Cho. I've been reading (and looking at) his stuff since his pre-Liberty Meadows work University2. Every time I go to San Diego, I always make sure to stop at his booth and buy something at his table, whether it's a sketchbook, a calendar, or a print. I've even got a couple small sketches from him before he stopped doing them. One was of Dean the Pig on a bookmark which I gave to my old boss, Ralph (who, I'm pretty sure still has it in his bar at home), and a sketch of Monkey Boy, which sits in my book of sketches at home. So, every one of my meetings with Frank have been great.
Which brings me to number three - Budd Root. Budd has written and drawn a book called Cavewoman for a long time now. I jumped on the Cavewoman bandwagon during his second miniseries, "Rain." And the only reason I discovered the comic in the first place, was because Kurt Busiek had recommended it in the letter column of his book Astro City. In fact, whenever Kurt recommended anything during that time, I gave it a chance. But with Cavewoman, I got to read a book about a town that got sent 65 million years in the past, a super-strong Cavewoman (duh), a giant ape that looked like King Kong, dinosaurs that wreaked constant havoc, and a constant appreciation of old movies and characters. Pretty much what I feed off of. And then there was the fact that the art was incredibly reminiscent of Todd McFarlane's. I loved everything about the book.
Well, Budd had never appeared at San Diego whenever I went. I had a couple of his autographs on little things that I had ordered throughout the years, but I had never met him in person. Last year, there was a convention in the Cleveland area that announced his appearance. But after I wrote to him on Facebook, he said that he was going to be at a different convention that weekend, so I was out of luck. This year, he was back on the guest list, but I was doubtful (burn me once...). But luck was on my side, as he was attending. I only had to get to the convention. The problem was I was working yesterday. All day. And the convention filled the entire time I was going to be at work. My normal go-to guy, Kevin, who might be able to cover my shift, couldn't do so. So, Jim (the manager) was kind enough to take time out of his day off to come in for a couple of hours while I made a run to the convention. (THANKS, JIM!) So, off I went. I had loaded myself down with about 2/3rd's of his books (all the ones I could find in my collection in a two hour span). It was a hefty stack. I went into the building where the creators were housed, and when I saw him at his table, I mentally yelled, "Yes!" and then proceeded to find an empty table where I could unbag all the books I brought to get signed.
I walked up to Budd, and told him I was a big fan, I couldn't wait to spend money at his table, and would he mind signing all my books. He said he'd sign them even if I didn't buy anything (which made me happy on a whole different level - but that's a blog for another day). While he signed, we talked about the future of Cavewoman, King Kong, Jaws, Universal Monsters, Abbott and Costello, and Frank Cho. It was perfect. I bought some prints, one of each of the sketchbooks he brought, and commissioned a piece of artwork that featured either Supergirl or Batgirl. I couldn't stay (work), but I left my money with another creator there (the always smiling Mark Sumerak), so it would eventually make its way back to the comic shop I work at. (Carol and John's Comic Book Shop - stop in and say "Hi!"). Finally, after monopolizing his time for at least a half hour, I had to go. In terms of creator interactions it ranks up there with meeting Sergio Aragones and Garth Ennis (not at the same time, but each of those two are some of the nicest people I've ever met).
Budd - It was a real pleasure. Thank you.
(And he didn't have time to get the sketch done, so I don't have any original artwork, but I'll be okay. It was still great meeting him. Everything I was hoping for.)