[my oldest son], John
Beatty [my oldest buddy] and I drove up for AtlantaCon
2004. The con didn't officially start until Saturday,
but we decided to go up on Friday so we would be
fresh in the morning when things kicked off.
Actually it was good that we went up on Friday
since the con organizers set up a pre-show sketch session.
For a $25 donation [which went to Jeff
Jones] you could mingle with the artists who were
doing really nice head sketches and more. Artists sketching
Hamner, Georges Jeanty, and many others.
I've got to make special mention of a cool sketch "combo."
Georges did a nice head shot of "Captain
America looking up into the distance" for one
of the fans. Later the same fan returned. Adam Hughes
had added a headshot of Bucky looking up in the
same direction as Cap with the caption, "Uh,
Cap... what are we looking at?" That just
cracked me [and everyone else at the table] up.
Mike was making the rounds getting Hellboy
sketches while I sat at a table with Big
Beatty and Phil
Noto who were both sketching. As the sun went
down Phil moved to a better light source and his
seat was taken by a rotating crew which included Kelsey
James Howell and others. The table got
kind of rowdy as people came up asking Big
Beatty for sketches and he determinded whether
or not it was for a "fetish collection." It
was really cool talking movies and comics
and "stuff" with everyone at the table or passing
by. A guy named "Little John" was gettting
sketches and said that he checks out The StalloneZone
and ZONE on a regular basis. How cool is that?
session was supposed to end at 10:00 but went on until
11:00. The artists were really giving the fans
their money's worth. Special thanks to the Gaijin
folks who didn't even get to sit and eat a proper dinner
before they were swamped by fans wanting sketches!
The next morning Mike, Beatty,
and I met James Howell at the Waffle
House for a hearty breakfast. Then it was off
to the con! As we were walking in we saw John
Higashi and Steven Lee arriving. Higashi
was sporting his StalloneZone shirt!
Beatty and I went up to get our passes. Adam
Hughes was there to get his as well. The guy giving
out the passes asked Adam if he was an artist!
Adam patiently said he was and proceeded to spell
his name. No passes. The guy looked in a couple of different
places. Still no passes. As Adam looked around
for someone he knew [or at least knew him] I asked if
the passes might be under Gaijin Studio. Adam
asked the man and sure enough, they were. Adam
then asked if there was a pass for Allison. Nope,
but the man quickly made her one. Beatty and I
picked up our passes and followed Adam into the
artists were starting to set up. Most dealers
were ready to go and fans were lined up waiting
to get in. After a bit of looking Beatty found
his table. Mike and I decided to check the place
out. My goal was to get Stallone pieces from Jason
Pearson, Tony Harris, and Brian Stelfreeze.
Anything else would be gravy. A quick circuit of the con
and I was able to learn that Jason Pearson had
to cancel, Brian Bolland was running a few hours
late [due to a flight problem], and other artists were
just rolling in. A line was starting to form for Brian
Bolland. I got in along with John Higashi,
Steven Lee, James Howell and a few others.
I saw Tony Harris starting to set up the Jolly
Roger display. The guys said they'd hold my spot
so I could go down. There was already one guy in line
and knowing that Tony is very slow I decided to
take them up on their offer. I was there at #2.
[Last year at Heroes I just missed getting my first
Harris sketch -- I was next on the list when Tony
had to stop sketching so he could get ready for the charity
painting session -- and I
didn't want to face the same thing again.] Steven
Lee was behind me. Things were looking good for both
of us. When it was my turn to make a request I told Tony
I wanted a Stallone piece. He remembered me from
last year. Tony said he'd give it a shot.
Then it was over to the Gaijin booth. The whole
gang was there Adam and Allison, Cully,
Karl, Brian and Kelsey
[who was wearing his StalloneZone shirt!]. Phil
Noto was sketching there as well. Several fans were
oogling a Brian Stelfreeze painting which was a
beaut! I asked Brian if he had started a list and
he hadn't. I was first! When I told Brian I wanted
him to do a Stallone piece he called out to Cully
[who was sitting further down the way], "Hey Cully!
I'm being called up to the big leagues!" LOL! Brian
said he wanted to give Jack Carter a shot! Cool
by me, as that would have been my choice for him as well.
I walked the convention I met up with fans that I usually
only get to "talk" to via e-mail like Terry
webmaster of ComicArt Community, Benno,
of Monster Collectables and Scott Blacksher.
Scott Blacksher has a really cool "Astro-Zombies"
Theme. We've exchanged a few e-mails over the
past year. Scott came by the table and commissioned
Beatty to do him an Astro-Zombie sketch.
I could tell that Beatty wasn't feeling well [too
much junk food on the ride up is our guess] but before
the sketch was done, I thought that he'd recovered. John
didn't think so. He told Scott that he was sorry
that the sketch wasn't better and he could have it for
Scott was really surprised and said the sketch
was fine but Beatty refused to take any money and
even said he'd try to come up with a better piece sometime
in the future. Scott
thanked Beatty and said that he had an autographed
copy of "Mark of the Astro-Zombies" that
Beatty could have. Big John passed the tape
on to me since he knows that I've been wanting to see
the movie and I'll get to it before he ever does!
Bolland arrived! By this time Brian had
a huge line of people waiting. With almost no time to
even catch his breath, Brian began to take time
with each fan. Some only wanted a chance to thank
Brian for the wonderful work that he's produced
[and continues to produce]. Others were hoping for a sketch
or even an opportunity to buy one of his prelims.
When it was my time with Brian, I thanked him for
providing me with many hours of pleasure, asked if he
would autograph a book for a friend and pose for
a picture with me. Brian was gracious and modest.
He was a true pleasure to meet and I hope that he enjoyed
meeting his fans as much as they enjoyed meeting him!
It was cool catching up with some artists
that I hadn't seen in a while. Dan
Bereton and his lovely lady were there leading
the celebration of the tenth anniversary of The
Powell and his wife had some really cool Goon
t-shirts [James Howell got the last 2XL before
me!], sketchbooks, and more.
Gus Vasquez was there and promised to have
my Stallone commission ready at Heroes. Gus
said he'd do it that weekend, but I want him to take the
time he'd like to do it "up right."
Speaking of doing it up right, Sanford
Greene has been turning out some great stuff lately.
Sanford was sketching away, but did take some time
to show us the latest book he's putting together. It's
got a really hip look and should be a lot of fun once
he gets it rolling. LeSean
was also doing some work that really kicks butt. Hmmm...
perhaps I'll get them in the Stallone Gallery at
Andy Lee was there... and Jason
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