Comic Con Themed Trolley Passes
Last night Joel and I drove down to Qualcomm stadium and over to the park & ride, whereabouts we jumped onto the MTS Green Line trolley for downtown San Diego. We even got spiffy looking Comic Con themed day passes as memorabilia. It was Wednesday the 11th, AKA “Preview Night” at SDCC, but sadly that was not our destination. We were unable to acquire badges for this years Con (something that Joel vows we will never fail at again), but nevertheless we hopped off at the Gaslamp District stop in front of the convention center, and started our short walk over to a cute little out-of-the way place called “The Upstart Crow Bookstore & Coffee Shop.” It proved to be a little difficult to find, but thanks to our handy iPhones we were able to pinpoint the spot. Our purpose in this pilgrimage? To meet up with my longtime friend and newly made acquaintance, Mario González and Heather Larkin.
Mario González – “Wyliman”
I stumbled across Mario’s deviantART Gallery back in 2005, and we struck up a friendship of back-and-forth comments, jokes, and mailed drawings. In September 2010, Joel and I were able to meet him in person at Maryland’s Small Press Expo. We met with him again at last year’s SDCC, and were able to spend quite some time hanging out. A year later, back at Comic Con, and Mario graciously took time out of his schedule to chat with us about comics, video games, and his plans for making a move to the States. If all goes smoothly, we won’t have to wait another year before having the pleasure of seeing him again!
He is working on finishing the 4th volume of his webcomic, “Wyliman,” which is about a caped “superhero” (or not) and his sidekick/roommate, Mackenn (an anthropomorphic fox). Essentially, it follows their normal, everyday lives of having (or not having) day jobs, girlfriends, and various adventures. It’s a mixture of Sunday comic strip with a dash of Seinfeld for zest. It’s intended for a more mature audience, though admittedly my 11-year-old nephew is quite taken with it. Mario cites several influences in his art, the foremost being the cartoonist Sergio Aragonés, who works on MAD magazine, created Groo the Wanderer, and has a bi-monthly comic titled simply “Funnies.” (Joel and I had the pleasure of meeting Sergio and seeing him at the Quick Draw panel last year at SDCC, and he was incredibly friendly, funny, and skilled at his trade.)
During our talk with him we found out that when Minecraft isn’t consuming his every waking hour, he has been making plans to branch out into another humorous webcomic of unknown subject matter, and to collaborate with another artist and write a more serious graphic novel in the future.
Heather Larkin – “MYST: the Book of Atrus”
Heather is a recent acquaintance of mine; I only discovered her dA gallery earlier this year. Much in the same manner as I befriended Mario, I found her art and began commenting on it. She kindly responded to my comments, and we had some friendly conversations. Then she won a sponsorship from deviantART to attend the San Diego Comic Con and have a table in artist’s alley! The sponsorship included airfare, a hotel room downtown, and a one-day pass to the Con. Upon finding this out, I left a comment congratulating her and lamenting that I would be unable to attend the Con and meet up with her. So she asked if I’d like to meet up somewhere after she arrive in SD and get a coffee, to which I gladly agreed.
I first was taken with her wonderful, full color graphic novel in the works called “The Seated Lady,” which is about a Victorian girl stuck at her mother’s tea party, and how she escapes into her imagination. But after following her art for some time, she began posting pages from a different project she’s working on: a graphic novel adaption of the book “MYST: the Book of Atrus.” Coincidentally, I just read the first and second MYST books for the first time earlier this year, upon Joel’s suggestion. We are both big fans of the MYST video game series, upon which the books are based. Heather has already done a marvelous job at adapting the story and developing the characters, and I am very excited to see what she will do with it.
Fanart of Atrus and his cat, Flame. Heather said it was her first fanart ever!
Fanart of Natalia and Andrea from “Wyliman,” in chibi-form
Another thing that both of my friends had in common, besides being comic artists, was having July birthdays. So, being a fan of each of their comics, I decided to do a bit of gift art for each of them.
I had a wonderful time hanging out with such cool people, and I wish them the best of luck as they continue on in their careers as artists, and I hope to join their ranks as a Professional at next years Comic Con!