Wednesday, August 31, 2011


As always, I had meant to post sooner, but then prepping for Fan Expo kicked up to high speed. I was dancing on hot coals until the show finally got rolling. What a rat race though. Here's one of several embarrassing stories I told over the weekend:

A few weeks ago I was creating promotional signs for our booth and I was thinking of ways to hang them to make the most of our table space. I was getting tired of using easels because kids in their manga costumes always knocked into them. It's almost always manga costumes, by the way. Often because of their big, awkward accessories. Anyhow, Fred didn't want to spring for a professionally printed display. They're expensive, and it's his dough, so that's how it is. Suddenly I got it in my head that just buying timber to build an 8'x6' sign would be far easier and more cost effective than paying for large scale printed posters. Was it really? Nope! But like Zaphod Beeblebrox, I plunged head first into a messy situation with blindingly stupid optimism.

I bought all the materials from DeSerres and Home Depot. I designed the text for our sign to read Big Sexy Comics, looking large and mountainous, but had a bitch of a time a time trying to get it on the big wooden boards I bought. I tried rasterbating my image, which was total bullshit. Then I just plain free-handed it: more bullshit. Finally I bought a light projector and was on my way... for about 20 minutes. After setting up the projector, I knelt before one of my 4'x6' boards and began to trace the B when I noticed the projected outline was dipping. The projector itself was stable, so I simply put my pen to where the outline had come to rest... only it sank some more, and was picking up speed. That's when I smelled the fumes of hot plastic and saw ghostly wisps of smoke rise from the lens--only then did I realize that my projector was melting. The bulb was too damned hot! I switched it off and unplugged it, but it was beyond saving. I brought it back to the art store immediately. Staff hovered around me to bear witness to the molten monstrosity I dared exchange for a new projector.

I left the store with a new projector and some nifty spray paint, because I did not intend to paint the thing by hand. With the design traced onto the boards, thanks to the new projector, I masked the letters and broke out a can of blue spray paint. Blue mist hissed, covering bare wood, and I watched with detached amusement in my sealed garage at how the fine blue particles seemed to dance. Their flight was dizzying and I soon felt nauseated, even sick. I put the can down to stretch my tired arms. That's when I noticed the label. My eyes bulged at the very bold, and very clearly printed warnings on the can of spray paint: "Highly Toxic! Use in Ventilated area! Must wear mask!" So I got out of there, having not done any of that shit, and later on painted the letters by hand with acrylic, just the way I tried avoiding. I didn't like the job it did, but I was out of time. I left it to dry and tried to sweat out and shower away all the toxins I had no doubt absorbed.

The next day at the convention, bits of the acrylic paint ripped off my painted sign. You see, I sandwiched the painted sides in my car, and they adhered during the drive. Andre Fernandes, another artist for Big Sexy Comics, did the best he could to cover up the blemishes. Despite having an otherwise fine reception at the show, I couldn't help but notice upward glances followed by brows furrowed with confusion and distaste--but the sign worked! They were caught in their bemusement and in those moments of displacement I sold them a book. Still, it left a lot to be desired. I firmly believe that's what prompted Fred Kennedy, writer and creator of Teuton and Big Sexy Comics, to turn to me and say, "you know, next year I think I'll invest in some printed banners." What a guy!

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