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  Phil Foglio AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASep 28, 2010 7:21 AM PDT | url
Added 2 new A* pages:I went to the Jet City Comic Show this weekend to scatter A* postcards around. That might actually have worked pretty well, as I had an unusually high number of pages read per visitor on the site the next day! And I met some comic/webcomic people I'd wanted to meet, so that was cool. And I'd seen on the show's site that "Studio Foglio" was listed as an exhibitor, but neither Phil Foglio nor his equally comic-making wife Kaja were listed as guests—so I figured the attendees would be their colorist or other representatives or something, what do I know.
I headed over to their booth and behold and lo, Phil himself was there! (I guess you're only a "guest" if they invite you to come show your stuff for free, and for some reason he didn't get invited, even though he's local and really well known.) Somehow I got a conversation going on the topic of science fiction webcomics, and Phil began rattling off the science fiction webcomics he could think of, and I immediately forgot what the first two he mentioned were, because the third was A*! :o
I hadn't introduced myself at all, so I blurted out "O that's mine do you want a free postcard?!?!" or something, and inflicted one on him without waiting to see what he said. The next I could manage was to ask how he'd found it or knew about it or something, and he harumphed (which he can do quite impressively), cocked an eyebrow, and growled "I read it!"
So I threw another postcard at him and dribbled something about could he please put that in writing. I think he took a little pity on the clearly brain-dead individual in front of him, but still managed to rescue the situation comically by writing this:
:))))) So... Keep in mind I had never met someone out of the blue who turned out to have read my comic, and when I finally do, and that person turns out to be Phil Foglio, co-author and artist of one of the most well-known and respected webcomics going, Girl Genius—the first webcomic I ever read regularly—and a writer and artist whose work I've enjoyed for at least the past two decades, well... Gosh! My head was pretty much up in the clouds at that point. And he was still indulgent enough to keep talking with my friend and I for a good long while about all sorts of science-fiction and comic-related topics! At one point I tried telling him that he was a hero to webcomic people, but he pretended not to believe me. =P Well Phil, Mr. Foglio, sir, you are definitely a hero to me. <3<3<3
As we were leaving he was also sending his bowler-hatted assistant off with the most ornate latte order I've ever seen—and I live in Seattle, so that's saying something! But three or so hand-written lines across the top of a sheet of paper tops any coffee combination I've ever witnessed.
Visiting him was also neat because I got to see—although it didn't really penetrate my starstruck brain at the time—an actual Hugo award: his gleaming new one that he just got this month with his wife for Girl Genius—for the second year in a row. He had it strategically placed directly in front of him on the table, so that even brain-dead jellyfish like me couldn't miss it; I think in a pinch it would also have done pretty well as a self-defense measure, what with being thirteen inches of pointy silver mounted on a heavy base.
This (I had to go look him up when I got home) was his fourth Hugo: the third was last year for Girl Genius, and the first two were for "Best Fan Artist" in the late 70's; I hadn't known it, since most of the comic work of his that I'd seen was fantasy, but apparently he's a tremendous science fiction fan, and got a couple Hugos when he was running a weekly sci-fi club in college, and drawing illustrations for hundreds of fanzines.
So I guess that explains why he reads a ton of sci-fi webcomics, mine included! Man I am not gonna get over this for a while. :D :) :o
(By the way, if you're wondering what Phil Foglio looks like, here's a pretty good picture—him and his wife all dudded up for the Hugo award show a couple years ago (notice the Hugo lapel pin ;). I was dumb enough to have to ask if any of the three people at the booth were actual Foglios—although I suspected the cherubic fellow leaning back dangerously in his chair was the man himself—because I'd never—or had and forgotten—looked up a real picture of him, and so only had his cartoon self-portraits in mind, in which he always draws himself as a big guy with white (okay see I'd only seen black and white self-portraits by him :P... Gah okay see back when I first read the first page of Girl Genius, it was in black and white... Hmm and if I'd bothered to have paid attention to his What's New with Phil and Dixie comic from 1980's Dragon magazines, I'd have known better) hair, suspenders (I asked: they were hidden under his vest!), and a comically tiny bowler hat perched on the top of his head (a youthful assistant nearby was wearing one, but couldn't have been old enough to have done Phil's earlier comics!).)
The convention itself was a blast from the past for me, because it took place in the exact same big room—the Exhibition Hall at the Seattle Center—where I had gone to my last comic convention—15 or 20 years before! And I had never paid any attention to the guests and activities at conventions as a kid, so I can't really compare how those...compared, but I do suspect the emphasis is more on guests and such these days than comic shop people selling their stuff. But if that's the case, this small, first year show—run by the same people who do the massive Emerald City Comic Con—was nice, because it wasn't very crowded or noisy, didn't have *too* many cosplayers, and still had a bunch of local comic shops there with tons of back issues available at bargain prices. It's been ages since I collected any comics, but a certain one strategically taped to the front of a collection box caught my eye because, while I was never into Conan comics, I *have* enjoyed Robert E. Howard's Conan books, and this particular cover didn't look like it was drawn by the Marvel series' usual artist, John Buscema, of whose work I was not particularly a fan. And it was just $2.
Turns out it's the only comic from the series to have been entirely written and inked by Neal Adams, an artist whose work I do rather enjoy. Roy Thomas' writing is way too over the top, he throws in a character by the loathed hack writers L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter ("Juma the Black" who is—get this—a black man! And thus very strong, and, like pretty much any non-white character in badly written fantasy, well-versed in mysticism and native lore. Great characterization there, guys ;P), the coloring by Glynis Wein is remarkably sloppy (my favorite bloopers: Conan stabbing through a guy with an uncolored sword, Conan's left arm having a gold stripe on it in one panel in the same spot where he wears a gold band on his right arm, and, on the cover, the colorist probably just reading the title and thus coloring only the baddy's skull gold, even though his whole body is supposed to be gold), the story is sort of carried off by a giant slug, and the art isn't Adams' best work by any means (you'll notice there on the cover for instance that the torso of the princess behind Conan is—if you count the part of it that must be blocked by Conan's calf—far too long; I think I noticed that only because I have that kind of problem all the time in my Princess and the Giant comic), but I think I can still count it as money well spent for the amusement I got out of it.
Oh, and it was published the same year I was born! And it's got the same silly old ads I always used to see when buying back issues: Grit, Charles Atlas ("Don't Be Half A Man" and "The Insult that Made a Man Out of 'Mac'" right on the inside front cover), "I'll Make You a Master of Karate," and "Too Skinny?" among them.
And I got to meet and talk to the comic guys I'd set out to see, Jonathon Dalton and Chris Samnee, who were both super nice. So, first comic show I've been to in years and years, and it was a small one, and it was pretty darn great as far as I'm concerned.
I added links on the "about" pages of my comics to their just-made-today listings on Webcomic Tweets, which provides handy ways to find and track Twitter feeds by webcomic artists. Here's A*'s entry, for instance. And by the way you will notice—should you peruse said about page, that A*'s very own Twitter feed is right here, just waiting to bring the latest A* updates right to your Twitter uh page or reading list or outlet or whatever they're called.
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