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SDCCI ’14 Photo Recap

That’s right, kiddos — if it’s August, that must mean it’s time for the San Diego Comic-Con recap! This year was unexpectedly decent, even though I’m in a year “between books.” But I did debut the second volume of the Cool Jerk sketchbook, not seen at a comic-con since 2007. They were either free with a book, t-shirt or canvas panel purchase, or $3 a al carte. I also had the blank cover variant for $10, where the customer would receive a one-of-a-kind, pencil-and-ink drawing of their choice. That seemed to go over like hot cakes, which kept me plenty busy at the table (and at home if I ran out of time at the show). Seen above is a drawing of “Dr. Armadillo v2.0″ for Dan Bois, and below are some select covers for various friends and allies of Cool Jerk.

Click to enlarge!

A hearty and heartfelt thanks to everyone who came by the table, whether to buy Cool Jerk stuff, talk shop, catch up, share laughs or just say hi and give a hug. I hope you had as much fun as we did, and I also hope to see you online on a regular basis.

And now, onto the show!

Spy vs. Spy!

Vanellope von Schweetz and her candy-covered cart (from “Wreck-It Ralph)! One of the most elaborate cosplays we witnessed at the show.

I don’t know what this is, but it looks like a mash-up of Star Trek + Playboy + vampires!

Here are three Avengers — Black Widow, Ms. Marvel and Scarlet Witch — checking out artwork by Adam Hughes and Allison Sohn.

Darlene witnessed this tragic scene with Spider-Man and Gwen Stacy! “DON’T BE DEAD, GWEN — I DON’T WANT YOU TO BE DEAD!”

My Sharpie sketch of Scooby-Doo for Kalyan, a Cool Jerk fan with a huge sketchbook!

A Michael Myers parade! I think I just peed a little.

Customized Cool Jerk sketchbook cover (she wanted Cool Jerk, zombies and a kitty — I swear) for Shayla Morreale!

Two of my favorite cosplayers this year — Mojo Jojo and The Him!

While on a walkabout, Darlene spotted a gaggle of Marge Simpsons!

Sparks, Nevada’s very own Mädchen Amick, promoting Lifetime’s “Witches of East End.” She’s only the second Twin Peaks cast member I’ve ever seen in real life (the other was Michael J. Anderson at SDCC in the late 1990).

Natasha and Steve, taking a break from saving the world from Hydra.

Click to enlarge!

Standout cosplayers I was lucky to witness after the doors shut one evening. Presenting: The Monster and the Bride!

Darlene got to chat a bit with Mike Mignola (creator of Hellboy). Here he is, displaying his Skeleton Head syrah label.

It just isn’t a comic-con without running into The Monarch (Steven Meissner) and his bride, Dr. Mrs. The Monarch (Kit Quinn). Not sure who the other dude is….

Freddy Krueger decided he wanted one of my Doc Splatter Ominous Omnibus books.

That’s AmberSkies as Kim Possible (note she’s holding Rufus the naked mole rat)! For some reason, Kim Possible was big this year; I saw no fewer than four Kim cosplayers.

“What’s in YOUR bookshelf?” That’s actually Elliott Branch as Jules from “Pulp Fiction.”

There’s Evangeline Lilly, signing copies of her book, The Squickerwonkers. News broke during Comic-Con that she’ll be playing Hope Pym in next year’s “Ant-Man.”

Kevin Smith (hockey jersey, of course) being interviewed at a hotel across from the convention center.

I love group cosplay, and here’s a group paying tribute to “Game of Thrones.”

Sketchbook commission for my friends Eric and Jocelyn, who desperately wanted something to do with “Frozen.”

Eric and Jocelyn’s reaction to the finished “Frozen” piece. Eric decided to title it, “‘Monster Turns On Creator,’ Sharpie and colored pencil, 2014.”

By the Winds of Watoomb! It’s Dr. Strange and Scarlet Witch!

Wish I had better pix of Apocalypse — he was huge and had a voice changer (I think)!

Waiting to cross over to the Hilton parking garage was none other than Ares, God of War!

Up close and personal with the Beast (of X-Men and Avengers fame, not the Disney cartoon, natch)!

A triptych of Batgirls!

I think that’s Jean Grey wearing Rogue’s outfit (or Rogue wearing Jean Grey’s wig?), Vlad Dracul von Chesty and Blink!

Hodor, Amora (aka The Enchantress) and a Jawa!

Crossplayers as Starfox and Roger Rabbit! Starfox was charming in that what she lacked in sewing skills, she made up for with encyclopedic knowledge of the Marvel character. (Quick reference: Starfox is brother to Thanos.)

Guess we’ll end this the only way possible — at Terminus!

Cool Jerk and San Diego Comic-Con 2014

This week marks Cool Jerk’s 12th year of tabling at San Diego Comic-Con International! That’s just CRAZY! Remember way back to the early 2000s when all I had were buttons and ashcans?

Well, I’m bringing ashcans back — Cool Jerk Sketchbook v2.0! I haven’t done a sketchbook since 2007 so I figured it was due time. It’s the best $3 you’ll spend at the show, but you can get it free with any purchase of $20 or more! Do you like original, one-of-a-kind artist sketches? I’ll have a small handful of blank-cover variants for $10, and you get to choose something/someone for me to draw on the cover! Or hell, take it to another artist for a sketch. I don’t mind!

Many ‘con regulars missed last year’s show, but don’t worry, friends — I got your back. I’ll have all my Cool Jerk collections on hand — literally — including last year’s lovely Thinkulus (Cool Jerk Vol. 4). As always, I’ll be running my special comic-con discounts because damn, you already had to pay mass bucks for tickets, right? Figure I could help you recoup a few $$.

Folks just love these, so I’ll also have several new Canvas Panels debuting at the show! A mere $15 a pop for hand-sized artwork, suitable for any room in the house!

I also have all the other items you could ever possibly want:

• T-shirts in a variety of styles, fits (M or F) and sizes!
• Sharpie original art breakdowns for $3-$5? CRAZY!
• Stickers, buttons and the like!
• As ever, sketches are free!

Click it to enlarge it

Here’s a map I made while you were at Office Depot buying poster tubes.

We’re in the same spot we’ve always been, Small Press K10, right by the communal baths/vomitorium/emergency cosplay repair stations.

Find us on Twitter — @cooljerk and @darleneeats. We’ll be live-Tweeting throughout!

See you there!

Destroy All Hunger! Where to eat during San Diego Comic-Con

Click to enlarge

Please — for the sake of all that’s holy — don’t eat at the convention center during San Diego Comic-Con!

Darlene’s full write-up (including photos and some breakfast extras) here.

Denver Hat Trick photo recap

"Cool Jerk is awesome and Horn is dead hexy," says Scarlet Witch.

Denver Comic Con’s third convention was another one for the win column. Attendance grew yet again, cresting somewhere around 86,000 (up from 61,000 in 2013). That’s awesome and one of the reasons Denver is one of my favorite shows — you guys love your comics.

Due to scheduling conflicts, prior commitments and travel delays, I didn’t arrive until late in the day Friday, which double-sucked because Denver Comic Con made Friday a full day (previous years it was from 6-10pm). So I was only there for about a half-hour, but still managed to sell some stuff. On Saturday I had help from long-time friend Monica, who acted as a guest member of Team Cool Jerk in Darlene’s absence. Sunday went by too fast and I came pretty close to selling out of Hodabeast and Chickadoowa, and I would have if I hadn’t brought extra inventory. Thanks, Denver!

And now, onto the photos!

I guess I’ll start with Hawkman and Hawkgirl, who had the best Thanagarian costumes at the show.

This gal was a total Brainiac.

Selfie with Godzilla. He was actually several hundred feet tall; this was just a foreshortened angle. Swear!

Here’s my assistant Monica, one of the few times she was at the table and not buying a Brews Wayne beer for her blog.

That’s a hella-bitchin’ Hela and Loki I ran into outside the ‘con.

I’ve been to scores of comic conventions over the past 30 years, and I can’t ever recall seeing anyone cosplay the New Mutants, especially Mirage and Warpath. Bravo, you guys!

Also, this would be the first Invader Zim cosplayer I’ve ever encountered. Bonus points for the antennae.

Donna Troy aka Wonder Girl took some time away from her fellow Teen Titans to show off her guns.

I wish this was in better focus (damn iPhone), but here’s the cast to The Tick.

The ever-delightful Isabelle Laursen as Firestorm the Nuclear (Wo)man. My, how your corona has grown!

This giggly trio of Car2Go ambassadors were amazed that I had a Car2Go card in my wallet. I was amazed that they hand-made their costumes (the photo doesn’t do it justice, but the little cars they’re wearing are really well done)!

And I’ll end with Reed and Sue Richards (aka Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman). I don’t know how she did it, but her costume was mind-blowing!

Cool Jerk and Denver Comic Con — a three-fer!

As required by Colorado state law, Cool Jerk will again be exhibiting at Denver Comic Con this weekend, Friday-Sunday (June 13-15). This is both Denver Comic Con’s and Cool Jerk’s third year and I’m really happy to be a part of it!

Since last year’s DCC, I released Thinkulus (Cool Jerk Vol. 4) onto the world. I’ll also have more than 4 dozen varieties of my Cool Jerk Canvas Panels, a sure-fire crowd-pleaser! Beyond that, expect all my other books and some other cool odds and ends at the table. My sketches are always free so don’t forget your sketchbook!

Since I’m flying to this convention, I can only pack a modest amount of books. Last two years I had sell-outs by show’s end, so here’s a PRO TIP: Buy early!

Here’s a map I whipped up. Come find me at B17 in Artists Valley!

Denver Comic Con consistently amazes me with its collective passion and enthusiasm for comics and pop culture. I hope to see you there!

Maggot, Mokey™ and a Memorial — Part II

(continued from part 1)

Maggot’s unnamed friend has a complex origin, dating back in time to January, 1992. My friend Bob Adams and I were tapped by a Reno sporting goods store to develop some recurring characters for a line of t-shirts, posters and the like. Bob — a cartoonist I hired for the UNR Sagebrush years earlier — and I developed four female characters: Ghetto Skate Queen Kanice Lavine™, Snowboard Goddess Pogonip™, Shitatsu the Roller-Hockey Ninja™, and Larva Girl™, a roller derby tomboy.

Pogonip and Kanice Lavine by Bob Adams (click to enlarge)

Larva Girl and Shitatsu (click to enlarge)

In these sketches that Bob and I produced, you’ll see a familiar icon… the same “GRRR! face” icon that was always present on Maggot’s unnamed friend’s tank top. The sporting goods store didn’t pursue the t-shirt idea because if memory serves, they fell on tough times and went out of business. So those four characters remained as concepts only, squirreled away in my portfolio for 20+ years.

(The concepts for these girls didn’t completely die on the vine, though. At the time, I hadn’t yet reintroduced Like, For Shore! mainstays Maggot or Chippie Tenderloin into Cool Jerk. In 1994 I brought up Maggot’s androgyny for a short series of strips where — at the end — Maggot was christened “Larvae Girl.” And when I reintroduced Chippie as Yuri Tomato in 1995, I mentioned she was in the Spittle Beach roller hockey league.)

I mentioned that Bob was a cartoonist. Yep, he created a universe of characters and named his weekly strip “Action Comics,” which debuted in the UNR Sagebrush in Jan. 1989 while Bob was still a senior at Reno High School. We became fast friends and ended up spending a lot of free time drawing people at the malls and on campus, honing our cartooning skills and eating lunch at Port of Subs. We’d even drawn each other’s characters and mused about a “blended universe” where he could draw Doc Splatter with his characters, and vice versa. One of Bob’s myriad characters is Mokey™, a teenage skateboarder. While it wasn’t 100% my intent to have Maggot’s friend be Mokey™ from the very start, there’s no denying that “Maggot’s unnamed friend” is a spitting image of Mokey™: the age, build, haircut, skateboard, shorts and tank top (but with the “GRRR! face” icon).

The Saga of Rusty Plates by Bob Adams

Bob and I drifted apart after I moved to San Diego and he moved to Utah. During that time, Bob published two comic books— “U.S. 395″ and “The Saga of Rusty Plates.” We’d since reconnected briefly via Facebook a few years ago (he’d returned to Reno and was working as security at UNR) but lines of communication dropped again when he deleted his Facebook profile.

Last autumn (2013) I received an email from Bob Adams’ aunt, who told me that Bob had died in February. She sought me out specifically because in Bob’s stacks of sketchbooks, drawings, art studies and comics, my name and characters kept showing up. I was — and am — shellshocked. Bob’s death has weighed on me for many months and I felt I needed to memorialize his work and passing. So I put forth a plan to make the big reveal that “Maggot’s unnamed friend” was Mokey™, and that Mokey™ was not from around these parts. In fact, Mokey™ is from a parallel universe — Bob Adams’ universe.

Like, For Shore! and Action Comics — the team-up supreme-up! (Mokey™ is highlighted, next to Maggot)

Here’s a drawing of Bob’s where he assembled his Action Comics characters and my Like, For Shore! characters (plus Doc Splatter and the ever-vomiting Timmy). I’m still having a rough time wrapping my head around the loss of Bob. Though he was a few years younger than me, Bob was one of my major “real-life” influences on my cartooning art style, not to mention his sense of humor and passion for ’80s action movies. While we never got a chance to collaborate on a comic, I intend to pay my respects to Bob throughout the year. So keep reading Cool Jerk to see those stories unfold.

That's me and Bob (on the right) circa 1990, judging by the Sagebrush t-shirt I'm wearing and the Action Comics t-shirt Bob's wearing.

Peace out, Bob.

Maggot, Mokey™ and a Memorial — Part I

When this year was barely a week old, I’d decided it was time to shake up the very foundation of Cool Jerk. I had four goals in mind:

• Focus on some of the b-list characters that never carry storylines on their own,
• Give Maggot a “make-over” (so to speak),
• Introduce and eliminate a character from Cool Jerk, and
• Pay respects to a friend who passed away last year.

And with the culmination of the 5-month Maggot/Mokey™ odyssey, I’ve done exactly that.

First, I wanted to focus on the b-listers. Despite Maggot being featured on the cover of Chickadoowa, I always considered him/her a b-list character — someone who never had enough gravitas to carry his/her own story aside from general punkass hi-jinks and being a target of retaliation. With the addition of Maggot’s unnamed friend (more on him later), Dangerman, Seashelly Dumpster, Pokéyman and Ah-Kan Dahak, suddenly I had a new cast of characters to write, even though most of them are Cool Jerk veterans of 20+ years.

For the love of god please don't click the image!

Maggot appeared in the very first Like, For Shore! (my college comic strip that beget Cool Jerk) on Sept. 1, 1987, along with Armpit, Puppy and Manhattan. I’ve had in my mind ever since reintroducing Maggot in Cool Jerk (Jan. 30, 1993) that his/her shtick would be gender ambiguity, which he/she would use for the following 21 years as a defining character trait. There’s even a pencil sketch of “female” Maggot in Hodabeast, which published in 2007. So at the very least, I’d been thinking about the “Maggot make-over” story for at least seven years. Once I saw a commercial for Axiron — and its side effects disclaimer — I knew I had to give Maggot the bewbs. The big reveal: Maggot is a girl.

Also debuting in the same 1993 strip with Maggot is “Maggot’s unnamed friend,” as he’s been known for more than 20 years (even getting index entries with that name in all four Cool Jerk books). It wasn’t until this storyline that I decided to reveal his name, who he is and then retire him indefinitely.

Next: The sad story of Mokey™

Saturday is Free Comic Book Day!

This Saturday (May 3), I’ll be participating in FREE COMIC BOOK DAY at my favorite San Diego comics shop, Southern California Comics in Clairemont Mesa. I’ll be there peddling my wares… and in keeping with the spirit of FCBD, I’ll be offering a BUY TWO GET ONE FREE with every book, t-shirt or canvas panel purchase! Mix and match!

I won’t be the only local comics creator there, either. It’s going to be like a mini comic-con! SCC’s owner, Jamie Newbold, is pouring a lot of magic into this event so please come by and buy some comics, get some free comics and get some lunch — they’ll have not one but TWO food trucks on site! Plus, they’re cross-promoting with their neighbor Societe Brewing for beer specials! Food, drink, comics… how about some music? He’s got ya covered. Digital Lizards of Doom will be performing live!

It’s all day, from 9am-5pm. I’ll be there bright and early. Bring your appetite and some sunscreen!

Southern California Comics is kind of tough to find if you haven’t been there before… so here’s a map!

CARE package = bluff called

Click it to get in there!

About a year ago, there was this thing going around on Facebook where people were doing some sort of version of Pay it Forward where you were supposed to leave a comment on someone’s wall and then they’d send you something awesome. I posted a satire — Pay it Backward — asking people to send me something awesome and I’d repay them with a blog post.

Well, a few days afterward I received a huge envelope in the mail. It was from my buddy Nathan Pierce, whom I’ve known for years as one of the “Poway Posse” — a rag-tag group of high-school hooligans Darlene and I met at the first year we had a Cool Jerk table at San Diego Comic-Con.

The contents of the envelope are above, and it came with a note. I shall paraphrase and guide you through the exhibit.

• The first thing you’ll likely notice is the dinosaur drawing. I’ll save that for last. But on top of that drawing is a Gandalf for President button, courtesy San Diego Comic-Con.
• On the right is a Reader’s Digest that Nathan bought at London Heathrow after spending several weeks backpacking through Europe and studying abroad. He says the Princess Di story caught his eye, and was apropos of the location.
• South of that is Darwin Awards II, a mainstay read through high school proving influential on his sense of humor.
• There are two poker chips from Las Vegas. I’m not certain if they have any cash value… but I’m encouraged to find out! VEGAS, BAY-BEE!!
• A modest stack of baseball cards, which is a fraction of Nathan’s collection (along with poker chips, apparently a hobby that’s fallen by the wayside of late).
• A Hard Rock Café shot glass. I initially thought it would’ve been from La Jolla but I couldn’t be farther off. It’s from Maui. Instead of collecting shot glasses as mementos of his travels, he now opts for postcards.
• There’s a Home Alone Game Gear cartridge there, holding open a little hardcover book on how to make shadow puppets. Nathan says he used to play the Home Alone game all the time as a kid, but the book was given to him by a former roommate.
• The dinosaur drawing was drawn by Nathan’s friend Joe DiAnna, who, as a fellow founding member of the “Poway Posse,” is also one of my friends for more than a decade. What’s weird is that from the first glance I immediately knew that Joe was the artist. The story behind the drawing involves a midnight run to Mexicali, drunken debauchery, some gunplay and a bet. Or San Diego Comic-Con. Nathan was kind of sketchy on this.

So anyway, there you have it. Today is Nathan’s birthday and I think it’s a good a time as any to fulfill my obligation and post this tale for all to see. Thanks again, Nate! I’ll dedicate my upcoming episode of “Hoarders” to you!

Free shipping all January!


Title pretty much says it all. Now’s the time to shop at the Cool Jerk store because I’m offering FREE SHIPPING on Cool Jerk books, t-shirts and canvas panels all January long!

There’s one condition, though: I can only offer free shipping to U.S. addresses. Truth be told, I always take it on the chin when I ship to Canada, Mexico or overseas. Sure, I try to keep the rate down but I can’t sell a $12 book and pay another $12 to send it. That’s the cost of doing business, I guess.

You can get all my books on Amazon, and maybe your order will qualify for free shipping. But if you order directly from me, your book will be personalized to you with a drawing and I’ll probably include something else as an extra. That’s something Amazon can’t do.

So please take a look. Thinkulus (Cool Jerk Vol. 4) is my latest book and it’s pretty spiffy. Some of my favorite comics are in there, and you’ll be gobsmacked at how crisp the art looks in print! More details here!

Thanks for your support and helping me live the dream!

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