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SDCCI ‘15 photo recap

Sorry about the delay, folks— Comic-Con kicked my ass again this year and I ended up heading to the hospital a couple weeks ago to get treatment for a simultaneous kidney stone and bronchitis (“What is this, the 19th century?” asked a friend). So it’s been a slow and energy-draining recovery, and the weather hasn’t been cooperating much either. Putting that aside, SDCC 2015 was a splendid affair, where I debuted the gorgeous, professionally printed Jerkopædia— The Official Visual Style Guide to Cool Jerk. Plus I had new shirts (“Keep Cool and Jerk On”), a reprinting of the ever-popular “Jerkea” shirt and a gaggle of new Canvas Panels. Thanks to everyone who came by the table, especially those who walked away with some Cool Jerk product!

And now, onto the sights:

First Space Ghost I’ve seen in 35 years’ worth of comic-cons!

Here’s the dude from Pixar’s “Up.

In an event riddled with Mystique cosplayers, this one was easily the best. She was waiting in line in front of me to meet Berke Breathed.

One of my idols, artist (and master of India ink) Bill Sienkiewicz.

Since I couldn’t leave the table but for rare, brief periods, many pics had to be taken of passersby. Here’s old-school (i.e. not the film version) Gamora.

And where you see Gamora, can Thanos be far behind?

Keeping with the cosmic theme, here’s Carol Danvers a.k.a. Captain Marvel.

Darlene asked, “Who the hell is that?” Why, it’s Ambush Bug OF COURSE.

Here’s the deal: if you cosplay as Wasp, Scarlet Witch, Carol Danvers or Invisible Woman, I’ll probably take your photo.

When I would manage to sneak away from the table, I usually ran afoul of some ne’er-do-wells (like this couple as Immortan Joe and Nux from “Mad Max: Fury Road”).

Or maybe Bobby Moynihan (“Saturday Night Live”).

Or even Hercules (nice touch with the mace, Herc).

Another member of the Guardians of the Galaxy— Mantis!

Back at the table, sometimes I would take a break and hide behind my Cool Jerk Canvas Panel display.

And speaking of hiding…!

Soon to be seen in the next X-Men film, here’s Psylocke.

And for you ladies, here’s probably the best shirtless Wolverine I’ve seen.

Beekeepers? Where are we, Utah? No… those are Advanced Idea Mechanics scientists. Judging by Flickr uploads, I’m pretty sure there were several other factions wandering different parts of the hall.

Saturday night is Darlene’s and my usual “let’s walk around the Gaslamp” ritual, and we usually see all sorts of odd promotions, publicity stunts and industry celebs. Here’s something for the upcoming “Hitman 47″ movie.

And I confess: as of this writing, I have no idea what this is promoting. EXCEPT NIGHTMARES.

There’s Jamie Hyneman from “MythBusters.”

And saving best for last, here are Skurge (the Executioner) and Amora (the Enchantress). Individually they absolutely nailed it, but together were perfect as “best couples cosplay.”

Cool Jerk and San Diego Comic-Con 2015

Has it really been 13 years?

Apparently so! This week marks Cool Jerk’s 13th straight year in Small Press (K10) at San Diego Comic-Con International. Geez. It really seems like it’s been a mere 11 and a half years.

I’ll have a new Cool Jerk collection next year, folks… but that doesn’t mean I don’t have something awesome for you this year! You all know what kind of a stickler I am for graphics style, yes? Well, I’ve harnessed all that pedantic anal retention and put it to good use: I present Jerkopædia— The Official Visual Style Guide to Cool Jerk.

This is a MUST-HAVE for anyone who reads and appreciates Cool Jerk (or comic strips in general), character design and animation model sheets. And it’s much more than just fun drawings… it’s fun drawings WITH ANNOTATIONS! Find out who walks around commando! Discover the secret of Armpit’s feet! When was Arms-Over-Head Guy’s first appearance? This guide has it all AND MUCH MORE. It’s 24 pages, professionally printed with a heavy stock color cover, six bucks.

It’s been a while since I’ve introduced a new Cool Jerk T-shirt… so here’s the 2015 fashion statement. What better way to have people give your chest a double-take than with the Keep COOL and JERK On tee? Comes in black or red cotton, white ink, $20.

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!

Remember last year’s sketchbook? I’ll have a VERY LIMITED SUPPLY of these on hand in case you missed out in 2014. They’re $3 a pop (standard cover), or $10 for a blank cover upon which I will customize with an original sketch/drawing of your choice!

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! I’ll be doing a BOGO free sale on Body Shots and the 20th Anniversary shirts, so now’s the time for your back-to-school shopping!
• Sharpie original art breakdowns for $3-$5? CRAZY!
• Stickers, buttons and the like!
• As ever, sketches (except for the 2014 sketchbook) are free!

Click it to go all Ant-Man in that joint!

Here’s a map I made while you were eating your morning Pop-Tart. To recap, 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!

Cool Jerk Invades Wyoming, Utah and Nevada

So I bet you’re wondering: What about the second half of my Denver Comic Con road trip? Well, let me tell ya about it.

The Loft crew and my forehead (Cheyenne, Wyo.)

Once Denver Comic Con wrapped up (Memorial Day evening), I loaded the car and headed due north up I-25… which is the exact opposite route to return to San Diego. WAS I CONFUSED? ROAD-WEARY? ADDLED? Nope, I had designs on going to Cheyenne that evening, specifically The Loft— Wyoming’s best comic book shop. I arrived right at dusk, met with The Loft crew (incl. David J., Eric W. and Chris C.) and sold them a sizable stack of Cool Jerk books. The Loft gets my highest recommendation; the shop is clean and kid-friendly, the staff is helpful and super-engaged, and the owners (who were also en route from Denver Comic Con at the time) were exceptionally gracious in stocking their shelves with my books. I’d like to have a book signing there sometime in the future. Maybe next year?

Night Flight Comics' Mimi Cruz and my forehead (Salt Lake City, Utah)

Speaking of having a book signing, I had a pre-planned engagement at Night Flight Comics in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, so I continued west on I-80 and spent the night in Laramie. The next morning I continued on to Salt Lake City and had dinner with Mimi Cruz, the co-owner/manager of Night Flight Comics’ two locations in SLC. After a good night’s rest, I had my signing the next morning. I tried something different: I offered a free copy of Cool Jerk Vol. 1: Hodabeast to the first 25 people who either Liked! my Cool Jerk Facebook page or signed onto my subscriber list. I got to meet a bunch of Night Flight’s regulars and introduce them to Cool Jerk (some folks went ahead and bought other copies and some canvas panels, too). I’m hoping these Cool Jerk newbies will be full-fledged Cool Jerk addicts by time I have a follow-up book signing. Thanks so much to Mimi and her crew for the hospitality, professionalism and adding a new stack of Cool Jerk books to Night Flight’s shelves.

Jim Burns and my forehead

I couldn’t stay more than 4 1/2 hours at Night Flight because I was driving back to San Diego that day… which is about 11 hours southwest on I-15. I barreled along for more than 700 miles and will say the trip was pleasant and largely uneventful, aside from a quick meet-up with James Burns (if the name sounds familiar to you Cool Jerk readers, he’s the one who scripted Dangerman’s dialogue in his first appearances). I’ve known Burns for 35 years (!) and a couple years ago he and his family moved to Las Vegas. I couldn’t stay for more than 15-20 minutes because it was getting late, but I needed to hand-deliver a copy of Cool Jerk Vol. 4: Thinkulus to my bro. That’s customer service, I tell you what!

(ADDENDUM: Here’s a map for you road-trip enthusiasts. I removed the alternate route through Phoenix and Albuquerque.)

Denver Comic Con Photo Recap — from Ant-Man to Zardoz!

Memorial Day weekend was Denver Comic Con’s fourth annual show and it keeps getting bigger each year (word is that attendance surpassed 100,000, up from 86,000 in 2014). That’s an incredible growth spurt… it’s now the third-largest comic convention in the U.S.!

Like last year, I had help from long-time friend (and new Denver citizen) Monica Mendoza, who acted as a guest member of Team Cool Jerk while Darlene stayed in San Diego. I’m not sure having a show right on Memorial Day was a good idea, especially when Denver had been gripped by several straight days of rain and gloom (and people were itchin’ to be outdoors). I think Monday sold out, but as of Sunday evening tickets were still available. In all, it was a decent show. Thanks, Denver!

And now, onto the photos!

This motley crew was the first batch of cosplayers I saw Saturday morning. I like the look of contempt that Mr. Fantastic is giving arch-nemesis Dr. Doom.

No comic-con is complete without a Batgirl.

Popular theme this year was Avengers crossplay; saw many gals dressed as Captain America and Iron Man. While Loki has appeared as a female on occasion (in the comics), this Thor has not.

Here’s a crossplayer of Winter Soldier. The costume was top-notch.

Magik of the New Mutants, in her modern outfit. I can never get enough of the New Mutants (they’re rarely cosplayed).

A couple years ago I took a pic of a terrific Jubilee. Here’s the vampire version.

Brock Samson and Molotov Cocktease (Venture Bros.) wandered by my table (posing with them is my table neighbor, Joe Becker).

Skrull version of Reed Richards and human version of Sue Richards, aka Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman. (I wonder if Sue is really a Skrull — they’re tricky!)

Where else but at a comic-con do you see Deadpool and Beetlejuice taking selfies together?

Straight from Westeros comes Queen Margaery Tyrell and Olenna Tyrell.

Fun candid of Dr. Strange fielding a call.

Thought I’d see more Flash cosplayers (especially since he’s got a successful series on the CW), but this one was hard to beat.

Another year, another appearance by the terrific Hawkgirl and Hawkman!

Here’s the Cartoon Network version of fan-favorite Teen Titan… Starfire!

One of the best cosplayers at the show… Ant-Man!

It isn’t a Denver Comic Con without my pal Isabelle Laursen as Firestorm. You’ll see her in each of my previous Denver Comic Con photo-recaps. How tall is that fiery plume of hair?

Here’s another pic, with me used for scale!

Well, this is just about adorable — Lil’ X-Man Rogue and Old Man Logan!

Not sure if this qualifies as “best for last,” but here’s the first Zardoz cosplayer I’ve ever witnessed with my own two eyeballs.

Book Signing at Night Flight Comics (SLC)!

Hey, kids— I’ll be having a book signing at Night Flight Comics, Salt Lake City, on Wed. May 27! Like my library book “The Bigfoot Casebook,” it’s long overdue. I’ve known store owner Mimi Cruz for several years and when I found myself driving to/from Denver Comic Con, I had to make it a point to stop by for a few hours!

I admit, there may not be much familiarity with Cool Jerk up there in SLC, so I’m sweetening the experience. I’m giving away a FREE copy of Cool Jerk vol. 1: Hodabeast to the first 25 people to come by my table and LIKE! Cool Jerk on Facebook and/or sign up for my emailer.

Here’s a poster with all the info you could ever possibly need (except a map).

Click it to get the deets!

Here’s a map I whipped up while you were checking out the poster.

Many thanks to Night Flight Comics (and the staff) for hosting me for a few hours. Be sure to come by from 11am-3pm, get a free Hodabeast and help fund my drive back to San Diego by buying some of my other books!

Denver Comic Con — fourth time’s a charm!

Because they can’t keep me away, Cool Jerk will again be exhibiting at Denver Comic Con this weekend, Saturday-Memorial Day Monday (May 23-25). This marks the fourth year in a row for both Denver Comic Con and my exhibiting there!

I’m driving out this time, so the Cool Jerk All-Terrain Assault Vehicle™ will be loaded with things not normally seen in Denver, like Cool Jerk T-shirts and original art! Expect crowd-pleasers like my canvas panels, buttons, stickers and enough Cool Jerk and Doc Splatter books to prevent the usual sell-out. My sketches are always free so don’t forget your sketchbook!

Here’s a map I whipped up. Come find me at C25 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!

We experienced… The Marvel Experience

Last week Darlene and I had the opportunity to check out The Marvel Experience at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. It’s on tour across the U.S. and will be here locally through Sunday, March 1.

It’s a self-contained, interactive attraction — sort of like a miniature theme park meets video game meets hands-on museum… and a gigantic house ad for Marvel’s movie and TV properties.

The gist is that Nick Fury, Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Samuel L. Jackson-style, not David Hasselhoff-style) needs help to battle the crime organization Hydra. So we “new recruits” are issued I.D. cards and sent through a crash-course basic training regimen.

“Recruits” are ushered into one of many connected domes. Within, we receive our training (flying in Iron Man’s armor, running a laser maze designed for the Black Widow, shooting at various Hydra adaptoid robots, Spider-Man wall-climbing, etc.) via interactive video games (think first-person shooters or Dance Dance Revolution-style arcade gaming) or hands-on equipment. Joining the aforementioned Marvel characters, Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Wolverine, Black Panther, Iron Fist, Vision and She-Hulk are prominently featured on video screens at each exhibit and instruct “recruits” on what tasks to complete.

Click image to experience his shame up close and personal!

Afterward, we’re led to a 360° 3D simularium which does a very good job of putting you within a video game. The plot thickens, Hydra makes their move. From there, you board an Avengers Quinjet to help the Avengers tackle a gigantic Hydra menace. This would be via a Star Tours-type VR ride and is considered the grand finale. From there you exit via the gift shop and you’ve just spent a good two hours of escapism.

My take on it is that the 10-year-old me would have had a complete blast. It’s clearly aimed at small fry and there’s enough there to keep parents and older Marvel fans entertained. But make no mistake: this is absolutely geared toward youngsters. The jokes and dialogue are corny, the interactivity of the main Recruit Training Center will keeps kids occupied and excited, and the Quinjet ride will hit them with plenty of shock and awe.

As a critique, Darlene and I were disappointed there weren’t more female characters represented in the interactivity dome. When it came time to Customize a Costume or try your skill at one of the exhibits, there was only one female choice (Black Widow) for the girls. Now, S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Maria Hill, sentient robot Jocasta (seen above) and Bruce Banner’s fun-loving cousin She-Hulk were also seen here and there on video screens, but that was about it. Research shows that girls make up about half of the comics-reading population. Marvel/Disney needs to be more inclusive in the future.

I also think the Marvel Experience could have been improved with the occasional cosplayer — in total character — dropping in to check out the “recruits” and give them some face-to-face encouragement (not to mention photo ops). I don’t think it would have been that big a deal to have a random Nick Fury, Hawkeye, Black Panther or She-Hulk walk among the crowd on occasion. When Universal Studios (Los Angeles) had its Marvel attractions and restaurant in the late 1990s, you could talk with Captain America, Spider-Man, Wolverine or Storm… and I think that went a long way to keeping the adults entertained while the younger set would gush and geek out. (Full disclosure: I gushed and geeked out when Captain America deputized my friend Burns and me as Avengers back in 1998. And I was pushing 30.)

Official info for The Marvel Experience here.

Disclaimer: I was invited to check out The Marvel Experience. My tickets were complimentary and I was not compensated for this review. All opinions are my own. A-doy.

Reno Comic Con Photo Recap!

So Reno had its first comic con (it should be christened “The Biggest Little Comic Con in the World”) and it was terrific! Darlene stayed in San Diego so I flew solo (actually, I drove, which is always a preferred option as I can bring more books and t-shirts to sell). I was surprised — and a little humbled — that so many attendees remembered Cool Jerk from its days in the Reno Gazette-Journal (1991-1996) and even its original incarnation “Like, For Shore!” when it ran in the UNR Sagebrush (1987-1990). One attendee told me that whenever a new Sagebrush came out, he always went straight to the comics and always read “Like, For Shore!” first. That was awesome to hear.

So I sold t-shirts, canvas panels and many books, almost running out of Cool Jerk Vol. 2: Chickadoowa. I caught up with fellow cartoonist from college days, Brian Foote, and that alone nearly made the trip worthwhile. Well, I could bore you with all this stuff but instead, let’s go to the photo-recap!

I’ll start with my stop at the Reno Nugget for one of their Awful Awfuls. This was the night before the convention, and who should I see in line ahead of me…?

THIS guy! Dude, cosplay officially starts in 12 hours! Trust me from experience: Don’t freak out the locals! (This is Stephen Thompson, a Renoite who should know better than to wander downtown as a Borg-assimilated Shakespearean actor.)

One of the first — and best — cosplayers I saw on Friday was this gal dressed as Belle, who roadtripped from Virginia (!) just for this show!

And I’ve seen plenty of Green Lanterns in my day, but I think this might be the first Guy Gardner. Bravo, tough guy!

Lots of cosplayers in the couples category. Let’s start with Angela and Spawn

Here’s Popeye and Olive

Mordecai and Rigby

Beast Boy and Raven

Spidey and Mary Jane Watson

Here’s the PowerPuff Family (?)…

And here’s one of the best: Batgirl in her new “Burnside” outfit (complete with snap-on cape and respectable combat boots)!

More costumes to come, but here’s where I’ll show you a 3-minute Sharpie™ sketch of Daryl from “The Walking Dead.” Norman Reedus was one of the many special celebrity guests in attendance. This was for the daughter of a long-time Cool Jerk reader and friend Will Bento.

Here’s the top part of my first-ever convention-exclusive print. Can’t show you the whole thing because, you know, secret punch line. They went pretty fast but I still have about 8-10 left. Buzz me if you’d like to buy one! $15 signed, and that includes shipping and sales tax.

Meet Robert Harris. He’s not only been a longtime Cool Jerk reader, but also remembered a bunch of storylines from old “Like, For Shore!” strips (like when I had Rocket and Sunset rent out their guest rooms to Britpop New Wave quartet Fuzzbox). Plus, he also “guest-wrote” one particular Cool Jerk strip from 2007. It was awesome to finally meet him in person and save him a bunch of postage and sales tax when he bought up a stack of goods. Thanks again, Robert!

Here’s my bro Justin Orr, who was the only other exhibitor I knew (we met at WonderCon a bunch of years ago, when he was my next-door table neighbor). I always look forward to visiting with him and talk about influences, from Frank Frazetta to Charles Harper. He hails from the Bay Area and I recommend his art highly.

Back to the sights! Here’s Deadpool and Alien vs. Thor… (Deadpool was the brother of my next-door table neighbor, author Cynthia Vespia)

Here’s Black Cat

Click to get right up in there!

…and slumber party variant of Harley Quinn. One of my favorite cosplayers at Reno Comic Con — take a look at her expression. SHE WAS REALLY INTO IT.

This gal built a FREAKIN’ TARDIS out of wood and rolled around the convention floor while inside. She got Karen Gillan (also a special guest) to climb in and autograph it.

And to wrap things up, on the last day, Ted Raimi stopped by the table to say hi.

In all, it was a terrific show and a great turn out… especially for Reno. I’m already looking forward to next year (also the third weekend in November). Thanks again to the Wizard World crew for making this happen!

Reno Comic Con— I know, right??

I never thought I’d see the day, but my old stomping grounds (and the birthplace of Cool Jerk and Doc Splatter) is hosting its very own comic convention this week.

Reno Comic Con — part of a series of conventions put on by Wizard World — will mark its debut in the Truckee Meadows this Friday through Sunday, Nov. 21-23. I’ve been given the status of “Special Guest” so that means I can show up drunk and take anything I want from other people’s tables. Crazy, right? Home team has its privileges!

Last time I had a book signing in Reno was 2011, and since then I’ve released Cool Jerk Vol. 4: Thinkulus. So all of you completionists will certainly need to swing by my table to pick one up! Further, I’ll have all sorts of Cool Jerk effluvia you’d expect to see at a comic-con, such as Canvas Panels, t-shirts, sketchbooks, posters, buttons, stickers and my ever-grinnin’ mug. All items are going to be discounted so THIS IS DEFINITELY THE TIME TO SHOP! Nevada sales tax? I got your back— it’s all part of the price!

Click it to expand-a-size it!

Need some help getting there? Here’s a locator I whipped up while simultaneously placing an order at Port of Subs.

So bring your Christmas shopping list and some folding money (I also take credit cards) and come by the Cool Jerk outpost C-41 in Artists Alley, on the far right side of Hall 2. I expect to see a bunch of friendly, familiar faces… hope yours is one of them!

Friday, Nov. 21: 3pm-8pm
Saturday, Nov. 22: 10am-7pm
Sunday, Nov. 23: 11am-5pm

DOCtoberFest 2014 Day 31: “Willow Creek” (2014)

Not the sequel to "Willow" (1988).

I was duped.

Reviews on IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes made “Willow Creek” (2014) sound like the Citizen Kane of found-footage sasquatch movies. “‘Willow Creek?’ More like ‘Scary and the Hendersons!’” “From celebrated director Bobcat Goldthwait…” etc. Sounded like the perfect movie to wrap up DOCtoberFest 2014, so I rented it (Amazon) and watched it with Mrs. Doc Splatter and two Splatter Cadets James Not Jackson and Mrs. James Not Jackson.

It started out with some promise. A filmmaking boyfriend and his good-natured girlfriend drive up to Trinity National Forest and start interviewing locals in and around Willow Creek about the Patterson-Gimlin sasquatch film from 1967 and I’m such a bigfoot nerd/phobe that I didn’t even need to fact check any of this sentence. But if you’re looking for tense, edge-of-your-seat thrills and frights, you’re better off with “The Blair Witch Project.” Why? Because this scene wasn’t in “Blair Witch.”


Here’s Jim and Kelly listening to something outside their tent. Not very captivating, right? Well, amplify that by 20 MINUTES. That’s how long the four of us sat, watching them in their goddamned tent, in one long, unbroken shot. The Jackson cadets were imploring them to leave the tent and get killed by sasquatch TO PUT US OUT OF OUR MISERY.

Do we get a sasquatch attack? Not really. Do Jim and Kelly meet a grisly end? I think that’s implied. Will I ever go camping? Not on your life.

This movie had the potential for an A or a B+, but The Doc has to give it a D for lack of payoff and pissing off the entire audience. Available via Amazon rental.

This has been DOCtoberFest 2014. Thanks for reading, commenting and suggesting movies to watch. I hope you enjoyed yourself and hope you have a terrif* Halloween!

(*short for both “terrific” and “terrifying”).

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