To Comic-Con and Back

San Diego Snapshots

Above top: Saturday night’s Gays in Comics panel featured both LGBT comics creators and nongay creators whose comics work includes LGBT characters. On the panel from left to right are yours truly, Tim Fish, Dan Parent, Charles "Zan" Christensen, Geoff Johns, Marjorie M. Liu, Daniel Way, and Jim McCann.

Above inset: Andy Mangels (organizer and moderator of the Gays in Comics panel), Roger Klorese and me seen posing during one of my signings at my home away from home on the Comic-Con floor, the Prism Comics booth.

I got home from Comic-Con International in San Diego a week and a half ago. How was it? The short answer is: I had loads of fun.

Want more details? Sigh. Maybe later. This week I’ve been swamped. But I can at least decorate today’s blog these snapshots taken during the five-day extravaganza by Prism Comics Event Chair Ted Abenheim.

Above: Ted (in the orange tee-shirt) handed off his camera to someone else briefly so that he could be in at least one shot himself. Tireless Ted took way more photos than I have room to show here; if you want to see a few hundred more of his Comic-Con images, check out these Flickr pages.

Above: Me chatting with Dan Parent, the writer/artist behind Kevin Keller, that new gay character in Archie comics that you’ve been hearing about.

Above: Me renewing my acquaintance with Jeff Krell, creator of the Jayson series and an early contributor to Gay Comix.

Above: Me enjoying one of the numerous interesting conversations I got to have with readers of my stuff.

Behind the Wheel Again

Some of you are doubtlessly wondering how Eddie is doing now that his Great Kidney Adventure is several weeks behind us. Well, he is now on his feet again and as of today has even had his ban on driving officially lifted. Hooray!

Eddie still has sporadic stabs of abdominal pain to deal with, especially when he bends or twists in inadvisable ways, and his energy level has yet to fully rebound. But on the whole my hubby seems to be progressing as well as anyone who has had a surgeon slicing him open and jerking his vital organs out of their normal locations recently has a right to expect.

And at least he can get out of the house on his own like a grown-up again.

Mark Martin Framed

Mark Martin is a super-talented Berkshire County cartoonist whose work I had already begun admiring decades before I learned that he and I are fellow Birminghamians who at this point in our lives live not that far from each other. (See the blog entry I posted three years ago about my first face-to-face encounter with Mark.)

If you live in or near Pittsfield you’ll be interested to know that Mark’s cartoons are currently being featured in an exhibit called Comic and Cartoon Art Comes Alive: The Art of Mark Martin, which is now on view at the Storefront Artists Project (124 Fenn Street) in Pittsfield. If you’re like me and find it gratifying to spend time with an artist who really knows how to go crazy on paper, you should be sure and check out this show before it closes on August 29.

Above: Mark gets zany for Facebook.

At the opening reception of Mark’s exhibit show, as it happens, I found myself unexpectedly invited to participate in an on-location live streamcast of Geeks With Issues that had set itself up in the Storefront Artists window. A lively discussion ensued, largely about southern accents and automotive mishaps rather than cartooning.

Above: My Geeks With Issues moment. Seen from left to right are"Geekmaster" Matthew "Tuck" Tucker, Mark, and myself, gabbing away about … whatever.

(SIDE NOTE: The photo above was taken by my sound engineer pal Jason Brown of BMA Audio, whose newest audio book, I should mention, is Edith Wharton on Audio Volume 1.)

Denis Kitchen:
Secret Cartoonist

Above: The handsomely designed new collection of Denis Kitchen cartoons and the cartoonist himself..

As an old underground comix creator who got his first big break thanks to a publisher named Denis Kitchen, I find The Oddly Compelling Art of Denis Kitchen exhilarating. I’ve long known that Denis was a terrific cartoonist whose talents were being overshadowed through most of his adult life by his acumen and taste as a publisher—not only of the underground comix that put him and his company, Kitchen Sink Press, on the national map, but also of beautifully packaged compilations that showcased classic mainstream cartoonists like Al Capp, Ernie Bushmiller, Milton Caniff, and others. And his role in introducing new generations to phenomenal creators like Will Eisner and Harvey Kurtzman is legendary.

For all that, this book is a reminder that the guy can draw really, really funny pictures. Thank you, Dark Horse Books, for pulling together Denis’s obscure but fascinating paper trail of cartoons into such an enjoyable coffee table art book. It makes me want to be a cartoonist again!

Adding to the fun is Charles Brownstein‘s interesting essay about Denis’s life and career, which filled in many gaps in my understanding of the man’s remarkable professional arc. Besides telling me lots of new stuff about Denis himself, Brownstein’s profile amounts to a rich nostalgia trip for me personally, a reminder of all the youthful excitement I felt when my characters first began gaining national visibility in the comix that Denis put out.

Meeting Mr. Bell

Above: Blake Bell peppering me with questions during my "Spotlight on Howard Cruse" event.

Back in 2002 Blake Bell authored a book of comics-related conversations called "I Have to Live With This Guy!" The unusual thing about Blake’s book was that this time it wasn’t us cartoonists being interviewed; it was our spouses. And Eddie was the star of Chapter Ten.

A number of phone conversations between Eddie and the author went into the composition of that interview, and I even spoke to Blake a few times myself. But I never met the man face-to-face until two-weeks ago, when he served as the interviewer for my "Spotlight on Howard Cruse" program at Comic-Con.

Above: Blake Bell peppering me with questions in San Diego.

It was great getting attention lavished on me in front of an audience by an interviewer who was as knowledgeable about my work as Blake is. But I was also aware that Blake’s main mission in San Diego this year was promoting his newest book, a biography of comics great Bill Everett.

I don’t have a cover shot of Fire and Water: Bill Everett, The Sub-Mariner, and the Birth of Marvel Comics handy, unfortunately, but you’ll find a great picture of it here. As you can see, it’s due for release soon.

Hey, here’s stuff of mine that you can buy!
Click a cover below to learn about my latest books.
…and click here to visit my
Cruse Goodies merchandise shop
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About Howard

I'm a cartoonist and writer, best known for my graphic novel, Stuck Rubber Baby, and my comic strip from the 1980s, Wendel.
This entry was posted in A Tip o' the Hat, Books in my Bookcase, Family & Friends, Home Life, Life & Art, Me, Me, Me!. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to To Comic-Con and Back

  1. Best to Eddie and a prompt and full recovery!

    Seems the best way to attend the San Diego Comic Con, these days, is to be a guest. I went there twice, way back in 77 and 78, and from all reports, it’s exploded from what it was back then. Sounds like you had fun.

    I’m looking forward to the Everett book by Blake Bell. His Ditko one was excellent, and Everett is an artist I’ve been fascinated with, even when, as a kid, I hated his style! And his inking over Kirby in some THOR issues is a visual feast, complete with cryptic hidden messages.

  2. So glad Eddie is feeling better. Onward!