Usually, I try not to geek out too much here on the BLog. After all, I have a reputation to uphold, seeing as how you all look up to me as the Ultimate Arbiter of Cool, and I wouldn’t want to devolve into a giggling puddle of sheer geekitude right here on the internets. But sometimes, it just can’t be helped.
A few years back, purely on a whim, I decided to start a sketchbook at Baltimore, a sketchbook dedicated only to members of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Yes, yes, I know — trés geeky. Whatever. Shut up.
Once I stopped living near Baltimore, though, it became a hassle to schlep the sketchbook to the con each year, so I stopped. This year, though, I decided to go ahead and bring it. And boy am I glad I did!
First of all, I met Yale Stewart, the artist and writer of the charming and adorable JL8 comic strip, which imagines the Justice League in kindergarten. It’s cute and fun, and Yale was kind enough to draw a Saturn Girl for me:
But then, amazingly, I was fortunate enough to meet José Luis Garcia-López.
Now, you may not be familiar with his name, but odds are you’re familiar with his work. Odds are, in fact, that you’ve seen Garcia-López’s work many, many times in your life. You see, Mr. Garcia-López — since the 1970s — has been the “official model sheet” for the DC Universe. If in your childhood you ever owned a lunchbox or underwear or a notebook or a sippy cup or whatever bearing the likeness of a DC superhero, the odds are extremely high that it was drawn by José Luis Garcia-López.
Click here and you’ll see what I mean…
Mr. Garcia-López was doing small sketches in the little half-size sketchbook he was selling at the show. But for me, he was kind enough to draw a full-size sketch in my sketchbook instead. Since his Superman is legendary, I was tempted to break my “Legionnaires only” rule, but settled on a compromise and asked him for Superboy. He delivered:
He was also selling some original art, and I couldn’t resist owning a piece of history. I spied this piece on his table and had to have it. To me, it is DC Comics. I bumped into mega-star Mark Waid at the con and showed him this piece and he was similarly blown away:
(Warning! HUGE image!)
Isn’t that just beautiful? And best of all, it’s actually two pieces of art in one. The image is drawn on vellum, so when you turn it over, you see…
(Warning! Another huge image!)
I was wondering why he would rework the same image on the back and then I showed it to an artist friend, who reminded me that this is a very common technique — artists draw on vellum, then flip the image. When the image is reversed, it allows the eye to see errors that would otherwise go unnoticed, and then the original can easily be traced and corrected.
“Because clearly,” my friend said drily, “he really botched it the first time.”
Some gorgeous artwork and great memories. Can’t ask for more at a comic-con!
Next up: New York!
- The sole exception: last year, when I was deathly ill.↩