Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sweet Home Chicago

Now I know where I am! Cory and I are in Chicago. Right now, we are visiting my family in the north shore suburbs. We're here for their respective birthdays--which fall exactly two weeks apart. It's going to be my Mom's 80th (as seen above in front of a few of my pieces) and my Dad's 93rd.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Where Am I Anyway?

Whew...what a week. On Monday I went and visited Xavier Leonard at the Heads On Fire Fab Lab in San Diego. Tuesday I had lunch with Fae Desmond, Executive Director of Comic Con International at Filippi's Pizza Grotto on India Street, my favorite San Diego eatery since my first SC Con in '85. (If I remember correctly, one year, Dandy Don Simpson and I ate there every night of the con. And that was the place where Don got the idea for his wacky paper hats!)

Tomorrow Cory and I are heading to Chicago for a week to do family stuff.

Yes, I know the teaser is late. Well...the above is a slice of something-coming up.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Back From Vegas and a McCloud Clan Afternoon

Me with the McCloud clan at Meltdown Comics.

The ComicsPRO conference was a lot of fun.The Graphitti Designs presentation seemed to havegotten the message across that was desired. It's good to be back in the comic book saddle again.
The hotel, Texas Station, was totally surreal. It had a theme that was somewhat western cross pollinated with a Victorian train station motif. I've never been in Las Vegas and seen the casino bars and restaurants shut down. I failed to take any pictures but Jeff Smith did so maybe they will turn up on Boneville one of these days.

Yesterday, I met the McCloud clan at Canter's Deli for lunch. We did some quick shopping across the across the street at Family, and sped off to say hello to Bryan Lee O'Malley who was signing Scott Pilgrim books at Meltdown Comics.
Scott Pilgrim just got optioned for a movie at Universal--so I have my fingers crossed for him.
Also met Hope Larsen for the first time. She had the most amazing home-made portable drawing board travelling kit I've ever seen. Didn't get a good picture of it though

Bryan Lee O'Malley looking thrilled to meet the old Beanworld guy.

The McCloud clan (plus Sky's friend, Kendra) with Hope Larsen.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Hello I Must Be Going!

Back in the old days that are being written about on Boneville , my friend, Rick Veitch always used to say, "When Larry Marder goes silent--it usually means he's up to something interesting."

Well, I have been. Some of it I can talk about, some of it I can't--yet. Some of it I can hint at. All of it is good.
I'm wrapping up a presentation project for Graphitti Designs that will be given at the ComicsPRO gathering in Las Vegas at the end of this week. In fact, as soon as I'm done posting, it's out the door, into the car, and Bob Chapman and I will be hitting the road. (He gets to play Raoul Duke today and I'm Dr. Gonzo).

As a lot of you may know, I love contemplating, writing, and creating marketing projects intended to sell things in the comic book specialty marketplace. Bob Chapman is a great client to collaborate with.
And working with him has been a great warm-up for the Beanworld presentation I'm going to give @ Stumptown Comics Fest next month. It should be a good one!
Now the picture above. It's quite the historical photo. It was taken at WonderCon and it documents the actual moment when I gave away the first FREE Beanworld Action in almost a decade at a comic book convention. The first customer was none other than Bob Schreck of DC Comics who just happened to be walking by. (Actually, now that I look at it, maybe it's more of an hysterical documentation!)

Now . speaking of Beanworld Action Figures, we can segue into this week's Tantalizing Teaser, which is a day late (but hopefully not a dime short.)

Here it is:

This shows two sides of the same Beanworld Action Figure made out of a pizza box on a small laser cutter in the Fab Lab in Sustainable South Bronx, the incredible community organization founded by Majora Carter.

(The drawing of the shape was digitally drawn by someone else--who had never seen or heard of me, Beanworld, let alone a Beanworld Action Figure before and was following me tracing a finger in the air. Not a bad job at all!)

What's a Fab Lab?

Fab Labs are an outgrowth of a class that Neil Gershenfeld taught at MIT: "How to make (almost) anything."

He explains it far better than I can in this video.
Read about Fab Labs here.
Also the Fab Charter is worth a read. why is Larry Marder mixed in with all these amazing folks and organizations?

Well....let's just say:

Fab Labs bring out the Professor Garbanzo in me!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A Few Personal Thoughts About Dave Stevens

I was on the road when the news of Dave Steven's untimely passing flashed through the world of comics like a raging wildfire.
I really liked Dave. I did not know him that well--but he was a very good friend of many of my very good friends. And he spent several years at Eclipse Comics when I was on board at that publishing concern--both as Beanworld creator and a behind-the-scenes marketing consultant.
Dave was the first person that said that Beanworld Action Figures had "little faces." Which struck me as interesting because they were just little dabs of ink. He was such an incredibly gifted renderer, but he "got" what I was doing. I appreciated that.
He was not only an amazing artist he was also incredibly humble and gracious. I was at some convention or another when the comic book (or perhaps the catalog solicitation) sporting the cover with the above illustration showed up and Eclipse editor-in-chief, cat yronwode, and I were marveling at it when Dave strolled up and cat gave him a look-see.
I will never forget his reaction.
He said, "Oh dear. I could have done better. I left way too much purple on my brush."
I'm not the first to observe that Dave truly didn't seem to appreciate his own incredible talent. But the rest of us did.
I know he had a long, hard struggle the last few years and I hope he rests in peace.
He will definitely be remembered by a multitude of people who just adored the man and his work.

Monday, March 10, 2008

History Of The Beanworld Action Figure!

Shield Albright sent this photo with the following comment:
"These are a mix of authentic 1996 and 1997 San Diego Comic Con beanworld action figures."

Chapter 9

I can't even imagine how many Beanworld Action Figures I made and distributed between 1985 and 1999, when Beanworld retired from the convention scene.

In 1993, I became Executive Director of Image Comics. (The who/what/where/whens/ and whys of that particular change in my life are a different story for a different time.) But part of my deal with the Image Partners was that I could still maintain a Beanworld presence at comic book conventions. So, yes, for six years I would somehow talk to Beanworld fans and conduct Beanworld business simultaneously out of the Independent Artists Pavilion at Comic Con.

Okay...that's not quite true. I DO know how I managed to do that juggling act. My first table mate at Comic Con had been Scott McCloud, but the year that Winter McCloud was born, the McClouds were unable to attend Comic Con. I needed someone to share a table with and Cory suggested Charles Brownstein--editor of Feature magazine.

In my Beanworld creator craziness, I always insisted on making my own Beanworld Action Figures. I always believed I could tell any Beanworld Action Figure that I had made apart from ones that had been made by anyone else. Charles studied how I made them, the positions of the eyes, the length and width of the pen stroke. Charles was very capable of making a Beanworld Action Figure that looked exactly like one of mine. So I caved into his pragmatism and allowed him to start making replacement Beanworld Action Figures as they day's supply would start running short. Sometimes Charles Brownstein, Cory, and I would be making them as fast as we could to keep up with the demand. Some years at a show like San Diego Comic-Con we would go through 7 or 8 bags of Great Northern Limas. Luckily for us there was a Ralph's supermarket close to the convention center.
Taking a look at the Beanworld Action Figures in the photo above--all of those figures sure look like I made them all!

So, imagine my surprise when in 1999 I found myself the President of a genuine action figure company! \
What an ironic turn of events that was.
After all those years of thumbing my nose at the action figure craze with my silly little Beanworld figures--I was smack dab in the middle of the toy maelstrom!
I was in the eye of that hurricane for eight years.
Then I wasn't.
After eight years of being immersed in the milieu of two-ups, tooling patterns, paint masters, test shots, debugging, testing, slow boats from China, and damages--I'm glad to recognize that the only thing I have to worry about next convention is the current price of a bag of dried lima beans!
Next chapter--the Triumphant Return of the Beanworld Action Figures at Wonder Con!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

No. I'm not missing in action!

But it probably feels like I am.

I am on the road until Wednesday.

I'm in a "no-wireless-here" situation and I'm writing this on a friend's Mac and all my pictures and files are PC--and it's late on Sunday night and I'm too confuddled from the time change AND travel to try to figure out how do ANYthing other than post this place holder.

I may not be able to post much of anything of a visual fashion until I get home on Wednesday.

Fear not...I shall return!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Tuesday's Tantalizing Teaser

My good friend, Jason Gonzalez, seems to have gone time traveling and found this strangely familiar looking vegetable can label.

Not sure if it's from the past or the future.

But it reminds me that I still haven't told the "Secret Origin of the Legend of Pop! Pop! Pop!" that I keep promising to tell.

As soon as I finish the History of the Beanworld Action Figure, I'll try to get around to it!