Saturday, August 18, 2007

Best Convention Sketch Ever

As I teased about earlier, we had the incredible good fortune to have renowned comic artist Gene Ha ask Vicki and I if we'd like to pay $20 (to charity) to have him sketch us as our favourite superheroes. At the time he asked, I didn't know who he was (he had a professional name badge on with tiny print on it, but then again, so did the two of us, thanks to being on the Silver Age Trivia Panel!) Since it seemed like a fun thing to do, I said, "Sure!" (one of the best snap decisions I've made in a long time).

We paid our money, and were quizzed about who we'd like to be in the picture. I immediately opined that Vicki had to be Supergirl, since no one else compares in the heroine department! (In hindsight, we should've picked Wonder Woman, since the hair colour would've been right... but the pressure was on!) She agreed, and he set to sketching her. He'd only been at it about a minute before I realized he wasn't just some schmuck raising money for charity by doodling... the first few lines he drew looked exactly like Vicki! At that point, I leaned closer, ostensibly to see the developing image better, but really so that I could finally read the small print on his badge. That's when I learned it was Gene Ha, pencil artist on (among other things) Alan Moore's amazing Top Ten series of awhile back! At that point, I got a little more excited!

Eventually we had to pick a superhero for me, and all I could think to say was, "Well, you can never go wrong with Superman!" The three of us had already discussed how few heroes in the comics have beards, and that there's no point picking someone who wears a mask! I didn't think at the time about the yeek factor of having Supergirl and Superman in love (they're first cousins, after all) but even in hindsight it doesn't really matter. The picture just turned out so beautifully! Vicki and I both decided, partway along, that this was no $20 sketch being produced, and so we added more money to the jar. (The charity in question was The Hero Initiative, which raises money to help retired comic professionals pay their bills, since most of them worked, without any kind of pension or safety net, during the 40s through 70s. This group was previously known as ACTOR - A Commitment To Our Roots - and is one we've donated money to at past conventions.)

All through the period in which Gene was sketching us, the three of us were chatting about where we'd lived - both he and Vicki have Michigan roots - and what sort of projects he has coming up in the comic world. He was nothing but friendly, open and funny... exactly the traits you hope to discover in someone whose work you've admired from afar, if you're ever lucky enough to meet them. This was definitely one of the best experiences of that sort that I've ever had.


Peter J. said...

"Ha!" indeed. Good likenesses.

Jimmy said...

That's awesome!!!

AgileBoy said...

You're a little too buff in that to be believable. =)