Big Apple Comic Con, held last weekend at Pier 94 in New York City, was my last convention of the year, and it was great to be able to go out on a high note.

Thanks to all of the Evil Inc henchmen who showed up in force to say hello to me in Artist’s Alley. You guys always make these shows amazing!

The henchmen…

Special thanks go to henchmen Luke Foster and Mike Ciccotello. Luke was kind enough to man the Evil Inc table while I made a run to the Greyhound Bus Terminal for a late shipment of books, and Mike watched the table on Sunday while I did a little souvenir shopping for my boys. Both men have webcomics that I highly recommend, but Mike, sadly, has put his comic, Schoolhouse Daze, on indefinite hiatus while he works on some other projects. Luke’s Moon Freight 3 is a three-day-a-week comic about a lunar cargo-inspection station that is written with a really nice sarcastic bite that I appreciate.

My good neighbor, Mike Choi…

As you’ve heard me say in the How To Make Webcomics book and in the podcast, part of having a good show is having good neighbors, and I had a great one in Marvel artist Mike Choi. Choi is a top-flight artist, and as such, drew a heckuva crowd at times. But, even though it’s an incredibly delicate thing for an exhibitor to do, he always politely encouraged any crowds that gathered to queue around the other corner so they wouldn’t block my table (he was at the end of the aisle, so there was no one to block on the other side). It’s a small thing, but it showed that this guy is both a skillful draftsman and an all-around gentleman.

My host, Chris Giarusso, and friends…

Another thing that made my trip to New York so enjoyable was the fact that Chris Giarusso, Jacob Chabot and their roommate Mark Hugo welcomed me into their apartment to spare me a daily trip to and from Philly on the Greyhound bus. You know Chris from Mini Marvels as well as from his creator-owned series, G-Man, which I highly recommend. A five-issue series is currently being offered through Image Comics, and it is everything a humor comic should be: sharply illustrated with punchlines that kill. Jacob’s well-known for his amazing Skullboy Army, and his current project, the highly-recommended X-Babies, is in comic shops right now. I’ve only recently become aware of Jacob’s work, and I’m really glad that I have. The guy is just hitting ’em out of the park.

So, basically, I was immersed in comics 24-hours-a-day while I was in New York — with some guys whose work I really respect and admire. After the show Friday and Saturday, Chris and Jacob were kind enough to invite me along to dinners with their old friends (and my new friends) X-Babies writer Gregg Schigiel, Tim Smith 3, Laurie B and Kandrix Foong.

Gregg made sure that out-of-towners like Laurie, Kandrix and me got great opportunities to sample uniquely Manhattan flavors while we were out, hitting John’s Pizza, Katz’s Deli, Rice to Riches and Junior’s Restaurant. Chris, for his part, indulged my abiding love for diner food with a couple trips to the Neptune Diner in Queens for breakfast.

The Big News…

Of course, the news of the weekend was dominated by the announcement that Wizard Entertainment CEO Gareb Shamus has scheduled Big Apple Comic Con for the same, exact weekend as Reed Exhibition’s New York Comic Con. This, of course, is a move that hurts everybody. The exhibitors and comics professionals, who benefit from two major conventions in the New York area, will have to choose between the two. Retailers will have to decide whether to split their stock between two shows (and deal with the logistics of staffing both simultaneously). And the fans will have to decide which show they want to attend — unless they decide to hit both, in which case, they’re liable to have very little money left over to purchase very much. Currently, the Evil Inc Reader Poll on the topic stands with over 95% of the respondents feeling this was a bad decision on the part of Wizard Entertainment.

If it helps you plan, I will be at New York Comic Con.

The homecoming…

Of course, as much fun as I had in New York, when all the dust settled, it was nice to get on that train and head for home. It was a homecoming made even nicer by my seven-year-old son. See, he was talking to his mother Sunday afternoon, and became concerned that I might be hungry when I came home. He wanted to make me a lasagna, he said, and have it hot-and-steaming on the table when I walked in the door.

His idea.

So, under his mother’s supervision, he did just that, browning the meat, boiling the noodles, layering the ingredients, seasoning the dish and setting the oven.

I kid you not, it was the best lasanga I’ve ever had.

It’s kinda nice when you push away from the dinner table and your heart is as full as your tummy.

The photos…

Finally, thanks to henchman Mike Ciccotello, here are some photos from the convention. Click on the thumbnails to see the full-sized, uncropped pics. And, yes, that’s Scott Adsit, who plays Pete Hornberger on NBC’s 30 Rock. He’s not an Evil Inc fan, rather he was there to see the artists exhibiting across the aisle, but he was nice enough to pose for a photo with 30 Rock fan Mike.