Showing posts with label San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC). Show all posts
Showing posts with label San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC). Show all posts

Monday, July 14, 2014

PR: WCG Comics Kicks Off 20th Anniversary Celebration at San Diego Comic-Con

For Immediate Release

WCG Comics Kicks Off 20th Anniversary Celebration at San Diego Comic-Con

Rob Hanes Adventures #15 also to Debut at the Show


Rob Hanes Adventures #15 will debut at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con, July 24–27. To pick up the issue, visit WCG Comics at exhibitor's booth K1 in the Small Press Area (off aisle 1400). This is WCG’s 11th consecutive appearance at Comic-Con as an exhibitor and 17th time overall since 1993 when the Small Press Area debuted.

In addition to the new issue, WCG also kicks off its 20th anniversary celebration at Comic-Con, making it one of the longest-running indie comics titles. In 1994, WCG officially opened for business, releasing Adventure Strip Digest #1 that year, the series’ original title. (Adventure Strip Digest ran four issues and was re-booted in 2000 as Rob Hanes Adventures. These early four issues have been collected as a trade paperback, Rob Hanes Adventures, Volume 0.)

“It’s been a real labor of love, working on this series and trying to capture the excitement and feel of the newspaper adventures trips I admire so much,” said Reynaldo. “I’m proud to say that many of the fans of Rob Hanes Adventures have been with the series since the very beginning, who look forward to each issue, and every year more people discover or re-discover it. I know it’s always a challenge for a series to succeed when issues come out so irregularly, so the patience and support I’ve received for the series over the years is incredibly gratifying.”

Inspired by the classic adventure comic strips like Milton Caniff's Terry and the Pirates and Roy Crane's Buz Sawyer but set in the modern day — with dashes of light-hearted humor reminiscent of Will Eisner's Spirit — readers and fans alike have lauded Rob Hanes Adventures for carrying on the spirit of the classic adventure strip genre for modern day audiences.

Click here for the previous press release announcing Rob Hanes Adventures #15 and to see a preview.

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Rob Hanes Adventures #14 Now Available

Below is a press release announcing that Rob Hanes Adventures #14 is now available for purchase online. Click here to see the official press release at the WCG Comics website.


Rob Hanes Adventures #14 Now Available

Digital Bonus Comic-Book Also Available for Download

Click here to go directly to accompanying photos and images

Cover to Rob Hanes Adventures #14Following a profile at Wired magazine's and being mentioned on an episode of Publishers Weekly's "More to Come" podcast during coverage of the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con, WCG Comics announced that issue 14 of its long-running flagship title, Rob Hanes Adventures, is now available at its website. The release follows its debut at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con.

In recent years, new issues of Rob Hanes Adventures have been traditionally released at the San Diego Comic-Con, followed by the availability of the issue at its website. The book is also solicited to retailers in advance of Comic-Con.

In issue 14, globetrotting troubleshooter Rob Hanes travels to the (fictional) Middle East country of Koman at the request of the CIA to bodyguard an exiled princess in the hopes her presence can spark the overthrow of the country’s military dictator, General Amra. A long simmering romantic triangle involving Amra, the Princess, and the head of the insurgent coalition, however, complicates the looming threat of civil war. Koman has been a recurring part of the series since its beginning in the 1990s, so the story closes the chapter on a long-running story arc. Entitled “Regime Change,” the story continues the series’ “ripped from the headlines” approach and was influenced in part by the tumultuous changes overtaking the Middle East.

As a special bonus, a digital copy of Adventure Strip Digest #1, the first issue of the series’ original 4-issue run before being re-launched as Rob Hanes Adventures, has been made available for download at the WCG Comics website.

“This digital release is a first for WCG Comics and a format I will definitely be exploring more in the future,” said WCG publisher and series writer-artist Randy Reynaldo. “I expect to make more announcements about our plans in digital format later this year!”

As noted above, Reynaldo was featured at the website on July 18 as part of the magazine's Comic-Con coverage. Reynaldo was approached for an interview prior to Comic-Con as part for a story the website was preparing of several small press publishers exhibiting at the show. The story is still available at the website.

In addition, comics writer and reviewer Tony Isabella recommended Rob Hanes Adventures during an interview conducted at Comic-Con, which aired in an episode of the Publishers Weekly "More to Come" podcast that posted during the convention on July 19.

“Getting this kind of press coverage during the show was a great boost and very exciting,” said Reynaldo. “They're great endorsements for the quality and longevity of the series, and what I have been trying to achieve with it.”

Inspired by classic adventure comic strips like Milton Caniff's Terry and the Pirates and Roy Crane's Buz Sawyer but set in the modern day — with dashes of light-hearted humor reminiscent of Will Eisner's Spirit — readers and fans alike have lauded Rob Hanes Adventures for recapturing the spirit of the classic adventure strip genre for modern day audiences.

Though themes and characters recur in the series, every story of Rob Hanes Adventures is self-contained. The entire series remains in print, including 14 issues to date and two trade paperback collections of earlier work. For more information about the series, previews and to purchase back issues, visit the WCG Comics website at


BELOW: Cover to Rob Hanes Adventures #14, which debuted at Comic-Con.

Cover to RH Adventures #14

: Cartoonist Scott McCloud with the latest issue of Rob Hanes Adventures #14.

Cartoonist Scott McCloud with Rob Hanes Adventures #14

BELOW: WCG Publisher Randy Reynaldo and comics writer Tony Isabella.

Randy Reynaldo and Tony Isabella

: WCG Publisher Randy Reynaldo and British television personality and comic-book writer Jonathan Ross
Randy Reynaldo and Jonathan Ross

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Monday, July 29, 2013

“As Featured on”

A Report on the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con... 

Click here for a slideshow of selected photos from this year's Comic-Con...

About the title of this year's report: prior to this year’s Comic-Con, a senior editor at contacted me with a request to interview me on Preview Night, when the show opens for a few hours the Wednesday evening before the official start of the show. After the interview, he told me the story would post the next day and would send me the link. I never received the follow up email and didn’t see the story, but when I returned home I found the story at the website. I guess I can now precede any mention of my comic-book with “as featured on"!

Scroll down to read my full report about the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con...

ABOVE: British entertainer and comics fan Jonathan Ross
I can't imagine there's an event as large and logistically complex as the San Diego Comic-Con that is as smoothly run and well organized. This year I had the opportunity to experience the show through the fresh eyes of friends of my brother (himself a longtime Comic-Con attendee), who were first-time attendees. They looked forward to their first Comic-Con with much anticipation and it was a pleasure to hear their reactions — they not only enjoyed themselves immensely, but their experience surpassed their wildest expectations. On the flip side, while strolling through the illustrators' booths on the far end of the floor, I overheard an older established artist, who described himself as “not a convention person,” tell a neighboring exhibitor that he found the show surprisingly fun and the fans exceedingly nice without any of the kind of “jerk fans” he said he sometimes encountered. So from the perspective of newbies — who said they quickly figured out how to navigate the show for maximum enjoyment — and a jaded professional at work behind a booth, the show was equally enjoyable.

As usual, my view of the show was limited to my corner booth in the Small Press Area of Hall B2 on the main floor. I’ve noted in the past that my presence at Comic-Con makes me no more privy to any of the special announcements and surprise appearances that occur during the convention than non-attendees, usually requiring me to check the usual entertainment/blog sites for news and announcements coming out of the show. (Hey, the Man of Steel sequel is actually going to feature Superman and Batman! Tom Hiddleston made a surprise appearance in character as Loki in Hall H!) But quoting more wiser souls, Comic-Con is what you make it and exists as a giant tent for people of all stripes and interests, regardless of whether it’s comics, films, television, books, animation, art, gaming, cosplaying, and more, where you often get to see the creative artists and stars both on the floor and at panels and appearances.

Comics writer Tony Isabella
Given the difficulty of getting a ticket to the event, everyone who attended was simply happy to be there to follow their bliss, whether it was sitting all day in one of the infamous cavernous halls to ensure seeing a panel later in the day, walking around looking for comics old and new, or meeting their favorite artists.

For years, Comic-Con-related programming both official and unofficial has gradually encompassed the surrounding local area, with companies taking over whole restaurants and storefronts during the entire show or for special events. The television show “Bates Motel” took over a storefront and parking lot, while the upcoming film, Ender’s Game, had a huge interactive tent across the street from the convention center. The videogame, "Assassin’s Creed," even had a full-size pirate ship docked in the marina behind the convention center! This year the show broadened its footprint even more, with some official Comic-Con business and events — like the pick-up of pre-ordered t-shirts — occurring off-site at neighboring hotels. The way most of the businesses in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter get into the spirit of Comic-Con reminded me that if the event moved to another city — as it nearly did last year when re-negotiating with the city — the show would lose a lot of the personality and character that San Diego gives it.

Sales for me at this year’s show were solid and on par with past shows. In addition to the regular longtime readers who stopped by to pick up the newest issue, I met many new fans who purchased a starter pack or the entire series. I’ve said this in past reports, but I can never tell what will compel someone to give Rob Hanes Adventures a try. While some say they love the classic/retro feel of my book, others read all kinds of comics and are simply happy to find something new and different. Some are stopped by me and eventually agree to purchase a sample starter pack, while others seem to “get” the series right away, quickly purchasing the entire series with little persuasion. And as usual, I had quite a few people “rediscover” me after not having seen me for several years and happily catch up on missing issues. Overall, people seemed more prepared to spend money compared to past years (perhaps reflecting the improving economy). Interestingly, although I’ve had the ability to accept credit card payments on my mobile phone thanks to Square, this year a significant number of my sales were with plastic — so thanks, Square!

A few other highlights:
  • Both my kids love to get into the spirit of things by trying to sell their own work. In fact, my son even sold a drawing for $8! (See photo at right.)
  • As always, I appreciated the fellow pros who stopped by to say hi, including comics writer and blogger Tony Isabella, who as a guest of the show was attending his first Comic-Con in 10 years and who plugged my book during a podcast interview he gave during the show; cartoonist Scott McCloud; Wolff & Byrd writer-artist Batton Lash; and Usagi Yojimbo writer-artist Stan Sakai. Another great thrill was meeting Tom Batiuk, the cartoonist who created and draws Funky Winkerbean and Crankshaft. I not only had the opportunity to tell him that I grew up on his work, but I also learned he actually was familiar with Rob Hanes Adventures from way back!
  • Spotting celebrities on the floor is also always something to watch out for at Comic-Con. Actor Tim Daly walked by my booth in casual conversation with a companion and, during most of the weekend, actor Sean Astin was signing at a booth all day just down the aisle from me. My family was thrilled to see Morgan Freeman on the floor and Grant Imahara from one of their favorite television shows, “Mythbusters.” A highlight for my children was the opportunity to see internet personalities Toby “Tobuscus” Turner and his partner, Gabe “Gabuscus” Buscus on a panel and, later, outside the convention hall where the children took pictures with them.
  • Two such encounters were particularly memorable. The first was British talk show host Jonathan Ross (pictured at the top of this post), whose work I first discovered online before seeing him on BBC America. While strolling through the Small Press Area, he briefly stopped at my table to look at my work, smiled and moved on. (I've since discovered that he loves comics and, in fact, has written some.) A beat later, I recognized him and mentioned it to a friend. My friend disagreed but, because I was insistent, followed him down the aisle for a better look and perhaps a chance to hear his voice. A few moments later, I spotted Ross again walking down the aisle and, breaking all personal decorum, yelled “Jonathan!” Ross turned and, again breaking with my usual modesty, I waved him over and when he approached, I quietly asked, “Are you Jonathan Ross?” He actually seemed tickled to be recognized, said yes, and said he liked my work because it reminded him of the “ligne clair” of HergĂ©, the artist of Tintin. When I asked if we could take a picture together, he was delighted to do so. 
With SNL cast member Bobby Moynihan
  • My other celebrity encounter was with “Saturday Night Live” cast member Bobby Moynihan. He too stopped at my booth and when he did so, I said, “I know you.” I asked if I could take a picture and, like Ross, he graciously did so. Though I kept our conversation quiet, I felt a bit guilty immediately afterwards that I had outed him like that rather than give him a chance to look at my book (or have me sell him on it), so a few moments after he moved on, I followed to hand him a free issue of my book, to which he replied, “Hey, thanks, man!”

I rarely attend panels anymore, partly because I need to be at my table during the show. The larger halls, some of which seat up to 6,000 people, are of course a whole different animal, usually requiring a full-day commitment if one expects to get into a specific panel. The line usually starts literally the day before — with people camped out over night. One friend stayed in the room from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. My family love hitting panels, though of course it takes advance planning.

I did get out on the floor during breaks briefly once or twice a day. Though I tend to try and walk most of the floor during these times, I tend to focus on looking at the comics dealers with new comics and graphic novels for sale, original art dealers, and the artists booths. Much of my exploration of the convention floor, however, is done in the early hours before the show opens when it’s quiet and peaceful, though nothing is open or for sale yet. It is at these times I usually scope out what I'm interested in buying so that, during the show, I can go to the booth directly and swiftly make the purchase. Now that my children are getting a little older, there have been some opportunities to participate in a few after-hours activities. This year, for the first time ever, I attended with my family part of the masquerade ball, basically a costume contest, which has been a Comic-Con tradition for many, many years. It's quite a Comic-Con experience, partly because you're sharing the experience with so many fellow geeks.

For some reason, the cosplaying didn't seem as impressive as in past years, though that may simply be the result of my being at the same location for much of the show. In fact, for the most part, the more subdued nature of the people in costume reflected the crowds and overall tone of the show for me. Given the scale of the show, it's surprisingly mellow and easy-going — even when the crowds were shoulder to shoulder. Not all the attendees are old hands like me and others, but it seems now to be an inherent part of the event's vibe that new attendees quickly pick up on. And that's a tribute both to the attendees and the organizers.

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Monday, July 8, 2013

Rob Hanes Adventures #14 to Debut at San Diego Comic-Con

Below is a press release regarding my upcoming appearance at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con. To see the official full release with all accompanying images, click here.

Visit WCG Comics at Booth K1 in the Small Press Area

WCG Comics will debut issue 14 of the long-running action-adventure series, Rob Hanes Adventures, at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con. To pick up the issue, purchase back issues, and meet series writer-artist Randy Reynaldo, visit WCG Comics at Booth K1 in the Small Press Area, off aisle 1500 near the back of the hall in Lobby B2. T-shirts, original art, button pins, and freebies will also be available.

Comic-Con is scheduled July 18-21, 2013 at the San Diego Convention Center. The show marks Reynaldo's 10th consecutive appearance at the San Diego Comic-Con — and 16th overall since 1993.

“Except the year I was on my honeymoon in 2000, I’ve attended Comic-Con every year since the mid-1980s,” said Reynaldo, who has produced the indy series since 1994 and, under its current title, since 2000. "I'm fortunate to have a very understanding wife and, now, two children who look forward to the show each year!”

Cover to Rob Hanes Adventures 14As announced in the issue's solicitation in May, the series takes the title character to the (fictional) Middle East country of Koman where the CIA asks him to bodyguard an exiled princess in the hopes her presence and ties to the local insurgent coalition will spark the overthrow of Koman's military dictator, General Amra. Koman has been a recurring part of the series since its beginning in the 1990s, so the story closes the chapter on a long-running story arc. Entitled “Regime Change,” the story continues the series’ “ripped from the headlines” approach and was influenced in part by the tumultuous changes overtaking the Middle East.

Inspired by classic adventure comic strips like Milton Caniff's Terry and the Pirates and Roy Crane's Buz Sawyer but set in the modern day — with dashes of light-hearted humor reminiscent of Will Eisner's Spirit — readers and fans have lauded Rob Hanes Adventures for recapturing the spirit of the classic adventure strip genre for modern day audiences.

Though themes and characters recur in the series, every story of Rob Hanes Adventures is self-contained. The entire series remains in print, including 14 issues to date and two trade paperback collections of earlier work. For more information about the series, previews and to purchase back issues, visit the WCG Comics at

Click here for the original press release about Rob Hanes Adventures #14, which includes preview pages from the issue. 

Or click here to go directly to a slideshow preview of Rob Hanes Adventures #14

For more information, visit the San Diego Comic-Con website.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Back on Planet Earth: 2012 San Diego Comic-Con Report

Below is my report on the San Diego Comic-Con with a few sample photos from the show. To see the full collection, visit my two photogalleries, divided into the Best and the Rest.

Now that I’ve unpacked, tallied inventory and sales, checked online to see what actually happened at the Comic-Con beyond the limited bubble of my exhibitor’s booth, and recovered somewhat from Comic-Con (though not entirely), I can safely say I’ve landed back on planet earth.

From a fan and Comic-Con perspective, the show was certainly another success. No matter your pop culture/geek interest, it was all there under one roof: Twilight; Star Wars; Firefly; television ranging from BBC America’s Dr. Who to AMC’s Walking Dead; previews of films like Django Unchained, Oz, the Man of Steel, and the Hobbit; gaming; books; and costuming/cosplay. Now that the convention has hit its attendance limit, the people fortunate enough to attend are now old hands at navigating the show, so I was struck by how generally pleasant and mellow everyone was, even when the crowds and lines seemed otherwise overwhelming.

And despite complaints each year about how comics have been pushed to the fringes at its own party with Hollywood’s deep pockets dominating the show, there were nevertheless plenty of comics and comics-related product to be found for anyone so inclined: mainstream publishers like DC, Marvel, Image, IDW, and Dark Horse; indie and small press publishers like myself; artists; boutique graphic novel publishers like First Second, Scholastic and Top Shelf; back issue dealers; and both high end and original art dealers. It’s strange, however, that Comic-Con splits its contingent of comic-book dealers and artists in half by placing them on opposite ends of the concourse, often making it difficult to easily traverse to the other side since the large entertainment industry booths and the crowds they attract sit intimidatingly in the middle.

Comic-Con physically outgrew the convention center years ago and has been steadily creeping out into the surrounding area with ancillary events, both official and unofficial, with restaurants, bars and empty storefronts booked for the duration. This year it seemed even moreso—alternative events even welcomed people who were shut out of the show. An article in the Los Angeles Times noted how some people come down to Comic-Con just to attend parties and/or do business without ever stepping inside the convention center.

As far as sales, it was a solid but not spectacular showing for me, boosted by my sale of some original art. It’s been observed for several years now that regular comics fans have become an endangered species at Comic-Con—ironically, as the event has become more popular and grown, it’s become more exclusive. Obtaining a golden ticket to the event has become a lottery, with many longtime attendees of Comic-Con squeezed out. It’s been many years since I could automatically assume anyone stopping by my booth was a potential customer who read comics.

Of course, in addition to growing my audience, a major reason I continue exhibiting at Comic-Con is because of the fans who have been following the book for many years and make a point of stopping at my booth—sometimes making me their first stop—to say hi and pick up the latest issue. Their ongoing support and patience—especially given the long draught between issues—is amazing and humbling. It was great to see these old friends, many of whose photos you'll see in the photogalleries of this year's show and last.

Having said that, foot traffic around the comics areas seemed consistently heavy. But keeping in mind that sales can often vary greatly by exhibitor, the Comics Beat reported that comics publishers and artists reported slow sales, a trend echoed by Tom Spurgeon at the Comics Reporter who has observed “a noticeable diminishing of monied comics buyers” at Comic-Con. Several well known cartoonists even made news by announcing they planned not to return to Comic-Con (or at least have a table).

Aside from changing demographics, with so much to see and buy, it’s possible that people are simply being selective about their purchases. Indeed, in observing and speaking to other publishers around me, it’s clear that selling comics is simply not enough—many resort to ancillary products to supplement sales and attract people to their booth. (One fellow publisher had the foresight to prepare colored drawn prints of the Hunger Games cast for fans—he confessed that he didn’t like using another company’s property to generate sales, but felt he had little choice given the realities of the convention.)

This is the reality of Comic-Con—there is a LOT competing for people’s attention at the convention and one has to find a way to cut through the noise in one's assigned tiny corner of the Comic-Con universe. I’ve never been comfortable as a salesman, but it would be naive to think that the quality of the work will sell itself—indeed, I attribute my improved sales of the past few years to my willingness to be a bit more proactive (aggressive is too strong a word) in getting people to simply stop and look at my book. Occasionally, people do still drop dead in their tracks when they see my booth then walk over with the kind of excited look that says my work is the comic-book series they’ve waited for their entire life, but these experiences are fewer and far between. I often wonder how many people attend Comic-Con who might otherwise latch onto my series but never see my booth due to the sheer size of the show.

And Now for Something Completely Different...

Perhaps one of my most surreal moments at Comic-Con this year was actor Shia LeBeouf hanging out his shingle at the small press booth immediately behind me to give away free copies of his own self-published book, something he had done at another comic-book convention earlier this year. I noticed some activity and commotion at the booth behind me and, wondering what small presser rated that kind of attention, decided to take a look for myself and saw the actor. Noticing he was handing out his book and taking pictures with fans, I asked my wife if she wanted a picture with him, resulting in the photo at right. After a surprisingly quiet lull, the crowd suddenly turned into a mob, with my booth and me now part of the security phalanx around the actor. As soon as he ran out of books, security whisked him away.

But perhaps even more surreal than that was having dinner one table over from actor Larry Thomas—best known as the Seinfeld show's Soup Nazi—and his family at the restaurant on site at the hotel where I stayed. (No, I didn’t know his name, I googled him a few moments ago to preserve some of his dignity.) He likely was at Comic-Con to sign autographs. Also saw actor Seth Green and Simpsons’ creator Matt Groening on the floor. Also saw DC co-publishers Jim Lee and Dan DiDio relaxing at the DC Comics booth early one morning before the start of the show.

For the first time in years (decades?) I stayed at a hotel significantly beyond walking distance of the convention center, at Hotel Circle, a few miles out. Rising hotel prices finally priced me out of the Gaslamp District. Fortunately, Comic-Con has multiple shuttle routes that go throughout the city—including Hotel Circle. And for the first time ever they ran the shuttles around-the-clock during the show. This came in very handy on Sunday, because my usual routine is to park in the lot beneath the convention center when it opens at 5 a.m. to ensure a spot that will make loading up my car at the end of the show convenient (I then return to my hotel. For the same reasons, I departed L.A. at 4:30 in the morning the day before the convention to set up my booth, arriving at 6:20 a.m.)

I must give credit to the effort of the organizers to respond quickly to the demand for shuttles. Shuttles during the busiest times of day were scheduled on paper to run every 15 minutes, but it was clear they ran more when needed. I recall getting on line for the shuttle back to my hotel at 10 p.m. and being disheartened by the length of the line which, at the 30-minute shuttle interval at that hour, would have taken hours to serve. However, when the staff saw the length of the line, they immediately diverted four buses to the route. In the mornings, the convention was obviously running buses one after another, only a couple minutes apart, to minimize the wait. (Wednesday afternoon turned into a gridlocked traffic nightmare, however, since one of the hotels on Hotel Circle was designated an off-site registration area.)

Because I’m primarily attending Comic-Con as an exhibitor and not a fan, I rarely go to any of the panels anymore (aside from some occasional panels targeted at publishers), let alone the larger entertainment industry presentations. Having said that, this is the first time I recall that I never stepped foot inside a panel room while at Comic-Con. I would loved to have attended the Warner Brothers’ panel which previewed the upcoming Man of Steel Superman re-boot and the Hobbit where director Peter Jackson appeared, joined by actors Martin Freeman, Andy Serkis, Ian McKellan and Elijah Wood, but that was a three-hour session that likely would have required standing in line all day. (As it was, I heard people began lining up the night before.) My brother attended a DC Comics panel that Quentin Tarantino crashed (apparently to the genuine surprise of DC as well) in order to prematurely announce a book he was doing with the company based on his upcoming film, Django Unchained.

I do occasionally roam the floor on breaks (usually with one or both of my children) to check out the booths, but I always feel I should get back to my booth to sell! I didn’t pick up much, aside from an advance copy of Love and Rockets. 

Although I'm generally stuck at my table, Comic-Con is nevertheless an opportunity to re-connect with fans and fellow pros, so it was a thrill to see old friends like Batton Lash and Andrew Pepoy. Another highlight was having Scott Shaw!, another longtime professional friend and colleague, draw on my son's armcast, which he was wearing after receiving a minor fracture on the first day of summer camp when he fell off the monkey bars. I know Scott to be a great guy, but I was still struck by how delightful he was with my little boy in talking to him and pattering as he drew a SpongeBob drawing on his cast. When my wife later saw Scott and thanked him, he sunnily replied, "That was easily the best thing I did all day!"

Speaking of my children, I must say that Comic-Con has become incredibly family and child friendly both through its programming and exhibitors. While comics has traditionally always been considered a children’s medium, in actuality Comic-Con was predominantly a nostalgia and fan-based comics show at its start before it became a mainstream consumer show extravaganza. Catering to children was really not its focus. But the explosion of good quality and quirky animated television shows (like Avatar and Adventuretime) and films that appeal to both grownups and children, and the explosion of books and, particularly, comics and graphic novels geared towards children and young adults (like the Harry Potter series) by numerous publishers, particularly Scholastic, have really expanded the scope of Comic-Con. As the L.A. Times has noted, it’s led to an interesting clash of tastes and cultures on the floor.

But this is Comic-Con and it's all good, right?

Below are a small sampling of photos from Comic-Con. To see more, visit my two photogalleries, divided into the Best and the Rest. All my previous posts about this year's Comic-Con can be accessed here.

Reports and photogalleries from 2011 and earlier may be found at the WCG Comics website.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

See you in San Diego!

Well, the books and booth supplies are packed, as well as my personal luggage—the San Diego Comic-Con looms!

I do hope to post comments and photos while I'm at the Comic-Con, though I haven't figured out the details yet. I'll probably do so via the Rob Hanes Adventures Facebook page or this blog.  Much of it will, of course, depend on finding the time while I'm manning my booth and how well the battery on my mobile device holds up since I won't be near any charging stations on the floor. I may well end up not posting until later in the evenings when I'm back at the hotel, but again, that will depend on my own level of energy at the end of the day!

Comic-Con is a lot of work, but a lot of fun, too, of course.  It's a time to connect directly with fans of the series and to get re-energized about comics!

If you're attending, please stop by Booth K1 (aisle 1500) in the Small Press Pavilion. Otherwise, be sure to check Facebook and this blog for updates from the show!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Countdown to Comic-Con (Part III): Press Release

Below is the official press release about my appearance at this year's San Diego Comic-Con. The official press release is posted here.

Rob Hanes Adventures Makes 15th Appearance at Comic-Con

Issue 13 to Debut at San Diego Comic-Con

Indy comics writer-artist Randy Reynaldo announced that he will debut issue 13 of his long-running all-ages action-adventure series, Rob Hanes Adventures, at the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con. The show marks his 15th exhibitor appearance at the show since 1993 and his 9th consecutive appearance since 2004. The indy publisher will appear under his WCG Comics imprint at corner booth K1 of the Small Press Area, on aisle 1500 of the convention hall.

As announced earlier, Rob Hanes Adventures #13 features two complete stories: “Crime Takes a Holiday,” which takes place on the French Riviera, and “Not Your Father’s Private Eye,” where Rob becomes the subject of an online news article while on assignment in the Middle East.

“It’s been awhile since the last issue, so I’m excited to be back at Comic-Con with a brand new issue,” said WCG Publisher and writer-artist Randy Reynaldo. “It’s heartening to know that many attendees make a point of coming by my booth every year to pick up the latest issue.”

In addition to the new release, Reynaldo will have available at his booth branded t-shirts, prints, buttons, bookmarks, and free sample issues. A new booth banner will also debut at the show. And as always, all back issues of the series remain available at special Comic-Con prices that will allow new readers to easily and affordably get up to speed. To date, the series encompasses the 13 issues of the current run and two trade paperback collections of earlier original material.
Inspired by classic adventure strips like Terry and the Pirates and the Spirit, Rob Hanes Adventures features the globetrotting exploits of a troubleshooter from Justice International, a private security and investigations agency Justice International. Launched in 2000, the series has built a dedicated following for bringing a modern sensibility to the spirit of the classic adventure strip genre, while series creator Randy Reynaldo has developed a reputation for his continued long-running work on the series and his solid black and white art, reminiscent of Milton Caniff and Alex Toth.

Every story in the series is complete and self-contained. Writer-artist Reynaldo also takes great pride in mixing genres, with stories ranging from globe-spanning adventure (“Rescue in Koman”) to romance (“The Real Julianne Love”) and comedy (“The Pride of the Chickenhawks”). 

Rob Hanes Adventures has been reviewed, spotlighted and featured in industry print publications like the Comic Buyer's Guide, Comics Retailer, Comic Book Marketplace, Diamond Dialogue, and Previews, and online at and Newsarama. The series was included among Tony Isabella’s 1000 Comic Books You Must Read (Krause Publications, 2009).
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Below: Promotional banner image from the WCG Comics website.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Countdown to the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con (Part II)

Like any exhibitor worth his or her salt, in addition to a new issue of Rob Hanes Adventures and the introduction of a new booth banner, we’ll also have a few other goodies available at the convention. First up are brand new t-shirts!  They feature the same design, but in black or white...

RHA T-shirts have always been available at the WCG Comics website, I’ve never really pushed them hard—in fact, they’ve been such a low priority, this is only the second new t-shirt design since 2005. I plan to have only a few on hand at the convention, so I welcome advance orders (be sure to tell me what size!) For the convention, each shirt is $20.

Other goodies will include newly re-designed pin buttons and the RHA bookmarks that debuted in 2010. Both are free to longtime fans or with any purchase!

At right: Yes, I have no shame--I even have my little boy promoting my comic-book!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Countdown to the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con (Part I)

Before each year’s San Diego Comic-Con, I like to provide a behind-the-scenes look at my preparations for the show. Below is my first entry for this year’s Comic-Con, scheduled July 12-15, 2012.

For once, I’m ahead of the game in my preparations for this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. Like a lot of publishers, I often work until the very last moment preparing a book for release at the show, pushing my printer’s deadlines to the limits. But this year I shipped the book off to the printer with plenty of time to spare, which gave me time to focus on other plans for the show.

First on the agenda was a new booth banner for the show. Below is the one that’s been in use since 2008....

And the new one that will debut at this year’s Comic-Con....

I planned to update my banner last year, but time ran out before I had a chance to conceptualize, let alone execute, a new design. I was very happy with the earlier banner, but thought that the light-colored background of the banner got lost in the convention hall. I think that the straightforward solid black background of the new banner will pop out more.

Though I didn't have a specific design in mind when I began planning the new banner, since I liked the shot of Rob on the cover Rob Hanes Adventures #13 turned out well, I decided to develop the new banner around it. Below is the original digital image that was submitted to the printer.

I originally planned to use the figures from the Rob Hanes Adventures trade paperback (as seen on right) as the focus of the banner, but I found that the three figures made for a busy design. Bold and simple seemed the best way to go!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

"The Last Honest Comic"

2011 Comic-Con Report

Below is my usual full-length report of the 2011 Comic-Con. To simply look at all the photos, you can go straight to Gallery 1 and Gallery 2. Or feel free to simply scroll down through the photos included with this report and the ones included in my earlier pre-report.

PhotobucketI originally planned to title this Comic-Con report “The Walking Dead” in honor of the comic-book-property-turned-hot-television-series that was a fan favorite of the show. But in reality, as crowded as this year’s show was (in fact, it seemed even more crowded, if that's possible), to my eyes it was as smoothly run and drama-free as you could ask for. I’ve long learned to pace myself and not overextend myself at Comic-Con.

A large part of the credit goes to the hard work of the Comic-Con organizers and staff. There's always bound to be hiccups in a show of this size and complexity, but the staff and organizers have years of experience under their belt. They clearly make changes based on the previous year's experience and seem to have the ability to adjust on the fly to snafus that come up. They deserve credit for making the herculean logistical planning seem invisible and effortless.

There's also what the folks over at Comics Beat called the Year of Acceptance:

Instead of complaining about the craziness, attendees, and exhibitors accepted the long waits, surging crowds and tight security. When you have an event that prompts people to sleep outside for two days, you have something that people are desperate to attend–and desperate people do desperate things. Hence the surrender to complicated procedures and lines. The only person who didn’t get it was a drunk Welshman who paid the price.

Even those attending Comic-Con for the first time seem to understand the vibe and go with it. Given the increasing difficulty to purchase an attendee badge, at the end of the day, everyone was simply happy to be there and enjoyed a genuine good time.

The Bottom Line
PhotobucketWhen all was said and done, this Comic-Con turned out to be my most profitable show ever! My earnings were significantly boosted by sales of my original art, which are relatively high-ticket items. Though I don't put an emphasis on selling my art, I frequently receive inquiries and this year sold a record number of pieces for a single show. These included the covers of Rob Hanes Adventures #10 and Adventure Strip Digest #2 (pictured in the photo at right), as well as the original figure art from my booth banner and a Milton Caniff tribute piece that appeared in the 2007 San Diego Comic-Con souvenir program.

In terms of straight comic-book sales, my numbers were actually a bit down from 2010, though still respectable. I suspect this is partly due to the fact that less pure comics fans are able to attend the convention as it becomes more popular to a broader audience. I heard from many longtime attendees—including some readers of my work—who were unable to obtain a badge for the event.

This is borne out by many longtime dealers who reported disappointing sales and have seen sales slide in recent years. Despite the larger crowds, it felt more difficult than previous years to get people to simply stop and look at the book, let alone make a purchase. To put it in sobering perspective, the number of people attending the show nowadays exceeds the top sales figures of most of the best-selling comic-books.

"The last honest comic-book!"
Nevertheless, I'm glad that the target audience of my book still found me. Like last year, many sales were to people new to the series, who were simply turned on by the art, stories and/or concept. Those types of sales are always gratifying, especially when a customer returned to buy the entire collection after sampling an issue or two early on during the show! One person excitedly told me that I made his day when he found me because this is the first time he had seen me since the 1990s when recalled first seeing me but forgot where my booth was located. He promptly purchased everything and was excited to see I had so many issues out. Another longtime reader (pictured left), exasperated by the continued re-boots and convoluted storylines of many mainstream comic-book series, called Rob Hanes Adventures, “The last honest comic-book!”

As always, fellow industry pros and long-time fans of the series also came by to catch up and say hi. For a change of pace from the usual pictures of people in costume—many of whom I have now photographed several times over the past several years—I made a conscious effort this year to take photos of both new and long-time fans of Rob Hanes Adventures. You'll see their pictures scattered throughout this blog and in my photo gallery.

Taking it to the Street

Although off-site events have been a feature of Comic-Con for years, the 2011 show reached a real critical mass in terms of both official and unofficial Comic-Con related events being held outside the main San Diego Comics Convention.

PhotobucketMany consisted of storefronts, lounges and, in some cases, open air parking lots being used for sponsored parties, promotions, charging stations, etc. Along similar lines, many outlying hotels served as the official headquarters for companies like E! and Entertainment Weekly. The most strange, perhaps, was a storefront in the Gaslamp promoting a Marvel Monster Truck rally event later in the month.

One of the most interesting was Trickster, a sort of creator-run shadow convention held at the San Diego Wine and Culinary Center. The space was free to the public and partly intended to create a safe harbor where comics were the focus and creators—regardless of whether they had badges for the Comic-Con or not—could hang out and mingle more directly with fans.

Of interest to me was the introduction of a food truck area across the street from the convention center. The convention center's food is notorious for being mediocre and expensive—as well as not very diverse in selection—so it was nice to have an alternative food option nearby.

Panels and Programming

I have rarely attended scheduled panels and other programs at Comic-Con anymore because I need to be at my booth to make sales. However, this year, I attended two back-to-back programs on Saturday:  “Is the Comic Book Doomed?”and “Digital Disruption: Comics & Webcomics.”

Industry professional Mark Waid coincidentally served on both panels and embraces digital comics. In the first panel, Waid and several other panelists which included retailers spoke about the viability of the traditional periodical comic-book (often now referred to as “floppies”) versus trade paperbacks and digital comics.

Caniff tribute piece sold at the show. Click here to see the print version with logos
and lettering
In short, no one seems to think the comic-book is going away anytime soon. Indeed, the panelists mentioned the frequent prediction that “comics would be dead in five years” as a popular refrain every year for the past few decades. Though everyone seems to accept that digital comics are here to stay, the fact is that no clear consensus has emerged yet on a common delivery system nor on how to profitably monetize it. The impact of digital comics and declining periodical sales, however, clearly presents a serious challenge to the industry and particularly retailers as periodical sales continue to slide. The ability to launch a successful new small press comic-book like Bone was discussed.

PhotobucketThe panelists on webcomics consisted of just Waid and PVP webcomic cartoonist Scott Kurtz, one of the few cartoonists who has found a way to make a living online. Kurtz came off as incredibly smart and insightful. He not only possesses solid business and marketing skills, he truly understand the differences between the print comics model versus webcomics, and has little patience or sympathy for the dinosaurs in the field among retailers and publishers who do not understand or embrace the digital model.

In brief, the traditional print model of comics has always depended on "scarcity"—with comics being printed in a finite quantity and subject to supply and demand. In contrast, as a digital "cloud" product, webcomics have the capacity to be viewed and shared infinitely without the bottleneck of distribution. In this model, creators have almost no choice than to give away their product for free and depend on the good will and the direct relationship with fans that webcomics affords to create income for the book by buying print collections of the series, making donations, and buying ancillary products. (Kurtz recently also entered into a transparent sponsorship agreement for an upcoming storyline.) Having said that, although what Kurtz has accomplished seems fairly straightforward and transparent, seeing the comic itself as something that should be distributed and given away for free. Yet at the same time, it’s a model that many may find difficult to emulate.

Downloaded publicity photo
Due to the wife and kids, it had been years since I attended any after-hour panels or programming. With the children now older, however, I was able to test the waters on two nights: the first was to attend the Star Wars Fan Film Awards Show on Thursday evening and the Batman: Year One animated DVD adaptation of the seminal Frank Miller/David Mazzuchelli series.

Though I rarely regret missing a panel, I do wish I had attended the Steven Spielberg Tintin presentation. Not only did Peter Jackson join him unannounced, but 10 minutes of footage from the upcoming film were shown. In addition, I learned later that Hall H, the room where the largest presentations are usually shown because it seats 6000 people and is usually impossible to get into, was only about half full! Ah, well, c’est la vie.

The Digital Revolution Continues (?)

Given the announced launch just this year of new digital comics platforms from Dark Horse Comics, DC Comics and Diamond Comics Distribution—joining the ranks of more established digital comics companies like Comixology—digital comics continues to be a potential game-changer. As I noted in last year’s report, though, no clear model has emerged yet for delivering, formatting, and monetizing digital work. I continued to be approached by startups looking for content for their sites. One of the most notable was Spanish cartoonist Pepe Moreno, who I remembered as the artist who wrote and drew Batman: Digital Justice, considered the first digital comic-book back in 1990. (Though I did know of Moreno, he had a copy of the book with him as a calling card. I had recently seen samples of his work at an exhibition of Batman comics work at the San Francisco Museum of Cartoon Art.)

While I recognize the growing importance of digital comics, my focus right now is simply producing my comics, with the digital side more tangential to this effort.

Friends, Family and Celebrities

As always, I had many old friends—and new ones—stop by the booth. As I mentioned above, I made it a point this year to take pictures of many of these friends and fans. Among those I saw was Sergio Aragones (who I seem to always bump into early in the morning during the Wednesday morning setup), Tim Burgard, R.C. Harvey, Anson Jew, Batton Lash, Bill Morrison, Mat Nastos, and Stan Sakai. Special shout outs need to go out to Randy Carter, Don Kelly, Lars, and Tom Stewart.

I was helped as usual by my brother Rod and my longtime buddy/college friend, Bob. My wife and two children also lent a hand—my kids are becoming quite adept at handing out the freebies! I was also fortunate to have as my booth neighbor Robert Wuest, who debuted his terrific new book, Monsters Among Us at the show.

Actress Alicia Coppola
In terms of the celebrity circuit, perhaps my most significant sighting this year was actor Andy Serkis (Lord of the Rings). While I was having dinner with some friends at a fairly upscale restaurant in the Gaslamp, Serkis walked in and was seated with a small party of companions. (Apparently, Serkis appeared with Spielberg and Jackson at the Tintin panel. Serkis plays Captain Haddock in the film.)

Another sighting was actress Alicia Coppola (pictured at right). Although I’ve only seen her work sporadically in recent years, she made an impression me as the star of a short-lived television drama from 2000 called "Bull"—TNT’s first original television series—that centered around a Wall Street firm. I spotted her as she arrived at a booth—presumably to make a promotional appearance—and snapped this shot.

Also spotted was actor Blake Anderson, one of the leads in Comedy Central’s Workaholics, which I discovered just earlier this year. Anderson was running around the Small Press Area, showing real interest in people’s work. Though he did not stop at my booth, he did linger at certain booths near me.

On to 2012!

It's not clear whether Comic-Con has reached true critical mass, but it's certainly hit a sweet spot in terms of being all things to all people, bringing together under one roof comics, collectibles, television, film, gaming, and other related pursuits. As big as it has become, the show has preserved Comic-Con's tradition of starry-eyed excitement, providing a direct connection between fans and the creators that's always been a hallmark of Comic-Con and the many comic-book conventions that have followed in its footsteps.

Yes, I miss in the "good old days" when almost everyone who attended was there looking for cool new comics. But as long as Comic-Con retains its spirit of fannishness and fun, it's hard to begrudge its growth and desire to invite everyone to the party.

Full photo galleries:
Other Comic-Con coverage:

From the photo galleries:



Comics historian and cartoonist R.C. Harvey

Batton Lash

Booth neighbor Rob Wuest

Another line at Comic-Con