Halloween Extravaganza: Jude’s NYCC 2019 Sketch Post

Another NYCC has passed us by, and this year makes it a decade since I began collecting artwork and commissions. I’ve been able to do yet another sketch post for all you saucy little ragamuffins, though this year I didn’t get any Goosebumps commissions. Shocking, I know. I did, however, get two (or three) of Wing’s favorite “Graveyard School” characters from two of my NYCC regulars.

Since this month will have the last Graveyard School recap, I was hoping to see Nola Thacker at the convention again. I initially thought Thacker was appearing at the con again, and hoped to ask her a few questions about Graveyard School to go alongside the final recap this month. Unfortunately, what I assumed was the website being glitchy turned out to be due to Thacker not speaking at any panels this year. I looked through every panel listing that was being held at the New York Public Library and her name didn’t appear in any of them. Nor was she mentioned in other panels. Frustrating and disappointing, but beyond my control.

The con weekend didn’t start off great for me. It was raining and miserable on Thursday, and just as I was getting off the subway at the Javits Center the strap on one of my bags broke. I’d packed too many comics and reference material so I couldn’t decide who I should visit first, and I got overwhelmed.

Friday and Sunday were much better, though. The weather was nicer, I found a new bag, and I was able to get some stuff out of the way for my job at the store while I did my con experience. I had a lot of fun getting to chat with Colleen Doran and Gail Simone. I kept going back to Gail’s table because I was constantly forgetting I had stuff to autograph. On Sunday I was finally able to give Gail these two comics I’d been wanting her to have for years.

Donna Troy as "Donnastein" by Bill Walko
Donna Troy as “Donnastein” by Bill Walko

Once again, one of the first commissions of this year comes from Bill Walko who previously did two for me last year.

This is a version of Donna Troy, the original Wonder Girl and one of the founding Teen Titans, done in the style of Frankenstein’s Monster. It’s for one of the alternate Earth ideas I’ve been working on since 2015 which I hope to someday make an official thing from DC.

Titans #25 Cover by Phil Jimenez
Titans #25 Cover by Phil Jimenez

*Sob* God I miss this era, and I wasn’t even buying comics at the time it was coming out.

The mindset behind this takes place on Earth-28, which I turned into a supporting cast Earth where the love interests, siblings, and best friends take the roles of the heroes. I got inspired from an old Lois Lane comic that asked the question “What if Lois came from Krypton instead of Superman?”

I somehow stumbled upon an idea where the Fab Five Titans (Nightwing, Arsenal, Tempest, Flash, and Troia) are all turned into famous movie monsters and become the hero group called “The Fanged Five.” They live in a small town in Alaska and fight other monsters, while also raising their daughter Lian whom they found abandoned as a baby. So it’s four monster dads and a monster mom trying to be heroes because their little girl thinks they can be.

Donnastein’s backstory has her being created by Dr. Serafina Umbras, who is actually Dark Angel, the arch enemy of the main version of Donna in the regular DCU. As she puts it, “I got tired of destroying Donna Dearest over and over again, so as a change of pace I decided to make one.” Donnastein was put together from limbs and organs coming from different women all named “Donna,” as a subtle in-joke to Donna’s increasingly screwed up backstories.

I asked Bill to give her a costume reminiscent of one of the original Wonder Girl costumes, but looking deliberately shoddy and homemade.

Ms. Stoker by E.J. Barnes
Ms. Stoker from “Graveyard School” by E.J. Barnes

Surprise Wing! Our first Graveyard School commission’s one of your favorites whom we haven’t seen in two years!

For those who don’t remember, Ms. Gladys Stoker was the starter villain of the Graveyard School franchise in its first book “Don’t Eat The Mystery Meat!” She’s introduced as the lunchroom superintendent at the start of the school year, but her revolting dishes like Cannibal Stew are hated by the students. Except for Jaws, the kid who can eat anything (even roadkill), who always loved the cafeteria food before and especially enjoys Stoker’s cooking since his parents switched to *shudder* health food. It turns out there’s a horrible secret behind Stoker’s recipes…

Pets. It’s pets. She’s been stealing pets, including dogs, goldfish, an ant farm, and a goddamn ANACONDA.

It’s mah gurl E.J.’s third year supplying a sketch to these NYCC posts despite not attending the show in a professional capacity. All I can say is I thought E.J.’s supremely individualistic art style was a perfect fit to convey Stoker’s character, and E.J. more than delivered with the especially twisted “Hamster aspice” addition. God only knows how long before Stoker would’ve tried to unveil that on the menu at Graveyard School.

Batman (Red Rain) by Mike Lilly
Batman (Red Rain) by Mike Lilly

Mike Lilly, his wife Marie, and their son Robert have been nothing but kind, considerate, and generous to me in the ten years I’ve known them. Since I first met Mike at a New York con in 2009, I frequently go out of my way to see him and his family at conventions. They even allow me to put my bags at their table so I don’t have to lug everything around; I try to do food runs for them if they ever need anything like water or snacks.

Mike’s one of the first people I commissioned when I started my hobby, and because he’s so nice he’s done a number of extremely detailed pieces for me at discounts or for free. I have his family on my holiday shopping list so I always try to send them something the three can enjoy.

Following my recommendation post and because I haven’t really done anything “Batman” themed sketch wise, I asked Mike to do a headshot commission of the vampire version of Batman from the “Red Rain” trilogy. Mike’s paints are always gorgeous and he packs so much energy into a single head drawing, it’s astounding.

Yuta from "Mermaid Saga" by D.J. Kirkland
Yuta from “Mermaid Saga” by D.J. Kirkland

Time for another mention of my heavyset kink, which I don’t talk about as much on here as I do other sites. This time it features Yuta from the now complete “Mermaid Saga” recaps.

D.J. Kirkland’s one of the few professional artists I know of working for a big name company who’s also open about his admiration for men with rounder body types. His openness about it is honestly rather refreshing while being somewhat different from a lot of the other artists I follow (WHICH OF COURSE DOESN’T MAKE HIM BETTER THAN THEM OR ANYTHING).

When I saw D.J. at Flame Con last summer, he said he’d only be able to work on commissions at home and not at the actual show. I kept that in mind for when I saw him at NYCC and followed up on wanting a sketch from him. I gave D.J. a choice between a Marvel Comics character or an anime character, and he felt more comfortable with an anime character. I picked Yuta and was able to use the screencaps from the “Mermaid’s Scar” OVA plus the commission Cris-Art did for me as reference. D.J. worked on this at home and gave the book back to me on Friday.

Luckless by David Baldeon
Luckless from “The Boys” by David Baldeon

I debated whether to include this on here, but I figured if anything counts as a horror comic it’s Garth Ennis’s “The Boys.”

“The Boys” is an incredibly hamfisted and brutal deconstruction of superheroes and corporations, featuring a world where all heroes are amoral, sociopathic hedonists created and controlled by the malevolent Vought-American corporation. The titular Boys are a group run by the C.I.A. tasked with keeping the supers from stepping out of line. Unfortunately, as far as I’m concerned Ennis doesn’t do a good job at making his points about superheroes and corporations clear. The comic is bogged down by too much plot-mandated stupidity and grossout humor, and essentially boils down to “BECAUSE SUPERHEROES ARE DUMB HERPITY DERPITY.” However, since I’m not the target audience I admit I could be biased.

The Boys - The G-Men
The Boys – The G-Men

Anyway, Luckless is “The Boys'” counterpart for Marvel’s Domino. The character plays a bit part in Ennis’s arc featuring his X-Men knockoff, the G-Men. Who just happen to be a massive cult made up of people who were kidnapped and horrifically sexually abused as children by their “Leader,” Prof. Godolkin. Along the way Ennis shoves in this weird riff on East Coast and West Coast hip hop feuds which makes absolutely no sense in connection to the X-Men, while the focus characters of the team are done in some gross, sexually confused parody of “Animal House.”

I know, I know. I didn’t say it was a good story.

Regardless of my distaste for the story, I liked Luckless’s name and her design. I got the sketch from David Baldeon on account of his work with Gail Simone on the recent “Domino” comics published by Marvel. I thought it’d be a twisted little in-joke referring to Luckless as a knockoff Domino. As a sidenote, I got David AND Gail to sign my copy of “Domino” #1.

Greta Gibson from "Elm Street 5" by Ariela Kristantina
Greta Gibson from “Elm Street 5” by Ariela Kristantina

For those who don’t remember me discussing her before, Greta (Portrayed by Erika Anderson) is one of my favorite “Elm Street” characters and one of the reasons why I love “The Dream Child” so much despite its problems. Greta’s a beautiful rich girl who defies all stereotypes by being kind, compassionate, and supportive to her friends. She openly weeps over Dan Jordan’s death and assures Alice, despite not believing in Freddy Krueger, she will always be on Alice’s side regardless of any danger.

Wanting to be a model but hampered by her domineering mother’s controlling behavior, Greta’s body image problems are exploited by Freddy when Greta’s given one of the cruelest and most grotesque death sequences in the franchise. So horrible the majority of the official home releases STILL haven’t included the deleted scenes.

I’d hoped to get a sketch of Greta at the show, but couldn’t decide who to approach for one. As luck would have it, I got to meet Ariela Kristantina at A Wave Blue World’s booth in the Small Press section. I was heading over there to attend their signing for “All We Ever Wanted,” an anthology book featuring stories about hope for a brighter future which is something desperately needed in today’s shitstorm of a world. I was actually one of the original Kickstarter backers and received a copy of the book last year.

I was specifically going to the signing to meet my friend Matt Miner. Matt’s someone I’ve run into numerous times at conventions and I always stop to chat and show him my sketches and commissions. This was the only time I’d see him at the show. I saw Ariela was sketching at the table, liked what I saw and asked if she could do a quick sketch. She said she’d be doing them alongside purchases at the table, which was more than fair. I bought a second copy of “All We Ever Wanted” as a birthday gift for my friend Joe Prado and everyone at the table signed it for me.

At first I didn’t realize who Ariela was initially. I knew OF Ariela as a published creator, but I never met her in person before and didn’t know what she looked like. God I hope I wasn’t rude to her.

Dorsa Finn from "Archie's Weird Mysteries" by Dan Parent
Dorsa Finn from “Archie’s Weird Mysteries” by Dan Parent

Last year I commissioned Dan Parent to do Scarlet Helsing from the “Archie’s Weird Mysteries” cartoon. I said I wanted to do a theme of all the female characters exclusive to the series, so this year I followed up by getting Dorsa Finn.

Dorsa’s a sea monster from the episode “Green Eyed Monster.” She kidnaps redheaded men and keeps them captive in her cave as her “Husbands,” ruefully mentioning how they tend to… wear out over the years. Of course she goes after Archie, because the minute anyone who identifies as female is in the vicinity of Riverdale they go after that moron.

This is unfortunately one of the episodes where Betty and Veronica are being particularly nasty towards each other, which drives Archie into Dorsa’s arms. She creates her human disguise after hearing Archie wishing he could combine the two girls into one instead of having to choose. It’s one of the few times the show’s limited animation is justified by Dorsa modeling herself after Betty and Veronica, giving herself Betty’s face with Veronica’s hairstyle.

Rave from "Math Blaster Mystery" by James Silvani
Rave from “Math Blaster Mystery” by James Silvani

Here we have a childhood favorite of mine done by James Silvani, famous for his work on the “Darkwing Duck” comics published by Boom Studios and Joe Books.

Rave’s the main character of the edutainment computer game “Math Blaster Mystery: The Great Brain Robbery.” He’s a young monster boy horrified when he hears that news of master mathlete Big Brain getting his brain stolen! Rave immediately deduces the culprit must be none other than the dastardly Dr. Dudley Dabble, and hops out his second story room’s window onto his bicycle to head for Dabble’s mansion to get that brain back.

I used to own the game on CD-ROM when I was a kid, but I have no idea what could’ve happened to it.

Rave was brought back in the “Reading Blaster” computer games created under the same header. This time he has to rescue six people who’ve been abducted by Dr. Dabble, including the famous actress Gloria Ghastly.

There was apparently a follow up vocabulary game reusing the cast of “Reading Blaster” in a series of different mystery episodes.

For years the only game I knew of was “The Great Brain Robbery.” The “Reading Blasters” games only came under my radar a few months ago, and I have to say they’re a definite step-up in quality over the first game. It tells more about Rave’s hometown, Bizarroville, and creates a more unique cast of friendly monster characters like Bobbi “Sox” Fright and her husband Lou.

Reading Blasters Cast
Reading Blasters Cast

James gave me a discount on the sketch because Rave’s design is so simplistic.

Lily Jordan and Lance Talbot from "Confessions of a Teenage Vampire" by Steve Ellis
Lily Jordan and Lance Talbot from “Confessions of a Teenage Vampire” by Steve Ellis

Surprise again, for you AND me, Wing!

Here we have Lily and Talbot from the shortlived “Confessions of a Teenage Vampire” series from Scholastic. I showed Steve Ellis the recaps I did on Point Horror when I asked to get a quick sketch of Lily. I wanted to see how she’d look in Steve’s current style compared to the way he illustrated in the 1990s. As a bonus he threw in Talbot, which really surprised me since this was a quickie I asked for free.

Steve said the books apparently predated the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” TV show by a few months. They could’ve found a bigger audience if the books had been published a little later. I asked if there’d been plans for more books or if it’s possible to bring them back, but he said it’d take a lot of legal wrangling with Scholastic.

Jack O'Lantern by Bryan Turner
Jack O’Lantern by Bryan Turner

Time for something obscure from the library of DC Comics.

Global Guardians
Global Guardians

The original Jack O’Lantern was a member of the Global Guardians, a group of international heroes who originally debuted in DC’s “Super Friends” tie-in comics in the 1970s. You had the likes of Little Mermaid from Denmark, Rising Sun from Japan, Seraph of Israel, and Godiva of England. This is where the Justice League’s Fire and Ice debuted.

Primal Force #0 Cover
Primal Force #0 Cover

Jack O’Lantern was the Irish hero, who wielded a magic fairy lantern given to him by “The Little People.” The original Jack was killed in one of the early 90s Justice League books and replaced by a mole working for the Bialyian terrorist Queen Bee. The lantern was then given to Liam McHugh, the cousin of the original and the person you see in the sketch above.

International Ultramarine Corps
International Ultramarine Corps

He was a main character in a book called “Primal Force,” which is also where he first appeared. Liam was later included as a member of the International Ultramarine Corps created by Grant Morrison in “JLA.”

I’ve always loved the Global Guardians but I’ve never done anything with them in my sketch collection. You can guess Jack was my favorite, and I love the concept of the character was given such a prominent role in a new series (even though I don’t own all the issues and haven’t reread “Primal Force” in years).

Bryan Turner gave me a discount on this piece since I’ve been a semi-repeat customer with him. I made sure to see him before the con ended since I emailed him to ask if he was still attending, and I didn’t want to be rude.

And now for the grand finale…

Marc Wolfson and Lupe from "Graveyard School" by Jodi Tong
Marc Wolfson and Lupe from “Graveyard School” by Jodi Tong

Guess who! It’s Marc and Lupe, Wing!

Because I know how much Wing loved “Little Pet Werewolf” I dropped my book off with Jodi Tong for her to work on this. I also lent her my copy of “Little Pet Werewolf” for reference.

Marc’s the younger brother of sixth grader Skip Wolfson, and unlike his brother he inherited the werewolf gene from their parents.

I specified for Jodi to draw Marc in werewolf form AND that he should be playing with their family’s pet dog, Lupe.

That wraps it up for this year’s NYCC post. What’d you all think?