Top 10 List: How to Know You’re An Old Pro at San Diego Comic-Con Fandom

An SDCC 2017 attendee friend and I were chatting on the back channels of Facebook today. He shared this photo with me of the SyFy Channel’s sign, boldly listing “true SDCC fandom” characteristics. We were having a good laugh about how we would write this list. Can you pass our sniff test? I’ll bet those of you reading this will have some great additions to our list–feel free to chime in and share!

And speaking of SDCC 2017, I hope you got a chance to check out Dave Dorman’s new creator-owned WASTED LANDS novella and his AMAZING TALES OF THE WASTED LANDS pulp fiction magazine Kickstarter campaign! Here’s your handy link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mikebawden/amazing-tales-of-the-wasted-lands-inaugural-issue?ref=thanks_tweet

Are YOU a Pro at the Con? But can you meet MY criteria?

You Pass the SDCC Old Pro Fandom Sniff Test If…

  1. You can pronounce Bill Sienkiewicz’s last name correctly.
  2. You can correctly identify the actual creator–and for bonus points, the publisher–of the character you’re cosplaying.
  3. You attended SDCC back when the signage all over San Diego still said “Celebrating the Comic Arts.”
  4. You know why Ralph McQuarrie matters to the Star Wars universe.
  5. Creators know your name without even looking at your badge.
  6. You don’t drink a drop of liquid for 12 hours before you see a panel in Hall H. Also, you bring gum and a snack.
  7. You know 501st isn’t a style of Levis, but the world’s largest cosplay organization.
  8. You carry extra Sharpies in black and silver, in case the artists’ Sharpies go dry.
  9. You know where to find your favorite booths without relying on the guide book.
  10. You attended Preview Night when it was still exclusive to pros.

 

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Dave Dorman STAR WARS Marvel Variant Comic Featured in Limited Edition STAR WARS LOOT CRATE

And what, to my wandering eyes, did appear…but a $100 Limited Edition STAR WARS LOOT CRATE, pulled by eight tiny Tauntauns…

Usually Jack will say, “Guess what came in the mail today?” followed by “Deez nuts! Ha!” and he goes off on his merry way. But today was different. Today was followed by the scream of “LOOT CRATE!!!” which was probably heard all of the way to Tatooine. Since Dave couldn’t get a copy of his own comic, he just had to spend the $100 to order it via LOOT CRATE. You know…that monthly geek tzotchke box that is the bane of my existence? I think the NDAs Dave signed were probably more onerous than those from the State Department. So here’s a play-by-play:

The STAR WARS LTD. ED. LOOT CRATE: I'm just surprised it didn't feature the radioactive glow of the briefcase in PULP FICTION.

The STAR WARS LTD. ED. LOOT CRATE: I’m just surprised it didn’t feature the radioactive glow of the briefcase in PULP FICTION.

HISTORY: Dave seeing his VADER DOWN cover in comic book form for the very first time!

HISTORIC GEEK MOMENT: DAVE DORMAN seeing his VADER DOWN cover in actual comic book form for the very first time!

VADER DOWN Marvel Comics variant cover by DAVE DORMAN

VADER DOWN Marvel Comics variant cover by DAVE DORMAN

Even though Dave had to buy this limited edition LOOT CRATE to get a copy of his own book, he feels he “still got a lot of cool stuff I can share with my family.” (Editorial comment: I think by “family,” he means “Jack.”)

Dave would like to thank Jordan D. White and Heather Antos at Marvel, the folks at Lucasfilm, and the decision makers at LOOT CRATE for having Dave paint the cover for this once-in-a-lifetime collectible.

For those of you wanting to hear Dave’s take on the new Force Awakens film, check out our son’s post-movie interview with Dave at https://youtube.com/the_surfmonkey early on the morning of December 18th, as we are attending the midnight showing.

On Black Friday: The Extendable Fork in Action…and an Unexpected STAR WARS Tee

Here’s Jack deploying a new holiday tradition–the extendable fork trick I mentioned in yesterday’s post. I decided to pass down the torch, since my cousin Jeff read my blog yesterday (D’oh!) and was prepared to expect my hijinks.

I've Passed On the Torch of the Expandable Trick Fork to Jack.

I’ve Passed Down the Torch of the Expandable Trick Fork to Jack and the Kids’ Table.

And here’s the Diamond Comic Previews ad posted by one of Dave’s fans today, advertising a new t-shirt (hey, it’s ONLY $50) featuring Dave’s original STAR WARS artwork, LORD VADER’S PERSUASION of THE OUTER RIM. To understand how stuff like this happens, and how the artists get paid nothing for it, nor are even aware when their artwork is being used for fun and profit, you might want to revisit my previous post, “The Blessing and Curse of Work-for-Hire Illustration.”

$50 Lucasfilm STAR WARS tees featuring Dave Dorman's Artwork

$50 Lucasfilm STAR WARS tees featuring Dave Dorman’s Artwork

I’m so glad Disney/Lucasfilm is able to continue healthfully profiting from Dave’s work-for-hire artwork with $50 t-shirts, making it ever so much more puzzling to me that his artwork wasn’t chosen for inclusion in STAR WARS CELEBRATION 7.

This particular piece of Dave Dorman Star Wars art is so wildly popular, one dedicated European fan, Tomi Demolka, even had it tattooed on his back (as seen below). If you are interested in buying this print, or any of the Dave Dorman Star Wars Artist Proofs still available, here’s the link – on sale now through Dec. 31st with FREE worldwide shipping: http://www.davedorman.com/2014swprintsforsale.shtml

Dedicated Fan Tomi Demollka, with Dave Dorman's Artwork Tattooed on His Back

Dedicated Fan Tomi Demollka, with Dave Dorman’s Artwork Tattooed on His Back

Since I’m posting this on #BlackFriday, if you’re in Chicagoland and looking for something to do, check out Dreamland Comics in Schaumburg, IL today before 3 p.m. Dave is there today signing #comics and five 501st members are there in costume–the world’s largest #cosplay organization, of which we are honorary members–posing with families for photos and supporting the cause, which is building a solid food pantry for the hungry, so bring your canned goods!

Dave at Dreamland Comics today.

Dave’s signing at Dreamland Comics on Black Friday.

The Blessing and the Curse of Work-for-Hire Illustration

File this under: “The Artist is always the last to know.” One of Dave’s fans just posted on Facebook that Dave’s artwork is on a free puzzle inside of Star Wars lunch boxes now for sale at Walgreen’s:

Dave Dorman artwork on puzzle inside of Star Wars lunch boxes, now in retail stores

Dave Dorman artwork on puzzle inside of Star Wars lunch boxes, now in retail stores

And here’s the original art from that free puzzle:

Dave Dorman's Star Wars "Smugglers Moon" Original Art

Dave Dorman’s Star Wars “Smugglers Moon” Original Art 

And by the way, if you’re interested in purchasing this piece as an Artist Proof litho, it’s $75 here: http://www.davedorman.com/swprintsforsale.shtml )

Dave’s Star Wars art is also on a few graphic tees selling at your local Targets and Wal-Marts at the moment, and we’ll probably see a lot more of it on random products as the new Star Wars VII film ramps up its marketing engine. The fans are always astounded when Dave shows surprise that they’re wearing his art. What people outside of the illustration world don’t realize is, the artist is never told where or when his art will appear. (This was especially true when the “Predalien” concept art Dave did years ago for 20th Century Fox as a work-for-hire surfaced in the AVP2 film, uncredited, which totally sucked.) Licensed art is merely a work-for-hire arrangement. I hate to burst everyone’s bubble, but we’re not rolling in dough from Star Wars art, Alien art, or any licensed artwork, for that matter. That’s why it’s so mission critical for artists out there to develop their own creator-owned projects, also known as I.P.’s or “Intellectual Properties,” which Dave has done with THE WASTED LANDS. It’s the only way artists will ever see wealth.

Once the art is submitted to the art director, the only money we make on it other than the commission is when Dave sells the original art. In the case of Star Wars or any Lucasfilm pieces Dave does, George Lucas has automatic first right of refusal to purchase any of Dave’s art, and he owns more than 90 original Dave Dorman oil paintings. (This is why when artists paint digitally, we scratch our heads, wondering how they eke out a living, since they have no original art to sell to collectors once the piece is submitted.) Artwork that has been published–be it on packaging art or a magazine cover–is always worth more to the art collector.

So, what is the blessing, if any, of work-for-hire illustration? The only silver lining to this cloud is that if you’re an artist doing work-for-hire work, it likely means you’re a self-employed solopreneur, and you’re probably leading a much happier life than you would be working for “the man.” You can go the movies at 1 p.m. on a Thursday and not wait in line. Your dry cleaning bills are non-existent. You’re saving money on fuel, lunches out, and let’s not forget all of those glorious tax write-offs!

I recently had the epiphany that we lead weird little lives here at the Dorman household. (I know, I know…all of my inner circle of friends out there are doing the face palm and calling me Captain Obvious as they read this.) So the epiphany happened the day Jack and I were back-to-school underwear shopping in our local Target. As we stood there debating whether to buy the Batman underwear with John vanFleet’s Batman packaging art vs. another friend’s Batman underwear art, I realized it.  The rest of the world would never give this a moment’s thought. To us, the artists–and the art they create–is so precious, so important…and we behold it with such reverence. Even if it’s on a frickin’ underwear package at Target.

So smash cut to breakfast at San Diego Comic-Con with John vanFleet. I shared my Batman underwear narrative, and John was amazed to learn that his Batman art was so dangerously close to 10-year-olds’ skid marks across America. Like I told you, the Artist is always the last to know.

Meanwhile, Behind the Scenes, Herding Cats

Star Wars Celebration 6

Star Wars Celebration 6 – For those of you with magnifying glasses, Dave is 4th from the right

So I sent a quick media pitch to CHICAGO TONIGHT yesterday on Dave’s reaction to the new museum and they liked it. Right as Dave was rushing out the door to buy groceries, I told him he would be on TV tomorrow night. Always the comic book artist introvert, Dave remains my most reluctant “client.”

Jack’s reaction: “Yay! That means we get pizza tomorrow night!” (I have no idea why he said that. And that would make the 2nd time this week we’d have pizza. I’m so over it.)

Dave’s reaction: “Really? I have to get dressed up and drive into the city?”

For dramatic impact, he added a heavy sigh and his famed eyeball rolling. Dave lives in a t-shirt and sweat pants. He creates his own reality. He cannot fathom why the rest of the world isn’t on board with his fashion code. The thought of putting on jeans just unglues him.

And then we argued about whether or not WTTW had their own makeup person. Dave says yes, I say no.  (I will be bringing makeup, just in case.)

But it’s never just as simple as Dave just driving into Chicago to be on TV. This kicked off a whole series of madcap events. We had to meet friends at the last minute who used Dave’s favorite Star Wars “Darkside Alley” bowling shirt as a pattern to make him another shirt. This meant driving to Stone Cold Creamery at 8:30 last night. Dave can’t be on TV without his lucky shirt.

Dave Dorman with Faith, Hawk and Kim Evans Worley last night, in the new shirt made by Hawk

Dave Dorman with Faith, Hawk and Kim Evans Worley last night, in the new shirt made by Hawk

And then there was the mad scramble on Facebook to find the needle in the haystack–the person who had the high-resolution version of the Star Wars Celebration group photo for the TV producer. Fortunately, the 501st cosplay group are the most organized and responsive in the world, so we had an answer almost immediately. Now we’re scrambling to find the high-res version of this image for the studio:

Dave Dorman and George Lucas

Dave Dorman and George Lucas

And oh yeah, did I mention I run a business, I have a 9-year-old interrupting me every 5 minutes, I’m still in my PJs at 11:45 a.m. setting a grand example for our son, and the doorbell keeps ringing with endless package deliveries for my aging parents living downstairs? And that I didn’t get to sleep until after 3 a.m. due to my anxiety-inducing heart palpitations? Through clenched teeth, I declare, “Today will be FUN!”