-Started out with a rough week drawing American Vampire #2. Felicia, the main character, has a nude scene where she's investigating a noise in her apartment with a gun. I usually despise blatant T&A, but I felt the scene would benefit with some nudity. My editor disagreed, but I decided to push it anyway by mixing it up: some nudity along with some clever cropping, shadows, etc. Over-thinking the art made for a few long days and I'm not completely happy with the pages. But they're good enough for print. As of writing this, I have yet to send them to my editor. So I might be covering up some boobs in the near future.
-Put the art away to focus on the weekend: a quick road trip to Super Show in Reading, PA with one of my best friends Rob. I wasn't looking forward to the show because I wanted to focus on my bookbut I need to do more socializing in comics. And a road trip is exactly what I needed after a rough work week.
-I quickly hit the laundromat and pack up my bags. It's been a while since cutting my hair, and the humidity is killing me, so I grab my clippers and prepare to shave my head for the summer. Colleen, my girlfriend, protests. She likes me better with hair. And with a shaved head, she thinks I look scary. But I don't want to show up to a con with unkempt, curly frizz. She tells me to use my old hair straightener (from my long haired Goth days). I toss it in the bag and make a mental note NOT to let Rob see it.
-Crash at Rob's later than night so we can get an early start. Rob has a lot of superhero statues throughout his house in Forest Hills. I refuse to clutter my place with superhero shitalthough I do admire his Punisher Statue.
-The next morning we're about to hit the road when suddenly Rob finds my hair straightener. SHIT. Now he's going to mock me all weekend. Why didn't I just shave my head? Oh well. I've heard stories about male comic artists who have tramp-stamp tattoos. Surly a hair straightener isn't as bad.
-Rob and I leave NYC and head to Reading in his gold colored Scion with 18 inch rims. The looks we get from people are the same I used to get when driving my old yellow CRX. We turn up White Zombie and do our best to ignore the glares usually absorbed by Latino teenagers.
-I find a novelty umbrella with the grip of a samurai sword. I hold it the entire drive and pretend I'm Musashi while watching the setting sun.
-The further west we drive, the more I realize that I'm an elitist New Yorker. The 3 out of 5 Americans are obese factoid is very obvious as we eat a shit lunch at Perkins. The locals are charmed by Rob's Australian accent, but that doesn't stop my contempt. I glare at them while wearing the markings of a hipster elitist: Clutch sweatshirt, wallet chain and...uh...straightened hair.
-Rob and I rank our favorite things about going to shows:
1. the road trip
2. hanging out in hotels rooms and walking around whatever town we're in
3. drinking at pubs
4. (a distant last place) going to the actual show.
-My art dealer, Paolo, isn't at the hotel when we arrive. In fact, no one is. We apparently are the first ones there. Without hesitation, Rob and I hit the local Toys R Us. I buy 3 Back to the Future DeLorean Matchboxes and two small Nerf guns. Rob buys some stuff for his baby. It's awesome NOT having kids.
-As a joke, we head into Hooters. The waitresses look at our Toys R Us bags and laugh. Rob argues that the stuff is for his kid. I argue that I like Back to the Future. NOT having a kid meant not having an excuse. Damn.
-I'm really uncomfortable in Hooters. Because I hate T&A, Hooters is my hell. I keep wanting to grab one of the waitresses and yell, Go home to your loving family! But eventually, I'm won over. $2 for a Coors light? $3 for fried pickles? Chilled beer mugs? I love Hooters. Now I keep wanting to grab one of the waitresses and yell, I'm glad your father hates you and drove you to working here! Get me another round!
-Rob and I get drunk on Coors and a small keg of Russian beer (Baltika) I brought from the city. The rest of the night is a blur. Walking for miles, crossing empty parking lots, crawling into construction vehicles, chasing geese, photographing Rob next to an Outback steakhouse signit's amazing we found our way back to the hotel.
-The con was very awesome. Instead of having it in a convention center, it was in an abandoned office building with windows all around. It reminded me of the scene in Office Space where Michael looks out the windows to see breezy grass and treesand then sighs with contentment. I get to work on my commissions.
-I settle on commission prices of $60 for a penciled/inked full body sketch. It's a lot, but not as much as other guys at the show. I'm sticking with that price for now: enough to scare away people who might try to flip it on eBay, but not so much that it'll break the wallets of my fans.
-I brought the entire first issue of my American Vampire pages. I even sell a fewthese people got first pick at art that'll probably sell pretty quickly (if the JOE #1 art sales were any indicator).
-Met a guy named Chris who's a good client of Paolo's. He's looking at a Vamp page that's set in a museum among dinosaur bones. His kid loves dinosaursbut there's another page he likes as well: the one with Felicia walking around naked. Talk about right and left side of the brain.
-Chris buys the naked page. Maybe he'll buy his kid something else at Toys R Us later on (but not a DeLorean because I raided that isle).
-I talk to Erik Jones about painting. Lately I've been very interested in 60s illustration. After Punk Rock Jesus is over, maybe I'll take a break from comics and learn how to paint. Erik is an awesome artist and has a ton of great advice. And his girlfriend has a sweet pixellated P-wing tattoo from Mario Bros.
-Paolo buys me a Maxx statue. He laughs at the fact that he and Rob (via superhero statues) are forcing me to clutter up my studio.
-Rob and I watch an Amish guy pass by the table with a digital camera as he films his convention experience. Are the Amish allowed to have that shit? I tell Rob that we should report him.
-Later on I learn that he wasn't Amish, he was Mennonite. Apparently, they're allowed the luxuries of life: digital cameras and comics. They're also allowed to have cars, but only in black. But they can't use deodorant. If your god says it's okay to drive a black SLK, why not spring for some Degree? Or maybe a mustache to finish off that half-beard?
-Someone comes up and asks if it's okay to call me Sean. I tell him that it's fine because that's my name. I get angry when I see fans acting that way because it means they've met an artist who acted like a prick at some point.
-Someone comes up and asks if I prefer Sean Murphy or Sean GORDON Murphy. I tell them Sean Murphy is fine. I only use the middle name for my website because www.seanmurphy.com was taken. And I wanted my DA to match my website.
-Someone comes up and asks if I want to do the panel discussion on breaking into comics. There was also a chance to do a broadcast interview, but I feel very uncomfortable with both. Rob says that I SHOULD do the panel because I could tell people about how having a hair straightener is useful for breaking in to comics. Rob is an asshole.
-I'm in the bathroom taking a leak. Next to me, also leaking, is a Storm Trooper. I force myself not to turn my head to investigate how he's pulling off this violation of physics.
-The Storm Trooper finished first. We both wash our hands and leave at the same time. Then we're walking to stairwell together back up to the show. At the top, he holds the door open for me. I say thank you. He replies in his electronic voice "these aren't the droids we're looking for".
-My commissions were coming out well. I even did a sweet Hellboy one that I was sorry to give away. Note having a crowd of people (like at bigger shows) is nice and relaxing. Which makes my drawing more relaxed. I'd honestly be fine if I got NO commissions and could just hang out and talk to people during cons.
-Rob and I experience one bad meal after another. It becomes clear to us that, since we left New York, every meal has sucked. I promise to take him to Friendly's on the way home. It might be a chain, but Friendly's is reliably awesome. And they give you a whole pot of coffee at the table. I see that as a challenge to finish every drop.
-Rob and I end up at Olive Garden with another friend, Chris Debari. Chris and Rob laugh at the irony of two Italians being in an Olive Garden (Rob is Aussie and Italian I guess).
-Rebekah Isaacs is sitting next to me at the show. I talk to her about the same thing I talk to every female creator in comics: how do you stand being hit-on at conventions? What's it like working in a male dominated industry? When the other comic chicks get together, do they have pillow fights and talk about the cutest boys in comics?
-I sell a few more pages of Vampire. Each person promises not to post them online before the issue comes out.
-I met Tony Moore and he was awesome. I really enjoyed Walking Dead so it was a treat to meet him.
-I got about 10 small kids coming up to my table during the weekend. I'm do my best to treat kids extra nice because our industry needs new readers. One of them goes on and on about how he wants to be like me and draw comics one day. It was really sweet. His dad probably made him say it. I give him a free print anyway.
-Rob has another go at me for having a hair straightener. Which a good friend should do. I try to explain to everyone in ear shot that I really don't care about hairin fact I usually have it shaved. But the more I defend it, the worse it gets. It's my own damn fault.
-Super Show was a blast. I made as much money as I did when I flew to Seattle. As far as cost and stress and travel is concerned, smaller shows are better for me. I'll probably be back next year. The people coming up where very nice and respectful. A lot of people who don't collect comics made it in as well.
-Rob and I listen to The Ventures for most of the trip back. We also burn our faces off while eating huge Wasabi beans we bought at a Mennonite market. No deodorant, but they're allowed Wasabi beans? Religion makes no sense.
-We get back to the city and have dinner with Colleen and Rob's wife, Tracy. Finally, a proper meal. We also scarf down some Easter candy. Tracy is an atheist as well so I make fun of her for having Easter candy. That's like an Amish driving an SLK.
-Rob likes the Easter candyespecially the chocolate covered marshmallows. I grab the last one and smash it. Revenge for a weekend of hair straightener jokes.
-Colleen and I get home late and see that Bin Laden is dead. Overall, a good weekend.
Listening to: Charlie Rose
Watching: Top Gear UK