The poster for this year’s East Coast Comicon is a paean to the overlooked heart and soul of comic conventions; the comic dealers. They travel far and wide almost every weekend so we can score some rare gem for our collections. Without them, it’s not a comic con, it’s a festival or an expo or an art show. They are the legion of the long-box, the brotherhood of the back issue, retailers on a road trip.
The art came from a sketch I was working on for a back-to-school window display for a store I had in Laguna Beach, CA back in 2003. Instead, I went with a Popeye-esque character I called Dead-Beat Dad, who was seated in a worn out Lazy Boy chair with a beer can in his left hand and his right hand point his thumb backwards saying GET YER BUTTS BACK IN SCHOOL!
A few months ago, I discovered a sketch of an Ed “Big Daddy” Roth inspired school bus driver with a young girl clinging to him as he burned rubber on a short bus. I changed the bus to a van and some comics falling out the back doors and I had my poster design. It was the most fun I’ve had drawing in ages. The colors seemed obvious and I was done in short order. The T-shirt required a bit more thought in coloring. I wanted a tougher look. Colors you might see on Harley Davidson T-shirt or something a bit more fashion forward for men. I toned down the white with a bone color and made the red and yellow more earthy.
If you look to the very bottom on the right it says FOR JOE CALDWELL AND JOHN BRIGHTON. Those are two great guys who supply many of the TV and movie show cars like the Munster Mobile, Starsky & Hutch Torino, the Monkee Mobile, and a variety of Batmobiles. Joe and John are the other unsung heroes of East Coast Comicon and knew the gearhead design would be a proper tribute.
A final note; only days after the posters were printed, Jim Starlin and Mark Bagely were added to the line-up.