Meet the Guests is where we showcase the creators that you may see at your local comic convention. This time around we feature artist Joe Staton.
This is the time to be immodest. What work are you probably best known for?
If I go by Facebook, my tombstone will say “Worked on THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF BRUCE WAYNE and SHOWCASE 100 (and some other stuff.)” But I guess the real answer is probably E-MAN, GREEN LANTERN and DICK TRACY.
Do you charge for autographs?
Usually I don’t charge but I encourage donations to Hero Initiative. I’ll have a sign and a jar for cash. If Hero has a presence at a show I turn the cash over to them; otherwise, I send the total on to the home office. Fans are getting pretty well trained so that when they see the green placard they reach in their pockets.
Do you charge for photos?
I don’t charge for photos. Actually, I like to have my photo taken with cosplayers who are
doing my characters, Huntress, Guy Gardner, Dick Tracy, even Killiwog. I’ll often give them a mini-poster of the character to thank them.
Do you do sketches at the cons? If so how do I get one?
I do lots of sketches. It’s always best to get on the list early in the show and always tell me when you’ll be leaving so I can plan to have it done on time.
Can I arrange a sketch or commission ahead of time to be picked up at the con?
If you Message me to let me know what you want, I can sometimes get the sketch done ahead of time, otherwise I’ll put you first on the list for the day of.
Will you do drawings on sketch covers?
What types of other things do you usually have for sale at your table?
I’ll have small posters of characters I’ve done (Harley and the Joker are very popular), DICK TRACY Sundays as miniposters and usually copies of the E-MAN TPB. Also I will probably have copies of a b&w DICK TRACY comic that reprints a complete adventure. The Tracy books are free samples so people can see the strip on paper. We hope they lead readers to Tracy at www.gocomics.com/dicktracy. On special occasions I will have MEGO E-Man dolls.
Do you have any particularly funny/interesting/weird convention story to tell?
An entirely adorable little girl came up with her dad. Blonde, big blue eyes, somewhere around 4-6. She looked up at me with those big blue eyes, “Would you draw me a Wolverine, please, with his claws out?” I did the drawing and handed it to her. She looked at it intently. She looked worried. “Would you please put some blood on his claws?” I dug around and found a red marker and added a good blood trickle on the claws. She looked at it again very seriously. She smiled very broadly. “Thank you.” And she went on her way happy, holding the Wolverine to her chest. I wonder what happened to that little girl.
What is the strangest thing that you have been asked to draw?
I guess just normal things like Scooby Doo disguised as Dick Tracy, in a raincoat with a hat and a wrist-radio. “Rawring Rooby Roo!” And not really strange, but something that I enjoyed several years ago was was when gamers would have me draw their own characters to their specifications.
Who were you excited to meet at a con? (Either as an attendee or guest.)
I was really happy to meet Bob Harvey at the Denver show recently. I’ve read his columns for years and it was fun to tell him so and hear more of his stories. It was cool meeting Jens Robinson at the Calgary Expo since I’d met his dad back at MoCCA. Speaking of sons of artists I had Pete Morisi’s boys come by the table at NYCC last year. Great guys and they were happy to meet somebody who knew Pete from Charlton. At NYCC we get Broadway actors coming by. I drew Rocket Raccoon for the young lady starring in the Phantom. And the leads from Honeymoon in Vegas had me do likenesses of them in character. And guys came by from an off-Broadway noir parody. Things like that. Maybe the coolest thing was being able to hang out with English actor Garrick Hagon from the first STAR WARS movie. I can honestly drop into conversation, “This reminds me of the night at the biker bar in Mexico City when I was knocking back tequila shots with Biggs Darklighter.”
Any Con Pet Peeves?
I guess my main peeve is somebody who wants signatures while I’m still trying to unpack and set up. “It’s just a couple of books.” OK, but I still have to put things down and find a marker. I think my main current problem is that big shows have developed a structure with two parallel cons, one for “celebrities” and another for the comics guests with no mixing encouraged. Used to be I’d wind up having lunch with Erin Gray or actors from LOST, or Eddie Munster [Butch Patrick] or some such. Now the celebrities are taken away by their handlers. Not to mention their booths are often set up to draw the fans away from the comics types.
Are you on social media? How can we follow you and/or arrange a commission?
I have a website www.joestaton.com and I’m on Facebook, and Messaging from there usually works. If you want a commission more finished or ambitious than a con sketch, the place to go is www.theartistschoice.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.