Events: Toronto Comicon
- Nov. 8, 2003
This way to the show!
I made it to the Toronto
Comicon around noon on Saturday. It didn't take me long to locate
the Queen Elizabeth Building in the vast complex of Exhibition Place.
Dealers, dealers everywhere...
As you can see, there were dealers everywhere, though not as many at the Comic/Sci-Fi/Anime convention I attended in August. This was specifically comics.
Lining up for Mike Kaluta
I found Mike Kaluta happily signing autographs - of all the artists,
he would have one of the longest lineups
of fans. Opposite him was Howard Chaykin's seat, but he wasn't
there. Feeling a little deterred by the long lineup, I decided to
visit Mr Kaluta later. I spent the next hour searching for comics
to complete my collection. Unfortunately I found only one Archie comic,
but I also found a set of Mr Chaykin's comics and some first issues
of the 1970s DC Shadow. Those would come in handy later. Around 12:45,
there was an announcement that Mr Kaluta, along with artists Jim Starlin
(Batman, Silver Surfer) and Marshall Rogers (Dr. Strange, Justice
League) will be upstairs for a discussion and question/answer session
at 1pm. I had to attend!
From left to right: Mike Kaluta, Jim Starlin, Marshall Rogers
At the discussion, the three artists were asked about their experience
in the changing comic book industry. They reminisced about working
with legends such as Stan Lee and the late Archie Goodwin (the comic
book editor, not the Nero Wolfe character). Mr
Kaluta spoke more than the other two artists, and always added
"sidebars" (i.e. an additional story) to their stories. Near the end,
it was question time. I wanted to ask about Mr Kaluta's experience
with The Shadow, but time was short. Oh well, there's always the autograph
Howard Chaykin poses for my camera
Right after the panel session, I went back and bought the comics for
the artists to sign. I headed back to the special guest area and found
Mr Chaykin having a discussion with a few fans. He was particularly
interested in the girl in front of me, who had thick eyeliner on.
When it came to my turn, he was more than happy to sign my comics
and have his picture taken. I talked to him about his work on The
Shadow and the 1994 movie (which he didn't like). When he was hired
to do the 4 comic series, he decided to take The Shadow into the present
since, according to him, leaving The Shadow in the past would tank
the series. He also gave a bit of insight into the copyright issue
people have been asking me about. Conde Nast (which includes Advance
Magazine) is not interested in doing anything with The Shadow right
now. All in all, Mr Chaykin was nice and gracious. He's also a good
singer too! While I was packing away my freshly signed copies of his
comics, he spontaneously broke into song (he was singing to himself,
not to me). I believe it was called "Slow boat to China".
Mike Kaluta signing my comic
Finally, after a quick lunch, I waited in line to meet Mr Kaluta.
When I got to the front, I found him making a quick sketch of The
Shadow for a fan! Like Mr Chaykin, Mr Kaluta was very gracious and
talkative. Besides signing the first issue of the 1970s DC Shadow
that I bought, he allowed me to take a picture of him. Mr Kaluta was
very friendly and funny. He fielded my questions about The Shadow,
and was genuinely interested. I got the impression that he tremendously
enjoyed working on the Shadow comics. By the way, he did send his
work to the guys who made the 1994 movie (which is why he's listed
in the credits). I would love to have asked him about his favourite
Shadow comic, and if he will do any more in the future, but I had
to wrap up my questions since there were six people behind me. Other
fans where also waiting patiently to have him sketch for them as well.
I soon realized that if you wanted a personalized sketch, you'll have
to pay him. By then, I was already broke, but just the experience
of meeting him made up for that.
A great day to remember. It was an honour to shake the hands that
drew my favourite character. A special thanks to both Mr Kaluta and
Mr Chaykin for giving me a few minutes of their time, and permission to
post their pictures here.