So I attended my first Staple! in Austin, Texas this past weekend. An independent media expo featuring comic books, magazines, art, and games, Staple! has been attracting both artists and fans since 2005. There were two guests in particular that I really wanted to see, but the amount of talent that was on hand was impressive. I wasn’t concerned about interviews or taking too many pictures, I was just there as a fan.
After circling around a few times, I decided it was time to stand in line to meet Francesco Francavilla. Perhaps best know for his creator owned book, The Black Beetle, the Italian artist has also penciled, colored, inked, and lettered countless other comics. He is credited as the cover artist for such titles as Hawkeye, The Lone Ranger, The Mighty Avengers, and Zorro. His pulpy artistic style has earned him critical acclaim and his popularity continues to grow as his work continues to attract more fans year after year. On this day he was kind enough to sign my Afterlife with Archie comics and he graciously posed in a picture with me.
Next up that afternoon was Chip Zdarsky. Sort of a newcomer to the comic scene, Zdarsky found overnight success with Sex Criminals which was named Time Magazine’s Best Comic Book of 2013. Born Steve Murray, the Canadian artist continues to keep his day job as a journalist for Canadian newspaper National Post where he works on an advice column entitled Extremely Bad Advice. We stood in line for about forty minutes before we were told that Zdarsky would be leaving to do his Q&A. We left the line to go grab a seat for the hour-long session and he absolutely killed it. He controlled the room as he proceeded to entertain the audience with his jocular and witty personality. Afterwards we got back in line and waited another hour before it was our turn. He signed two of my Sex Criminals comics and he did a blowfish sketch for me (which I was absolutely stoked about). I already admired this guy for the amazing work he does in his books, but I gained a whole new level of respect when I saw how hard he was working to give something back to the fans. He made every effort to do as many sketches as he could for attendees, and knowing he was pressed for time, he put off any kind of food and water breaks to make this possible. Hell I didn’t even see him go the restroom. He agreed to a picture which made my day and topped off a great weekend in Austin.