Monday, October 18, 2021

New York Comic Con wrap-up

After a year and a half without attending any film festivals or conventions, last week I got back into the exciting world of personal appearances. 

The New York Comic Con returned, big time - though the word went out that there would be limited attendance at this event at the Jacob Javits Center, which until just recently had been a major COVID-19 vaccination center for NYC!  We had to apply for the NY Comic Con back in June, and pay for a table in Artist Alley without being 100% sure if the event would take place at all, because of the pandemic.  And last year's virtual NYCC didn't produce any sales for us.

But, if you ask me, the 2021 event seemed quite crowded upstairs on the main show floor, and also downstairs in Artist Alley, where I had my tiny table.  Financially speaking, this was the most successful "con" I've ever been to - including all the big trips that we took out to San Diego over the years.  (Partially this is because when we went to SDCC, we had to buy airfares, hotels, we had to ship merchandise there and back, and with NYCC, we just have to walk a few blocks...)

In the past, most of my success came from selling my DVDs - but since we moved over to Artist Alley a couple years ago, the money has mostly come from selling my original animation art, from "Your Face" and "The Simpsons" and my music videos.  Also, my caricatures were quite popular, people just love to see themselves drawn in my art style. 

At the San Diego Comic Con, I always used to run into old friends and often a few celebs - it wouldn't be unusual for Tom Kenny to show up at my booth, or Patton Oswalt, Morgan Spurlock, Leonard Maltin or even Quentin Tarantino one year (this was way back, when famous people could still walk around there without disguises...).  My office manager, John, is pretty good at recognizing celebrities, especially ones from "Star Wars".  However, at the NY con, there were only a few old friends, like Bob Camp of "Ren & Stimpy" fame.

with Gil Kenan at NYCC

I did get to meet Gil Kenan, the director of "Monster House", one of my favorite scary Halloween films, and he said he was a big fan of mine, and he bought a couple of pieces of art, one from my short "How to Kiss" and another from "25 Ways to Quit Smoking".  He's also the co-writer (with Jason Reitman) of the new film "Ghostbusters: Afterlife", which I heard they played IN FULL for the attendees who showed up for the panel about it.  It was fun to talk to Gil about his rise to fame from the UCLA animation department - he's hanging out with Spielberg and Zemeckis now, how come I never get to meet those guys? 

I had help at my table from John H., Rachel and my wife Sandrine - they split up the days and worked the credit-card swiper for me, I can't always figure it out.  I tried to run it while John was in the cafeteria eating lunch, and I almost overcharged a customer by adding an extra zero!  Thankfully John showed up in the nick of time to cancel that order and run it again correctly.  John said that there weren't as many great costumes as usual, but I'll have him post some below. One guy even came by my booth dressed up like Homer Simpson!

Also, we still have art for sale!  If you want to get a signed piece of original art from an episode of "The Simpsons" (and they make the show digitally, so these are REALLY rare...) we have art from some of my "couch gags" still available.  We still have art for sale from "Your Face", "How to Kiss" and "25 Ways to Quit Smoking", my first successful short films, if you can believe that.  We also got a visit at the convention from a big fan of "Weird Al" Yankovic who asked me about art from the music videos I did for Al, "Don't Download That Song" and "TMZ". We have those, too, they're pencil drawings that aren't colored, so we didn't bring them to the convention, but if you're a fan of "Weird Al" (and come on, who isn't?) you can own a small piece of one of his videos - or maybe art from Kanye West's video "Heard 'em Say", we have that too.
pencil art from "Don't Download This Song" music video

pencil art from "Don't Download This Song" music video

If you're interested in buying signed art from ANY of my films or music videos, please send an e-mail to: and we will work with you to to find you some art that you will really like, and then John can invoice you through PayPal and ship the art to you in a Stay-Flat mailer.  The prices vary according to the project, and there is a limited amount of art from each film, so please ask us about what's available.  Or you can take a photo or a screenshot of an image you like from any of my films, and we can try to look for that!

Later on this year, I'm finally going to get back to my traveling routine, thank God, or thank the COVID vaccine.  In November I'll be going to the Fancine Festival in Malaga, Spain - then on to Brazil in 2022. I'm so happy to be getting back to my normal life, with conventions and festivals. 

Here are some of the best costumes that John H. saw at NYCC, just in time for Halloween.  Also, enjoy this week's cartoon below!

Bill P.  

Friday, October 1, 2021

"Flee" and New York Comic-Con 2021

As the Oscar race is starting, I just watched one of this year's contenders in the Animated Feature category, it's called "Flee".

The film tells the story of an Afghan refugee fleeing the Soviet Union/Taliban rulers of his country.  This guy (he's anonymous for fear of reprisals) attempts to escape to Sweden with his family.  But there are numerous hardships and dangers that keep him from reaching freedom.

The director met the refugee in Denmark, and when he learned of the man's travails, he decided to make a documentary of his journey - but since there was no existing footage, he decided to use animation to tell the story.

I found the story very heart-wrenching and fearful, but unfortunately, the animation was quite crude.  Now, most people who aren't animators probably won't mind.  But to me, the simplistic drawings lacked the sophistication and subtlety of a well-made film.  However, I believe the film will do well at the Oscars, because of the power-packed, emotional story.

This coming weekend, October 7-10, I'll be appearing at the New York Comic-Con at the Javits Center.  Last year the live convention was cancelled, and the virtual replacement was a big bust - and I really missed it so much!  Not only is it a great supplemental source of income for me, but also a great place to meet my fans and fellow cartoonists - plus I love seeing all the new art and books.  

Also, this is my first real public appearance ANYWHERE since the start of the COVID pandemic - I've basically been studio-bound for over a year, I haven't flown anywhere or appeared at any festivals, except virtually by Zoom.  So I can't wait, my office manager signed us up for a table back in June, when we didn't even know for sure if NYCC would be happening - if you remember, the Javits Center was a giant vaccination clinic at that time.  I'm so glad that things are getting better in NYC, and I wish other cities and states around the country would take a look at the progress we've made here and realize that they can have the same success, too, by encouraging more people to get vaccinated.

So, if you're in the New York City area, and you're already vaxxed, there are still tickets available for some of the days - I think Saturday's probably sold out.  But please drop by my table (D-13) in Artist Alley at the Javits Center and say "Hello" or "Welcome back".  I think there's still a ban on hugs and high-fives, but it would be GREAT to see you!  You can check out all my new stuff, plus original hand-drawn art from "Your Face", "How to Kiss", and some of the couch gags I animated for "The Simpsons".  

Artist Alley at NYCC during the before-times

I will also offer caricatures for sale - you can see what you would look like as a Plymptoon! - and I will give anyone and everyone a quick sketch on a postcard for FREE!  So tell your friends and I'll see you there at Comic-Con!  WOO-HOO!