July 24, 2001

Before we get on with "KeenCon postmortem installment the first," I'd like to point out that today is "Pioneer Day" in Utah. On this date back in 18something-or-other a wagon train full of bedraggled Mormon pioneers who had basically been kicked out of the United States pulled into the valley of the Great Salt Lake, and Brigham Young said "this is the place."

He was looking down on a scrub desert with a body of foul, non-potable water at its heart. Whether or not you're a Mormon, you've got to credit him with being a visionary man. Under his leadership the Mormon pioneers transformed the northern Utah deserts into fertile farmland in less than one generation, and they did it without power tools. Today it's a green, beautiful place, and whether or not you're a Mormon you have to appreciate what they accomplished.

Okay... 'con report.

The International Comic Con in San Diego is a big event, with 50,000 attendees. For the first time ever, KeenSpot had an official delegation there, with over 20 of your favorite web-toonists manning the booth, pressing the flesh, and inking little doodly things in each others' sketchbooks.

The Con had a lot to offer, with sneak previews of new TV series, a forbidden episode of "Futurama," and countless shiny things. But the best part of it for me was sitting at the Keen booth and meeting other Keenspotters for the first time. And meeting KeenSpacers. And swapping doodles in sketchbooks. Watching some of these guys work was truly inspirational.

There was Paul Southworth, whose brush-work on Krazy Larry and Black Plague amazes me. And David Simpson, who uses the same brush-pen as Paul does, but can do a calligraphy font in less time than it takes me to write the same thing in lower-case scribble. Oh, and Clint Hollingsworth and Mike Rosenzweig, both of whom do the comic-book realism thing that I can only aspire to.

And Dave Kelly... good grief. The man sat down with a 35-cent ballpoint pen and with NO SKETCHING and not a SINGLE STRAY LINE cranked out an entire strip. And then to make us all look bad he started doing colored pencil work at the table... sheesh! Just call me 'flood-fill boy' and chase me out behind the woodshed. Wow.

Yeah, there were others. Jeff Darlington, Brad Guigar, Matt Milligan, Tatsuya Ishida, John Troutman, Steve Troop, Scott Maddix, Albert Temple, and of course Darren "flesh-Gav" Bleuel. What, you think I'm made of URLs? Sorry. I'm WAY too lazy to link ALL of these. Suffice it to say that my sketch book from Comic-Con 2001 is the only real treasure I brought home. Everything else was just commercial, mass-produced stuff. But the work of your hands, guys? Priceless.