ID10TFest 2017 by Matt Harding

MY REVIEW!

This last weekend of June I was lucky enough to split a table with my good friend and bay area artist Casey Desilets and my girlfriend Sara Parks. I didn't really know what to expect from this convention, but the hype for it was real- a music/comedy/comics festival convention thing brought to you by Chris Hardwick. 

For those of you who don't know who Chris Hardwick is, it's this guy:

He's basically everywhere hosting shows such as "The Talking Dead" and "Talking Bad" and a whole bunch of others. I believe he also has a couple of game shows, does comedy tours, and runs the Nerdist website and Podcast. So, he's a busy, busy guy. Besides doing all that, he's put together this festival, which is possibly the most fun that I've ever had at a convention, and fully expect to be a yearly event that just keeps getting better and better. So here's how it worked:

For the better part of the day (noon until 8pm) there's a tent with comedy shows going on with a pretty bad ass list of comedians performing (full list of everyone appearing is below). Outside of that tent there is a giant artist alley where some of the best artists in the biz are located. Because of the nature of the show, only some space was allocated to comics, so the artist list wasn't gigantic, but they made up for it with the artists that were there, having a surprisingly well thought out diverse group. What really surprised me wasn't the amazing artist that they had at the show, but the inclusion of industry leading inkers like MIck Gray, and colorists like Matt Wilson, which showed a real appreciation for all aspects of comic creation. In this tent you also found a stage where they held free panels you could watch and learn from all day. 

the full list with artwork by the amazing Nick Dragotta

the full list with artwork by the amazing Nick Dragotta

Then there was the second artist alley, where we were. Things got wild there.

The main panel tent had crazy good panels like "Mystery Science Theater" and "Con Men". This tent stole my girlfriend away from me for most of the day, where she had way too much fun. She got the chance to ask Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk question about why Joss Wheddon hasn't put them in the Avengers yet, and they gave her a bunch of signed junk, like Alan's used underwear from the show, as a reward for her bravery. 

Also, shops! Shops everywhere!

Then there was the electronic dance music tent, which was so slammed with people that they literally poured out of every opening the tent had, and into the areas around it. This was probably one of my favorite aspects of the convention, and here's why: I've been going to conventions for my whole life, and you start to recognize the usual- the gaslight batman cosplayer, or the guy always dressed like the xenomorph from alien. You see these people at every single show, and you get used to them being there. However, you don't often get to see them getting down to some EDM with a bunch of 20-somethings as if they've been friends for their whole lives. Let me tell you, that's a sight that will leave you enjoying life, and warm the dark recesses of your heart. 

Then of course, you had your concerts. For part of the day, and extending the convention to 11pm, a bunch of amazing bands played the main stage at the shoreline theater. We saw Weezer. 

So yeah, the convention was awesome. Everyone in this buisness has thrown the idea around about combining music and comic in a convention for as long as I've been alive, but Chris Hardwick went and finally did it, that beautiful bastard. Bravo, sir. 

FREE COMIC BOOK DAY by Matt Harding

FCBD at Flying Friggin Colors!!

Some people have Christmas, others have Thanksgiving or Halloween. We get free comic book day

Every year on the first Saturday of May, people line up outside of comic book stores all across the world to collect on free comics, which just about every single major publisher out there participates in. Mostly as chance to get new readers involved, or to attract old ones that have wandered elsewhere, publishers scramble to present free looks into some of their best series. Publishers like Marvel and DC will even use free comic book day to launch their blockbuster summer hits- last year I believe that they even killed off one of their major characters leading into Civil War 2 or something like that. Either way, it's a big deal dudes, with comic stores in Italy and England even participating. Hell, even Hugh Jackman talks about FCBD on all the talkshows.

Who created this event, you ask? Who pioneered the national giveaway that comic fans celebrate every year? The one and the only Joe Field! 

Joe and Family

Joe and Family

Joe Field is one of the most influential and famous retailers in the country. Beside FCBD, he's also started Wondercon, the Retailers Association, and Superhero Day at AT&T park, to just name a few. The guy pals around with Both Stan and Jim Lee, and is good friends with artists that would make me pee da pants I'd be so nervous to talk to.  Joe's store, Flying Colors Comics is in Concord California, and just so happens to be my weekly comic addiction fix. 

This year, Joe asked me to be the guest artist for FCBD, which is an incredible honor, and a staple in my life. I was asked to do ten minute sketch covers for guests, and all the money I'd earn would go to the Hero Initiative. Needless to say, i agreed immediatly, and spent a good portion of every day for two weeks practicing for a day I knew would be crazy. I did finger pushups, and kept my drawing hand submerged in a glass of blessed holy water while I slept. I was ready.

I got to the store at 10am and didn't stop drawing until the day was almost over at 7pm. Here's what it looked like:

At the end of the day I tallied up 42 sketch covers, and raised over 400 dollars for the Hero Initiative! Afterwards, I went home and tried to read some of my free comic book day comics, but passed out before I could even make it through one issue. 

My favorite sketch cover of the day

My favorite sketch cover of the day