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Independent Comic Con Artists

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Earlier this month, I asked you guys for suggestions about what I should cover at Comic Con. An overwhelming number of you voted to see coverage of the independent artists at the event. I loved the suggestion and here is the result—a post highlighting some of the coolest artists seen at the convention.

These days the convention is no longer limited to just comic books and even the artists are scattered between comics, fine art, video game design, crafts and more. I tried to cover a little of all these areas to give you a chance to see the variety and the talent of the many artists displaying their works at the 2010 Comic Con. I hope you enjoy!

Kozik

Frank Kozik is one of the biggest artists at Comic Con. After gaining notoriety through his Labbit series with Kid Robot, he started his own booth at Comic Con, which features a number of awesome art toys, in both plush and vinyl.

Alex Pardee

Alex Pardee is another fairly big artist who has a booth at the convention every year. I actually met him at the 2005 convention (when he still had a tiny booth in the Artist's Alley) and talked to him about his work for a bit. My favorite of his projects are the Bunnywith comics, but you may know him better for his Team Conan shirt or his Chadam series.

Mitch O'Connell

If you've ever picked up a tattoo magazine, then you've probably seen the classic, flash-inspired artwork of Mitch O'Connell.

Peter Kuper

You may not recognize the name, but I'm sure most of you _flossers recognize the icon art of Peter Kuper, who is the most recent of the many Mad Magazine artists to have worked on the Spy Vs. Spy comics.

Crystal Chesney-Thompson

Here's another artist whose name may not ring a bell, but I'm sure you're familiar with a little show called Futurama and thus, have seen Mrs. Chesney-Thompson's work before. For years, she has been attending Comic Con selling books and plush toys for her own project, Haminal, but now that Futurama is back, she's also attending panels for the show.

As for Haminal, the basic idea is that this adorable little fellow is the result of genetic engineering a pig, a hamster and a guinea pig for the purposes of creating an animal that is tasty and built for the can. Over the years, he has gained some new friends, including the Deviled Haminal and the KiTuna Fish (seen in the photo before this one).

Battle Bears

Battle Bears is the first iPhone game slated to become a movie. Oliver (the brown bear) and his military unit crash land on a planet filled with huggables (the pink one), and find they must destroy all the adorable pink enemies in order to survive.

Battle Bears was created by a nine-man team that was headed up by Benjamin Vu (seen above) who previously worked on Coraline.

Alejandro Garza

Alejandro Garza is a comic book artist that has worked on titles such as the Teen Titans, Batgirl and Supergirl. At the convention, he seemed to be selling his own artwork, along with quick sketches.

Rosita Y Conchita

This booth had a great set-up, as it really looked like a little Dia De Los Muertos altar featuring the book Rosita y Conchita, a rhyming storybook in English and Spanish. The artwork in the book was adorable and the story was cute, too.

Devon Devereaux

Speaking of children's books, here one that's not actually for children: The Littlest Bitch by David Quinn and Michael Davis. It was illustrated by Devon Dereveaux, seen above, who uses a playful retro style in all of his works.

Laurie B

Laurie B's artwork depicts classic characters in a unique and distinct style that is completely irresistible.

Here's her take on Princess Leia:

Kirby Krackle

There are all kinds of artists at Comic Con, but Kirby Krackle is the first band I've ever seen to set up a booth. They fit in well because all of their songs are inspired by geek culture, particularly comic books.

Lark Pien

There isn't much to say about Lark Pien other than the fact that her paintings that generally feature a cute critter are simply adorable. Her clean style is visually stimulating and it was one of the booths I kept coming back to throughout the convention.

Mike Sosonowski

Mike Sosnowski is another artist that recognized the value of the convention years ago and has been coming back ever since. His pieces tend to focus on monsters and what they do with their free time.

Misty Benson

Do you like skulls with big deep eyes and creepy, yet cuddly animals? If so, Misty Benson's Morbidly Adorable Creations are sure to make you smile. She even makes mini prints of her paintings into necklaces so you can carry them around with you.

Geof Darrow

Geof Darrow is another comic artist who was there to sell his prints. His most famous work has been on the book Shaolin Cowboy, which is where the artwork above is from.

John Van Fleet

John Van Fleet has worked on a number of projects with major entertainment companies, but his pet projects are simply amazing, featuring dark mechanical imagery.

Paul Guinan

Paul Guinan and his cut out of Boiler Plate attracted quite a crowd throughout the convention. Boiler Plate is the star of a book by Guinan that was named as the third-best book by Amazon last year.

Denise Vasquez

Denise Vasquez was one of my favorite discoveries in the Artist's Alley area this year. She is quite the artist, experimenting with a variety of mediums, including music, drawings and toys. I wasn't the only one impressed with her talents. Apparently Stan Lee saw her toy version of him and told her he wanted to buy it after the convention.

Danielle Griffith

Danielle Griffith is a cartoonist and all-around artist. What was most impressive about her art, though, was the fact that she hand-sculpted and cast these toys all on her own, rather than hiring a company to do it for her.

She also had some really fascinating paintings that were some of the only watercolors I saw at the convention.

Will Quilt For Games

Crafts are a little less common at the convention, but they are still present, as you can see by this collection of pixelated gamer pillow cushions available from Will Quilt For Games on Etsy.

Jeff Pidgeon

Jeff Pidgeon and his adorable Happy Beaver have been a constant at the convention over the last few years. And with adorable vinyl toys, sketches, tees and more, they seem to do really well year after year.

Wardell Brown and Wattana Khommarath

While the sign behind these two reads Wild Monkey Works, the booth was actually a collaboration between these two gentlemen and another who wasn't present (the skateboards in the background are by the other person).

Wattana Khommarath (at right) is a 2D animation teacher at the Art Institute of San Diego, but at the convention, he was selling the cool prints above.

Wardell Brown has a cool cartoony style and for the convention, he printed these revisualized versions of a few classic video games.
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Now there were literally hundreds of other artists at the convention, but obviously I couldn't cover them all. If you were there, did you have any favorites?

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fun
This Harry Potter Candle Melts to Reveal Your Hogwarts House—and Smells Amazing
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Warner Bros.

As it gets darker and colder outside, the thought of lighting a candle in your room and curling up with a good book becomes more appealing. A sorting hat candle from the Muggle Library Candles Etsy store makes the perfect companion to whatever Harry Potter book you happen to be re-reading for the hundredth time this season. According to the Cleveland news outlet WKYC, the candle slowly reveals your Hogwarts house as it burns.

From the outside, the item looks like a normal white candle. But when lit, the outer layer of plain wax melts away, allowing the colorful interior to poke through. The candles come in one of four concealed colors: red for Gryffindor, blue for Ravenclaw, yellow for Hufflepuff, and green for Slytherin. The only way to know which house you’re destined to match with is by purchasing a candle and putting it to use. According to the label, the scent evokes “excitement, fear, and nervousness.” The smell can also be described as lemon with sandalwood, vanilla, and patchouli.

Due to its viral popularity, the Fort Worth, Texas-based Etsy store has put all orders on hold while working to get its current batch of shipments out to customers. You can follow Muggle Library Candles on Instagram for updates on the sorting candle, as well as other Harry Potter-themed candles in their repertoire, like parseltongue and free elf.

[h/t WKYC]

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Karrah Kobus/NPG Records via Getty Images
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Pop Culture
5 Killer Pieces of Rock History Up for Auction Now (Including Prince’s Guitar)
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Karrah Kobus/NPG Records via Getty Images

If you’ve ever wanted to own a piece of rock history, now is the time. A whole host of cool music memorabilia from the 20th century is going up for sale through Julien’s Auctions in Los Angeles as part of its “Icons and Idols” sale. If you’ve got the dough, you can nab everything from leather chairs from Graceland to a shirt worn by Jimi Hendrix to never-before-available prints that Joni Mitchell signed and gave to her friends. Here are five highlights from the auction:

1. ELVIS’S NUNCHUCKS

Elvis’s nunchucks
Courtesy Julien's Auctions

Elvis’s karate skills sometimes get a bad rap, but the King earned his first black belt in 1960, and went on to become a seventh-degree black belt before opening his own studio in 1974. You can cherish a piece of his martial arts legacy in the form of his nunchaku. One was broken during his training, but the other is still in ready-to-use shape. (But please don’t use it.) It seems Elvis wasn’t super convinced of his own karate skills, though, because he also supposedly carried a police baton (which you can also buy) for his personal protection.

2. PRINCE’S GUITAR

A blue guitar used by Prince
Courtesy Julien's Auctions

Prince’s blue Cloud guitar, estimated to be worth between $60,000 and $80,000, appeared on stage with him in the late ’80s and early ’90s. The custom guitar was made just for Prince by Cloud’s luthier (as in, guitar maker) Andy Beech. The artist first sold it at a 1994 auction to benefit relief efforts for the L.A. area’s devastating Northridge earthquake.

3. KURT COBAIN’S CHEERLEADER OUTFIT

Kurt Cobain wearing a cheerleader outfit in the pages of Rolling Stone
Courtesy Julien's Auctions

The Nirvana frontman wore the bright-yellow cheerleader’s uniform from his alma mater, J.M. Weatherwax High School in Aberdeen, Washington, during a photo shoot for a January 1994 issue of Rolling Stone, released just a few months before his death.

4. MICHAEL JACKSON’S WHITE GLOVE

A white glove covered in rhinestones
Courtesy Julien's Auctions

A young Michael Jackson wore this bejeweled right-hand glove on his 1981 Triumph Tour, one of the first of many single gloves he would don over the course of his career. Unlike later incarnations, this one isn’t a custom-made glove with hand-sewn crystals, but a regular glove topped with a layer of rhinestones cut into the shape of the glove and sewn on top.

The auction house is also selling a pair of jeans the star wore to his 2003 birthday party, as well as other clothes he wore for music videos and performances.

5. WOOD FROM ABBEY ROAD STUDIOS

A piece of wood in a frame under a picture of The Beatles
Courtesy Julien's Auctions

You can’t walk the halls of Abbey Road Studios, but you can pretend. First sold in 1986, the piece of wood in this frame reportedly came from Studio Two, a recording space that hosted not only The Beatles (pictured), but Pink Floyd, Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton, and others.

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