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18 Independent Artists at Comic Con 2012

Back in 2010, we introduced you to some of the many talented artists at the San Diego Comic Con. So how have things changed in the last two years? For one thing, there are even more talented artists setting up shop at the convention these days. Here are a few of the many amazing artists at the convention.

Jackie Huang of Wool Buddy

While crafting has become more common at the convention throughout the last few years, felting is still a bit more obscure than most varieties of needlework and still hadn't made its mark at Comic Con. That's why I was so happy to see Wool Buddy's booth. As if the adorable creatures weren't cute enough on their own, you could even buy a felting starter kit and artist Jackie Huang couldn't be happier to show viewers how to create masterpieces of their own. He even made an adorable Lorax right in front of me.

Martin Hsu of Crakens

Plushies and tee shirts are pretty big sellers at the convention, but handmade plushies are an entirely different story. Martin Hsu's Puffer Puss toy from his Craken line was one of the cutest designs at the convention and the fact that it was 100% handmade and limited to only 50 creations made it totally worth the $65 price tag. If you happen to like the Crabby Bear shirt in the bottom left, you might want to stop by their shop in a month or so as Martin informed me that he will be the next plush produced by the company.

Diana Sprinkle

Not only does Diana Sprinkle have a fantastic name, she also had some delightful artwork and merchandise. Anyone who happens to love Star Trek puns would particularly like her Beam Me Up shirt with a picture of a scottish terrier in a Star Trek shirt -- you can just barely see it there in the top left.

Shing Khor of Sawdust Press

When it comes to adorable, yet somehow slightly unnerving, sculptures, Shing Khor of Sawdust Press definitely was the best newcomer to the Comic Con scene. Her bizarre creations have such vivid facial expressions and bright colors that they made it almost impossible to walk by her booth without stopping to take a look.

David Petersen of Mouse Guard

If you enjoy fantasy stories like The Lord of the Rings and adorable drawings of mice in people clothes, then you'll certainly appreciate David Petersen's Mouse Guard. I started reading the Black Axe series a while back and I have to say, they are great. I can't wait to get my hands on the final installment.

Jermaine Rogers

While Comic Con and rock and roll might not seem like a match made in heaven, it's important to remember that music geeks are still geeks. That's why rock poster artists like Jermaine Rogers always do pretty well at the convention. While there were a number of rock artists at the convention, Jermaine was my favorite, both because he has mastered an amazing variety of styles and because he used his David Bowie bunny for his sign.

Dave Pryor

Dave Pryor's art is delightful in that it reflects the artist's fun and geeky sense of humor. From his "Bacon for President" to his "Kermit the Gorf," his artwork is sure to resonate with at least one of your interests -- especially if you're the kind of person who enjoys Mental Floss.

Agnes Garbowska

If you're a proponent of the idea that everything is cute when it is made smaller, then you will no doubt enjoy the adorable artwork of Agnes Garbowska. While Agnes has many of her own characters and comics, I personally love her toddler versions of classic comic book characters like those you can see on her table here.

Dane Ault of Monkey Minion Press

Dane Ault's Monkey Minion Press creations are great reminders that pop-culture-inspired pop art should be bright, simple, immediately-recognizable and geeky as heck. Best of all, they sell geek greeting cards, so even if you don't have the space or cash for an art print, you can always get a great card for one of your friends.

Freddy Scribbles of Daydreams & Giggles

As I said before, handmade plushies are always a special treat, and it's even more impressive when you can see the toys being made right in front of your eyes like Freddy Scribbles of Daydreams & Giggles was doing. While she had some really cool prints, her "cubies" plushies were definitely her most popular item at the convention. Of course, with creations this geeky, cute and unique, are you really surprised that they were flying off the shelves?

Brandon Bracamonte and Jonathon Weiss of The Mustache Ride

Yes, the name of the comic is a little dirty, but I promise you that The Mustache Ride, by Brandon Bracamonte and Jonathon Weiss, is not an adult comic -- at least not in that sense. Here's the story:

Deep in the future, where society has risen and fallen many times. ‘Marucs Elroi’ and his Donkey, ‘Kong’ set off on an epic quest for revenge through a western wasteland, where the bigger the mustache the badder the bandido!

See, it's actually about mustachioed horse riders -- and the art is simply fantastic, so that always helps.

Tara Magboo of Adorable Mayhem

Tara Magboo's Adorable Mayhem creations certainly live up to their name between her wonderful jewelry designs and her entertaining glass and metal dioramas that take place inside of unassuming bell jars, like the one below.

John and Shelley Loter

John and Shelley Loter are previous Disney employees who met at the studio, got married and eventually started their own business together -- Loter Entertainment Studio. Their tee shirt and postcard designs are simply delightful, full of the kind of whimsy you would expect to see from two ex-Disney artists.

Patrick Morgan of Whaleboy

While many artists come and go at Comic Con, Patrick Morgan has been a long-time exhibitor at the convention and is widely known for his adorable Whaleboy drawings and vinyl figures -- although he creates plenty of other characters as well, has even released a number of books, and is one of the staff members on Nickelodeon's Fanboy and Chum Chum.

Valerie Hochberg

Valerie Morgan is a fantastic manga-style artist with two online comics, Kick-Girl and Mystery Babylon. Valerie's biggest sellers at the convention though weren't related to her comics, but instead were these adorable prints of some of geek culture's favorite characters.

Roger Barr and Pestoforce of I-Mockery

I-Mockery is a fun site loaded with editorial content, comics and video games, but it's the video games, mostly created by owner Roger Barr, that really earned them a place on this list of artists. In fact, the company even spent all of their marketing budget to make an arcade version of their online flash game Abobo's Big Adventure. Given that the game was in use during the entire convention, I'd say that was a pretty good investment that kept people coming back to their booth. If you're big on classic NES games, then you'll probably fall in love with their games the second you start playing them.

I know some of you Flossers made it out to Comic Con as well, so if you think I left any good artists off this list, tell the world about them in the comments. And for more fun sights from around the convention, don't miss this post on my website, Rue the Day.

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King Features Syndicate
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10 Things You Might Not Know About Hägar the Horrible
King Features Syndicate
King Features Syndicate

For 45 years, the anachronistic adventures of a Scandinavian Viking named Hägar have populated the funny papers. Created by cartoonist Dik Browne, Hagar the Horrible is less about raiding and pillaging and more about Hägar’s domestic squabbles with wife Helga. If you’re a fan of this red-bearded savage with a surprisingly gentle demeanor, check out some facts about the strip’s history, Hägar’s status as a soda pitchman, and his stint as a college football mascot.

1. HÄGAR IS NAMED AFTER HIS CREATOR.

Richard Arthur “Dik” Browne got his start drawing courtroom sketches for New York newspapers; he debuted a military strip, Ginny Jeep, for servicemen after entering the Army in 1942. Following an advertising stint where he created the Chiquita Banana logo, he was asked to tackle art duties on the 1954 Beetle Bailey spinoff strip Hi and Lois. When he felt an urge to create his own strip in 1973, Browne thought back to how his children called him “Hägar the Horrible” when he would playfully chase them around the house. “Immediately, I thought Viking,” he told People in 1978. Hägar was soon the fastest-growing strip in history, appearing over 1000 papers.

2. HE COULD HAVE BEEN BULBAR THE BARBARIAN.

A Hägar the Horrible comic strip
King Features Syndicate

Working on Hi and Lois with cartoonist Mort Walker (Beetle Bailey) gave Browne an opportunity to solicit advice on Hägar from his more experienced colleague. As Walker recalled, he thought “Hägar” would be too hard for people to pronounce or spell and suggested Browne go with “Bulbar the Barbarian” instead. Browne brushed off the suggestion, preferring his own alliterative title.

3. A HEART ATTACK COULD HAVE CHANGED HÄGAR’S FATE.

When Browne came up with Hägar, he sent it along to a syndicate editor he knew from his work on Hi and Lois. According to Chris Browne, Dik’s son and the eventual artist for Hägar after his father passed away in 1989, the man originally promised to look at it after he got back from his vacation. He changed his mind at the last minute, reviewing and accepting the strip before leaving. Just days later, while on his ski vacation, the editor had a heart attack and died. If he hadn’t approved the strip prior to his passing, Browne said, Hägar may never have seen print.

4. THE STRIP HELPED BROWNE AVOID VANDALS.

A Hägar the Horrible comic strip
King Features Syndicate

Chris Browne recalled that Halloween in his Connecticut neighborhood was a time for kids to show their appreciation for his father’s work. While trick-or-treaters were busy covering nearby houses in toilet paper or spray paint, they spared the Browne residence. The only evidence of their vandalism was a spray-painted sign that read, “Mr. Browne, We Love Hägar.”

5. BROWNE’S DAUGHTER TALKED HIM OUT OF KIDNAPPING PLOTS.

Vikings were not known for being advocates for human rights. Hägar, despite his relatively genteel persona, still exhibited some barbaric traits, such as running off with “maidens” after a plundering session. Speaking with the Associated Press in 1983, Browne admitted he toned down the more lecherous side of Hägar after getting complaints from his daughter. “Running off with a maiden isn’t funny,” she told him. “It’s a crime.”

6. HÄGAR ENDORSED SODA.

A soda can featuring Hägar the Horrible
Amazon

Despite his preference for alcohol, Hägar apparently had a bit of a sweet tooth as well. In the 1970s, King Features licensed out a line of soda cans featuring some of their most popular comic strip characters, including Popeye, Blondie, and Hägar. The Viking also shilled for Mug Root Beer in the 1990s.

7. HE WAS A COLLEGE MASCOT.

In 1965, Cleveland State University students voted in the name “Vikings” for their collegiate basketball team. After using a mascot dubbed Viktorious Vike, the school adopted Hägar in the 1980s. Both Hägar and wife Helga appeared at several of the school’s sporting events before being replaced by an original character named Vike.

8. HE EVENTUALLY SOBERED UP.

A Hägar the Horrible comic strip
King Features Syndicate

When Dik Browne was working on Hägar, the Viking was prone to bouts of excessive drinking. When Chris Browne took over the strip, he made a deliberate decision to minimize Hägar’s imbibing. "When my father was doing the strip, he did an awful lot of gags about Hägar falling down drunk and coming home in a wheelbarrow, and as times go on that doesn't strike me as that funny anymore,” Brown told the Chicago Tribune in 1993. “Just about everybody I know has had somebody hurt by alcoholism or substance abuse.”

9. HE HAD HIS OWN HANNA-BARBERA CARTOON.

It took some time, but Hägar was finally honored with the animated special treatment in 1989. Cartoon powerhouse Hanna-Barbera created the 30-minute special, Hägar the Horrible: Hägar Knows Best, and cast the Viking as being out of his element after returning home for the first time in years. The voice of Optimus Prime, Peter Cullen, performed the title character. It was later released on DVD as part of a comic strip cartoon collection.

10. HE SAILED INTO THE WIZARD OF ID.

A Wizard of Id comic strip
King Features Syndicate

In 2014, Hägar made an appearance in the late Johnny Hart’s Wizard of Id comic strip, with the two characters looking confused at the idea they’ve run into one another at sea. Hägar also made a cameo in Blondie to celebrate that character’s 75th birthday in 2005.

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Pop Chart Lab
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Every Emoji Ever, Arranged by Color
Pop Chart Lab
Pop Chart Lab

What lies at the end of the emoji rainbow? It's not a pot of gold, but rather an exclamation point—a fitting way to round out the Every Emoji Ever print created by the design experts over at Pop Chart Lab.

As the name suggests, every emoji that's currently used in version 10.0.0 of Unicode is represented, which, if you're keeping track, is nearly 2400.

Each emoji was painstakingly hand-illustrated and arranged chromatically, starting with yellow and ending in white. Unicode was most recently updated last summer, with 56 emojis added to the family. Some of the newest members of the emoji clan include a mermaid, a couple of dinosaurs, a UFO, and a Chinese takeout box. However, the most popular emoji last year was the "despairing crying face." Make of that what you will.

Past posters from Pop Chart Lab have depicted the instruments played in every Beatles song, every bird species in North America, and magical objects of the wizarding world. The price of the Every Emoji Ever poster starts at $29, and if you're interested, the piece can be purchased here.

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