With Further Ado #053: Entrepreneuring at SDCC 2019

The 50th annual San Diego Comic-Con was filled with creativity, passion and innovation. But it always seems to be. You can see it in everything from the cosplay (see the post from Tuesday) to the big corporate announcements about the next phase of the Marvel movies.

But I’d like to take a moment and focus on just a few of the creative entrepreneurs who find their own path in nerd culture. They don’t participate in the usual distribution channels, instead relying on the entrepreneurial power of exhibition, kickstarters and trail-blazing in general. And they were in full force at SDCC. 

Supa-Rillas & Loter

Supa-Rillas is a fun comic, but it’s really just the tip of the iceberg. Two ex-Disney folks, Jim and Shelly Loter, met on the job, fell in love and then created their own design studio. It’s called Loter, Inc.  Their client roster includes Disney, Fox and Warner Bros. Consumer Products, but at their San Diego Comic-Con exhibition booth, they focus on their own concepts and merchandise.

I really like the fun that shines through their Supa-Rillas comic (complete with Gorilla-themed ads that mock the standard Silver Age ad pages) and bought a copy.  In addition, they have stickers, shirts, buttons, statues and more. Theirs is an impressive booth and you can’t help but get pulled into the orbit of their unique designs whenever you walk by.

Mark Wheatley

This talented artist has long been one of my favorites. I’ve enjoyed his work since his early Tarzan and Jonny Quest days.  But you may know him from his work on things as diverse as Black-Eyed Peas collaborations, Doctor Who, Breathtaker, Lone Justice, Hammer of the Gods or the Black Hood. In recent years, he’s elevated his artwork to a whole new level and his prints and sketchbooks are always a treat.

The newest book, Songs of Giants: The Poetry of Pulp is a gorgeous combination of Wheatley’s illustrations and the poems of Edgar Rice Burroughs, H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard.  This project was recently kickstarted, and Wheatley sold out of the copies he brought to San Diego. 

The Guns of Shadow Valley

Writer James Andrew Clark teamed up with artist Dave Wachter to create an online western comic called The Guns of Shadow Valley.  This Eisner-nominated thriller looks gorgeous and Dark Horse must have agreed, as they published the hardcover version.  Clark was at San Diego with a big booth and big smile, promoting his various publications with a natural pride and contagious enthusiasm.

If you have a hankerin’ fer learnin’ more, pardnuh, giddyap on over here.


The Adventures of the 19XX

This endeavor can be categorized as a rousing adventure series by Paul Roman Martinez. He describes it as a diesel punk comic in 1930s, taking place “between the pages of history”.   But it’s more than just a comic. Designer Martinez has also created his own little corner of pop-culture with prints, patches, enamel pins and apparel based on this creative IP.  He eschews traditional distribution channels, even though he has been nominated for the Russ Manning Award, and prefers to Kickstart each book in the series.

Here’s how Martinez describes it:

Somewhere in the 20th century…not long after the end of the Great War, those who were capable of hearing it, received a revelation… another Great War was coming. This coming war would push the limits of technology, split the atom to create the power of a small star, and bring together forces more evil than the world has ever known. That this war would happen was man’s fatal destiny, but the outcome of the war and the details of it were not as clear. A weak League of Nations banded together to form a group. A group capable of doing what those countries could not. A group of adventurers, explorers, and scientists from every allied country to search the globe and fight a battle far from the public eye. This group is The 19XX, all the public has been told is that they are fighting for all of the good in humanity to survive the nineteen hundreds and beyond.

Martinez, like so many entrepreneurs in 2019, leads a hyphenated career. I was especially interested in this Rocketeer statue, based on his artwork.

For more information, jump over to here

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That’s the fun part of the giant beast that San Diego Comic-Con has become. There are so many ways to find your path.  Hats off to these innovative entrepreneurs.