StocktonCon 2017 was held the weekend of August 19th & 20th at the Stockton Arena in (you guessed it) Stockton, CA. PopCultHQ attended the sixth annual convention and was impressed from the very start.
Arriving at 10:30 a.m., a mere 30 minutes after opening, getting to the arena was quite easy and parking was a breeze. I made my way past the line outside to purchase tickets, which was modest but not excessive, and made my way into the Will Call area to pick up my media badge. I was pleasantly surprised to see the artwork on the professionally-printed badge to feature Action Lab Entertainment’s KID SHERLOCK characters on the front. The artist of the series, Sean Gregory Miller, I’d bump into later in the day. Awesome guy and a true pleasure to meet after the email interview we did to help with its promotion upon launch.
The lobby was filled with attendees, cosplayers, kids and fans of all ages but it wasn’t overly packed at the entrance. Lines moved swiftly and the layout upon entry was very efficient in ensuring good traffic flow. The official StocktonCon program was sharp! The cover was adorned with Marvel’s Black Panther from featured guest artist Brian Stelfreeze. Though we didn’t get it taped, we talked a bit with the artist as he was watercoloring at the event. Terrific guy and killed it on the JACKPOT! covers for AfterShock Comics. But not only was it a beautiful cover for the con’s program, the interior was just as professional, with full-color glossy pages, info on all of the featured guests, map layout, everything you needed and then some! Well done, StocktonCon.
The layout of the show in the Stockton Arena was done exceptionally well. Everything was grouped how you’d like to see it: celebs/media guests in their own section on the upper concourse, an old school gaming area with pinball and pc games, exhibitors all together, and an Artists’ Alley that was actually comprised of artists!
DANGER DOLL SQUAD #0 recently released and sets up the series nicely, giving just enough backstory on the characters and how they all are brought together. The first issue doesn’t drop until October, but there will be some issues leading up to the team-up series. We chatted with creator Dan Mendoza about his new team-up series.
Dan Mendoza: We want to do short boxes with the art and all three girls. Everybody’s liking the three girls together, so that’s cool! I was kind of surprised because…I like stories with one character, a solo character. Even though with Dollface she has her sidekick ghost and there’s this friendship/camaraderie, it’s fun to do that. But I was never into teams, like X-Men. I was more into when they did their solo books. I was a big fan of Silver Surfer, so I was all about that loner, you know what I mean?
Dan Mendoza: The tie-in for the DANGER DOLL SQUAD is in the upcoming VAMPBLADE books. It starts off with Zombie Tramp going in there and she’s looking for Katie [Carva] and it starts coming together. It’s almost like Zombie Tramp is rounding these people up. Even though she hates everybody, she’s like, “I need this taken care of because my powers are messed up because your stupid bugs are infecting my Necronomicon stuff.” Dollface has to get into it because her friend best friend Ivan is sick because of it.
PopCultHQ: I loved it in DANGER DOLL SQUAD #0 where Ivan rounded them up like Charlie and his Angels.
Dan Mendoza: Yeah, totally like Charlie’s Angels. We had it where he’s like, “Welcome,” like Hugh Hefner. But he’s a little pervert, little nerdy pervert, you know what I mean? So inside his own digital world, of course it’s going to be like that. He’s going to have all kinds of women. So it’s like part his pervy ideas and part his memories, and there’s rooms he creates out of his head….I was just talking to Jason [Martin] about this, where there’s rooms that are Dollface’s rooms. Their friend Emily, who builds all the dolls and digitally sculpts everything, there are rooms where there’s different bodies she can choose from, outfits, weapons, all that stuff. When she needs parts, she just goes into Ivan and downloads into herself and pops back out. So there’s a whole wardrobe of stuff they could can use. We were talking about the possibilities as to what’s in Ivan’s world. It’s basically a computer, so everything he has in that hard drive can exist.
And what’s new coming from the creator? A Kickstarter campaign and a NEW character…Sad Girl Psycho Baby!
Dan Mendoza: I want to get the Kickstarter going in October, so right now I’m looking into some cool incentives for all the fans. Besides just getting a t-shirt or doing something like that. I want to do something cool. I’m looking into that, I’m looking into pricing for some cool things. But I definitely want to release the Kickstarter in October.
Be sure to follow Sad Girl Psycho Baby on Instagram! And follow Dan Mendoza online:
StocktonCon Special Guest artist Brent Peeples has a slew of great titles to his credit, from AfterShock Comics’ CAPTAIN KID, Zenescope’s GRIMM FAIRY TALES, to Dynamite’s THE ART OF RED SONJA and LEGENDERRY: GREEN HORNET. He’s also worked on some spectacular covers for Valiant (A&A: THE ADVENTURES OF ARCHER & ARMSTRONG, X-O MANOWAR) and some great Hastings variants (we miss Hastings). This fall, he’s being featured in DC Comics’ NEW SUPERMAN series!
Brent Peeples: Currently, I’m working on NEW SUPERMAN at DC. My first issue with that will drop in September, issue number fifteen.
PopCultHQ: Anything else coming up with AfterShock Comics or Valiant?
Brent Peeples: As of now no, just because I’ve been working on the NEW SUPERMAN series. Once I wrap from that, I’ll be looking and see what else is coming up for the year. Love to definitely do some more stuff with AfterShock, would love to do more with Valiant. Love both those companies.
PopCultHQ: Where can people find you? Upcoming convention appearances, signings?
Writer Dave Dwonch, former president of Action Lab and writer for their current hit INFINITE SEVEN, made the in-state trip to Stockton and we thought we’d fire off a number of questions at him.
Dave Dwonch: My favorite character? Sherlock, for sure. The way I’m writing Sherlock, I love how cheeky he is and how much depth he has, which we’re just now starting to get to. He’s just so much fun to write. I mean, he has a talking, demon sidekick named Watson, how cool is that? He’s just the most liberated chatacter I’ve got. And things that I have planned are going to be super interesting, for me, and I hope that fans are going to like it.
PopCultHQ: Favorite cover artwork so far for INFINITE SEVEN, even if it’s the variant you did. 😉
Dave Dwonch: I like the variant I did, but man, it’s so, so tough. I like issue seven, it’s not out yet. The one with the “seven.” That’s the standard cover. My favorite variant cover? That’s probably Axur’s cover for issue four. It’s the G.I. Joe send up cover. I love it! It’s so odd and goofy. And I didn’t ask for it, he just gave it to me as a gift. And I was like, “I’m going to totally put this out! It’s great!” I don’t even think I asked him [laughs]. I should have asked him. But he’s a great friend of mine and I loved it so much I had to put it out.
PopCultHQ: You’re magically whisked away to Westeros. What house are you?
Dave Dwonch: Oh man, that’s a tough one. Geez. I love…aw shoot, why is this so hard? Would I want to be up in Winterfell? That sounds rough, right? If I wanted to live in comfort, I’d say Lannister, right?…Targaryen. Let’s just go Targaryen.
PopCultHQ: Any creator which you haven’t worked with whom you’d love to work with?
Dave Dwonch: [without hesitation] Arthur Adams. Bar none. Arthur Adams is like my defining artist from my childhood and he hasn’t missed a beat. Every time I see him, he’s just the nicest guy. I’d love to work with him on a cover. Never interiors because he’s painstakingly slow, but that’s because his work is so painstakingly beautiful. But yeah, he’s amazing. For interiors? It’s so crazy that I get to work with so many awesome artists that I’m drawing blanks on who I’d want to work with. Maybe Nick Dragotta? He’s amazing, EAST OF WEST is so good. He’s over there, he’s a good guy too. But like I said, I get to work with a lot of great artists so I’m super blessed.
PopCultHQ: Is there a comic out right now that has got you sprung?
Dave Dwonch: It just wrapped, but I love TOMBOY. And then another book by Action Lab, VORACIOUS. And then I’m in love with SAGA obviously, who doesn’t love SAGA. Now that I’m not the president at Action Lab, I’m just NOW branching back into comics. Is that weird? I get to enjoy books again. I’m getting back into Marvel. I love the Star Wars DARTH VADER comic. It is so rad! At San Diego, I met a…my flight got delayed, I was getting drunk at the bar at the airport and I sat next to an executive producer at LucasFilm. We started rapping about Star Wars [comic] and he said, “You know all of that is canon. All the Marvel stuff we do, we go into a writers’ room,” and every creative person that gets brought into Star Wars has to read all the comics and watch all the movies and read the Bible. It’s literally a refresher course in Star Wars. It feels good to know that there’s a steward that’s in charge of it, running it, and gut-checking everybody.
To stay up on the down-low with Dave and INFINITE SEVEN, follow online!
I’ve been wanting to meet colorist Allen Passalaqua for some time. Brilliant work and, as I found out, just an all-around awesome guy. We chatted with Allen about his run on A&A: THE ADVENTURES OF ARCHER & ARMSTRONG and got a whole lot more!
PopCultHQ: I miss it [A&A]. Rafer Roberts’ work was awesome…
Allen Passalaqua: Yeah his stuff was hilarious. My only problem with it was that Mike [Norton] drew a billion people in it in every background. Like there was a ren faire and a lot of people in the background.
PopCultHQ: Are you still working with Mike? On Battlepug?
Allen: Yeah, I’m working with Mike on Battlepug, again I should’ve had it done weeks ago [chuckles]. But yeah, Battlepug is still near and dear. There’s always something going on with it. So hopefully something you can see soon.
PopCultHQ: What else in the indie world do you have coming up that people can look forward to?
Allen Passalaqua: I just did THE GUILD with Dark Horse. THE GUILD is written by Felicia Day. It has original stories, Mike Norton drew it and I colored it. I do a lot of stuff with Mike. Ever since we started Battlepug basically. Indie-wise? I’m not sure what I’m doing next. I’m doing ARKHAM ASYLUM at DC, but that’s not coming out until next year. And I just colored a WONDER WOMAN cover drawn by Jesus Moreno, it’s a variant cover but I’m not sure if that’s out yet. After the show, I may have more work [laughs]. That’s usually how it works.
We have more from Allen but it took such an interesting and creative turn, we’ll be compiling it into a spotlight article on the colorist. Follow him online to stay up on the latest from the creator!
The mission of StocktonCon is to raise awareness of outstanding artists in the San Joaquin Valley area – and to give attendees the chance to experience Popular Culture (Comics, Card Games, Video Games, Cards, Anime, Manga, Science Fiction, Toys, Television and Movies).