Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Confessions of a Comic Book Nerd

Many years ago, on a routine visit to the illustrious House of Heroes (I know I'm biased, but seriously, it's one of the best comic book stores ever) in downtown Oshkosh, I happened to notice the first issue of a comic book sitting on the shelf, The Walking Dead. Hmm. I grabbed the issue, flipped through it. Hey, it's a zombie book. I like zombies. Wow, this black and white artwork fucking rules, though. Alright, I'll give it a shot. 

Holy shit, the artwork was amazing. Seriously, these are some of the best looking panels I've ever seen. Who the hell is the artist? Tony Moore… Who the fuck is Tony Moore?!

Being a new name to me, I had to find more from this guy. Then I discovered Battle Pope and Brit. That was pretty much enough to seal the deal, I had me one hell of a nerd boner for this guy's work. 

In August of 2005, fellow comic nerds and myself ventured just outside of Chicago, Rosemont to be exact, to attend Wizard World Chicago, three days of nothing but comics, friends, foxy girls dressed up in costumes that I was too nervous to talk to (but would pose like an idiot to get a photo taken with them), and more people crammed into one hotel room than humanly possible. Now, if memory serves me correctly, it was Thursday night, the night before the con opened, and we all arrived at the hotel, checked in, and headed to the hotel lobby with our coolers in tow. 

This is when things got really nerdy. 

I was aware that some of my buddies knew Tony from the cons, and there was going to be a good chance I was going to meet the guy. Oh, boy, what am I going to say? It was just like when you think you are going to see the girl you have a crush on, and finally decide you are going to talk to her. You get all nervous and flustered. Talk about pathetic fanboy, huh? All of us are hanging out, being childish and shit (like we normally are) when Tony and his girlfriend (now wife), Kara, arrive. I know this sounds ridiculous as shit, and I don't even care. I really started freaking out, but was doing my best to keep my cool. I don't get "star struck", or nervous to talk to anyone really (except for said girls in costumes), but this guy was, essentially, an idol of mine. As I stood a solid twenty to thirty feet away from him, I was talking to a friend about what to do. I didn't want to geek out on him, "Oh my god, I fucking love your work! The way you pay attention to detail is absurd! Your grey tones are outstanding!" You can't say that, that's lame and generic as shit. 

Mr. Moore and myself during that magical weekend.
Around this point, Kara walks up and, keep in mind this is my first time meeting her, and finds out how I'm having an nerd overload. She's all, "Just go talk to him." I'm all, "I will, I will… In a bit". What does she do? Grabs my arm, drags me over and pushes me right in front of Tony. "Tony, this guy is freaking out cause you're here", she says. Oh, fuck. No getting out of this now. Shit, shit, shit. What to say? Think, John. Think!

"Hey, I really like your art."

You total fucking idiot! Really?! Good one, dumbshit. Tony replies, "Cool. I like your shirt" (I was wearing a Leftover Crack shirt). How do I respond? "Yeah, I like them." Palm, meet face. I eventually gathered my composure and was able to have "normal" conversation, yet I was getting pretty fanboyish. 

Through all of this, somehow Tony wasn't creeped out/annoyed and actually willingly talked to me. And it didn't end once the con was over, either. We exchanged info, communicated through email and over the phone, and then saw each other yearly at the con. Over the years, I got to know Tony and Kara quite well, actually, and am super proud to call them both friends. 

Where am I going with this? Why am I blatantly drawing attention to the fact how much of a dork I am? If it isn't obvious by now, I am a enormous Tony Moore fan. He is, without a doubt, my favorite comic book artist. Not just comic book artist, but artist as a whole. I buy books just because he does the insides and/or covers. Original Battle Pope pages hang in my office. I have his artwork tattooed on me. Hell, I even wrote a paper about him for a figure drawing class in college. Wow, I am just making myself sound even more pathetic now, aren't I?

Regardless, as you can imagine, when I opened the email containing Tony's artwork for the variant cover of the Dead Weight DVD, I lost my shit. I've received the artwork over eight hours ago, and I continue to look at it. Over, and over, and over. Even though we are friends now, and have been for years, one thing hasn't changed; I am still a fucking nerd for Tony Moore's artwork. 

Seeing this, and knowing it was created for the film myself, Adam, and many of my favorite people in the world made… I don't even know what to say. It's surreal beyond belief. Surreal and nerdgasmic.

Find out about Tony's awesome artwork here!

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