Friday, June 25, 2010

Pick of the Week on Ka-Blam - Animal Control: SCU

We just discovered that the Animal Control: Special Creatures Unit Preview was selected as "Wayne's Pick of the Week" over on Ka-Blam. Wayne called it:
"...a very cool world where science has maybe run a-bit-more-amok than it should have. The animals are all really strange but familiar and there’s a cool story about people that depend on one another in there to boot."
You can check out the Pick of the Week column here. And the 20-page Preview, containing three complete stories, is still available for purchase directly from IndyPlanet.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Guest Column on the Comics Experience Blog

Rob Anderson was recently invited to write a guest column for Andy Schmidt's Comics Experience blog. Check out the column to hear about Rob's first convention experience with Animal Control: Special Creatures Unit and how the Comics Experience classes helped make it all possible!

Guest Blog: Comics Experience Alum Debuts at HeroesCon! (June 17, 2010 post)

Andy's classes at Comics Experience cover all aspects of comic creation, and Rob is a big fan (and alum) of the writing classes in particular. In fact, he's enrolled in the Advanced Class right now!

For those who don't know, Andy is a Senior Editor at IDW, where he handles the G.I. Joe and Transformers comics. He previously was an Editor at Marvel, where he edited such popular titles as X-Men, X-Factor, and the Annihilation Saga.

His writing classes are fantastic -- and to prove Andy puts his money where his mouth is when it comes to writing, he has own creator-owned book coming out *weekly* in September. Check out 5 Days to Die, written by Andy with art by Chee Yang, and a cover (shown at left) by David Finch, available in the IDW section of Previews!

Animal Control: SCU in Capes & Babes!

Rob Anderson (writer/publisher of Animal Control: Special Creatures Unit) and the lovely Grace recently popped up in the great webcomic, Capes and Babes -- what a surprise!

Chris Flick, the artist/creator of Capes and Babes has been doing a series of strips recently about HeroesCon 2010 and has included special "real life" guests like Shelton Drum (owner of Heroes Aren't Hard to Find and HeroesCon) and Dustin Harbin (Creative Director of both). Then, lo and behold, Rob and Grace popped up as well!

Of course, since Capes and Babes is about a strip mall, a comic book shop, and one crazy werewolf named Roy, it was only natural that Roy might take exception to "controlling" animals. So, pop over to Capes and Babes for the full strips to see Rob pay the price for messing with a werewolf!

Capes & Babes: Animal Control - Part 1

Capes & Babes: Animal Control - Part 2

Capes & Babes: Animal Control - Part 3

Capes & Babes: Animal Control - Part 4

And thanks, Chris, for making our first convention with a table even MORE memorable. We definitely never thought we'd see the day that we were cartoon characters, but we love it!

Friday, June 11, 2010

More Interviews & Reviews on Animal Control: SCU

We've had some fun -- and exciting -- coverage of Animal Control: Special Creatures Unit coming out of Heroes Con in Charlotte this past week. We wanted to point you to the interviews and reviews so you can check them out!

We had our first ever interview from the floor of Heroes Con on Friday, June 4th with our new friends at Comic Related. Darren Mueller was kind enough to chat with us on the Preview book, Panda Dog Press, our collaborators, etc. This one is fun because you can hear Rob Anderson completely lose his train of thought in the middle. First interview jitters, Rob! Check out the "Related Recap #202: HeroesCon Day 1" at the 32:02 mark!

Next up on Friday, Rob had the opportunity to chat with Pants and Murd from Comic Geek Speak. As you can see in our con report, we had already had the pleasure of attending the famed "Feast of the Pants" the night before, and despite the fact that folks maintain that Pants and Rob's radio voices -- and laughs -- were "separated at birth," you (hopefully) can tell them apart in the interview. Head over to CGS: Episode 861 (June 7, 2010), "Heroes Con '10 Tapes volume 1" at the 09:30 mark!

Then, much to our surprise, the Animal Control: Special Creatures Unit Preview was named one of Jimmy Aquino's "Top 3" picks this week over at Comic News Insider. What a thrill! Thanks for your review, Jimmy! You can check it out at the 34:45 mark of Episode 266 - "Heroes Con with Ming Doyle, Ben Templesmith, Ben McCool, et al." Or you can see the text listing of all "Top 3" picks by clicking here.

We also were lucky enough to have some really nice reviews by Jason Wright over on the "Jason's Comic Shelf" blog, and by Andy Frisk at "The Comic Book Bin." Thanks to both of you for taking the time to read and review our Preview book!

For that matter, thanks to everyone who picked up the Preview at Heroes Con, and to the many folks who followed up with emails. Rob loves hearing from you, so please do drop him a line at

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Heroes Con 2010 - Panda Dog Press Report!

The Animal Control: Special Creatures Unit Preview made its premiere June 4th-6th at Heroes Con in Charlotte, North Carolina and we couldn't have received a warmer welcome! We left for Charlotte with a full bin of the Preview, a lot of excitement, and a little trepidation wondering what our first convention with a table would be like. After three days, we came home with only *5* copies left and a lot of new friends!

The reaction of people at the convention made all of our work worthwhile. People really connected with the concept of Animal Control Officers dealing with patchwork, designer animals. And the spectacular art of Leandro Panganiban -- on the banners, the comic, and inside the book -- caught many a fan's eye!

One of the most heartening parts of the whole convention was the wide range of fans who were interested in giving our Preview a try: men and women; couples and families; young and old and in between -- heck, we even had both an Emergency Vet Technician and a former Animal Control Officer come by! We want to send out a HUGE thank you to all of you -- everyone who came by to chat and check out the book! And an additional thank you to those of you who have been writing us since the con ended. We love hearing what you think!

Our full con report, with pictures, is below.

We began setting up on Thursday, June 3rd. It was pretty quiet when we arrived, but by the time we left, set-up was in full swing.

After set-up, we proceeded to the Comic Geek Speak "Feast of the Pants"! Pants, Murd, and many fellow CGS listeners were in attendance. This was really one of the highlights of the convention, and not just because of copious amounts of steak and dessert. We made lots of new friends who we got to hang out with for the rest of the weekend! Plus, we received our exclusive "Feast Harder" buttons, displayed below in a place of honor between the Panda Dog Press buttons from the convention. Thanks, CGS!! (The picture of Pants -- in the CGS Booth -- was taken by Patrick Sun, who has a mind-blowing set of Flickr pix which you should definitely check out!)

After (mostly) recovering from the FOP, our brand-spanking-new table was ready for action on Friday! Just about every element of the table set-up, from the table banners to the postcards, the t-shirts to the buttons, were the design work of our good friend and letterer/designer, E.T. Dollman, based in Italy. E.T., we wish you could have been there to see all your hard work in action!

Pictured at the table are Rob Anderson (writer/publisher of Animal Control: Special Creatures Unit) and the lovely Grace, who helped tirelessly in the booth for three long, fun-filled days. (Thanks a million, Grace!) Grace only took brief breaks to visit with some of her favorite artists including Mark Brooks and Sean Chen, along with a daily pilgrammage to visit the table of Owly's Andy Runton. (A couple of the next few pictures below were taken by our good friend Chris Flick of Capes and Babes.)

We weren't sure what to expect at our first convention table, but -- WOW! -- we were pleasantly surprised. Rob was signing books steadily all three days. After signing 100+ copies, by Sunday afternoon we were concerned we'd run out of books, but in the end we had just a handful to spare, with our last visitor coming by just 10 minutes before the convention closed.

We didn't take nearly enough pictures of folks that stopped by, and many pictures didn't turn out on Rob's ancient iPhone -- but here's just a sampling. As you can see, we "deputized" many kids with their "Special Creatures Unit" badge buttons (also designed by the multi-talented E.T. Dollman), and got to chat with a ton of friendly folks, both in costume and out.

Plus, we were visited by both a former Animal Control Officer -- in the Green Lantern shirt below -- who said it was "about time" someone did a comic on ACO's (we agree!), and an Emergency Vet Tech and his wife. (He's in the Krypto "Mad Dog" t-shirt, Rob's favorite t-shirt of the convention!) Thanks, everyone, for stopping by!!

We were also extremely happy that Animal Control: Special Creatures Unit inker, Steve Bird of Tsunami Studios was in attendance. As you can see in the pictures below (taken by the Comic Related podcast and by Patrick Sun) Steve was busy inking all weekend. If you have a convention sketch you'd like inked by a guy who's worked on everything from Robin to Blue Beetle, you need to look Steve up at his next convention. He also stopped by the Panda Dog Press booth a couple times and some lucky visitors were able to snag his signature on their books as well. Grace and Rob agreed that hanging with Steve was one of the highlights of the convention.

We had another stroke of luck, too -- we were directly across the aisle from our good friend and "convention mentor" Chris Flick, of Capes and Babes fame! I mean, what were the odds of that in the jam-packed Artist's Alley? But it happened. Chris brought his usual sunny disposition to the con and was swamped all weekend with sketch requests, including the three sketch cards he did below for Rob, featuring some of Rob's favorites: the Panda Dog, Krypto, and Lockjaw! Plus, Chris had an awesome piece in the main Art Auction Saturday night -- a riff on the old "I'm just a Bill" Saturday morning cartoon...after the health care law passed. (ha)

Plus, we had the chance to meet new friends in our other neighbors including Tom Huthinson from Big Dog Ink, publisher of Critter and Penny for your Soul, Josh Smeaton (not pictured) and Donea of Haunted, and Mitch Rogers of The Bogre. We also were happy to meet Martin Pierro, just down the aisle. Martin of Cosmic Times is the writer/publisher of Arthur: The Legend Continues, and he was kind enough to be our first ever customer, right before the show opened! (Pictures of Chris, Tom, Donea, and Mitch are from Patrick Sun's aforementioned Flickr pix, because our pictures stunk! Martin's picture is from Comic Related.)

You probably know that the Westin bar/lobby is the place to hang out at Heroes Con, but one of our other favorite hang-outs at Heroes was the Twenty-Two bar and art gallery. Grace and Rob hit the bar and drooled over the art for a while both Friday and Saturday night. With artwork by everyone from Kirby and Ditko to Adam Hughes, there was a LOT to see. We briefly considered selling our car and walking home, so that Grace could purchase a $4,500 Ex Machina cover by Tony Harris, but decided against that plan in the end.

And speaking of art, the Saturday night Art Auction was the usual exciting marathon. Grace's favorite was Mark Brooks' Black Cat, which managed to tie Adam Hughes' Zatanna, each selling for a record-breaking $8,000! We were also both fans of Sean Chen's action-packed Batgirl.

But one of the top highlights of the auction for us -- go figure, we are dog nuts after all -- was a spectacular piece by David McAdoo of Red Moon. Rob and Grace bid fiercely for the piece, but in the end lost it at $450. Worth every penny, but we needed money to feed the panda dog for the rest of the month; they eat Bamboo Treats by the bushel.

Rob talked to David the next day, and he said the piece was shaped and painted onto a piece of wood he found in his closet. The shape and textures of the piece were quite unique and the pictures below (courtesy of Red Moon Producer/Publisher Steve Kozak) don't do it justice!

We had to be satisfied (and we were!) with the great sketch of Scruffy that David did for us the next day. If you love animals and/or epic adventure comics, you MUST check out Red Moon. Thanks, David and Steve! (Picture of Steve and David, left to right, also by Patrick Sun.)

Finally, we had to share a picture we received right after the convention of our new friend Nina and her own "almost" Panda Dog named Percy. We're glad you enjoyed the book, Nina. We had a great Heroes Con thanks to YOU and EVERYONE willing to try out something new.

We hope to see you all at the Baltimore Comic-Con in August!

-- Rob & Grace

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Reviews, Write-Ups & A Special Offer

We've gotten some great coverage of the Animal Control: Special Creatures Unit Preview in the last few days that we wanted to share.

First up, there was a very kind write-up of the book and its launch over on the Comics Experience blog. Since the AC:SCU story originated in Andy Schmidt's excellent comic book writing classes, we already owed the guy big time! (Check out the blog post here.) Thanks again, Andy!

Next, there was an in-depth review and discussion of the Preview on the Lightbox Podcast. The hosts, Chris Flick and Matt Stout, took about 45 minutes breaking down their thoughts on the book, so if you would like to hear more about the book, this is the place to go! (Click here for the Lightbox Podcast.) If you haven't listened to Lightbox before, it's a regular discussion on everything from producing and promoting webcomics to how to set up for a convention. It's loaded with practical tips each week and highly recommended! Thanks for the review, Matt & Chris!

And, finally, the Comic Geek Speak guys were kind enough to allow us to plug and promote the Preview a bit via voicemail in both Episodes 857 and 858 this week. We've been listening to CGS almost since the beginning -- about 5 years -- so this was a lot of fun to hear! Check out the beginning of Episode 858 to hear a special offer for CGS listeners who attend Heroes Con this week. See you all at the "Feast of the Pants" on Thursday night, and thanks, CGS crew!

We can't wait to see everyone at Heroes Con! Come by and see us at Table SP-35 at the end of Row 700, just a few feet from Indie Island...