Through a series of coincidences, I got invited to draw the cover for this year’s SPX program. Seeing that Harvey Pekar will be a special guest at this year’s show, SPX Executive Director Steve Conley thought a Pekar theme would be appropriate.
I talked it over with Harvey, and he suggested showing himself at the show, with me, man_size, and Ed Piskor, all artists of his who will also be in attendance. Harv is saying, “Wow, after all the great things Dean and Josh have been tellin’ me about this expo, and now I’m here finally — as a guest with his own booth no less.” Pekar also suggested having me, man_size, and Piskor coming up with our own lines of dialogue.
Given Harvey’s line, I felt my obligation as the artist was to:
a.) promote Harvey being at the show
b.) Promote SPX itself
Thus, my sketch showed a line of eager fans in front of Harvey at his booth as he signs copies of his books, DVDs, etc. Behind him we see other exhibitors, fans, cartoonists, etc, in the Versailles Room. Showing the American Splendor artists (me, man_size, & Piskor) didn’t seem as important, and took away from the other two important elements above.
So I decided to render us artists as bobble-head dolls! man_size is perched on a pile of The Quitter, the new book he’s got coming out this fall, Piskor is on a pile of Macedonias, the book he’s working on, and my bobblehead doll is situated in front of the Best of American Splendor book, which features a number of pieces with my art. I think it’s a funny conceit, and a sly allusion to the Harvey Pekar bobblehead dolls which were part of the promotion of the American Splendor movie. (I own one myself.)
I left space for each of us bobbleheads to have a line of thought- balloon dialogue, but personally I thought that took away from the concept. Having the dolls talking was just a little too symbolic and surreal. After talking it over with Steve and man_size we decided to keep the bobbleheads mum, so I was happy to scrap that. Neither man_size nor Ed had come up with lines of dialogue anyway!
So there you have it. I finished drawing the actual cover yesterday and am coloring it today. There are a lot of people in the background scenes — see if you recognize any familiar faces.