Over the holiday week our little trio traveled cross-country to the lovely lands of Santa Fe, New Mexico. A place we've always wanted to visit and heard many fantastic things about...A place we're considering making a permanent move to.
First of all let me tell you a little bit about the drive...Yes, we drove. And little Stella is a champion of the road. Very well-behaved whilst driving long distances. And if you knew her I'm sure this bit of news would garner the same reaction from those who do...A jaw hitting the floor look of absolute disbelief. For those who know her know of her legendary amounts of endless energy. This child cannot stop moving. So, we're very proud of her patience on the long drives. Anyways, the drive...Traveling through Iowa, Nebraska and eastern Colorado is a challenge. Not in the fact that the roads are bad or complicated. NO. The drive is an easy one to map out and follow; basically about three turns the whole way. The problem is that there's very little to look at. Sprawling fields of cows and cornfields. That's it. That is it. At least on the freeway anyways. Inland might be a different story, I can't say. So the drive was pretty boring until we hit the Denver area and were able to drive down along the Rockies for the remainder of the drive all the way into Santa Fe. This stretch is absolutely breathtaking! And so, 21 hours after leaving Milwaukee we made it to Santa Fe where we spent 4 wonderful days. All the good things you've heard are true. Beautiful scenery, hiking, climate, friendly people, wonderful restaurants and shops and the most amazingly crystal clear skies I've ever seen. One night, after many glasses of wine and a delicious meal prepared by friends Crawford and Kate, I walked out to get something out of my car and looked up...It literally looks like the stars are 20 feet above your head! I was stunned by the beauty. I just stared for a few minutes in disbelief. It's no wonder why so many artists draw inspiration from this wondrous land.
The hot tub where we stayed was the only disappointment. This friggin' thing was set so high you felt as if you were being prepared for a meal in some twisted horror movie. Poor Stella wouldn't, COULDN'T, even stick her little toes in it! And even though I told the management every day we were there, nothing changed. They assured me "maintenance checked it," but when I asked again the 3rd day the guy at the desk just came back by the tub and stuck his fingers in it and then proceeded to try and "fix it himself". I watched with sad pity as he went to the "humidity control" on the wall by the light switches (the humidity control for the room!) and fiddled with it a bit and then said, "Try it now" referring to the hot tub...First of all, I knew what he did had nothing to do with the tub and second, even if it did did he really expect the tub to drop from 130 degrees to 105 in mere seconds?! I regretfully informed him that the knob he fiddled with was not for the tub. He blank-stared me and then looked around at the walls for another knob. After spying no other knobs he assured me he'd "have maintenance check it tomorrow." I later found out about the one big drawback of Santa Fe..."Monyana Time"...Everything's done at a slower pace when it comes to repairs there. And in the case of a hot tub?...Apparently not at all.
So, the hot tub was a bust but everything else was great (they really need to find better frames for Georgia O'Keefe's paintings at her museum though! Horrible frames.).
There was a nice little comic book shop & gallery out there as well name of "True Believers!" I was delighted to see that they had a wide variety of books, representing a wide range of genres and publishers. They also had a copy of Three Fingers prominently displayed! In addition they had quite a few nice pieces of original comic book art on display throughout the store...Something I think more stores should do and I'm surprised that I do not see it more.
On the trip I read the latest issues of CIVIL WAR, JUSTICE LEAGUE, PEEPSHOW, WALKING DEAD TPB 2 and ASTONISHING X-MEN. All great reads and highly recommended.
I was also able to do some much-needed brainstorming on my upcoming releases. Again, it must be those clear skies. I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to this year's upcoming conventions where I'll have my new books available for your discerning approval. I'll be at all the usual events...San Diego Comic-Con International, WizardWorld Chicago, Minnesota Fallcon, SPX and a few others. BE THERE!
I am also delighted to announce that I've been approved as one of the exclusive artists to be chosen to illustrate HELLBOY Sketch Cards for the upcoming trading card set from Inkworks! This card set is based on the Hellboy animated movie which premiered in November, "Hellboy, Sword Of Storms!" Hellboy's always been one of my favorite books so this is a real treat for me. The cards will be out in early 2007 so order your sets asap!
Now I have to get back to stuffing the thousands of little chunks of beef jerky into tiny little bags for "Jim's Jerky." My entire house smells like beef jerky! I'm not joking. The things I do to "follow my vision!"