Big Wow! ComicFest draws local talent

Morgan Hill artists Justin and Alexis Hernandez sell artwork at

You don’t have to drive very far to find a decent comic book
convention these days. Big Wow! ComicFest invaded the South Bay
last weekend at the San Jose Convention Center.
You don’t have to drive very far to find a decent comic book convention these days. Big Wow! ComicFest invaded the South Bay last weekend at the San Jose Convention Center.

The two-day comic book convention has been around more than 30 years and used to be called Super-Con. The atmosphere at Big Wow was considerably more laid back than Wondercon because of its size.

Although the convention is small compared to Wondercon, the quality of programming was good. This was the first convention where I got to draw a superhero using a live model named Ivana Turner. Artist Frank Cho taught folks how to sketch a basic comic book character, with everything set up on the platform, including Turner dressed in superhero garb. One of the volunteers videotaped this and the audience watched on the overhead screen.

Writer Chris Perguidi, from Gilroy, works in comics with artist and publisher Allan Angel, from San Jose. Together they created “Hero Town”, a comic about an alternate reality.

“It goes into a back-story and uncovers a conspiracy that has to do with the superheroes in the 1940s and why there are no superheroes around now,” said Perguidi. “It’s sort of like ‘X-Files’ meets ‘X-Men’. The world doesn’t know superheroes are real. Superheroes are hiding amongst us, no one knows they exist and they are trying to come back to our world. They’ve been trapped in Hero Town, which is a supernatural island that’s hidden.”

In addition to “Hero Town”, Perguidi writes “Baby Warrior” and “Snake Eyes” crossover for Angel. On the side he does short films and his own “Death Bunny” and “Brain Zombie” comics.

A Morgan Hill couple sold artwork at a booth in another aisle. They run GlowingRaptor.com where they self-publish their work. They both have bachelor’s degrees in traditional illustration from the San Francisco Academy of Art, and pursued comics after leaving school.

“After college I wanted to get paid to draw monsters all day,” Justin Hernandez said. “I love drawing them.”

“We’ve been self-employed since graduation, working on various things like postproduction for video games and children’s books,” said Alexis Hernandez. “I was always into comics and I love telling stories with art. It definitely occurred to me if I fell into it I’d be extremely happy.”

“We’re having fun doing it. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else,” Justin added. The couple would like to see more of a comics and illustration community in the South Valley.

Famous Mad Magazine cartoonist Sergio Aragones spent time with each person at his book signing and never seemed to be in a rush. He talked about his well-known comic characters such as Groo The Wanderer.

“When I’m writing the story I want a word that’s going to be offensive to Groo but it’s not offensive to anyone else (like mendicant),” Aragones said. “Mark (Evanier) does fantastic work when I write a story. It’s very plain direct to the point and he elaborates the dialogue and makes it very funny. He’s a great writer. Groo wouldn’t be Groo without him. It’s a very fun collaboration.”

“Now I’m doing a new comic book for Bongo,” he added. “It’s called Sergio Aragones Funnies … it will be out in July.”

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