Geek Beat: Comic-Con Q&A with Monster Commute's Daniel Davis

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Once a year when the sun it at its strongest, dedicated geeks nationwide (and in some cases, worldwide) make the long, arduous pilgrimage to the shores of California. The journey is long, but the benefits are many. Geeks are cured of their lousy-summer-blockbuster-ennui. Dedicated purveyors of nerdy tomes and playthings are rewarded with gold. And, after proper homage to the geek-gods has been rendered through endless hours of "programming" and toy and movie previews, the geeks celebrate with late-night boozefests and costume parties until the break of dawn.

This is San Diego Comic-Con. And it is good.

Since most of the geeks around here (including yours truly!) missed the con this year, we figured you might have too. We blame the lousy economy, the high jobless rate (can't just randomly take off for a few days to see previews for 2012 and meet Johnny Depp now, can we??) and nargles.

Instead we're living vicariously through Daniel m. Davis, the local mastermind behind Steam Crow's quirky monster stories, including the steampunk web-comic Monster Commute. Read on and weep at what you missed...

New Times: Johnny Depp and some other celebs made guest appearances at San Diego Comic-Con this year. Did you catch sight of anyone you were excited (or surprised) to see?

Daniel Davis: I'm there to meet folks, and show off our wares, so we spend 99.23% of the time behind our table. I did catch glimpse of folks waking by -- like Danzig, Seth Green, and a bunch of comic elite like Stan Sakai, William Stout and guys like that.  

NT: What went on with the actor Brandan Fraser? We heard you have a story about meeting him at your SDCC booth...

DD: Well, I know that Brendan's people read this, so I'd rather not say anything bad about the guy. (His people have people, and those people have swords.)  Let's just say that he wasn't at all what I hadexpected... and really tweakie. 

NT: What's the craziest thing you've heard/seen at SDCC?

DD: Teen girls that try to convince me to give them free products by flickering their eyelashes. That's crazy. If they were wearing centaur costumes, I just might do it. Otherwise, they have no power over me.

More on Comic-Con, Steam Crow and Monster Commute after the jump...

New Times: How did you get your start at San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC)?

Daniel Davis: My wife Dawna and I attended the 2005 SDCC, just for fun. I'd been a recent transplant to Phoenix, and was looking for a new project and some new inspiration.

About half a day into it, and talking to a bunch of indie creators, I began to realize that they didn't have some "wizard magic" that I didn't. They couldn't fly, jump over unicorns, or anything like that. They were regular flesh and blood people, just like me.  

NT: Were you overwhelmed that first time?

DD: Nah, I try to remain blissfully ignorant of my own limitations. I got a really late start to the game, so I just wanted to do my best and put my stuff out there as fast and well as possible. We just tried our best and worked hard.

NT: How many years have you been to SDCC?

DD: We've been exhibiting since 2006, so this was our fourth time.

NT: Will anything stop you from going next year? Famine? Flood? An order for 5,000 KlawBerry books?

DD: Man, I hope nothing stops me from going. I guess if I got abducted by chupacabra again, I couldn't go. 

NT: Weirdest costumes?

DD: If you know me, my weird meter goes pretty high. I guess that the naked dude with the flesh colored panties was kinda odd. "Classic Wolverine" sans underwear was probably not necessary, according to Dawna. 

NT: What were your personal highlights of this year's Comic-Con?

DD: It might sound hokey, but it's a reunion of friends. We have this extended family of artist friends that we only see once or twice per year, so we have all of these quick meet ups where we see how things are going, check out the new stuff, and share information about the business. It's really fabulous.

Oh, and I got photographed with a gigantic Conan impersonator. That was good too. 

NT: Other cons are notorious for semi-nudity...anything at SDCC this year that left your tongue hanging out? (we won't tell your lovely wife, of course)

DD: I saw my share of ass this last week. (The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.) Like many geeks, I've got a soft spot for quality slave Leias, though none really walked by our table.

NT: Assuming you caught some of the toy and movie previews, what are you
looking forward to seeing (or buying, in the case of toys) this year?

DD: Seeing:
- Where the Wild Things Are
- Alice in Wonderland
- Ponyo

- Galactic Heroes Slave I
- Hellboy Toys
- Shogun Warrior / Jumbo Machinder stuff
- Art books   

NT: Is there a "recovery period" after SDCC before you can go back to the real world?

DD: Man, I wish. I'm going to be dragging this week at work, starting tomorrow. SDCC was my vacation. It's a little like those guys that climb Everest... every day they're up there, they are dying just a little bit more.

I feel like I've been on K2 for a week now, and I just need some time to heal.

NT: What do you do when you're not creating monsters?

DD: I'm thinking about monsters, swimming with my kin, trying to laugh at the sun, planning my wee empire... stuff like that. I'm a graphic designer by day, which is my largest current mortgage sponsor.

NT: Other than online, where can we find SteamCrow products locally right now?

SpazDog Comics, Red Hot Robot, and Fetish Falls. These folks stick their neck out to give us a hand, and we really appreciate them. Phoenix has been a crazy supportive community for us.

NT: How will you know when you've really "Made it to the Big Leagues" with Steam Crow?

Oh, I don't know... I've got a few ways to gauge that success:

- When somebody I don't know shows up wearing a kick-ass costume of one of our characters. That would be cool.
- When Mike Mignola leans over and hands me a tiny golden key, *winks* and then goes "here you go, kid. You're in."
- When I get invited to SDCC... as a guest.
- When I can take a week off of work after SDCC to do little more then rest, weep, and eat miniature pies.

But seriously, when people seem really excited about my work and are interested in what we've been doing, that's pretty remarkable. 

For those folks, we've already arrived.

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