For the last 3 years now, MAGFest has been the first convention of the year for Jesse and I. This year we never got off the waiting list for a vendor table, and ended up going to MAG as just attendees, but it was still absolutely worth it! Not only did I get to spend a lot more time with my friends and fellow game nerds, I was able to sit down and hammer out the details of an upcoming collaboration with a fellow artist on a huge album project by the great Mazedude! More details on that a little later on.

Despite all the factors that would seemingly take me away from the comics/illustration side of the show, I did manage to check out a few old favorites, discover some artists for the first time, AND get three more awesome folk on-board for Beyond Mode 7! Let’s get started on the run-down of what caught my artistic eye at MAGFest XII!

Kevin Bolk is a MAGFest staple. He does a ton of shows every year but never misses MAG, not matter how tired and worn out he is from his prolific production and show schedule! He’s a pleasure to talk to and is quick to impart his cartooning knowledge on the young minds that need to know! I grabbed his second and final volume of “It Sucks To Be Weegee!”

Click to buy it!!!! © Kevin Bolk

This popular web comic about the misadventures of the oft-neglected brother of Nintendo’s Famous Plumber comes to a great, but still hilarious conclusion! Kevin has also agreed to submit a comic or illustration (time depending, old or new we know not!) to Beyond Mode 7! Jesse and I are honored to have Kevin on board! Thanks K-Bo!

8Bit Maximo, he’s the nicest Deviant I know! © Maximo V Lorenzo

One of the first artists tables I made sure to stop at was my buddy 8Bit Maximo’s! A fellow comic’s school graduate (he went to Kubert, I to CCS) I’ve been friends with Max for a number of years now. His enthusiasm for games, comics and manga, and his incredible work ethic, have inspired me just as long! He’s got a distinct style with a mix of over-the-top shonen energy and super expressive characters with a hard, high-contrast classic American comics edge puts him in a unique category of creators, I think. He’s also one of the nicest guys I know!

I commissioned from him this year a sweet Aya Brea from Parasite Eve. I was expecting her in her typical leather jacket, tee shirt and jeans as she appears in most of the game, but Max wowed me by drawing her in that super sexy little black dress from the Opera Scene at the start of her adventure! Bravo Max, and thanks a ton buddy!

Max has also decided he’ll try to find time to bang out a piece for Beyond Mode 7! Whatever he decides to do, I’m sure it will bring a lot of excitement and energy to the book!

The Hex himself! © Hector Martinez

Hector “Hex” Martinez is another artist/cartoonist/crazy guy who’s been around the VGM community for a long time, and it was awesome to run into him this year! He too has agreed to whip up something awesome for Beyond Mode 7, and as he is a very experimental cartoonist, who knows what kind of piece we could get! It will totally be worth the wait!

Bill & Ted art by Hex! © Hector Martinez

Hex’s work is pop-culture infused across many mediums. He does traditional pen and ink cartooning, painting, mixed media and collage, digital, comics, tattoo and even art on wood blocks (his latest, most awesome thing!) If you’ve got something that needs a nerdy, hip-hop twist, Hex is your man!