It's been brought to my attention that there seems to be some confusion over my having pulled out of attending the Lucca Comics Festival in Italy earlier this month. Someone is spreading rumors that I did so because 1.) I hate Italians, 2.) I didn't want to miss Halloween here in the U.S., and/or 3.) that ChesterQuest is a sham and that all 12 artists positions have already been filled. I can tell you that's all complete bullshit!
Yes, it's true I didn't make it to Lucca as originally planned, and trust me, I'm as disappointed as anyone. I really wanted to go, I mean REALLY, but the trip was abruptly canceled unfortunately. However, not for any of those reasons listed above. It simply came down to my travel schedule and flight logistics/pricing, which got screwed up as everything started coming together a little last minute and became too expensive. The convention organizers were wonderful and did everything to try and accomodate me, and I'm so very sorry I couldn't make it all work out in the end.
Now, as much as I love Halloween, I would have preferred to spend it in Italy, even though the show was after the holiday.
Also, as for the others claims... I cry foul. I was in Portugal the week after Lucca and then in Dublin the following week, where I did portfolio reviews for two days at each show and met many talented artists who I've since added to my ChesterQuest "semi-finalists" list. I have plenty more stops on the tour till it wraps at the end of January in Angouleme. I already have a little over 20 artists on this short list now, but the final 12 won't be decided upon until February when I present them all to Marvel. And if there are more than 12 talented artists who they feel deserve chances, that's even better!
Additionally, I have nothing but respect for the Italian comic book marketplace and the amazing artists who work there, many of whom I call friends. More Italian artists have entered ChesterQuest so far than from any other country in the world, actually. In fact, one Italian artist submitted his samples to ChesterQuest but Marvel felt he was so talented that he's already been given an ongoing monthly gig. And please note, he submitted his samples digitally to email@example.com, which every other artist is free to do no matter where they live. You don't need to meet me to enter. So the search continues full steam ahead...
Also, to make up for my no-show, I'm trying to make arrangements to attend the Mantova Comic Festival in Italy next year if my schedule allows.
So again, please let me offer my apologies to any Italian friends, fans and artists who were disappointed by my cancellation. I do so hope to get the chance to meet you all soon. Thanks for your understanding.