Ryan Dunlavey is another artist I see often at local comic cons. He is usually paired with Fred Van Lente. I would become familiar with their famous collaboration, Action Philosophers! This came long after Spring 1997, where I wound up getting a D-minus in that subject. Hey, I tried my best to keep up. I was planning on taking a Bible course with the professor who would bring his dog to class, but he (and the dog) took a sabbatical that semester. I'm still a little bitter.
Since then, Ryan and Fred have gone on to create Comic Book Comics and Action Presidents. Also, Action Philosophers! was made into a play in Brooklyn. Once again . . . still bitter that this came long after I really needed it.
I've read some of Ryan's work, ranging from his creator-owned Tommy Atomic (about a hipster whose powers come from the bomb buried in his brain) to his MODOK: Reign Delay one-shot for Marvel. And I enjoyed his cartoons in the pages of Wizard. Shut up, I know you subscribed.
Over time, I've found Ryan to be dependable with sketches, as well as a friendly guy. And he has put up with my oddball choices over the years (Living Laser was his idea; it was the end of New York Comic Con 2010 and I had run out of references.)
The latest sketch I got from Ryan might ruffle feathers. I am not a fan of Donald Trump. The man himself is not scary, but the rallies he holds court over gives me pause. I'm sure that I'll look back on him and laugh about how he made me worry for the country's future, like Mitt Romney in 2012. Still, I saw the rabid fans, the bombastic attitude and the once-proud rivals reduced to lackeys, and I thought of a particular supervillain: Darkseid. I came to MoCCA Arts Festival with two Darkseid references (one from his creator, Jack Kirby) and an unflattering headshot of Trump. What I got was a thing of beauty. It never occurred to me to ask for a baseball cap with "MAKE ANTI-LIFE GREAT AGAIN" on it. That was all Ryan. I say that to indicate how impressed I am with his choices, as opposed to singling him out for deportation or worse.