Comic book artist Tone Rodriguez to visit Camelot Books and Comics on April 21

Photo contributed

CULLMAN, Ala. – Tone Rodriguez, comic book artist, writer and creator best known for his work with Bongo Comics on titles like Futurama, The Simpsons and hit series Stray Dogs, will be visiting Camelot Books and Comics Thursday, April 21 from 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. He will be signing comics and chatting with customers. He will also have individual sketches for sale. Tone often does sketches and commissions between comic projects and is happy to create something unique for any fan.

Tone started drawing sequential comic art in 1999 with Violent Messiahs and John Carpenter’s Snake Plissken Chronicles. He’s drawn comic’s and comic book covers for Image, Dark Horse, Cross-Gen, Top Cow, Coffin Comics and many more.

Before the pandemic, Camelot owner Greg Patterson met Rodriguez at a Huntsville Comic and Pop Culture Expo. Rodriguez was there drawing sketches and Patterson asked if he could draw his own favorite dog from the Stray Dog series and chatted while he waited.

Tone asked him what he did for a living, after which Patterson told him about his bookstore and the new selection of comics. Patterson has collected comic books his entire life. Rodriguez’s work only took about 15 minutes and Patterson then realized the amount of detail put into the sketch.

Patterson says, “He gets finished, and he has not only drawn the sketch, he has inked it and added color, and in my mind I’m like ‘oh man this is going to be really expensive,’ and he gave it to me.” Patterson attempted to pay, and Rodriguez said, “No, you’re a nice guy, thank you for your service. This one is on the house.”

About two weeks after that, Archie Comics gave bookstores an opportunity to put together store exclusive comic book covers for “The Shield,” so Patterson contacted Rodriguez for some covers, who got back to him the next day with seven new ones. “This guy would give you the shirt off his back,” said Patterson.

When “The Shield” comic released in June of 2021, Patterson was going to have Rodriguez at the store to do signings on the exclusive covers, but Stray Dogs got picked up by Netflix and Rodriguez had to go to California to participate in negotiations.

“So, I finally got around to getting him here,” said Patterson. There were only 300 copies printed of the cover created by Rodriguez. “This particular cover, the only place you can get it, is at Camelot.” Patterson says that the comics have been the most popular part of the business. “If it wasn’t for the comic books, I don’t know that the bookstore would still be here. The pandemic caused the older customers to order from Amazon and they just have never come back. Comic book fans are a weekly breed. New comics are released every Wednesday and those people are back.”

Camelot has all “Stray Dogs” series illustrated by Tone Rodriguez. Patterson says that Rodriguez may bring some copies of other comics with his illustrations to sign. He does not charge for autographs. About the time it takes for commissioned sketches, Patterson says, “He is abnormally fast and there is no drop in quality. He could do a pencil sketch in five or six minutes.”

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