I was recently a guest artist at the Etna Comics Convention in Catania, Sicily. When I painted cards for the Magic, the Gathering™ card game years ago, one titled Metalworker was soon banned from play. Cards like this are rare and collected fairly seriously, as I found out at the convention.

So I was invited, known as the Metalworker artist, and it was fun to be appreciated and treated so well. I really enjoy meeting fans at conventions, having been a fan myself in my youth. Magic players tend to be fairly bright, and they love to meet the artists of their favorite cards. I am far from being a Magic superstar artist, so their appreciation and respect was all the more rewarding. Attendance was up this year, at about 50,000. The tickets were all sold out by the second day, so they printed more. The convention attendance has grown by roughly 10,000 each successive year.

A fellow artist, Stephen Daniele, with his friend Victoria, was there as well. He too had the distinction of painting a banned card, though like me he hasn't painted Magic cards in several years. So we both signed cards and painted alterations on cards (another collector thing), had some dinners out together, and a fine time over all.

My host, Antonio Musarra, is now a friend. He was my guide around Catania and Syracuse after the convention. He made it all very easy going for us less-edgy Americans. Really a good guy. Extremely patient, generous and rightfully proud of his country. Plus he knows some english, which is not at all common in Sicily.

A church we went into in Syracuse, built over and incorporating Greek ruins     The convention between buildings  
Doing a demo in the doing a demo area. The church from outside
Catania night-life, Victoria leading the way Stephen with Victoria in the demo area