Meet the Chicagoland Artist Behind TMNT, Pacific Rim, Star Wars, and Transformers

by | May 2, 2024 | HEX NOW | 0 comments

Another annual C2E2 took place at one of North America’s largest event centers, McCormick Place. Over 2.6 million square feet of event space welcomes expos and conventions of all types. The Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo brings cosplayers, comic book writers, artists, enthusiasts, and collectors together for 3 days of experiences every year. A random conversation about your favorite film or taking selfies with final-boss-level cosplayers dressed as video game characters often start before you enter!

A Hunt for The Last Ronin
I’ve attended C2E2 for back-to-back years, each time with a side mission. Usually, it’s either a must-see guest panel or maybe a must-meet celebrity. This year, it was a must-have collectible. I wanted to bring home a unique issue of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ “Last Ronin” series. After checking each comic book vendor and a marathon of no’s, one vendor pointed me towards the Z aisle of Artist Alley and said, “If there’s any chance of getting a comic like that, it’s going to be at John Giang’s table. I’d get there quick.”

Racing to Meet John Giang
Eager and anxious—and yes, these are two separate feelings—I sprinted to John’s table and lined up behind other fans. I could hear John enthusiastically engaging with each fan, boosting my anticipation. Finally, it was my chance to ask if he had any first-edition issues of ‘The Last Ronin’.

John Giang is known as one of the hottest illustrators and variant cover artists around. He’s worked on franchises like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Batman, and Power Rangers. His work on “The Last Ronin” quickly sold out on its first run, making it a prized collectible.

Understanding Variant Covers
Variant covers are alternative comic book covers for comic issues, illustrated uniquely by the commissioned artist and typically produced in limited runs. Once they’re gone, they’re only available on the reseller market.

Transformers Cover Art by John Giang | Geeks and Gods

John Giang Beyond Comics
John’s work extends to IMDb credits as a concept and visual artist for major franchises like Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Transformers, now owned by Hasbro. His artistic contributions also span to Star Wars and Star Trek, bringing unique pieces to fans.

The Last Copy
As the line dwindled, I introduced myself and told John what I was on the hunt for. I expressed how I had been to every comic vendor until I was sent in his direction. “I think I have one copy left,” he said, digging through his private stash.

John Giang Autographs Last Ronin Variant Issue | Geeks and Gods

COWABUNGA
HE FOUND IT! He told me how just recently, a fan gave him a couple of copies, as they had been sold out for years. John was willing to part with one. I purchased the comic and had it signed by John himself. I’ll be sending my limited edition, “Last Ronin” variant cover signed by John Giang to get encased and graded soon. Stay tuned for more updates!

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