Monday, April 21, 2008

Still alive

So anyway, sorry about disappearing like that. I promised updates from New York, but that proved more challenging than I thought. I stopped dragging the laptop around New York simply because i was already lugging around enough dead weight with all of my purchases. Adding another 4 pounds or so might not seem like a lot, until you have to drag it around with you for 16 hours a day. And while the convention centre did have a wifi, you had to pay for it. Which I wasn't about to do.

Throw on top of that I didn't get home until pushing 1 a.m. on Saturday night and didn't get settled into the hotel in Ottawa on Sunday evening until midnight and, well, you had someone too tired to coherently blog.

So how was the rest of the comic con? Sorry to use the word again, but it was awesome. One of the best times I've had in my life. There's something about being in a building with about 80,000 other people (that's a number I heard for the weekend attendance at the con) that all have the same interest as you. One that tends to get you teased a bit to the rest of the world, but in that building, people perfectly understood your excitement.

I went around to a couple of panels, saw some movie previews (Wanted and Hellboy II), did some shopping, hunted for sketches and chatted with lots of people, both professionals and otherwise. There tends to be lots of standing in lines at this type of event, especially if you're trying to get sketches. So you strike up conversations with people.

And this is the thing that I think surprised me the most....nearly everyone was exceptionally friendly. Almost unbelievably friendly. New York has a reputation, of course. But I asked people for directions, and was given friendly advice. People said "excuse me" if they bumped into me. The cabs were clean and the drivers efficient.

You also hear stories about cons. About how some are poorly run. How the talent can be real assholes. With only one or two exceptions, the New York Comic Con struck me as being very well run and a lot of fun. Only one artist was rude, and really, it was 3 p.m. on Sunday, the last day of the con. The poor bastard was just done. I don't blame him. There was also a small fiasco about getting tickets to a limited signing by Stan Lee (creator of most of the Marvel Universe) and Frank Miller (Sin City, 300). I thought I had a decent chance of getting tickets, give my VIP pass. But nope. Plus I heard later that Lee was only signing one book and Miller wasn't signing comic books at all, just posters for his upcoming adaptation of "The Spirit."

But these are minor, minor points. I chatted with lots of creators. When I asked a couple if they were doing sketches and they said they were booked and couldn't (Colleen Doran and Darwyn Cooke come to mind), but were very apologetic. When I said I understood, that they were only human and couldn't spend the whole con being drawing machines for fans, I honestly thought they were going to weep, they were so happy I understood. Cooke told me a fan chased him as he was leaving the con Friday evening, demanding just a quick sketch. Jesus.

I'm a fan, but some fans are real assholes. I was happy just to meet the guy. His "New Frontier" mini-series is one of the most beautiful comics you'll ever see. I bought two hard covers of his other works, went back later and was able to get him to sign them. Made me perfectly happy. Besides, I'll hopefully get a sketch next time.

Next time?

Oh hell yes. This was my first con, but I can't see it being my last. It was simply too much fun. I don't know when I'll get to another one. 2010 in San Diego is a possibility. We'll see. It wasn't just the cheap books, and looking at all the fun toys and video games (the Civilizations game for XBox is terrifying. If it comes out in Wii I'm screwed) or even people watching. It's just a great, fun atmosphere. I was in a great mood for three solid days. And anyone who knows me will tell you that's a rarity. Granted, it feels like the bottom of my feet have been beaten with bamboo rods by angry midgets with self-esteem problems, but that's a small price to pay.

Tomorrow I'm going to put up sketches I got at the con. I got 17-18 of them, which is pretty good, really. I would have been happy with 9-10. But for now, here are a few photos of things and people around the con. Sadly, there was no upper level so I could shoot down to give you an idea of how big the floor is. But trust me, it's huge.


colette said...

Buddy doing "Hellboy" looks pretty good. Was the local SCA contingent there?

towniebastard said...

Not as far as I saw. People in costumes tended to come in four varieties:
1. Star Wars
2. Super hero
3. Anime/manga
4. WTF?

I must say, one of the nice things about the con was the volume of women there. It wasn't just guys and booth babes. There were plenty of women in attendance. They were mostly into manga. But it was still good to see them there.

Anonymous said...

the one in all black almost looks Inuk to me!

Clare said...

Townie, I thought I had your email address but can't seem to find it and I was going to email you this story, thought you'd get a kick out of it.

towniebastard said...

I'm pretty sure she's Japanese. Given the amount of manga at the con, plus famous Japanese pop star TM Revolution was playing a concert later that night, there were a lot of people of Japanese origin at the con.

And Clare, there weren't many Vaders there, which is perhaps a good thing. And other than a few staged "battles", most were on their best behaviour and happy to pose for photographers.