The Annual Bruce Timm Norcal Meet.
I meet Bruce Timm twice a year. Once at Wondercon and then at San Diego Comic-con. Up here we hang around the con at Albert Moy's or at Eric Larsen's and we catch up. Mostly I try not to buy what Bruce is buying--he has that effect on people, "Morbius drawn by Frank Robbins, ya gotta!" I miss having another huge comic book geek to, well...geek out...about comics. When we were doing Batman the Animated Series we used to gab an afternoon workday away talking about artists' mannerisms--from George Tuska's Iron Man hands that would never splay to Rich Buckler's rictor claws holding imaginary guns. Good times, good times. This year he sports a goatee and a sharp haircut with the customary dark shirt. Fitting for the father of the emblematic Batman of our times. He had with him to show the first part of "Starcrossed" a Justice League Unlimited movie due out middle of this year. It was projected in a small screen and the sound bounced around the huge function room but it probably worked to give me that old time movie going experience because I loved it. Friends Butch Luckic and Dan Riba directs and I must say that they did an amazing job.
It was also good to catch up with another pal, Paul Dini. He tells me many good things are coming up movie-wise for him and his snow doll Jingle Belle. And we would have gabbed on but he had to do the panel for Justice League with Bruce and Alan Burnett. Alan seems to have his own Lazarus pit since he looks the same as when I left the studio back in '95.
A con would not be complete without a visit to Stuart Ng. The event horizon around his booth sucks me in and I'm awash in Searles, Tennegrens, Dedinis and Blairs. Can't resist. It's futile. And you could not meet nicer people than the brothers Stuart and Steven. Karen was there to add more ebullience to the whole procedure but making me buy more books is not that hard to effect. I saw Michael Chabon mosey in with his kids in tow to see what goodies he can find.
Barron Storey was in the Vanguard booth looking like the original man in black. We had a nice chat about his days teaching at Pixar U. and he complemented the Fragments book Enrico and I made. After all he was in it. I drew him as he was teaching us the technique he used in painting that legendary Lord of the Flies cover. A good teacher passionate about his work of teaching. You can't ask for more.
Ragnar was there fronted by these two dubious looking fellows. This book is amazing and you all should check it out. I should get on the ball and think about making one. Sigh. I wish I can tell you more about my Wondercon afternoon but as fun as it was to connect with these old chums there was little else to be excited about.
Unfortunately, that's what I did of the few hours I spent this past Saturday at the Moscone Convention Center, wander. I can't put my finger on it but it was as tepid (if not more) than last year. I had high hopes for this location, now it's second year here in the city. It didn't bode well that I didn't encounter any fans walking Fifth Street holding the freebee bag (sparser than years past, I think) nor many outside the entrance. Okay, maybe it was because it was a Saturday afternoon and Union Square is just up the street and the Metreon is just behind the Moscone. The MOMA is around the corner and the Cartoon Art Museum as well. What could go wrong? By any regard just being around all these foot traffic heavy targets should make this con go through the roof. Instead it was leaden and not even the presence of Toby Maguire making an appearance pulled the Spiderman movie crowds to proportions worth mentioning. I didn't see Toby's appearance but judging from the dealers' floor if they were there they left soon after.
"It's so boring!" one pro chimes in. "We didn't expect this," says another. "We were running on the high of APE, so we signed up to do this con. But look at this!" I was at APE myself as an exhibitor and that was infiinitely more lively than Wondercon has been. There was a questionaire passed around at the end of APE asking if the numbers would bear out adding another full day to the the two-day affair. Judging from the crowds we saw there it was a resounding YES! I wish the organizers all the luck on making next year better. It's an adequate convention and could sure use a shot in the arm. I have a hunch that the upscale location left the market that was grown across the Bay Bridge in Oakland and those fans couldn't be bothered to pay toll, parking and the entrance fee. And maybe its the nature of this convention being so similar to the granddaddy San Diego Comic-con and happening just two months apart people think that they can just save their money for that trip instead. Convolutions upon convolutions.