Just plain folks come to the Comic-con, too.
Okay, that's misleading. The families we meet every year at the con are anything but plain. These are beautiful and vital people--there to support their family members who have exhibits or are industry guest, friends and loved ones making the annual pilgrimage. There are more families that show up to our table every year and this one was definitely our best.
This is also another banner year for the message board communities who show up at the conventions. The Shanesboard/Sketchbook Sessions came out with a book as well as individual members self-publishing their own work. There are other internet communities like them--I am sadly uninformed but my guess would be these: Mattart, Penciljack, Concept Art, Sinjun, Animation Nation, Flight, Maverix...I can only guess at the rest) that also make the Comic-con THE event of the year to showcase work of their membership and have a grand social gathering. Is it ever, huh? I have a collection of books members generously share with me. My thanks to all.
"Mike!" I shout his name as I see his head bob up and down the main aisle. We catch up and are loud about it--if you know Mr. Mignola he doesn't speak softly and carry a big stick. A voice tuned to carry over the timid, Mike Minola is an artist/star that we all wish to cut our career pattern to. We see each other at this con over the years and catch up only on these brief run ins. "Last year everyone was talking about your book," he says. He's also adept at flattery. Nice guy. I hand him a copy of my book and he hauls one of his limited edition sketchbooks at me. It's good to see him, since he'd been missing for the last two cons (I think) because Hollywood kept him busy. Poor guy.
Con Gripe #1. Why did they separate the artists like Mike, Gene Colan and the rest from where the other artist/exhibitors were? They were in the middle of all that conflagration. So wrong! They were drowned out by the noise there. And what's more, the people who made it to that end tended not be interested in encountering the understated booths and tables of the artist/creator. Put them all together with the rest of the exhibiting artist tables and booths!
Con Gripe#2. Keep everyone hawking their wares using a sound system together in one spot. All the better for them to battle it out for decibel primacy against others so equiped. Our little booth had only the vocal chords god gave us at birth. A weeklong litany on the merits of a script writing tool used by mega bucks screen writers blaring at you is bad. Even worse if it is AMPLIFIED! ( I always wonder about the actual usefulness of a program hawked to be able to aid you in raking in the millions at Hollywood and these guys are toughing it out on the convention floor selling it one program at a time. Wouldn't it be easier to use it yourself and gain the Beverly hills lifestyle at will than do the pedestrian peddling? Hmmmm.)
Earlier, another con regular who used to share a booth with The Mignola--and got scooped up by Hollywood in big way as well--came by. Geof Darrow swoops in, as much as a giant man of gentle demeanor can, and we did our catching up. We'd missed each other on the one time he visited Pixar and I was too busy to visit him when The Matrix was shooting in the Bay Area. Again, the con is fated to be our only way of connecting. I remember him showing me, years ago, the huge vellum pages of exquisite line work he'd been busy with, the story that was about a man on a donkey in the desert fighting the devil. I am waiting for that.
Bruce Timm came by and caught me doing a commision. I had a copy of the current Harley and Ivy comic, "Excellent choice in reading material." I needed it for reference, I can never be sure where those argyle patterns are on Harley. Bruce is due to be at a signing and I hand him a copy of my current issue. "You're doing some Craig Thompson swirly thing on this." Oh, pushaw! I don't see it but...waitaminute, he meant that as a compliment, right?
The table becomes a meeting point, or more appropriately...missing each other point for all the days of the con. Glen Murakami comes by and asks whether I've seen the other guys. Bruce will do the same. The great Paul Dini graced us with his presence with a download on all things Dini and asks as well. We all used to go out together after the con and have a long leisurely dinner. Now, we're at all points of the compass.
Tim Sale also came by to visit us. He shows me a hardcover collection of his work. Impressive tome. Great work. Must pick this one up. Also, I must've gushed about his family--how beautiful they are on this blog before, right? I'll do it again, I swear. Pics below instead.
I have more memories to post but I'm going to wear out my welcome. I've yet to catch up with email at home. Thanks again to all who came by and made our convention a success.
And a special thanks to my wife, Tess for being my booth babe to rule all babes. My daughter Gerin for being such an able stand-in for Daddy and help out with the sales, Geo for lugging our stuff and driving when Daddy needs to crash, Amy for the lunches and snacks. My brother Louie and his wife Julie for coming by and cheering us on. Tammy List for not pulling a prank on me. Haven Alexander, great to see you and your adorable daughter (Andy and Ted says hello. Andy swooned his hello). Jamie, Sam and Rhode for being the best booth neighbors one could hope for.
Whew! There's more but I think I lost those brain cells back in San Diego. See you.