I have to be honest, it's been awhile since I've been to a comics show of any kind.
Two years, in fact. So when I had decided to volunteer for Wizard World, it was less about finding that rare book or piece of memorabilia...and more about finding something to blog about. One of my usual snarky, hello-pot-this-is-kettle posts.
What I found, ironically, was that it wasn't as bad as I thought.
Granted, arriving at the Stephens Convention Center and seeing the crowds gather at 7:30 am was....rather daunting. But eventually, I made my way inside...and was given my orange staff t-shirt (Note one to organizers: if you're going to hand out colored t-shirts, make sure you put pictures of lanterns on them. Makes them cooler). Of course, it was then that several of us formed the "thin orange line" (or, given my size, "thin orange line with slightly doughy middle), preventing people from entering too early. After about two hours on our feet, we were able to sit...and ate a lovely breakfast of junk food.
It wasn't looking good, folks. In fact, I made a slightly quick call to Chuck, from Comic Related, to arrange to meet.
Luckily, after a fool's errand being sent to a "snack bar" (and granted, there are three in the entire area), who should I meet? Chuck, who gave me a magic pass....I would like to claim that he gave me a green ring and power battery, but he gave me something better - a press pass. He had arranged for it so that I could check out the premiere of Batman: Gotham Knight.
He also informed me of the sad news about Michael Turner....and to be honest, I was not a fan of his artwork. However, I'm also not a fan of anyone passing on too young. But after a brief discussion, Chuck and I went out separate ways. Cool guy, and you'll read more about Gotham Knight in this month's TV Party.
But with that, I decided to ditch the volunteer gig...and start checking out the show.
Of course, being Wizard, there was a ton of loud, boisterous stuff...but fortunately, there were plenty of comics. (For a much better retrospective, please read this piece from Scott of Wednesday's Haul - and Scott, sorry we missed each other). It would be easy for me to say, "Oh, man, it was totally cool!"...but there were some really nice moments (for me, at least) that made it worthwhile.
While looking for the Hero Initiative booth, I came across a group called the Hero Foundry. They're an organization that buys comics, graphic novels, and other books for libraries, hospitals, and places that can't afford them. Fortunately, I had enough cash for a raffle ticket, and won a nice little indie graphic novel. If you would like more information about them, click here - I am, however, considering offering "free" ad space to comic-related non-profits. ("Free" as in "hey, I have the space in my sidebar, so I may as well use it for a good cause").
And, of course, there was getting to meet Bruce Timm and asking him a question I've always wanted to ask. Talking about an old Batman story with screenwriter Josh Olson. Finding Dan DiDio an absolute hoot. But, of course, I got to meet my third favorite red head, and first, favorite comic writer, Gail Simone. (Ms. Simone - I apologize for stammering. I'm normally not that goofy. Honest.)...
...oh, and if you ask, my first favorite redhead is my godson, and the second is someone whose identity will never be revealed on this blog. Honestly. I mean it. But this person knows who they are, and that's enough for me.
What also struck me about this convention - the number of couples who attended. It would be easy to make a joke about women at a comics convention, but it was really refreshing to see couples of every permutation attend the event. Now granted, it doesn't necessarily mean that the big companies will see the error of their ways...mostly, I think it means that we may see more female creators/writers/editors in the future.
(I know I sound a little disjointed, but between this and this Saturday's Doctor Who episode, I've been in fannish glee).
But there's one thing that Wizard World, ironically, has me wanting to do more of...and that is checking out other, smaller conventions. Recently, there was a Pulp and Paper convention here in Chicago that I missed (and I regret it, if only because I could have told Ron Fortier in person how much I enjoyed his run on Green Hornet), and I really regret it.
Big shows like Wizard and ComicCon have their place...but I'm also thinking that there are smaller shows that do not get their due. They slip under the cracks, and quite frankly, I know there's a difference between the big roadshows like Wizard and the "sausage factory" of two years ago.
Recently, I had wondered privately if I should shift this blog's emphasis - nothing in comics was really thrilling me, or giving me that same thrill as I had when I was a youth, but then I realized something that I keep talking about, but never doing: going out and finding cool stuff, regardless of company.
In other words, "Hello pot, this is kettle, calling collect".