Patrick: Pro Tip: Breakfast – eat it every day of con. Every single one. Don’t skip breakfast. No, seriously. Eat it. Eat it.
Properly fed, (breakfast!) Drew, Shelby and myself headed back into the con for our interview with Gail Simone. Gail is closely guarded by her husband Scott, who is a righteous dude in his own right. After razzing me about not being able to come up with my favorite show tune on the spot*, he granted me access to Simone and she and I had a delightful chat about Batgirl, Red Sonja and Lara Croft. You can expect more on that when we publish that interview later this week.
Shelby: I love Scott. He is such a treat. He loves Gail, he loves her work, and he hates people who hate her for dumb reasons; we all chatted about Red Sonja and it was a delight.
I had a decidedly different day from Patrick and Drew. On the weekends, I work at my LCS AlleyCat Comics, so this afternoon I had to work a shift at the booth. I love working at the store and talking with customers, but working a con is a whole different beast. There are way more people who know what they are looking for, and a lot less looking to chat about their favorite books. That’s actually kind of a good thing, because there is not a lot of space in a convention booth; there’s no place to stand and not be in someone’s way. Even still, I met some really interesting people; there was a couple who came by excited to get our platypus variant of Uncanny Avengers 18, and it turned out they were trying to open their own comic book shop in Wisconsin and were hoping to talk to the shop owners about discounts on bulk back issues. The people-watching was amazing, and the day was exhausting, though not nearly as exhausting as the load-out at the end of the show.
Patrick: Whoa! Skipping ahead to load-out? I still have panels to see! Or, one panel, at any rate. I stopped by the DC artist panel, this year hosted by Cully Hammer. The artists on hand were all stellar — Lee Barmejo, Nicola Scott and Aaron Kuder — and they all gave some fascinating insights into their particular journeys and processes. It’s kind of the anti-DC panel: all substance and no shilling.
When that wrapped up, Drew had the scoop on Brian Azzarello doing a semi-secret signing, so we thought we’d swing by and try to say hi. We did, and tried to jog Brian’s memory as to who Drew was (he interviewed him a few months ago), but it wasn’t until we flashed the business cards that Azz’ face lit up. “It’s you guys!” he exclaimed. Evidently, Brian’s been a fan of our 100 Bullets: Brother Lono write-ups, claiming that we “got it.” It was about the most flattering thing that’s ever happened to either one of us. In a weekend of surreal moments, this was probably the one that warmed our hearts the most.
And that’s what conventions should really be about – bridging the gap between the fan and creator communities. I had been sorta struggling with my affection for comics in the last couple of months: between Forever Evil getting me down, and losing a few good writers, my favorite website was starting to feel like a chore. I was losing sight of what makes this medium so important – everyone cares, and everything that you think matters does. It is a magical time to be a comic fan – the volume of excellent, daring, flat-out-weird material out there is astounding, and you can engage with those writers, artists and dreamers. We’re all in this together, and the negative stories shouldn’t stop us from loving these heroes. I’m flying back to LA in the morning, filled with a renewed vigor and excitement. It’s a perpetual new day, and the only thing standing between us and infinite adventure is the next Wednesday.
*For the record, my favorite show tune ever is ‘Stars’ from Les Miserables. Always has been. For whatever reason, in that moment, it felt like a poser answer (stupid Russel Crow) so I just feigned ignorance. Scott, if you’re reading this: it was ‘Stars’.