In which many names will be named.
Almost as soon as I arrived at the Javits Center for NYCC 2008, Rand Hoppe of the Kirby Museum introduced me to John Morrow, who'd travelled up from North Carolina along with Jim Amash to staff the TwoMorrows Publishing table. As previously mentioned, even though the Kirby Museum wasn't sharing space with TwoMorrows at NYCC this year, that table remained my default rendezvous point: the place I told everyone to look for me if I couldn't be found anywhere else and the first place I looked for other folks.
I also spent a good bit of time hanging out with Mike Philips and Tim Callahan of Sequart Research and Literacy Center -- publishers of Teenagers From The Future, the epic collection of essays about the Legion of Super-Heroes that sold out its entire preview run before the weekend was over. I was lucky to score a copy at the rate they were flying away.
Totally by chance while I was still scoping out the show floor, I ran into Gavin "Gavok" Jasper of 4th Letter (though apparently he slept through meeting me), and the following day I also met David Brothers of 4L when he stopped by the Sequart table. They're both every bit as cool and personable as one would expect from reading their blog. I also had the fortune to spend time with Patrick Meaney and Rob Kelly, however statistically unlikely it was that any of us would cross paths that way. My long term plan is to get all four of these guys doing work for Sequart and/or TwoMorrows so that hooking up with them will be much simpler at future conventions. It's all about who you know...
The multi-talented Thom Zahler was almost directly opposite the Sequart table, and one of my stated goals for the con had been to pick up a full set of his really very wonderful Love and Capes comic series. Later this year, IDW is going to release a collection in trade paperback form: a much more convenient form for gift-giving if you happen to know anyone who might enjoy a) warm-hearted romance with a comedic superhero motif sometimes compared to The Incredibles and b) receiving gifts.
I missed the screening of Will Eisner: Portrait of a Sequential Artist but made it to the Will Eisner panel with producer Jon B. Cooke (who turns out to display previously unsuspected gifts as a panel moderator, and future convention organizers are encouraged to make use of him in this capacity), the film's director Andrew Cooke, Paul Levitz, Mike Uslan, Mark Evanier, and Will's nephew Carl Gropper. Gropper was probably the most interesting panelist for his family perspective on having Eisner for a relative. There was also plenty of discussion about Eisner the visionary genius who saw the comic book page as a unique graphic entity unto itself and not merely a vehicle for reprinting comic strip panels, and Eisner the unusually shrewd businessman (according to Levitz, rivalled only by Joe Simon and Joe Kubert in that respect). I still regret missing that film, though.
Later in the day, my actual close personal friend (as opposed to the countless people I refer to as "close personal friends" but who are in fact complete strangers or at best passing acquaintances who would barely recognize me under most circumstances) Richard Howell put me on the trail of Peter Sanderson, who was facing a last-minute cancellation by an intended member of his Legion of Super-Heroes panel the following day. I had a good idea of someone who could fill that gap, and spent a lot more time than I probably ought to have done trying to track down all the involved parties and get them on the same page.
It all turned out to be for nothing -- Peter found someone else to fill in -- but to be honest, I enjoyed the temporary excitement all the same. A few years ago I found work as roadie and guitar tech for a rock group simply because I was tired of watching gigs from the audience. Standing there with nothing to do but watch always made me feel antsy; I only ever wanted to be backstage, sorting out minor emergencies behind the scenes so the show could run smoothly. By the same token, I don't feel comfortable just passively attending a convention; I like to have a problem that needs solving.
In fact, I might as well admit it: I'm the one who stopped Jim Shooter from attending NYCC this year, just so he'd miss the Legion panel and I could run around all afternoon trying to line up a replacement for him. I'm so ashamed of myself.
Next: Death be not proud!