In which you will kindly recall that you asked me to write a convention recap. Well, at least one of you did. Don't blame me that it turned into another three-part epic no one is reading apart from my mother, and then only if there's nothing good on television tonight.
On Saturday evening, Lisa Hoppe and I attended the ReBoot panel (video here and doesn't it make my life easier not to have to recap all these panels when you can watch them for yourself) featuring series cocreator Gavin Blair and onetime producer Dan DiDio. This panel was for me what conventions are for. Not shilling things, not hype and press events and publicity for your big budget film, but seeing folks who are delighted to talk about something they had fun creating, and who are equally delighted to see how many people responded to it.
Dan DiDio in particular was a surprise. My close personal friend Gavin Blair -- by which I mean he once shook my hand and he signed my booklet, which is more than many of my so-called real life friends can say -- remarked afterward that comics people only get to see DiDio trying to promote the latest DC event under the scrutiny of his corporate employers, but the Dan DiDio he knows as friend and colleague is a completely different person. There was nothing to hype here, just a couple of guys reminiscing about this really cool thing they did a few years back...and it was obvious DiDio was having the time of his life telling those stories. If someone attended this panel without ever having seen or heard of ReBoot, that person would have left wanting to see the entire series right away, simply because Blair and DDio made their experiences working on it sound like so much fun.
That night saw a big dinner with the TwoMorrows/Kirby Museum crowd and Jack Kirby Collector contributor Mike Gartland, plus some sort of Philly art mafia consisting of Mike Manley, Jamar Nicholas, and Scott Cohn. Believe me, I am as shocked as you are that I got to sit with those guys. Have you seen their artwork? Go look: it's awesome. My presence there was solely because none of them knew me and generously assumed I had some right to be in their company. If only they knew.
Moving along to the last day of the convention, a few highlights...
Waiting for the Kirby: King of Comics panel to start, I ran into my actual real world friend Jeff Brady as well as JKC contributor and all-around swell guy Adam McGovern. They probably regretted sitting next to me when I heckled Mark Evanier about feral cats in his backyard. Also in attendance were several major participants in Kirby fandom, such as Harry Mendryk (whose own convention recap is much more informative than mine and has cool photos, so I encourage you all to check it out) and the shockingly erudite Atlas historian Michael Vassalo.
Sometime after the panel, I heard of one attendee grumbling that it had focused too much on the entire careers of guests Joe Sinnott and Dick Ayers and gave insufficient attention to Kirby. This strikes me as doubly mistaken. First, both offered a lot of praise for Jack and discussed the work they did embellishing his pencils, how they approached it and what it was like to work with him. Sinnott was particularly effusive in his love for Kirby; Ayers is less outspoken about it but the respect and warmth are there as well. More importantly -- look, I'm the big Kirby fanatic, right? Write a book about the guy, have a panel in his honor, mention his name in passing and I'm right there, as most bloggers learn all too quickly. But Sinnott and Ayers are still with us, their careers are worthy of attention, and I'd rather give them a standing ovation with both in front of us to enjoy it than only offering them praise at yet another memorial service.
I'm proud to be one of many at the con who personally congratulated Laura Hudson on her success at irritating those jerkwads at Virgin Comics. You can tell the worth of any journalist by the caliber of person she offends. To be called an "evil writer" can only be considered praise...because anyone who uses the phrase "evil writer" as a pejorative richly deserves offense. I told Laura to bear in mind the example of investigative reporter Wayne Barrett: on hearing former New York Senator Al D'Amato violently disparage him on television as a scandalmonger, a gutter journalist and worthless hack, Barrett beamed and declared it "better than winning a Pulitzer."
I was also glad to hook up my close personal friend George Khoury with a cheap source of Tom Strong action figure sets. A dealer was selling these at such a steep discount that having bought one I felt obliged to buy a bunch of other action figures from him simply to ease my feeling that I was taking unfair advantage. Yesterday at St. Marks Comics I saw the exact same set going for $44.99. I should have bought out the guy's whole stock. Around this same time, George and I got into a conversation with Erik Larsen about the original Fawcett version of Captain Marvel as compared with more recent interpretations, another of my favorite hobby horses. Okay, now I really am just dropping names...but Larsen is getting a lot of Gerber and Kirby work back into print as well as many other good comics, so if there's kissing up to be done I for one don't mind getting in that line.
As the convention wound down, I hung out for a while in Artists Alley with Richard Howell and his Claypool cohort Jesse Reyes, where my fatigued rambling was tolerated with characteristic graciousness by the always charming and civilized Carolyn Kelly. Carolyn was mercifully spared further babbling from me, however, when I went off to help John and Rand and Lisa pack up the TwoMorrows display before we all got hustled out by the Javits Center maintenance crew. When one of these shows ends they waste no time in letting you know you aren't welcome anymore. After loading up the van, a bunch of us went to dinner just off Times Square, and another convention weekend was over.
I feel as if the preceding entries have been just a big list of names, but that's what the whole convention experience is about for me. I don't go to buy stuff or see a lot of panels but rather to see people, so that's what I've recorded here. Although they were also at the con, I totally missed connecting with Sean Witzke and Jog and Neilalien and the returning favorite Redhead Fangirl. Dammit! There's always something you didn't manage to do.