The Con Report
Sorry I haven’t been better at posting but the last week has been a whirlwind of con prep, work, the con, con aftermath and more work.
The convention was a huge success for Reed Exhibitions, but even better, for me. I had eight meetings plus four panels to manage and everything went off just fine. It was a three day marathon of seeing old friends, old colleagues, old acquaintances and meeting new folk. Some I saw too briefly to be satisfying, others were just right.
My meetings were all in the hopes of generating work for myself or for ACE, the outfit I am part of with Jordan Gorfinkel. While none ended with a direct offer of work, I did all the necessary follow-up e-mails yesterday so we’ll see what happens next. I found myself being introduced to people I didn’t anticipate meeting which may also lead to stuff and I had a conversation with one person which is definitely leading to work once we have lunch next week to further the planning.
The panels were all a treat. First up we celebrated the 75th anniversary of four comic strip icons. Rick Norwood and Ron Goulart are two historians of the form and are senior members of our community so watching them disagree was sort of fun. It also gave me an excuse to reunite with Dean Mullaney, formerly of Eclipse Comics, and now with IDW’s lovely comic strip reprint library. He looks utterly unchanged.
The second panel was about prose works featuring comic book figures. Paul Kupperberg, who writes about this very topic at Bookgasm, moderated the panel which went fairly well.
On Sunday, I moderated a discussion about Star Trek in books and comics which gave me an excuse to spend time with David Mack and Peter David, always a good thing. Half an hour later, though, I was stunned.
While walking to the panel, I saw a very long line and asked what they were waiting for. “The Green Lantern at 50 panel,” I was informed. Yikes! Yes, we had more people on line than could fit in the room and the con tried to find us a different place. No space was available so they kindly packed everyone in, keeping a very tiny exit row just in case. Fortunately, everyone played nice and allowed themselves to be packed like sardines. Yes, Green Lantern is more popular today than ever before, but we were all stunned. Still, Len Wein, Marv Wolfman, Joe Staton, Geoff Johns and I held a pretty fun discussion about what we loved about Hal Jordan and why the Silver Age version of the character has thrived.
In a first, my Uncle Eric was at the show on Saturday as was my brother-in-law Jim, his wife Jennifer and Jim’s son Nicholas, who’s a major fan. I got to spend just a wee bit of time with them all but it was certainly different having family around.
There were some truly bizarre moments. While waiting for an appointment to arrive, two guys were walking by and one mentioned my name. I spoke up and they were shocked to see me in the flesh. Turns out one is an Associate Editor at Connecticut Magazine and was wondering if he’d see me. Another was a guy walking up to me and saying his wife went to college with me and wanted him to say hi. The problem, when I checked for her in the college yearbook, she wasn’t there so now I’m stumped. Then was Tony Merino, a friend I’ve made through my other friends Judy and Matt. Turns out Tony used to work with my former DC boss, Terri Cunningham’s mother, so they delighted in meeting at the show. Small world, ain’t it?
My oldest friend, Jeff Stell, and his delightful wife Debbie, showed up all three days and it was great walking the aisles with them, noting just how much things have changed since we first started attending cons in 1970.
I picked up some books, admired many more and wound up getting a “Mark Waid is Evil” t-shirt which I shall wear proudly.
While there was a lot of programming I would have liked to have seen, there just wasn’t time. Overall, though, it appeared that all 77,000 people who attended had a great time. I heard mixed things from retailers about sales but no one was complaining too loudly and given these economic times, that may be enough.