I-Con, Day the First

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Seeing friend s and fans are the main reasons I return to I-Con again and again. As with any student-run organization with turnover every few years, there are inevitable bumps in the road. This year was no exception.Despite worsening weather, the campus was abuzz with activity, especially cosplayers in a wide variety of outfits. Fortunately, most of my day was in one building so I didn’t have to worry about the impending rain. I did, though, manage to see many of my friends, brightening the overall mood.My first panel was Writing for Comics, which I moderated with Keith DeCandido and Joe Lansdale as panelists. Despite having many mutual friends, Joe and I had never met and we spent a few pre-panel minutes chatting it up. At the well-attended panel, Joe introduced me as a “legend” which was heartfelt on his part and frankly, made my weekend.I then spent two hours in the Green Room chatting with all manner of friends from various circles of my life. We ate, drank, joked, and I was reminded how much I can miss the sort of social interaction with peers.I then conducted a panel on comics that should be collected, with Tom Brevoort, Bob Rozakis, and a young assistant editor from Marvel’s collected editions department. Despite a dozen or so people in attendance, including Comics Guest of Honor Michael Golden, it was pulling teeth to get people to offer up suggestions. One thing we acknowledged was how much material is out there already, making choices challenging. We did find a few from the obvious, my beloved Atlantis Chronicles, to the less obvious such as Marvel’s mystery stories from the early 1970s.After another hour of socializing, I joined a panel discussion on I-Con’s 30 year history as we recounted the con’s origins, its growth, and odd things that happened along the way. This was incredibly well attended and a good time was had by all. This was immediately followed in the same room with a tribute to the late, great Dwayne MacDuffie, who left us just two months ago. Peter David, Bob Rozakis, Mark Mazz, Glenn Hauman and I told stories, explained Dwayne’s significance and heard stories from the audience. Had he heard it all, Dwayne would have been slightly embarrassed and incredibly touched.The day’s fun ended with Trailer Park as Glenn and I held court in a too-small lecture hall as people lined the aisles. Glenn had prepped a surprise opening that set the jocular tone and we were off. As we showed a bunch of Doctor Who trailers, we showed the first part of a special BBC-produced ministory. Glenn then asked his wonderful wife Brandy to literally pass his hat around the room, raising money for Comic Relief. If we reached at least $100, we’d show the concluding part at the end of the panel. Just about all the trailers, for films familiar and otherwise, were well received. The one summer film that is in trouble is Transformers 3 which no one wanted to see when its turn came up. We just topped the $100 threshold and concluded with part two then some spirited Q&A that is always fun.After getting hopelessly confused getting off campus, I finally found my way to Casa David where 5/6 of Crazy Eight convened. As various spouses and children amused themselves, the menfolk repaired to the secret lair deep beneath David Manor where we continued to refine our plans as we inch closer to our July 8 debut.I left around midnight, and in the teeming rain, found the con hotel. As I was checking in, the place was a madhouse. This may be why I was checked into a room…that was already occupied. After an interminable delay, I was finally informed that the remaining unoccupied room had a mattress that housekeeping declared unfit for use. Fortunately, they said in an all-too-apologetic voice, they secured me a room a mile down the road. So, once more, I dragged my exhausted self to the other hotel and finally into bed.

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