I didn't take the trolley that morning because my aunt Gaylene wanted me to accompany my cousin Courtney's friend Susan. Courtney and Susan wanted to go to the Con even though Courtney was working most of the day. Before Courtney showed up, my aunt wanted me to escort Susan because Susan had never been to the Con before and I guess someone, she or my aunt, was wary of the behemoth. So Susan and I got the Convention Centre at around 9:30am, thirty minutes before the Con officially opening.
I didn't talk to Susan very long; apparently she was mainly there to see the entire cast of Heroes, so I talked to her about how silly I thought the ending of season 1 was, and I explained to her my theory about how the writers screwed up with the Haitian character. She didn't say much, and then we were separated at the gates when pre-registers (her) had to go in through a different entrance than people who already had their badges (me). I waited around for her a while in the Sails Pavilion upstairs but gave up after a few minutes. So much for my chaperone career.
There I was with my portfolio and a printout of the first issue of my new comic, and I'd already learned that the portfolio reviews weren't worth my time. So I decided to go downstairs and talk to the people in the small press area of the Event Hall. People were going down there even though it was only 9:45am, but it wasn't very crowded. I've now arrayed about my keyboard all the cards and fliers and little handmade booklets I collected from the various booths and it's sort of dizzying to think I actually had conversations with all these different comic book artists and writers. I can't even quite remember the order in which I talked to everyone, nor can I remember all the faces attached to these comics and cards. I'll do my best, but my apologies to any of you who might actually be checking my blog and getting miffed that I utterly forgot a long, meaningful conversation we had.
The first person I spoke to was a guy who worked on a comic called SPaZ. I glanced through his comic and told him I liked the colouring. I showed him some of my comic and he told me I definitely ought to join the west coast chapter of a comic artist guild. Apparently, it's a bigger thing on the east coast. Considering I've noticed that another two comic book stores have closed around here recently, I'm beginning to think comics are more of an east coast thing in general.
Let's see, I'll just go by cards here . . . Kelli Nelson was pretty cool, and seemed like she had a good sense of humour. Her books were in some amazing, handmade bindings, and she told me about a specific dye or material she used for one book in order to get an interesting thick, glossy texture with oddly good traction.
I met Randy Reynaldo at his booth, and he seems like he has a very nice comic . . . Val Hochberg, creator of a comic called Kick Girl, seemed very sweet, giggled a lot, and really seemed to like my comic.
I met Brion Foulke, creator of Flipside, the only creator I met Saturday whose comic I'd actually read and the only comic creator who'd actually read Boschen and Nesuko. That was a rather pleasant surprise. He told me he really liked my work, and that he didn't always say that to people. I told him I liked his, which I do, though I haven't read more than two-thirds of the Flipside archive. He was doing a radio show or something at the time I spoke to him and I told him he had kind of a radio voice. He was with the creator of another comic called Paradigm Shift, which also looks well drawn.
In the booth next to him was Jennifer Brazas, who I think is Brion's girlfriend, and also the creator of Mystic Revolution. I had a slightly odd conversation with her because she and I were wearing exactly the same hat and glasses (though her fedora had a c-crown). She looked through some of my stuff at Brion's urging.
"You'll like it, it has naked women," he said.
"So I see," she said, for although I'd thought about restricting my portfolio to my less explicit work, I actually had a really hard time finding any significant groupings of pages that didn't feature at least a few NC-17 items. So I didn't bother with self-censorship, which really perturbed the creator of Zecta, to whom I'd spoken earlier. Upon looking at my comic, the first thing he very soberly said to me was that I ought to have a mature content warning on my cover. He seemed very concerned that children might get a hold of my comic.
"It's very hard for me to think that way," I said. "I'm too much of a pervert."
I don't think this was a statement he appreciated. He was also the only person to tell me I needed to replace my handwritten lettering with computer text. We may very well have been broadcasting at polar opposite wavelengths. His comic is about robotic insects.
I spoke very briefly to the creator of Bob the Angry Flower, who was wearing a very stylish cardboard headdress of yellow petals. The comic sample I picked up from his booth was very funny, too.
I spoke to three of the makers of Bushi Tales, and we admired samples of each others' comics, noting how we seemed to be exploring mildly similar design concepts. I had a very interesting conversation with Bushi Tales artist/Co-Creator Lin Workman about colouring programmes. He uses PhotoShop, the industry standard, while I'm still using my 1998 shareware copy of Paint Shop Pro 5 (who wants a copy? Here you go. Now you can colour exactly like me. Results may vary).
There was another artist I spoke to who had some very good stuff, but I seem to've completely lost her card . . .
Next to her was Athena LaRue, creator of The Adventures of Onion Boy, and she seemed very intrigued by my work, just from overhearing me discussing it with the girl whose card I lost. LaRue's comic is rather nice looking, like a cross between Tim Burton and Maurice Sendak.
I spoke to GB Tran and we had a conversation about the butterfly effect, how he used it in his comic, and how unfortunate it is that there's an Ashton Kutcher movie of the same name. I pointed out that I'd heard a character in a Star Wars game refer to the unforeseen dramatic effects the flapping of a mynock's wings can have, so maybe the concept is adequately proliferated in our pop culture regardless of Ashton Kutcher.
There was another guy I spoke to who was charging fifty cents for his little cards bearing his URL.
"Fifty cents for one of your cards?" I said, thinking he hadn't understood what I wanted.
"Yes," he said with perfect sincerity.
"Er, I'll pass." So no link for him . . .
I then made for a booth for a comic called The Devil's Panties. I spoke to its creator, Jennie Breeden, who was wearing a really cool tan coloured, space military looking coat. She explained to me the comic is autobiographical, so I asked the obvious question; "Do you wear devil's panties?"
"We figure the devil would go commando, actually," she explained, and I could tell she's answered the question many times before.
I'd have advised her to own the concept, say, "Yeah, I wear the devil's panties, and they're always on fire!" or something. She seemed to like my comic, and recommended I use a site called www.lulu.com for my self-publishing needs, though she said my comic, being in colour, might be quite expensive.
"I knew I was doing the bad thing when I went with colour," I said, sighing. "But I did it anyway . . ."
Next I spoke to Kelly Lynn Jones, who was quite appalled when I told her about the guy charging fifty cents for his cards. She gave me a card and a nice postcard, free of charge,
Well, it's time I did something else to-day, so I'll finish Saturday next time. Yes, there's more. Lots more . . .