Okay… again, I got up at a decent hour, and made it to the show around 11. I made the mistake of having the taxi let me off at the curb near the Yellow entrance, and someone with a megaphone berated me. (Hey, if that’s a problem, get the police to direct traffic. The taxi was there for two minutes, tops.) So I had to walk upstream against the massive hordes coming down the sidewalk and filling up the parkway like a cistern, as security dealt with bag checks.
I had no problem getting into the show floor, and perused the small press area next to the construction zone. It was a bit tight, but not difficult. I discovered Bliss On Tap, who published Alex Niño’s God the Dyslexic Dog. They had artwork for sale, super cheap for one of the great Bronze Age artists who still is a master!
Sadly, I’m on a tight budget, so I had to pass.
I then headed to the question-and-answer panel for Comixology. Nothing much of note (the “submit” program and the 100 million downloads announced earlier), and the audience was well-mannered. One theme reiterated during the panel was that Comixology was an experience company… they want the interface to offer the same experience across a wide variety of platforms.
Today was the day to go Dollar Bin Diving. The first retailer I found had Silver and Bronze age issues on special… $6 and greater were half off. Anything else, $2! I soon discovered it’s best to do this sort of thing when there aren’t a lot of long boxes, and the show is smaller, as there are some aisles I haven’t yet seen, and this sort of activity is best done when the show has reached the “been-there-done-that-got-the-show-exclusive” stage and one has time to waste. I dropped $40 at this dealer, then began to search for a specific issue for Colleen Doran to sign. No luck. My own copies of Ren and Stimpy were buried deep in my archives but I did find $3 copies for Dan Slott to sign. Then I remembered… Ms. Doran had comics at her booth for sale, so I bought some $1 copies of Sandman #34 to supplement her wares.
I finished off the last of the back issue dealers, and headed over to Artists Alley, where I intended to spend the rest of the day.
It was madness. Somehow, between Noon and Three, the concourse became packed from the entrance to Hall 3A all the way over to the Yellow entrance! Traffic moved one step at a time. Once past the entrance, things got easier, and the trek to the North Pavilion took less time than getting from the escalator to the passageway.
Artists Alley was busier than yesterday, but still easy to navigate. Ms. Doran wouldn’t take the two Sandman copies as a gift, so she traded me a trade paperback and a bag of cookies. (I just remembered! I have some trading cards with her work, so I’ll drop those off tomorrow.) Being a polite gentleman, I first asked her if there were any publications of her work she would prefer not to sign. She said no, so I had her sign the copy of The XXXenophile Collection containing her inks for “Net Dreams”.
Then I wandered along the south wall of the room, where I found the ever-friendly and super-gracious Amanda Conner. There was a line of about fifteen people, but it moved quickly, as autographs and print sales went quickly. I like to bring odd comics for creators to sign, since they are probably tired of signing the same copy of whatever. For Ms. Conner, I brought two issues of Barbie: the “Barbie as President” issue I found a few weeks ago at Asbury Park, and a later “superhero” issue. She actually had a pink gel pen, and was happy to sign them!
Then next to her was Jimmy Palmiotti. The son of a classmate had brought in his father’s high school yearbook from 1979, and Mr. Palmiotti was reminiscing about various classmates, and remembering how diverse his public high school was. (How impressive is the High School of Art and Design? In his graduating class were Denys Cowan and Mark Texeira.) There was a sample of his cartooning work (each graduating student had a published sample), quite possibly his first published work. I was polite enough not to photograph it, but I do hope Mr. Palmiotti will post it to his blog.
A few tables down were Paul Guinan & Anina Bennett, whom I had not seen in at least a decade. Copies of their books (Boilerplate, and Frank Reade) were selling well, and both were excited about J. J. Abrams’ optioning “Boilerplate” for a major (that is, a nine-digit budget) motion picture. It’s in development, but screenwriters have been hired.
I then headed all the way to the back to Dan Slott’s table, but he was busy over at the show floor and wouldn’t return until 6:30. So I set my alarm for two hours from then, and spent the time wandering the aisles, looking for interesting stuff.
Dan Parent was busy with Archie, but had original art for sale, from the Michael Strahan issue. His booth helpers told me it was for sale, for $25 a page! I’ll stop by tomorrow and pick up a page!
Paige Pumphrey, cartoonist and all-around awesome person, re-utilized her wedding dress (!) and with a few vintage items, created a 1950s Power Girl costume. She was an attendee, but the spirit of Artists Alley convinced her to get a table next year. Elaine Lee, whom I had spoken with a few minutes earlier, came over to chat with us, as she had a “booth barnacle” fan who wouldn’t go away. Ms. Lee (and Michael Wm. Kaluta) will soon launch a Kickstarter project to fund a new Starstruck graphic novel featuring Harry Palmer.
Apparently, the traffic jam in Javits was so crazy, that Dan Slott cancelled his appearance at Cup O’ Joe. So there wasn’t a big line (since most people were expecting him later) although some guy had a long box and was getting multiple copies signed. Continuing my penchant for getting unusual comics signed, I offered the following:
Mr. Slott then regaled us with his experience getting (or sneaking) approval from Nickelodeon. Nickelodeon never liked Ren & Stimpy, as many fans will know from the series’ history. Dan Slott managed to sneak a few things by, for example, the “prom” page from the “choose your own adventure” comic, where Ren reneges on taking Stimpy to the prom. Or the other page, showing Stimpy finally snapping and shoving Ren into a blender, with the reader offered two choices (which lead nowhere). (Mr. Slott read this out loud, and actually had to stop, from laughing.)
The minimalist issue was another contentious issue, as the original cover had a white logo, word balloons, and the Nickelodeon blob. When presented on the cover wall of monthly issues, Marvel employees did a double-take at the cover, proving the concept. The editor (“an idiot”) got nervous, and redesigned it, making it less avant-garde. By this time, Dan Slott had had enough, offered back-up dialogue in case Nickelodeon protested, and quit the title. The final two-page gag was actually an inventory story inserted to fill other pages which were not approved.
There was one final true story about this series, a bar, and a patron, but it’s best if you ask him yourself.
This is David Gallaher and Steve Ellis, having fun at Booth B11. Their new comic, The Only Living Boy, sold out that day, but they have lots of other great stuff for sale! (Booth B11)
I then met Harold Buchholz, who was heading back to the Archie booth on the show floor, so we chatted on the way back, which was much easier. (I suspect many attendees had left for dinner or recuperation.) We stopped at the Barnes & Noble booth, and I actually made a sale!
Then we met some very cool people at the First Second booth, with Colleen Venable engaged in some Broxo cosplay. So I suggested she consider some sort of barbarian day to compliment her National Lumberjack Day celebration. Turkey legs were suggested. And since this is New York Comic Con, where meetings tend to occur on a zen level, Josh Elder happened to stop by, and began chatting with Harold Buccholz about a variety of topics. Josh works three jobs: account director at iVerse, where he is spearheading offering digital comics to libraries; serving on the board of directors for Reading With Pictures, and writing Mail Order Ninja. So we discussed various topics, until the lights started dimming at Seven.
Long lines surrounded the coat check, so I decided to attend the Bleeding Cool panel and then retrieve my coat afterwards. The panel was quite amicable, featuring many contributors, and answering various questions. I did nod off a bit, but caught myself. After getting my coat, I discovered Reid Harris Cooper, so we trudged back to Midtown, discussing what was wrong this year at the show, in anticipation of the “suggestion box” panel tomorrow at Four.
And that’s my day. Tomorrow, I hit the booths I overlooked (like most of the major comics publishers, which will be good, as I can inquire about their show experiences). There’s a small quadrant of dealers at the back of Hall 3A I might visit if time allows. A few pieces of art to purchase in Artists Alley (I need to budget more money next year… possibly $500 for art purchases). Gotta get up early, which won’t be easy… the things I do for Team Comics! Ah well, I can nap at work on Monday…
I’ve been writing for The Beat since July of 2010.
I’ve been reading comics since 1974, collecting since 1984, and spreading the graphic novel gospel since 1994.
I’m a bookseller, a librarian, an amateur scholar, a cool uncle, and a comics evangelist.
Ask me anything!