Saturday, April 30, 2005

Toronto ComicCon: Day 1

Went in today and arrived just before 2pm. I love Toronto public transit: it got me from one end of town to the other in what amounted to a pair of roughly straight lines. Got off the streetcar a stop early, but the walking only compounded the anticipation.

Arrived and got a student rate admission, and since I'm going back tomorrow I save about 2 bucks on the total cost of a full weekend pass. Which, since I didn't go Friday, is just fine!

As Ellis wasn't speaking yet, and wouldn't be for an hour or so, I got in the for the Brian Michael Bendis line. It was worth it. Great guy, Bendis. Short. Really short. And a lot balder than I'd imagined. But really nice guy. He signed my copy of The Powers Scriptbook, and seemed amazingly overjoyed, he thanked me straight out, for buying it. Also made sure I was coming to his writing workshop tomorrow, which I definitly am.

Also happened upon Bill Willingham, sitting on his own at a table, looking bored. Got him to sign my copy of Fables: Legends in Exile (in retrospect I should have brought my ENTIRE Fables collection along, but still...). Nice guy. Was happy that I loved Fables, but also humorously annoyed that I dislike Spectre: Day of Vengeance. He did, however, allay my fears that HE, an author who I ever much enjoy, had decided to make Animal Man's powers mystic in nature. Some author before him had done it, he said. I believe him. Got a photo of him...he looks a lot like a guy I game with regularly in the Toronto Camarilla named Hugh.

After that I went over to the room where Ellis was speaking. Got a seat in the very front row, and had about 20 minutes of good conversation with people before Ellis arrived. We got a bit bored before Warren arrived, so we took turns at the microphone advertising stuff (I advertised JasonK's blog/webcomic, Fables). Ellis arrived, and I got the first question, regarding what he thought of the Authority after he left the book. He said that the Authority was just a superhero comic boiled down to the bare bones, the perfect kernel of the superhero narrative. "It's a slut of a comic", he remarked. I really won't go into the whole Q and A, but suffice to say that I have a text file, and several pages of hardcopy notes, of stuff he said.

Physically, Ellis is a lot bigger and wider than I thought he'd be. I imagined him as this tall, skinny guy. He's built like a sportsman with a gimped out leg who hasn't been getting much exercise. If his leg wasn't crap, he's not someone I'd want to pick a fight with. His cane is interesting, in that it has the same body as my dragon cane, but with a cobra head. Same wood, to. He has no clue where it came from, as it was a Christmas present. Its got me interested in the origins of mine.

He's got a heavy accent, a bit closer to some of the Londoners I know than my Lanchishire relatives. He also swears constantly. His first words were "Are there any children in the room?" A baby in a stroller in the back was pointed to. "Well, alright. He won't understand any of this anyway. ARSE!"

He's hilarious, though. Had everyone laughing by the end, especially with his Alan Moore impressions ("...I've built a cave...under my house...for my magic. But now I cannot...SELL the house. Not everyone WANTS a...magic cave") and his stories about hanging out with other British comic writers, like Garth Ennis (such as the story about how Garth wasn't happy with a stag party, he demanded a stag weekend on a remote Irish island that has a 24-hour pub and killer seals).

Anyway, things broke up after that. I got a picture of myself and Ellis, talked to him for a minute or two, then went off to wait in the line to get his an hour.

During that hour I met a few interesting people. Two very boring guys who were big on collecting comics and getting them signed...but never reading or enjoying them. Their sole enjoyment of comics came from getting cover signatures, bagging the things, and shelving them. They were...I dunno. I just got a bad vibe off them.

I met a VERY cool Toronto indi comic artist, though, by the name of Willow Dawson. Her stuff is very nice. A bit more artsy than a lot of the sharper stuff thats in comic books normally, but its some nice stuff. I think I'm going to keep an eye out for her books. She has a card for a site she did illustrations for that has this cool, kinda-punk-looking angel on it. Very neat. She was good company whilst I waited in line.

Eventually I DID get to Warren. Got another picture with him, and got him to sign Absolute Planetary, Orbiter, Planetary: Leaving the 20th Century, and the infamous screenshot of my picture on his old blog (which I think I'm going to get laminated). The AP has a personalized signature, which is hella cool.

After that I got a second signing by Bendis, as he'd signed the cover of the scriptbook the first time, and I wanted an interior signature so it wouldn't feel like a crime to carry the book around a bit and shelve it with the rest of my stuff.

After that I wandered around for a bit...which was when I met Jason Carter (Marcus Cole from Babylon 5) and Anita la Salva (Zo'or from Earth: Final Conflict). They were incredibly friendly people who were plugging a horror movie they'd done...which I may think about picking up. They're definitly nice folk, I got a picture of the two of them.

After that I meandered my way out. The day has been a GOOD day. An amazing day. These are the days I live for.

I also have a new memory song. At a lot of cons I have one song stuck in my head that forever reminds me of that con. For Orion 2004 it's Blue Oyster Cult's "Heavy Metal: Black and Silver". For CAiNE it's a song from Les Mis who's title I don't remember. For this, it's Great Big Sea's "Beggarman" (which is very upbeat, fast paced song that I've had stuck in my head). AlexanderLambert's visit is recalled with Peter Yorn's "Red Right Hand". These songs automatically remind me of the emotions and experiences of the con.

Tomorrow I go to a writing workshop held by Bendis. I'll bring the laptop along to make notes. There's also another workshop on breaking into the industry afterwards, which I will also attend. I may not get to do Parkour tomorrow. But I can do that almost any many times can I do this?


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