Sunday, April 30, 2006

Sunday Con Report

Sunday Convention Report. Final day. Doors close. People go home.

Got in a little later than I'd expected, but with about 15 minutes to spare. The tone for the day was set when, in walking in, I ran into Scott Simone (Gail Simone's husband), who told me that he liked my blog. Scott Simone thinks Chasing the Muse is funny. Man oh man (and he told Gail so later on...damn).

On that high I sailed into a writing panel with Daniel Way, Gail, Greg, and Brian Azarello, though not before I'd scored some new batteries from Jamie Coville (apparently the Schusters and karoke photos had killed the juice in mine). It wasn't...EXACTLY...a writing panel. while it started off relativly orderly, with each writer talking about how they got into comics, or what they like about writing them, it eventually devolved for a while into talking about Batman and Superman, which Brian put a stop to by basically pointing out how silly it had become. There WERE some actual writing questions, and a discussion about character motivations of villains, but by that time things were pretty much about to wrap up. Transcript forthcoming, there are some funny things said which I can't talk about on the Engine (due to the superheroic nature of them).

I was going to head to Ty Templeton's layout workshop at that point, and had mistakenly informed Ty that he was supposed to be in the room that Diana was setting up in for doing a workshop on "The Editor as a Creative Partner". After a quick talk with Ty, however, I realized that this is more or less what we'd covered in the first class six weeks ago, so I went to Diana's panel instead.

Diana's panel was supposed to be her and Shelley Vaughn, but Shelley was sick (like several other people, including Colleen), and so it was pretty much just Diana. Diana who, I hadn't realized, was Canadian. And who had lived in Vancouver (over in Kitsilano)...and who actually knows where my home town is. One of Diana's major points was that writers who want to get editors looking at their stuff should start doing mini-comics. Doesn't matter if the art's good. Doesn't matter if its stick figures. It gives the editor something to hold, and something to read, and something to stick in their pocket to give a look over. They're looking at the writing, not the art, but it gives them something to see that's not a 20-40 page script.

During that time I realized I had the Phone Book Zombie two page short with me (I thought I'd left it at home), so I signed up for Diana's portfolio review at 3pm (her panel let out at 2), and stood around for the next hour chatting with Heidi, Trish, Shawn Richter, and a few others. Heidi had gone to post her article and check my Saturday report (with special checking to make sure I didn't make her look bad). So I took it as a good sign that she didn't shoot me dagger-eyes when she sat back down with Trisha.

Diana was a bit surprised when I walked up, handed her the PBZ pages. "You didn't have to wait in line for that!" she exclaimed. Then she realized I'd put my name down. "I didn't want to be rude or abrupt," I said, basically playing into the Canadian stereotype that Heidi had noticed...apparently everyone she'd run into from Canada (or most everyone) had so far been very friendly and helpful. Diana told me she couldn't read the stuff there, which is cool...but she had me put my email on it and she slipped it away.

I ran into Tina Seemann from Max the Mutt, where I'd taken Ty's writing course for the past 6 weeks. Max is offering the only degree program in comic books in Canada, and if you're in the Toronto area, its really worth checking out. I'll be sending her a quote to use on her site, as they're apparently looking for new endorsements and testemonials with recent updates.

After that I just generally circulated around. I was unfortunatly unable to pick up Becky's East Coast Rising, as she was all sold out of them and was just circulating with Vassilius Lolios. I did, however, stop by and chatted with Willow Dawson, and picked up the first two issues of Violet Miranda: Girl Pirate, and we chatted about the scholastic similarities between the lack of information on things like Spartacus and actual pirates. Willow's someone who I met at last year's con, and who remembered me. I was unable to buy anything from her last year, as I'd brought no money. But I fixed that this time. If anyone gets a chance, I highly recommend picking up an issue of Violet Miranda. I also grabbed the first issue of Lackluster World from Eric Adams, who had been acosted by a born again Christian the other day who had...well we're not quite sure. Either taken offense at his comics and decided to try to convert him, or really just wanted to tell about some personal vision she'd had from God. Either way, he managed to get her to leave,

That was almost the end of my last $30. Picked up a copy of Chip's Monster Cops, which he signed (I'm trying to figure out whether it says "kiss canvas" or "kiss camera"...I think the first makes a bit more sense). Chatted with Ray a bit more, and moved over to J. Bone's table and picked up a copy of the very interesting kids adventure book The Collected Alison Dare: Little Miss Adventures, which is published through you should all be able to find it.

I talked to a lot of people. Most of them really weren't happy with the con turnout. Eric and Willow hadn't done the best business, and I'm unsure about Chip and friends. Most people I talked to, though, really felt that the convention centre was too big and that maybe there were too many guests, or too many vendors, or people were too spread out, because it was pretty dead today...more so than it was last year. Or at least it seemed that way. Its kind of hard to tell exactly, as I'm given to understand that turnout was BETTER this year, though I could be wrong on that one.

Chatted up Shawn Richter and Nicola Scott. Seems that Nicola was MEGA-popular this weekend, and was just getting wave after wave of people coming to her asking for sketches. And this girl is GOOD, ladies and gentlemen. She's only been doing this for 4 years, and she is UNBELIEVABLE. I'd almost think she'd traded her soul to the Aussie devil in exchange for her amazing talents. Becuase 4 years ain't a long time. I shake my head and am humbled.

Sean gave me a sketch he'd done of the main character for Suicide Yakuza, and showed me the basic sketch work he'd done for the five page pitch stuff. Looks very good. Very classy. I have high hopes for this given the quality of the man's SKETCHES. Still haven't had a chance to read A Trip to Rundberg, his zombie book that I picked up yesterday.

I had a short chat with Jill Thompson and Brian Azarello before they ran off to catch their plane out of town. It was a pleasure to meet both of them, they're interesting people and I hope to run into them again some time.

Filtered over at that point to the Shaving of Peter Dixon. Peter, who acts as co-coordinator for the con, was shaved due to charity spending by the talented Gail Simone, who returned to her humble beginnings as a hairdresser to remove most of Peter's golden locks. Ramon Perez lended a hand, as did a few contributing members of the audience. Peter came out looking half decent, to be honest. I actually have about a minute of silent video of Peter's hair being taken out. I should consider putting it on YouTube.

After that I FINALLY found Darwyn Cooke without too much of a line, and got his signature on my two volumes of DC: The New Frontier. Wasn't quite as personable as it had been when I got signatures from other folks, but then again it was pretty rushed.

Finally ended things by taking a seat in the Lounge with Heidi, Patricia, Ray, Chip, and others. Daniel Way stopped by and gave Chip a signed poster for Heavier Than God, his story about the REAL rock'n'roll Heaven. He showed me some of the artwork for it, and it looks like it should be a neat story. I heard John Siuntres' interview with Daniel over on Word Balloon, so I knew some of what he was talking about.

Finally it was time to leave when the con closed at 6pm. I said goodbye to everyone. Shook hands with folks and headed out to catch the bus and the subway home. Vowed to keep in touch with Ty and a few other folks.

Overall it was a GREAT convention, for me at least. As I've mentioned a few times earlier, a lot of the folks working the con from booths and tables weren't 100% satisfied with the turnout and the sheer numbers, but I enjoyed things. Networked a little, and met a LOT of people. I had a really good time there, and I think I made some friends, or at least contacts and acquaintences, not just in Toronto but all over.

Photos will be posted on Flickr later tonight.


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