Everyone has it: the post Comic-Con letdown. It's worse than the January blues. I wonder how many nerdy couples break up in August? Comic-Con is five days of nonstop costumes, excitement, books, art, buzzing and flashing lights, and then it's all gone, and you have to board a plane, unpack your suitcase, and resume spreadsheet life. (And not awesome spreadsheets like the one my friend made to keep track of all the parties going on around San Diego. Oh no. Budget tracking*.)
This year's Con was fantastic, and I have to give big thanks to the folks there for the chance to try it out as an exhibitor. As I told many people, I think showing there was actually LESS overwhelming than just attending! I had my little home base in Artists' Alley, and apart from ducking out for brief, very pointed dashes across the floor to particular booths, I was there the whole time. I loved it.
--Yes, there were lots of movies, and a shit ton of movie stuff. As one other blog said, it did almost feel like more movies than comics. But you know, a friend asked me earlier if I minded that, and I said I don't? The movie element is fun, and there were so many great new books this year that I don't know that it holds up the comics industry. Of course, moments later that same friend said "I didn't know Scott Pilgrim was a comic first!" and my heart broke a little. C'est la vie.
(I am reading Julia Child's memoir, "My Life in Paris," which I picked up at SFO on the way to the con, and it is WONDERFUL. And yes I am picturing Meryl Streep sassing her way through Julia's memories as I read, and that is wonderful too. So movies can enhance and revive literature too.)
--Standout releases: Scott Pilgrim 6, of course. I bought it on preview night because I was sure it would sell out and then I wouldn't get it for WEEKS. That book is just so damn cute and funny. This volume starts off a little slow, but the ending is satisfying and heart-meltingly romantic. Great end to the series. Make Me a Woman, by Vanessa Davis. Drawn & Quarterly had a strong showing this year, but a lot of it was reprints. That made Miss Vanessa's beautiful book even more of a standout. I heard a lot of buzz about this one... it was one of the show's indie hits. You'll Never Know vol. 1 by C. Tyler. She is an amazing comics memoirist and really, a poet. And I will readily admit to being excited about the AMC Walking Dead, there I said it.
--Status of women: We made some advances this year. I saw/met lots of women artists and writers, and there was a refreshing number of booths and books helmed by ladies. Or maybe I just think that because I refuse to acknowledge or give credence to any comic combining the words "dead" and "girls," so I missed a lot of booths. I still really wish I saw more women's names attached to books, signing schedules, panels, without the terms "female" or "sexy" listed as qualifiers.
And the thing is, I would love to have more women in comics, but I don't even care about that so much as male artists treating women with respect. My neighbor to the right was an awesome, stand-up guy, super friendly, made me feel welcome in the space... he had some female nudes in his portfolio, but they were tasteful, and he didn't leave them all over the table all the time--he only brought them out for a few customers. My neighbor to the left, on the other hand, specialized in mermaid tits. And they? were out. All over the table. All the time.
I don't like that stuff. I don't like sitting in a space where I am supposed to feel welcome and being forced to look at big-titted mermaids. I kind of liked hearing about the following conversation, which took place between my two neighbors while I was away, and which Right Neighbor later reported to me in full:
LEFT NEIGHBOR wanders over to RIGHT's booth, starts flipping through portfolio.
LN: So, what do you think of your neighbors?
RN: Uh... (thinking he means, neighbors at home) George is great, do you know him?
LN: No, I mean the two lesbians.
RN: Oh! Well, they seem cool. I don't think they're lesbians, though.
LN: Well, they weren't very friendly.
To which I responded, to RN, "look buddy, just because we hate YOU doesn't mean we hate MEN!"
It's true we weren't very friendly to him. At one point K got called my "booth babe" by a customer of LN, and she looked up---not flashed a look of doom, mind you, merely lifted her gaze. The customer said "WHOA!! she just gave me XENA FACE!" I wish I could summon Xena Face at will, I really do. But it takes a special, very special kind of fellow to call it forth. Maybe K didn't mean to give Xena Face; I am sure I gave enough for the both of us while we were there.
Dear Men Making Comics: if you want women to like you, maybe try not making big-titted mermaid "art" and not accusing us of having Xena Face. Love, Amy
--Celebrities encountered: THIS is one of the funnest parts of Comic-Con for me, I wholeheartedly admit. I LOVE seeing famous people!! I saw: Seth Rogen, being let into the party I was being frogmarched away from (noooo, we were not on the list); Scott Adsit, aka Pete Hornberger from 30 Rock, who walked RIGHT PAST ME in an otherwise empty aisle after the show was closed (squeal); Matt Groening, who turned up about five feet away from us handing out business cards; Stan Lee, but everybody saw Stan Lee; and, ok, that's it. I heard the Old Spice guy was there. I did not see him. Sigh.
I have to give a shout out to my helper**, already a dear old friend, who proved herself indispensible, catching every mistake I made, making awesome suggestions for everything from table displays to how best to get back to the hotel, and talking people who were buying a book into buying one more. And on top of that we had four nights of drinking together and heart-to-hearts. This was truly one of those gung-ho experiences that, if you're lucky, can make a friendship stronger and awesomer than ever. Thank you, K, for being my second brain, and making my experience ten times better and more fun than it would have been without you. Can't wait for next year. ;)
In summary, this was the best, most inspirational experience I've had in comics in AGES, just ages, and I left feeling so amped on comics. I've already started on new projects and I hope y'all will be with me for those. It'll be well worth your hard earned three dollars.
*I'm actually a big nerd for spreadsheets. I heart them. I volunteered to budget track.
**She will stay anon, unless she directs me otherwise!