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Sorry for the radio silence these past few days. I owe many people emails and I need to get back to regular posting before post ideas slip through my fingers. And it’s the last day of Black History Month! We should throw a party or something. I did want to get in a quick con report, though, because I know a few of you were interested in my experience.
So. New York Comicon.
It’s not WisCon, is it?
No, children, it is not. Beyond the lack of useful panels and beyond the people dressed up like Jedi waving glowing sticks around, the thing that floored me completely was the line. Yes, A LINE. Now, anyone who braves the San Diego CC or most other anime cons probably wouldn’t blink an eye at this business of having to stand in a line to get in a damn con. But I’m a veteran of SF cons, and the very idea of standing in a line for hours (like 5) around a city block from 11th ave to the damn West Side Highway to get into a glorified dealer’s room is, to me, the very essence of madness. And yet people did.
Now me, I’m used to better things. I am not the masses. I know people. Hell, in some places I AM people. I wasn’t about to stand in a damn line. This Angry Black con goer went and scored herself a press pass. I plan to do it again.
Once I got into the exhibitor’s floor I found myself pretty underwhelmed. As I said, I’m used to SF cons, the purpose of which is to bring the community together. the purpose of Comicon seems to be herding folks into a small space and advertising AT them. Look at this cool thing, look at this new thing, try this other stuff, BUY THINGS! Goddamn.
However, there were plenty of nice things to look at. And plenty of freebies to be had. I skipped the free comic samplers and instead focused on the publishers who were there. They kept thrusting books at me and crying ‘You should read this! And tell your friends!’ Hey, as long as it’s free. When there were books I wanted that weren’t shoved in my face, I got them anyway. How? By being a pain in the ass.
“You giving away that book? You know you want to. I’ll tell all my friends. It’s pretty. I’ll advertise your books on my chest. GIVE ME THE DAMN BOOK.” In the end, I made off with about $125 worth.
I wandered up to artist’s alley where comic book artists and writers were signing things and… selling things. Seriously. They’ll draw you a picture for money right there in front of you. Or sell you a picture sitting around. Or a book or script or whatever. One of the weirdest things about comic cons, for me, is that some folks want money to autograph things for you. MONEY. Dude.
I got a chance to meet and talk with Peter David in Artist’s Alley. Now, I had a beef with David over some shit he said on his blog. It’s a long story. When I got a chance to talk to him and told him about my anger, he was actually really nice about it and, in the end, thanked me for saying honestly how I felt. I’ve always loved his books and I think his blog is funny most times, so it was nice to see that he wasn’t a raging asshole and could deal with folks saying “You pissed me off!” without going crazy. So I respect him again.
The panels – I guess I need to talk about these. Okay, a lot of times when I go to small cons or cons where the focus isn’t really on literature, I am often disappointed with panels because they all seem to be 101 conversations and I’m ready for 303 and over conversations, ya know? This con wasn’t too much of an exception. The panel on fantastic literature and the future was okay, but not earth-shattering. Though having China Mieville there upped the chances on that one. The “Black Panel” was interesting, sort of, but didn’t hold me ’til the end. (I feel like I’m reading slush…) There was only one woman on it and that kind of pissed me off. But Reginald Hudlin was there, and I like him for his work on Black Panther.
However, it didn’t seem like much was said on the panel. Granted, I left halfway through, but my friend took notes and apparently nothing fantastic happened after I left. The dudes in the WuTang Clan talk in 90’s hip-hop speak, which I can only stand for about 10 minutes, knamean? In fact, one of them actually uttered a sentence similar to this: “It’s all, knamean, I mean, you know, knamean?” *blink* *blink* I was sort of excited to hear about BET Animation, but I guess they weren’t interested in talking about anything I wanted to hear.
The Women in Comics panel was sort of the same. It was great to see so many women artists and writers up there, and also good to hear that it’s not such a horrendous world for women in comics as it was 20 years ago. But these women seemed to think that the solution to the problem of low female representation in comics is TokyoPop. For those who don’t know, TokyoPop is a manga publisher (American, I think) whose primary audience is girls and women. Thus, the majority of their writers and artists are women. So the women on the panel didn’t feel that being female hindered them in the comics world because TokyoPop wanted women.
To me, that doesn’t solve the problem. What about the girls who don’t want to read manga? I know I don’t. Those little books give me a damn headache. Not that I’m a huge comics reader to begin with, but the ones I do enjoy are normal comic sized. And I’m not real keen on the manga/anime style. It just doesn’t work for me. But if all the women are running to TokyoPop that makes me felt left out in the cold. We don’t have to worry about other areas of comics because we rule /this/ ghetto! Um. No.
The last panel I bothered with was the spotlight on China Mieville. Not only because I worship and adore China, but because Ellen Kushner was interviewing him and I worship and adore her, too. This one was actually interesting, especially since they talked a lot about his new book, Un Lun Dun. (This is one of the books I insisted on having for free from the publisher. I just finished reading it a few hours ago. Fa. Bu. Lous. Buy it now.) I would love to see China getting into comics and/or animation.
Other than that, I wandered the exhibition floor. I had a ton of fun playing Sony’s Playstation karaoke game. I stumbled on it Saturday morning and kept going back. Pretty soon the dudes who ran it were calling me over every time I passed by. “Come sing Whitney again for us!” It was quite flattering.
Yes, you all, I CAN blow on some Whitney.
I have some pictures which I’ll add to Flickr tomorrow sometime. You can see me singin’.
My overall impression of Comicon was okay. I would certainly not stand in line for this stuff. But getting in without the line made it okay. I got to meet a few new people I admire and see some friends again and hang out with my peeps. All good. But, damn, the LINE. Jaysus.