GUEST POST: Boston Comic Con: Best Comic Con ever, or BESTEST Comic Con ever?

by Travis Pelkie

My first big con, up in Boston. All sorts of fun stuff detailed below: cosplay, Frank Quitely restoring a cover for me, I piss off a living legend, my new comics crush, I wasn't the Adam Hughes/J Scott Campbell sketch flipper (I swear!), some sweet sweet deals, tons of big names, small pressers, hurt body, little sleep, beating up stars, and other excitement. As a disclaimer, all opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of the rest of CSBG. More below the fold.

[NOTE: Travis took pictures with his phone. They came out very tiny. I embiggened them about as far as I could go without them being too blurry - BC]

Getting there and the wait in line

I'd seen the ads for the Boston Comic Con a while back, and the Frank Quitely appearance alone was enough to inspire me to make it up to the show. Add in Neal Adams, Joe Kubert on Sunday, and at least 2 dozen other people whose work is cool, and the BCC was a "must-go" destination. I live 6 plus hours away, but I knew someone up there and I'd have a place to stay. I'd been to small one day shows in Ithaca NY (unfortunately for me taking place on Saturday as well, but check out www.comicbookclub.org for future shows), but never a huge one at a giant convention center. I wanted to go. I needed to go. After some trials and tribulations with transportation issues, I finally made it up to the Boston area around 10 PM Friday night.

I was SO winded from lugging my backpack, tote bag and suitcase around. I brought way too many comics to get signed, and sorting out what to take to the show kept me up into the night on Friday night. (I also saw that Brian had featured one of my legends on CBLR, so yay!) I finally got packed for the day, and got a few hours sleep.

I went down on the subway to a stop near the Hynes Convention Center and got breakfast at a bagel place. Good stuff. Then I walked down to the convention center, saw the line, and thought, eh, not bad so far.

And then I saw how far back the line actually went. Oy!

I got to spend the time in line chatting with the couple behind me. They were from New Hampshire, and I didn't catch their names, but they were pretty cool. Now, for the life of me, I can't remember who the guy was looking for in particular, but it was good to chat to someone intelligent. I ran into them again later, and we nerded out a bit.

Once we were let inside the building, I figured, hey, this won't take long at all. And then we came up a set of stairs, and were pointed to go around a corner -- where we came to ANOTHER long line. Ay yi yi!

Actually, the line didn't take too long to get through. They let those of us with 2 day passes go to the head of the line, and that's where I got to the entrance. The guy with the passes started quizzing me about who my favorite superhero was (Batman), and who my favorite villain was (uh...uh...). All the time I'm wondering, do I have to answer these questions just to get in? Why!?! Fortunately another con worker next to him told him that he was basically holding up the line, and then in I went.

Wow, a grand entrance, filled with cosplayers. Storm troopers, Ghostbusters, Riot Girls (which made me feel dirty to look, even as I kept looking)... all these characters that in the end, I don't care about. Sorry, I'm a pure comics geek, for the most part. I must find comics people!

Inside, and meeting big name artists

I first came across someone that was supposed to only be there Sunday: Joe Kubert.

With no line in front of him (it was still early, but REALLY?).

So I went over, said hi, I thought you were only here tomorrow, and that I didn't have anything for him to sign (not true, as we'll find out later.) I got a picture of him and shook his hand, and that was pretty cool. Five minutes in and I met a living legend.

Then I turned around and saw the main convention hall. Brightly lit, with masses of comics dealers around. It was a holy glow that stunned me with how bright it was. Shiny bagged comics all reflecting at me. Where do I go now?

So I walked down the one aisle, and came across my next surprise. Frank Cho, with virtually no line! (This seemed to hold true for the entire weekend, amazingly. Why don't you people love Monkeyboy!?! Maybe that's why he seemed a bit grumpy on Sunday when I had him sign some more stuff.)

I had several books that I ended up having numerous people sign, including the Ultimate SpiderMan 100 Project book and the Comic Book Artist v.2 #6 Will Eisner tribute. Cho has a beautiful P'Gell piece in the latter, and I mentioned how the Spidey piece was the censored MJ piece. I also had him sign a few issues of Liberty Meadows, which he said he now has rights to again (I think he said Sony had rights for awhile, but I'm not sure). New Liberty Meadows? Hell yeah!

Then in fairly quick succession, I hit up Matt Wagner, Michael Dooney, Terry Moore, and Todd DeZago. Seriously, it was less than an hour into the con and I'd met half a dozen people.

Wagner was kind enough to add a "Grr" from Two Face on my Legends of the Dark Knight 28.

Dooney did a Turtle head on my Savage Dragon/TMNT crossover issue that he wrote and drew.

Both he and Terry Moore ended up talking a bit about Northhampton, MA. Dooney has a studio there, and one of the books (Alan Moore's Songbook) that Terry signed came from the (sadly no longer extant) Words and Pictures Museum there. Terry also signed my CBLDF newsletter with the woman at the "stake" being tortured by imps, which is the only picture that the CBLDF has banned.

He discussed it with his lovely wife Robyn while signing my books. I also complimented him on the fine issue 27 of SIP, with the aftermath of a plane crash. Fortunately for me, I didn't tear up while talking. Todd DeZago talked about the Tangent Flash issue I had him sign. He said that Gary Frank didn't want to do a cheesecake thing, so when DeZago talked to him on the phone, he told Frank to watch Clueless, and that was the thing that got Frank on board. It's a good one shot, anyway.

So I've done really well in a short period, so I start wandering a bit, to take in the con as a whole. I came across, in their Mad Scientist lab coats, the guys behind First Law of Mad Science #1, which Brian featured on the site a while back. Cool lab coats and a Cronin recommendation -- I'm there.

I got to tell them the next day that I really liked the book, so if you check out the piece here on the site, or check out www.firstlawofmadscience.com you too can see how cool the book is. They're working on a kickstarter campaign to raise funds for issue 2, also.

I tried to mention CSBG as much as possible, since I love it here so much.

I then came across (oh, I hope his first name is) Scott Wegener, of Atomic Robo. He was talking with, I believe, Cliff Rathburn about stuff, and I just stood there politely listening in on the conversation. Eventually I got Wegener to sign the FCBD Atomic Robos. Sweet stuff, Bill Reed and everyone else here who loves the book is right.

My new comics crush

The rest of the internet can have Kate Beaton, Tom Fitzpatrick can have Kelly Thompson (although I'm sure she has something to say about that), but my new comics crush is Cathy Leamy.

Brian's featured her on the blog before, so I figured I'd see what's the word (hee hee, that's the title of one of her books). Her autobio stuff is in a book called Geraniums and Bacon, What's the Word? is her new stuff, Reggie and Brian and the Lousy Nickname is a book Cronin featured several weeks back, and Green Blooded has to do with "eco-friendly feminine hygiene".

But I bought it anyway :)

Check out http://comics.metrokitty.com for more of her stuff. Perhaps if you order some, she'll draw you a robot or a monster, too. G&B 4 is about traveling, and is a really strong issue, but it's all great. You too will have vaulted arches ruined in your mind forevermore after one bit in G&B.

Did you get that I love her stuff?

Back out front, Art Adams, and that bit about pissing off a living legend

I made my way back out to the front section of the con, which is where I found out that in that section with Joe Kubert, Art Adams, Adam Hughes, J Scott Campbell, and Frank Quitely!!!! were all up there. Quitely was out then, and apparently not signing again until 6 PM (argh!). Hughes was done signing for the day (this is before noon at a con that started at 10, but more about that later). Campbell's line was too long given that I'm not the biggest fan of his. But Art Adams line was JUSSSSST right.

So I got to chat up Art a bit. I believe it was him who didn't like his Spirit piece in that Comic Book Artist volume I was having people sign, but looking at it, he said it wasn't bad. I had him sign the Authority 28, the issue that Grant Morrison ghost wrote, and he said he had no idea that it was by Morrison, and in fact until I mentioned it, he'd forgotten that that was the case. I also had him sign some of the ABC stuff, and asked about Alan Moore. He said it's obvious that Alan loves comics, that even though his scripts are wordy, he's delighted to see what his artists come up with, and that he was overall cool to work with. So I asked smart questions, yay me!

Now here's where I pissed off a legend. I discovered in digging through my bag that I DID have a few Kubert things. Batman Black and White 1 and Wednesday Comics 1. Since Joe was giving 2 free signatures (any more were 5 bucks each), I figured I'd snag these and get my Sgt Rock Between Hell and A Hard Place and Tor 1 signed Sunday (unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to get back to him. Just as well, maybe.)

So how'd I piss him off? Well, I'd been reading the Eisner bio by Michael Schumacher the week prior, and there were bits about Joe Kubert having been at someone's studio, sort of hanging around and watching guys work. He also was at the Eisner studio later on, I thought hanging out and watching and learning. Well, apparently I misunderstood, because when I brought it up, he was a bit peeved, because he said he WORKED for Eisner, sweeping up and so on, as a summer job, when he was around 12 or 13. In fact, during the war, he did some art on Spirit sections (which was cool to find out). So I tried to back track, blame the bio writer for my misunderstanding. But it didn't quite work. He wasn't happy with me. I did, I think, get him placated when I got to my point, that being able to learn how to DO from those guys had to have been the genesis for his own school. Which he said was true, that he believed that you need to learn how to do comics from people who actually DO comics. I also said that he must have enjoyed working with his son Adam on the Wednesday Comics Sgt Rock story, and figured since he was already pissed, I'd make a small jab, asking if he'd ever had to get on the boys about deadlines. He said he never had to. Someone I talked to later on also was amused by that one...

More signatures, and Howard Chaykin thinks my hair's alright

After pissing off Joe Kubert, I went back into the main hall. I chatted up the guy who did the book the Weird World of Eerie Publications, a book about Myron Fass's publications. It sounds interesting, so if you're interested, check out www.FeralHouse.com for more info. I also talked to people involved with a "horror host" internet thing, Count...Sam? They took my picture (and the lady pressed her bo-som against my arm...), and said they were going to send it to me. I haven't seen it yet...

I picked up more signatures, including Dave Johnson (who's got a cool beard), Stephane Roux (who, every time I saw him, was eating. Must be a French thing.), Christos Gage, Tom Sniegoski and Christopher Golden (who both signed my first 2 Talent issues, and Tom said that that book might be made into a movie, and that he might do some more Vampirella stuff for Dynamite. Golden was on the phone with his wife, and when I was there, he got to tell her, honey, it's business, just a second. Sweet. He put his wife on hold for me!).

Thom Zahler was wearing a special bandaid on his forehead. We talked about Love and Capes, and how he wants to do other stuff. DC, put him on a kids book!

Stan Sakai signed a Usagi issue for me and did a tiny head sketch. He's almost up to 200 issues with Usagi Yojimbo.

The Kill Shakespeare guys were cool. I mentioned Ty Templeton, and reading about their book on Burgas's posts. I got to see issue 12's cover, and it's pretty neat. Writer Anthony Del Col prefers a hard sell method. I got issue 1, and even though Ididn't come back for more Sunday, I will get the trades through my LCS. I promise,Anthony! Stop haunting my dreams!

Greg Capullo signed the issue of Spawn that my sister picked up in Finland. She'd been an exchange student in Russia, and I asked her to pick up any comics stuff while she was gone, and she got a Spawn thing during the layover in Finland. I also got 101 of 200 of the exclusive Batman and Robin print Capullo did for the Con, and he says he knows what Bat thing he's doing, but can't yet say. Cool. His wife was a nice lady, also.

Howard Chaykin said that a guy ahead of me, with a pomaded 'do, had great hair.

When I got to the front of the line, he said that my hair was alright too.

I told him his was distinguished.

(His signature is just a scrawl, though. Among other things, including the first First American Flagg trade, he signed my Angel and the Ape 1-4, which Art Adams had also signed. I would've taken my Thick Black Kiss, but figured he wouldn't want to touch copies of that book.)

JG Jones was a cool guy. I had him sign my Final Crisis 6, on the pages where Batman gets hit with the Omega Beams. Sweet. He had also signed my FC 1, but unfortunately, I smeared that along the way. I'm sorry, JG!

Then I got to Neal Adams. He was the only person to charge for ANY signatures. In another line, I heard someone complaining about this. Why is no one else charging for signatures, he asked? No one else is Neal Adams, was the reply. I agree, to an extent.

What was funny was that the sign with prices originally had 10 bucks per signature, then crossed it off and said 5 bucks, like it was a deal. I shelled out 10 bucks for him to sign my Action 466 (one of the first comics I ever bought), and Anything Goes 3, with a Cerebus cover. I'm such a dumbass, I almost completely smeared the signature on the Anything Goes issue. D'OH!!!! I also talked to his son Josh Adams, and told him I like the comments he makes on Bleeding Cool. Nice guy. I don't know where he gets his opinionated personality from. :) Also, behind me in line, a guy who'd been at a NYC show said that he had forgotten his diabetes medicine there, and Neal had sent his son to get the guy's meds. A man among men, Mr Neal Adams.

Speaking of Cerebus, I'd read things Dave Sim wrote about both Chaykin and Neal, about the way they sketch and draw. Howard thinks out the entire page's design before going in and tightening his pencils. Neal starts laying down lines on the paper before going ahead and connecting them to form figures. I talked with Chaykinabout his method, and he was cool about explaining page design (he loves Dave Johnson's covers, btw). I watched Neal sketch a bit, but didn't get to see quite enough of what Sim meant.

Frank Quitely! (Sorry, Gahan Wilson)

It was around 2, and I was waiting to get Gahan Wilson to sign my Sandman Gallery of Dreams. They announced that Frank Quitely was signing, when he wasn't going to until 6. It took a second to register before I said to myself, sorry Gahan. I rushed over to the Quitely line, and chatted up some people. One guy said that last year, Jim Lee had to limit signatures, so I had to sort out my books. A guy behind me had the full Batman and Robin run, and I told him that I was going to ask Frank to put in the upside down cross on #15 that DC took out. I got to the front of the line (rather quickly, really), and found that Frank is an extremely nice guy.

He did in fact do the upside down cross for me (and for the guy behind me, I found outSunday. I heard Frank teasing that he only did one a day.).

I chatted with him about criticism of his work (the Emma Frost X cover), which rolls off him. I also mentioned the CSBG top artist list, and thought at first that he hadn't seen it, then I realized he was just in shock that he ranked so high. He was in awe of having beaten out people like Moebius. He sounds a bit like Craig Ferguson.

Lunch, and a thanks to Sonia

At this point, I'm flying high, so I stop for lunch. I have to thank CSBG's Sonia Harris, for her SDCC part 2 piece last year. It helped me figure out what to pack (food and water? Whoda thunk?). She stopped me from wearing high heels, too, lemme tell ya. I saw the book she does graphic design for, Butcher Baker #1, selling for 10 bucks at one booth.

The rest of day 1, with my brain finally shutting down

So I went back inside, snagged more signatures, picked up some cool deals, and filled my bag more. My poor shoulders!

I got signatures from Dexter Vines, Darwyn Cooke, Gahan Wilson (my Sandman Gallery of Dreams was bought in Boston at the Fenway Flea years ago, so it was fitting that I got that signed up there), Ryan Ottley (we talked about the burning of his art that he did a while ago. He said it was just 10 pages, and his friend had the big pile of art. Cool guy.), Sean "Cheeks" Galloway, Bobby (Nite Owls) Timony, and Joe Quinones, who did the GL feature in Wednesday Comics.

Cheeks was attempting to give away a half a pastrami sandwich. He said he bet the bird in my beard was hungry, but no, thanks anyway.

Best deal I got all day was the Strange Tales HC for 8 dollars. I also got some 3/$10 deals with TPs like the Skrull Kill Krew TP, Omega the Unknown Classic, New York Four, and Moving Pictures.

Around 6, though, my brain started shutting down. I was mentally filing bits for the "I'll see it tomorrow" file, and carrying everything hurt. So I headed out early, and felt good.

3 Zatannas and a bosomy Catwoman (wasn't that a Sandman story?)

I hadn't ever encountered cosplay at the Ithaca shows. It's a bit small for a costume competition, and who wants to be the only guy in costume? Not me. But I saw a lot of costumes, took a lot of pictures (some I maybe shouldn't have...), and was generally impressed.

There were some cool themes, like the 3 female Robins, more than one (I think) Black Canary and Green Arrow, Big Barda and Mister Miracle, and the Birds of Prey. I think Sue at DC Women Kicking Ass posted several of these. I got pics of plenty of these, and others including 2 Zatannas on day 1...

and another on day 2

(makes 3, don'tcha know), a Silk Spectre, and basically any other female in a tight and/or skimpy and/or fishnetty costume. I'm not proud.

I had also seen, but didn't take a pic, of a fairly young boy in a wheelchair in a Nightwing costume. And it was a sweet costume. I heard (presumably) his parents saying to someone that he'd worn it for Halloween (or something), and no one knew who he was, so they said save it for the con, where it'll be appreciated. Well, kid, it was. (And hopefully this isn't offensive, because I don't mean it to be, but an Elseworlds with Dick getting shot instead of Babs, becoming Nightwing but acting as Oracle? That might be cool.)

When finishing my lunch on Saturday, I had to let a sweet Spider-Man know that his footy thing was coming off and you could see his sneaker. But yeah, that was a cool costume. And the Blade that security wouldn't let have all his weapons was cool too.

I mentioned to the 2 Zatannas on Saturday how Stephane Roux, artist of the first few issues of Zatanna was there, but I don't think they got that I thought it'd be cool for them to get a pic with him. C'est la vie!

On the way out on Saturday, I hit the bathroom and saw a bosomy Catwoman (who I'd gotten a couple pics of) going into the ladies' room.

She had the leather outfit that's Selina's most recent, so I wondered how one goes to the bathroom in such an outfit. I waited outside the bathroom a bit, hopefully not looking too stalker-y. I asked her as she came out how she goes to the bathroom, and she said it's like peeling an onion. I noticed that she had put away her cleavage to leave the building...

Out in the real world, I noticed an attractive woman on the street (leggings really ARE the fashion, huh?), and thought about how in the con, it's not only ok but expected that strangers will come up to attractive women and ask to photograph them, and they'll say ok. In the real world, you'll get slapped. At best.

Day 2: Signatures missed, stuff I thought would keep me from spending too much, the Quitely panel, discussing bad con goers, small press people, and all the rest

Sunday I got to the con center earlier, and the line wasn't too bad. I saw a kid in a ninja costume fighting (presumably his brother) Darth Vader. Quite entertaining. Getting in was pretty quick and I shot through to where I wanted to go. (After grabbing some freebies, that is. They were giving away Superman 701, because, I think, they won't let them throw them out without filing an EPA report.)

I had several people I wanted to catch still (or again) for signatures, and wanted to get to them before the Quitely panel at noon. I hit up Adam Hughes, Frank Quitely (again), Tim Sale, Tony Harris, Mark Chiarello, and Khoi Pham.

In my excitement the day before, I missed getting Quitely's signatures on my Ultimate Spidey 100 book. I snagged him for that, and since I had it with me, I had him sign my 411 #1. (I thought I'd get David Mack to sign that, but I never caught up to him.) Frank said that I was the first person who ever had him sign the 411 book. In my suaveness, I said, there's a first time for everything. Damn I'm smooth.

I caught up with Tim Sale, who had a cosplay lady policing his line. He was pretty nice. I had him sign the Heart Throbs #1 issue, because I like the Pop Art look of the story and it's not by Jeph Loeb (Steve Seagle did the story). He told me to also get my Spirit book signed by Mark Chiarello, since he colored Tim's piece inthat. He said Mark wanders...

Chiarello I had sign a whole bunch of stuff, while other people were waiting for him to review their portfolios. I especially was glad to get him to sign the cover of Ray Bradbury's Illustrated Man, a SWEEET cover. He also signed a bunch of issues of books he's edited for DC (Wednesday Comics, Solo -- the Darwyn Cooke issue, and Batman Black and White.) He said they're working on a new Batman Black and White series, and JG Jones said later he'll be doing a story for it.

I had Khoi Pham sign Mighty Avengers 21, on the Avengers Assemble spread. I almost had him sign the page with the chained crying cow woman, but I decided the spread was better.

Tony Harris signed a couple Starman issues and the Wildstorm Summer Special with a sweet Planetary spread by him (and I missed getting Adam Hughes to sign that book too, d'oh!).

Tony was excited to tell people about the Starman GN he's working on with James Robinson, set during the series, with Jack in Japan facing the Yakuza. Sounds cool. He also said the Whistling Skull (with B Clay Moore, I think) is set to come out in 2012, and is set on the same earth (one of 52) as the JSA Liberty Files, and will introduce that continuity's Wildcat, based on Egyptian mythology. (Later I remembered to have Tony sign my Sandman Gallery, luckily. So scatterbrained, just because I only got 10 hours of sleep over 4 days. Jeez.) When a fan asked about the Countdown Arena fight mini, Harris scoffed at it, so it will be ignored.

A brief interruption to discuss con sketches and the "flipper"

You may have heard that after Boston, Adam Hughes will no longer be doing con sketches, due to a guy who swore that he loved Hughes's stuff and NEEDED a sketch from him, only to ebay it the next day. (It wasn't me, I swear!) J Scott Campbell also got flipped, but said he put no effort into the sketch he did for the guy.

As I said, I was around Adam's table around noon on Saturday, probably. I was told that he wasn't doing any more signing today. Well that sucked.

However, on Sunday, I made sure to catch him early, and I got to chat with him a bit about the Gen 13 Ordinary Heroes mini that I had him sign, which he had also written. He told me that he'd backed into writing it, that he'd been laying out pages and working "Marvel style", basically, when the writer wasn't able to get back to the book. Adam said, well, let me try the dialogue, that's all that's left, and if it sucks, get someone else. Well, I think it was pretty good and I appreciate getting to talk about it.

Whenever I passed Tony Harris on Saturday, he was sketching, so I only brought a couple of things for him to sign on Sunday, but if I knew for sure I'd get them signed, I would have brought Obergeist and Lazarus 5, books I think are at least as good as Starman, and possibly more personal to him. (Although he does have cool tats like Jack Knight.) I was able to mention liking those books to Tony when he did sign my stuff. He was very funny and personable, and excited about the stuff that he was working on, it was great to see.

So while I understand that the sketches pay the bills, and fans like me who just get our free signatures aren't paying your way to the con, it is disappointing that we can't get that brief moment to say hi, please sign my book, I really like your stuff. To come across you at the con and find you're only sketching, not signing, is disappointing. It just seems odd for you to come to somewhere just to sit and draw all day. Don't you do that at home?

I hope Adam's future con appearances are going to be more relaxed and enjoyable for him, and he'll be able to chat with fans more. I know that I'd remember him as that cool guy that talked about Ordinary Heroes, and then maybe pick up a sketchbook BECAUSE he was cool, and so maybe help pay his bills.

But that's just me...

My first panel, Frank Quitely

The Quitely panel on noon on Sunday was quite (haha) cool. The moderator (anyone know who that was?) led an interesting discussion, and some neat tidbits came up.

When discussing All Star Superman, Frank mentioned that Grant does tiny thumbnails of what he wants with his scripts.

The editorial interference on the Authority got worse and worse as the series progressed, and was very disappointing.

When Grant first described WE3, Frank thought it was Grant's first really lame idea.

New XMen -- Beast is supposed to be based on Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast movie. The wrinklier characters came about because Frank wasn't inking his own stuff. He had pencilled with a heavier, thicker, softer pencil, and the 5-6 credited inkers (with who knows how many uncredited inkers) went heavy over lines that Frank would have brought back.

On inker communication: while New XMen didn't allow for communication with the inkers, Jamie Grant works in the same studio as Frank, but he has a short term memory like a goldfish.

An audience member asked about the theory about ASS that Luthor and Leo Quintum are the same person. Frank was interested, but it was the first he'd heard of the theory. Any "visual clues" were unintentional, like the Batman and Robin/Killing Joke cover.

Flex Mentallo is DEFINITELY coming out (this year, supposedly), entirely recolored by Shaolin Cowboy's Peter Doughtery, and sporting the cover that the trade was originally supposed to have.

When asked about the upside down cross on Batman and Robin 15, I believe that he said he didn't realize it had been removed at first. Originally it was supposed to be a crucifix, but DC had him remove Jesus early on. Then they took out the rest...

Frank is currently working on the 10 extra pages for WE3 (he's 5 and a half pages in, so it's probably not coming out TOO soon), and then Grant will give him the Multiversity script. He said that he was doing the Charlton characters, but I thought I'd heard he was doing the Fawcett (Captain Marvel) bunch, so I'm not sure. Either will be cool.

Frank's a genuinely nice and funny guy. I'm so glad I got to meet him.

More signatures, bad con goers, cool deals, and my arms hurt

After the panel, I caught up with J Scott Campbell, whose line finally thinned out. He was very nice, and seemed to love meeting fans.

I caught Frank Cho again, who was all alone.

Then I watched Chaykin draw for a lady, and they discussed when Brian Bendis said something nice about her on a panel (I missed most of the story). She said she waited 4 hours in line for him, to which Chaykin scoffed, saying something like unless it's sex or drugs, never wait 4 hours for anything. He also said something about, Bendis liked her because she's got a rack. I like his bluntness, but then,it's not my rack.

I crossed paths with this lady in a bit when she had Tony Harris sketch for her. He was sitting next to Darwyn Cooke. Darwyn had signed my XForce 124 the day before, and said he'd cried when finishing the book, because he knew what was coming. Sunday I had him sign the Solo book (he added a cig smoke trail to Slam's cig on the cover, and said the story about becoming an artist was his mom's favorite) and the Batman/Spirit book (he said he was afraid of screwing up the Spirit, because you can't outdo Eisner).

They'd been talking about bad con goers, and how the sweaty guys are always the ones that want to shake hands. Tony said that he'd gone to the bathroom at one con, and no one was washing their hands and most were in stalls, so he stopped shaking hands an entire con season.

They also discussed sketchbooks. Darwyn said in Toronto, a guy said his sketchbook theme was girls covered in glue *ahem*. Darwyn was holding the book, dropped it to the table, shoved it back at the guy with his palms, and said get away from me you sick fuck!

I'd picked up a bunch of books before the panel, hoping I'd stop buying stuff. Well, not quite.... I snagged the first Bloom County HC, a couple copies of a huge book Image put out a while back (one for me, one for a friend that I haven't sent it to yet....), and a bunch of other cool stuff for 3/$10. I got a bunch of sets of comics for that price, too, including the issues of Sandman A Game of You, the X-Man mini I needed from Age of Apocalypse, the entire Monarchy, the first Marvel Casanova, and Killapalooza, along with Girl Comics. So much good stuff, so hard to carry. I may have done permanent damage to my body!

Small press books

I mostly picked these up Sunday, other than the First Law of Mad Science, and Cathy Leamy's stuff. What's kind of funny is how surprised most of the small press people are when I take out my wallet, like it's a shock anyone's paying for their stuff.

From what I've seen of this stuff, I didn't get ripped off, and actually came across a few really good things.

The Boston Comics Round Table (www.bostoncomicsroundtable.com) has been featured here before. I picked up the Cronin recommended The Way it Crumbles by Dan Mazur (haven't read it yet, but it looks good), and A Very Helpful Guide to Gaga, by Laurel Leake (http://meatwhichdreams.livejournal.com). Looking through the Gaga book, it looks to be a fun little look at Lady Gaga videos (I can't help it, I'm hooked! Watch the beginning of Born This Way and tell me you aren't thinking of Kirby stuff!)

I'm guessing, but not sure, that the Round Table is semi-associated with the Massachusetts Indie Comics Expo (www.masscomics.com), which is September 24th, so I may need to make another trip up this year.

Haven't read The Hero Business by Bill Walko, but it looks really good. If you like Chris Giarrusso's art, and a tongue in cheek look at superheroes, this looks to be the book for you. www.theherobiz.com

Zombre 1 and 2 were pretty good. Ansis Purins has a style something like a cartoony Charles Burns or something. I think it was his mom by the table, and she told him he shouldn't sell his books short, and he shouldn't. Issue 1 is somewhat skippable (storywise, that is), but #2 is definitely an improvement. www.ansis.tv

Ansis was sitting with Matt Smith, who does Barbarian Lord Outlaw. Issue 1 was great, Matt said that his influence is shows like HeMan and Thundarr, which sold me on the book, even beyond the great cartoony art. It's got a sense of humor sort of like a low key Scurvy Dogs, without all the blatant pop culture references. Irecommend this. www.barbarianlord.com

The Book of Love by Ted Woods was ok. The art's decent, and the middle autobio story about dancing is definitely the star of the show. http://tedwoodsart.blogspot.com or www.comixpress.com (I've got to order from them -- besides some of these great indie books, Dave Sim's Cerebus Archive is only available through them.)

The Loneliest Astronauts, by Kevin Church, Ming Doyle, and friends, is pretty funny. It's gag a day strips, but amusing enough. Ming also signed my Girl Comics 1 (she did the Nightcrawler story), and she was dressed as Thor on Sunday. She's very into her drawing. www.mingdoyle.com www.agreeablecomics.com

Liz Prince's I Swallowed the Key to My Heart 1 and 2 were decent autobio tales, although I did lose track of the different Velma looking females, and there's a seemingly unnecessary name change to a character from issue 1 to 2. However, the art on the whole is appealing, and I'll probably seek out her other stuff, which includes at least one book from Top Shelf. And those guys know comics. www.lizprincepower.com

Origins of Invisible Scarlet O'Neil is a comic size intro to the comic strip character that the authors claim is the first superpowered heroine (wanna check that out for Legends Revealed, Brian?). The stuff looks good and there's a new GN based on the character coming out this year, so you may want to look for it. Interestingly enough, she first appeared the day after the first Spirit section (June 2-3 1940). www.invisiblescarletoneil.com

A couple things I didn't spend money on, but were interesting, were the yeti strips that the guys at fishicuffs@gmail.com did. Guys, put a website on your stuff! Herman the Manatee by Jason Viola looked cute and silly, and if I'd had more money, I would've picked up. www.hermanthemanatee.com

And of course, the Boston announcement of the Marsha + Candis Cooke and Stephanie Buscema book Teenage Satan, which I'll be looking for (even though they're, y'know, icky girls!) got me interested. Marsha was really selling it, and I'm interested. I have a picture with Marsha and Candis (well, 3, because I couldn't get a good shot at first) holding the Teenage Satan yarn doll that J Bone (I think...) made.

Marsha said that J has also made a pooping dog, and a Doop with a removable brain, which sounds SO COOL. (J Bone was apparently there, according to Sue from DC Women Kicking Ass, but I must not have realized it. Darn!) Stephanie was nice enough to sign the pieces she did in my Girl Comics 1 and 2. She looks like she could be racing hot rods, a very cool lady (classy dame, maybe?). www.teenagesatan666.com

Some suggestions for improvement

As I told the guy that was involved with the planning and so on with the Boston Comic Con, I thought it was a really good show. The layout was decent, the guests were awesome, the space was great. Most people were commenting on how nice the lighting was. It played hell with my cheap ass cell phone camera, so any pictures I took of people sketching are just bright pages with people's hands on them, but the guests liked it, so stick with it.

Anyway, things to consider are a program, place cards for people to make it easier to see who's where without having to check the map, and maybe segregating the artists and dealers a little more.

Possible awesome guests would include Grant Morrison, Frank Miller, Paul Chadwick, Harlan Ellison, Jason Aaron... really anyone cool. And anyone who was there should get an invite back.

Gossip bits or other neat things I may have missed

In case I didn't mention them: Matt Wagner WAS going to work on new Mage, but was offered something he couldn't refuse, or announce yet. I'm wondering what it will be.

Apparently you can use hairspray as fixative. If I knew exactly what fixative did, I'd be smarter now.

Pens are tricky. Especially the silvery ones, as they tend to smear. Be careful, folks!

JG Jones is doing Batman and Robin covers, a Batman Black and White story, and some secret licensing stuff. Thanks for the info, JG!

Capullo is working on some Batman thing, but can't yet say what. The print is pretty cool.

Marvel, your Captain America collections are confusing. A guy was getting the third Death of Cap trade, and also had the Two Americas volume. I told the guy there was at least a couple trades in between, and I had even forgotten about the Reborn trade. Oy, Marvel! Damn renumbering!

My Favorite Story from the Con

Sunday, I came across JG Jones and Frank Quitely chatting at JG's table. I stood back, took a few pictures, then my brain said, dumbass, go eavesdrop!

So I did. A guy brought JG his 52 Covers book, which Frank took and started looking at to see which cover JG should sign. He picked what I believe is issue 30, Bruce Wayne stabbing a giant bat.

FQ: Ooh, it reminds me of a religious icon I saw!

JG: I based it on pictures of St Michael. All that art history schooling paid off. (As an art history major, I was pleased to hear that someday, it might indeed pay off.)

Somehow, I'd cut my finger, and was bleeding. I thought it might have been ink, at first, but no, blood. Hope I didn't bleed on Frank.

As best as I can remember, the conversation went like this:

52 book guy asked how much money comics creators actually make.

Oh, loads, they answered. Bags of money!

FQ: Actually, Grant's got the bags of gold.

JG: We should steal some of it from him!

FQ: No, we should steal it from Mark Millar! (Frank said it Mill-ar, not -er, and he's worked with him, so I'm going with that pronunciation from now on.)

JG and FQ: Yeah!

FQ aside: I shouldn't say this, I'm going to be working with him, I want a good relationship.

JG: We should wear Grant Morrison masks to steal the money!

FQ: Yeah, get bald masks from a store!

JG: Yeah! Patrick Stewart masks!

FQ: Then, when we've kicked Mark in the teeth, and beaten him to death, we'll escape in wheelchairs!

Whew! Hope I'm not telling tales out of school, guys, but I loved that exchange, and was glad to have witnessed it. Even if I lamely tried to add to it (I made a comment about "Oh no, Captain Picard just beat a guy to death", and it was lame). Thanks for a great memory, guys, and for signing my books.

It's over, finally

Thanks to all of you for reading this. It's a lot, I know, and I appreciate your patience. I hope I didn't forget anything, but really, who would know? I hope it was entertaining. Let me know what you think. Thanks to CSBG for great recommendations, to Brian for giving me this forum and opportunity, and thanks to the con organizers for putting on a really good show. It's going to be tough to top this show, it was so great for my first big show. I'm so there next year!

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