Comic-Con International 2017
A bunch of stuff happened, it was all a blur. The end.
You do the extra ordinary enough times and it feels ordinary…sort of. The whole CCI experience includes months of getting ready, months of ten hour or longer days, months of not enough sleep, usually a mad dash to the airport, setting up before hand, dealing with whatever calamities come up, then five days of hundreds of people coming up and telling you they like your work, dealing with whatever other calamities and weirdness pop up, then breaking it all down, drinking heavily, and going home…dropping your luggage in the middle of the room, sitting down…blinking slowly and thinking “WTF just happened?”
When you break it all down…it wasn’t any more weird or stressful than any other year. I was hard down with illness for about a week after I got home…so that was new. I’m better now, that’s pretty much all I want to say about that.
Other than that…I dunno what to tell you. Another year in the books. Bunch of opportunities popped up, by now you know I don’t mention that stuff until it’s set in stone.
Here’s what I know about CCI and my lack of excitement…I have a great team and I no longer worry about anything that might pop up, because we’ve handled everything that’s been thrown at us every year. It bothers me when readers come up to the booth and ask one of them if they are me or what they do on the book and one of them answers “I’m just a helper” or a new reader comes up and says “your salesman got me hooked”…”helper”? “salesman”? these are my friends. and without them I wouldn’t be able to pull this off every year. The handful of people you see helping…they are running a gauntlet. Helping set up, figuring things out, getting stuff from Fed -ex, talking to hundreds of complete strangers, dealing with my ass…listening to people tell ME I’m great even though they just spent a hour fixing some problem that I am responsible for. Honestly, if we’re talking about who’s vital for success at this show…they could do this without me. They could reprint my work, set it all up, and have the booth running like a well oiled machine with me being stranded in an airport somewhere. I probably shouldn’t tempt fate with such a statement.
Also…I have found myself more looking forward to seeing my friends and meeting people than just moving units…which some might say is a sign of growth. Stopping to smell the roses and all that. This includes seeing readers who come by every year. It may seem odd, but even at a show with 160,000 people walking past…I notice when a regular doesn’t stop by. And they better have a good excuse, if I see them next year. Thats not just lip service to make everybody feel special, I’ll give you an example. Mr. Davis, who is a FB friend comes by yearly, sometimes he buys something, sometimes he just says “hello”…out of the corner of my eye while signing a book I noticed he came by this year, got some thumbnail sketch from the pile…and left. Didn’t even say “hi” or nuthin’…what the hell man?! I don’t even rate a “hello”? Yeash.
That’s another thing that’s weird. A big yearly event like this…your brain sort of compartmentalizes it from the rest of your life. Like…it was a year ago, but to your mind it was last week. I’m sure you know what I mean. There is the passing of time your brain accepts that is the rest of your life…and then there is this event. And the event somehow exists in it’s own timeline. Like the time that is Comic-Con is it’s own timeline and it is independent of actual time. So to my brain, I left Comic-Con last year and came back with no year of actual time in between. I’m explaining that more than I need to …it feels like last year was last week. The point is…someone will come up to the table that my brain thinks I just saw two days ago and they are older and grayer and wrinklier…like WTF ?! I just saw you two days ago…how you get so old in two days?!
Another couple that comes by every year…this year was just one, because the other passed away. That was tough to hear, heartbreaking actually…and she was dealing with it better than I could have, I’ll tell you that much. It is strange knowing you are part of cherished memories…You hope, and I suppose the goal is, that your work will hold some meaning to the people who read it and that it takes the edge off of all that life throws our way…I mean…that is why we do what we do, but it’s the kind of thing you don’t stop to consider when you are fighting for survival at the largest Comic-Con in the U.S. And when you find out that what you do does matter in some small, small way…it disarms you a little. I should probably make more of an effort to be less of a cranky jerk during the show…but I bet I won’t.
The point is…everyone involved and everyone who stops by is as much of a part of this as I am.
As for my thoughts on the show itself, it was good. There was plenty of traffic, people were enthusiastic and open to trying out new things. It felt very much like a Comic-Con to me. So…once again all the hub-bub and fretting people where doing about what direction the show is going in, amounted to a fist full of smoke.
It seemed fine. Look, I’ve said this before…160,000 people come through that door, if you can’t get enough of interested in your work…that’s not the fault of the show.
My phone is OLD AF so I don’t have any decent pics from the show, but I’ll get some from other people and show you. I do have this pic.
It’s a diner I go to every year on my way out of town. The strangest part of CCI is being in town after it is over. The area that was once a coagulated mass of humanity in costumes, comic book shirts and comic book garb of all kind, making the entire downtown San Diego a shoulder to shoulder mob, is the next week a ghost town. It is surreal, it is twilight zone-ish. Like you are from another dimension and only you know what that alternate reality is like in comparison to the slow paced calm town you now stand in.
I guess going to this diner helps me reconcile the whole event….gives it a beginning middle and an end…a nicer end than me back to sitting in a crappy apartment. It’s a small diner and they serve breakfast all day. It’s run by two sweet little old Italian ladies. Who this year…poisoned me! I’m sure of it! I never get sick, I never have health problems, those two old bags must have poisoned my food. It’s the only way my invincible constitution could have fallen victim to illness. They’ll pay. Oh how they’ll pay. I have a whole year to plan.
Looking ahead, but before my chance for revenge, I have three shows in the fall to do. Ohio, Michigan and Rhode Island. More info on those next week.