This just in … a surprise presenter for this year’s Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards will be … wait for it … Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, James Marsters. Anyone with a convention badge can attend the Eisner Awards, so change your plans for Friday night Buffy fans.
Day started dropping off Maggie, my daughter, at Old Town station before 7am so she could catch the trolley to the convention center to get in line for Ballroom 20. She needed to get in line for the panel for the BBC TV series SHERLOCK at 2:00pm. Such is the life of a con-goer who wants to see the big auditorium TV and movie presentations. Wish I could join her (because I REALLY love the show), but such is the life of a working comics professional.
Tom didn’t have any con obligations until after noon, so he peeled off on the train ride to the convention center to visit a local Euro-Cafe with great WIFI. I went straight to the con, towing around the banner signage for Space Goat Productions that I’m going to use during portfolio review. I think I am going to HATE being responsible for this SGP sign, it is bulky and there isn’t a really good safe place to put it between review sessions. And then getting it back home again …
First thing this morning was the panel talking about the 25th anniversary of the Will Eisner Comics Industry Awards, which i started with Will Eisner when the Kirby Awards died. If you want to read my account of that, I’ve already written about that in another blog post … just use the “search” function. Jackie Estrada was the MC and panelists included Bongo’s Bill Morrison, Denis Kitchen, Todd Klein and Maggie Thompson. I sat in the audience and contributed when asked. A fine way to spend an hour chatting about this thing I started that Jackie has built into something amazing.
After, I met Maggie Thompson in the hallway as she was being interviewed for a blog aimed at comics fans who happen to be girls. And Maggie introduced me to the guy responsible for NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour. Maggie says its is great so I plan to check it out.
One great thing about Comic-Con, if you have been in the industry a while are the happy surprises that occur along the way, like catching Maggie Thompson in the hall … and meeting her new friends … or like what happened to me next.
My cell phone let me know I had a text … from some of my favorite people … Debra & Dean Rohlfing. i thought they were at home in Texas. Instead, through a series of unique circumstances they were downstairs in the exhibit hall. Before the crash of the comics biz in the mid-90s, Dean and I had become friends, first when he worked for Diamond Comic Distributors and later we both worked for Marvel for a short time. Dean & Deb brought the whole family, which included their two very cool daughters and the future son-in-law. I hope to catch some more time with them before the show is over.
Next on the agenda was a quick meeting with Bob Schreck, a guy with a legendary comics career who now produces comics for Legendary Pictures (responsible for both Pacific Rimand Man of Steel summer blockbusters). Space Goat even contributed to the Pacific Rim comic that was just released. Bob and I have been competitors and acquaintances for a very long time … and as old guys who know all the same comic people and survived all the slings-and-arrows of staying in this crazy business, we come to be friends. We talked shop, we talked business and we talked about life. Just a couple old warriors comparing stories and battle scars.
At 2pm, I started two hours of artist portfolio review for Space Goat. I saw an unusually large number of good artists ready for their first job. Very encouraging. I never take anything from the artists I see. I give them my card and ask them to contact me. It is the first test to see if they are ready to take a pro-active approach to their comics career.
And those are the highlights of my day … after hours Tom and I attended the Scholastic Books party (where we saw Stan Sakai and Scott McCloud) … then it was off to the Hilton for a drink. We couldn’t find the Comixology party that Chip Mosher invited me to, but we did run into editor/entrepreneur Andy Schmidt (who has started a new business), comics vet Steven Grant (who wrote the comic that spawned the movie 2 Guns), as well as publishers Ross Richie (Boom) and Will Christianson (Avatar) both of whom are much smoother operators than most people give them credit for.