Monday, July 30, 2007

Things I Learned in San Diego, 2007 Edition

For this year, at least, Star Trek is dead
Yes, J.J. Abrams unleashed his Spock on the masses and all was right in the world. But I didn’t see a single Klingon on the floor. I heard rumors of one, but no actual visual confirmation. I saw three Starfleet officers…and one Hogwarts student with a shoulder-mounted Tribble, the poor man’s owl. Just last year, Star Trek was a thriving fan community, and it’s members came out in droves to represent. This year, I saw more Ghostbusters than emisaries from the Final Frontier.

Women are amazing
Okay, I already knew this. But this con put things into sharper relief. As a guy, I know full well that there are things that I will do—begrudgingly—for my wife that I have no interest in doing. She knows this and after 13 years together, she’s pretty good about not asking me to, say, follow her through Saks while she shops and I hold her bag. Because I would go and grumble through the whole Bataan death march experience. I saw women on the convention floor who clearly didn’t attend of their own volition, who were pleasantly taking in the sights and ignoring the smells. (And you can immediately tell the women who are not “into it.” They look, somehow, more optimistic. Maybe because they didn't know what to expect and are surprised by everything they see.) When we were signing at the DC booth, a woman came up and asked Brian Stelfreeze for a sketch; not for her, for her boyfriend. He was, you see, attending a panel of some sort and she volunteered to collect sketches for him. Now try and picture your average male citizen, getting swatches from dress designers at a bridal convention, while the missus-to-be is watching a floral demonstration. Ye gods, you are amazing creatures. And you almost always smell good.

In Two Years' Time, There Will Be No More Male Pedi-cab Drivers
In my incredibly un-scientific recounting, about 70% of San Diego Comic-Con attendees are male. I'm sure some of them were gay—the numbers are large enough for a statistical sample—but most are dudes that, even if they have left their parents' basement (and I'm being glib here, I know), still like to gaze at the female form. So, given this demographic, who do you think got more passengers for their pedi-cabs: the swarthy young immigrant fellas OR the tanned, toned, twentysomething immigrant women? I saw rows of those dudes, idling by the train crossing, while a watermelon-thighed Sharapova look-alike hauled Red Squadron up Harbor Drive. Natural selection, baby. Survival of the species.

Mary McDonnell is the sweetest person alive
I moderated the Battlestar Galactica panel on Saturday. Seeing as my bar of success was not vomiting on any of the cast, I declared it a win. But Mary (we’re now on a first-name basis and, if its okay with my wife, she’s gonna come live with us) tried to soothe my nerves beforehand, and when it was over, she gave me a hug and a “Well done.” And when I ran into her at the EW/Sci-Fi Channel party, she stopped to talk for 20 minutes when she absolutely didn’t have to. A wonderful person. And absolutely, positively, drop-dead gorgeous. (Don’t get me wrong, the other Women of Battlestar were perfectly gracious—except for Lucy Lawless, who flipped me the bird in front of 6,000 people. In all fairness, it was after I introduced her as a man.)

Terrence Howard would dominate my obit
I'm pretty sure he was on my plane, flying back to New York. And I realized that if this plane went down, the news story would read: “Oscar-nominated actor perishes in a plane crash; 150 others also dead.” I’m one of "the others." Just so you know.

Comics is Hard Work
I was behind the AiT/Planet Lar booth for a total of 6 hours over the course of 4 days, selling copies of Monster Attack Network. And it was brain-thuddingly exhausting, hard-selling our book to people who, allegedly, are at the show to buy comics. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be a small press vendor, strapped to a table all day, every day. No wonder the bar at the Hyatt is so packed. I’d want to numb the pain, too.

What a difference a year makes
Last year, we’d locked the Highwaymen deal, but no one else knew that. The book wasn't announced until the New York show this past February. We were just guys rolling through the hall, same as thousands of other creators, talking about the book that was coming…but we had nothing to show. This year, everything was out: Two issues of Highwaymen, and the M.A.N. graphic novel. And they’ve all gotten glowing reviews. And now, people who wouldn’t give us the time of day last year were taking us to lunch.

Pay it Forward
God, I hated that movie.

But seriously
I’ve made a few friends in this industry, some of them after giving their books some love in EW. I did so because they did good work and, for me, the mission at EW was to expose people to the best that comics had to offer. And now that I’m in the same boat they are, they’re introducing me to people that can help me out. They don’t have to do that. But they do anyway. I suppose you could call it returning a favor, but I just think these are good folks. I appreciate everything they do. And I hope they know that.

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