The Stack 2016

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Coming in at 14 inches and about $800, I present The Stack 2016. I made a real effort to stay out of those 50% off bins, that helped save my back.

Professionally, the convention went as well as could be expected. Comic Creator Connection put me in touch with a very promising artist for Dead Woman and another for Hayseed Hercules. My science-fiction-beats-Cthulhu pitch was dead in the water as none of the artists knew much about the Mythos.

Me: This story takes place 10 years after humanity defeated the Mi-Go in their first interplanetary war.
Artist: What’s a My Go?

Networking at Comic Con is always awkward, especially as a writer without an artist. The artists in Artist Alley seem to be after the on-the-spot consignment money, and I didn’t want to interrupt the publishers as they were talking about their party plans. Next year, I need to have full project submissions, script and art, if I’m going to break in there. That’s the goal.

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Da’ Fest

San Diego Comic Fest 2013 is over and I have my life back. Let me tell you, after being on the inside of a convention at Assistant Programing Director I’m never complaining about a convention ever again, either as an attendee or panelist. I’ve seen how the sausage is made.

I landed on four panels overall:

Comics You Should Be Reading I did a similar panel last year and now I’m out of current comics to recommend. If I try again next year it’ll be “Comics You Should Have Read but can’t because the came out years ago and haven’t been collected in trade.”

The Implications of Supermen and Superwomen in the Real World was fun, but ultimately as futile an exercise as being a superhero comics fan. Steve Barnes is a very smart guy.

How Do I Draw This Which I was in no way qualified to be on, but none of the artists wanted to moderate and I knew enough about how comics work to keep the conversation going. Russ Heath’s hearing aid was dying so he’d answer whatever question he thought I asked, the guy is hilarious.

And then I filled in on Writing in Someone Else’s Universe where I asked Marv Wolfman and Nancy Holder about specific problems of writing freelance and their answers were almost always “You suck it up and you do it.”

And now, a weekend of sleep.

MorrisonCon

We spent last weekend in Las Vegas for MorrisonCon an event honoring one of my favorite writers, Van Morrison.

The trip did double duty as our first vacation since our honeymoon. Normally Vegas is where single people try to have sex so I think that we had a better score card than 90% of the people staying at The Hard Rock Casino where the music industry intersects with the douche bag industry. I’m not being fair to the casino, with their tribal tattoo carpeting and Ed Hardy wallpaper the facility wasn’t inherently douchy, that is until they booked Pauly D from the Jersey Shore as the weekend DJ. The place was packed with ‘roided up dudes and tanning bed babes but they mostly sequestered themselves to the pool. On the plus side, the muzak and the food was top notch. If you’re ever there for lunch get the cheeseburger at Culinary Dropout, it’s like a Big Mac made right, and so totally unlike a Big Mac.

I think there’s a place for boutique conventions like this and if people had more spending cash there would have been more butts in seats. It was refreshing to sip a Jamaican Coffee while listening to the panelists talk about the comic book industry and with only one panel going on at a time it really relieved the anxiety of prioritizing panels at Comic Con, not to mention no lines and no crowds.

But I didn’t feel like the talent were any more accessible than at any other convention. Melissa got some face time with Robert Kirkman on Sunday morning but he was so hungover he resembled an extra on The Walking Dead. And I didn’t see any sight of the writers on either party night outside of Grants spoken word performance on Friday. Except Jason Aaron the one writer who I’ve never read and didn’t have anything to say to, yeah I saw him a lot. In the lobby, at the club, in the hall everywhere I turned there was Jason Aaron. Che chee chee, ahh ahh ahh.

My biggest disappointment was with myself. I’m still really bad at this whole ‘networking’ thing. Once the conversation gets going I can usually make a good impression for a few minutes, but breaking in, making that contact it tough for me. I just assume that people don’t want to be bothered. That’s something I have to work on, along with my next novel. Because I want to be taken seriously at one of these conventions someday.

Depreciation of an Artform Part 4

I can’t remember the last time I read a comic where the superhero saved someone. Someone other than his supporting cast that is. To be a hero means selflessly risking one’s safety to preserve the safety of another. To save one’s own loved one isn’t selfless, not really. To save one’s home town isn’t selfless either nor is saving one’s home planet. It’s self-preservation.

These days it’s typical for the story to start with the bad guy directly attacking the hero, so the hero is also the victim and there is no selflessness at all, just self defense. And while self defense is rateable or even admirable it’s not heroic. And the superhero concept of hero becomes defined as the guy who didn’t punch first.

“Good guys” who can’t lose being sucker punched by “Bad guys” fighting over nothing of substance with neither side really risking their lives. These aren’t heroes and villains, they’re two armies of vikings in licensed property Valhalla.