Comics, Life

10 Things I Did At Comicon

  1. Picked up pre-ordered stuff. I spent the first day picking up stuff that I had pre-paid for, a few pieces of art, the Bone 20th volume edition (which came with a Jeff Smith original Bone painting), the Artist’s Edition of Walt Simonson’s Thor. A happy beginning!
  2. Met a lot of art people. Dealers, collectors and online friends, people I had been corresponding with for the better part of 5 years, seeking advice and envying their real-world adventures from faraway India. This year, I was on an adventure of my own, and could finally put faces and voices to names and email addresses. Some of us had dinner together on Wednesday night. Much mutual envy was expressed, and every form of comic art – European, Japanese and American – was discussed and dissected over food and drinks. I was to meet more people as the days progressed.
  3. Met some of my heroes.  Jerry Robinson. Craig Thompson. Becky Cloonan. Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez. Dave Gibbons. Michael Zulli. Steve Leialoha. Walt Simonson. Stan Sakai. Sergio Aragones. Joelle Jones. David Zahn. Adam Warren. Bill Willingham. Mark Buckingham. Robert Kirkman. Jill Thompson. They may just be names to you, but to me, they were icons that defined my reading habits. Meeting them in person was surprising, awe-inspiring, more than a little happiness-inducing. In most cases, I managed not to gush or simper or freak out anyone too much, and managed to tell them how cool their work was and how important they were to a guy growing up in India. I hope they understood.
  4. Wheeled and dealed  I had taken some of my art with me, and after the shock and awe of the first two days wore off, I looked to see if I could trade some of my under-loved pages for some better stuff. And yeah, I got some great stuff – traded an Invisibles page for a Steve Bissette/Alfredo Alcala Swamp Thing page, sold some of my pages to fund another purchase. Also got some deals started in the pipeline, so I know where my money for the next few months is going.
  5. Attended a party I had met Jeff Smith and Vijaya Iyer in 2009, when I interviewed Jeff for Rolling Stone India. This year marked the 20th Anniversary of Bone, and Vijaya invited me to the Scholastic party celebrations. The minute I walked into the terrace of the Hilton Bayfront on Thursday evening, I knew I was in for a swell time. Pros and fans mingled with each other, there were free goodie bags full of Scholastic graphic novels being handed out, great food, and an open bar. Surreal moments that evening – at one point I found myself discussing Hindu mythology with Paul Levitz, at another, Sergio Aragones put a hand on my shoulder like we had known each other for years, and told me how his passport caused much consternation at Bhutanese immigration since he was the first Mexican to visit the country. I recommended some books to a charming lady, an editor for Dvir Publishing House in Israel, which is publishing the Hebrew versions of Bone, and she in turn recommended the excellent works of Raina Teglmaier. Surprise, Raina was at the party signing her books, so I went on and said hello. Struck up conversations about Robyn and Swedish music and collecting comic art and types of cake around the world with random strangers, got a little drunk, staggered to my room a happy, happy man.
  6. Walked a lot When veterans of the Con tell you that it’s a tiring event, part of it is because of the sheer size of the convention. Walking from one end of the floor to the other takes about half a day, taking into account the crowds, the amount of distracting shininess on display and the fact that there are too many things going on at the same time. If you are ever at SDCC, make sure you have ample amount of snacks and some water with you. Do not buy too many books at once. Plan the day’s activities in the morning, if possible. And please, get yourself in shape a bit. I followed all these rules that my friend Joe hammered in me the last few months, and I was functioning on pure adrenaline by the end of Friday evening. And then I discovered that there were two more floors with stuff happening. *Sigh*
  7. Attended the Fables panel The biggest problem with attending panels at SDCC is that you need to queue for them, and considering the amount of things going on, it seems a criminal waste of time to stand in line when you could be doing something else. But I wanted to attend a panel – not just any panel, the Fables one, which was one of the most well-attended in the con, and required a ridiculous amount of queuing. I went in about 4 hours early, stayed for the Once Upon A Time TV show premiere (which is a TV show that seemed to be heavily inspired by Fables, though to be fair, the creative team behind Lost is doing it, and fairy tale characters are public domain, after all. Though I did not think too highly of it, I am fairly sure it will be successful) and the Jim Lee panel. The Fables panel had a huge number of creators up on stage, and the wait proved to be really worth it. Willingham  and co were great at giving out nuggets of information about the future direction of the series without really spoiling anything, and even though I’m not as rabid about Fables as I was a few years ago, I found myself getting more than a little interested in knowing where the series and its spinoffs were going. And oh – I will probably forever envy the lucky fan who answered a trivia question about Boy Blue and got a horn in a case, which was signed by everyone on stage. UGH!
  8. Attended the Eisners  The Eisner awards are the premiere award ceremony for the comic-book industry (sorry, Eagle Awards and Angouleme grand prizes) and when I learnt that entry was not just limited to professionals, I knew I had to go attend. I am glad I did. Cheered for Joe Hill and Gabe Rodriguez and Mike Mignola and the Ba/Moon brothers, and was completely thrilled at seeing Jonathan Ross taking potshots at the comic-book industry. A low-point was Lance Henricksen on stage, massacring names of nominees, comicbook companies and award-winners, but all in all, an awesome experience.
  9. Helped a friend. When art-hopping, I saw two Alex Raymond Rip Kirby strips for sale, at a more-than-decent price. How decent? Well, two strips were being sold cheaper than a single example available at a dealer in an adjacent row. I knew my friend was interested in good Raymond examples, and those two were great for the price. A couple of hastily exchanged emails and a Paypal payment later, the strips were his. As a bonus, I get to keep them until I meet him. I also got other things for different friends, and you will all get them when I meet you next.
  10. Bought books. While I had been trying to avoid buying books ever since moving to LA, the amount of 50% discount offers going around was too much for my fragile collecting soul, and I caved in multiple times. How much did I get? I went there with one bag, and I had seven heavy bags when I came back. Among the good stuff – Kagan McLeod’s Infinite Kung-fu, a hardcover edition of Blankets that Craig sketched in, Alec by Eddie Campbell, Tim Seeley’s Hack/Slash. All three Amulet volumes, signed and sketched-in by Kazu Kibuishi, Finder omnibus by Carla Speed McNeil. Obviously, I have to find time to sit and read them all.
There will probably be a post with pictures in them coming up soon.

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