Dear Sarah: I Went to C2E2
I’ve been drafting a bunch of different notes and essays for you, but decided to set them aside to get this out today. I want to tell you about C2E2.
The launch for Chicks Dig Comics was the main reason I’d decided to come out; we don’t typically schedule a lot of stuff while the kids are in school, but participating in this book has come to mean a great deal to me and I wanted to be there to support it. There aren’t words for how glad I am that I did. The turnout for Sunday’s panel was great, and the panel itself was warm, funny, smart and inspiring. You can read more about the panel and the contents of the book here and here.
Editors Lynne Thomas and Sigrid Ellis and all the folks who worked on Chicks Dig Comics have done a terrific job from start to finish; it is very hard to put something like this together, and the book is a class act. The interviews are fascinating (I’ve been waiting years to read an interview like this with Louise Simonson) and the essays cover a wide range of topics, approaches and attitudes about comics and fandom. I’m very proud to be a part of it and will be happily pushing it under the noses of everyone I meet for the foreseeable future.
Speaking of which: contributors Sara Ryan, Rachel Edidin, Erica McGillivray and I will be signing and talking about the book at Bridge City Comics here in Portland tomorrow (Friday, April 20) from 6-9 pm.
I flew out early in the week and brought my daughter along; we went to the Art Institute, saw the Blue Man Group, and spent a day at the Museum of Science and Industry, all of which blew her mind. We had a terrific dinner and mini-tour with John Suintres of WordBalloon, who is as lovely to listen to as he is to talk to (and a great source of Chicago area history!) and we saw about a hundred amazing sculptures and buildings. It was a terrific time, and put me in a great mood for the show.
And the show! Wide aisles, good signage, effective HVAC! It’s great to get to a panel or signing all energetic and on time; it’s great to meet fans who don’t look done in by the effort to find me. I love small shows. Heck, I can have a good time at a church-basement swap meet if folks are nice and someone brings cookies, but the bigger a show gets, the more I notice and appreciate the difference thoughtful planning makes. This one goes on the list with Emerald City: Large-Scale Shows I Like.
Friday evening, I got to be on a wonderful panel about pop music and comics hosted by Patrick Reed of Depth of Field Magazine. Charles Soule was there to talk about his Image comic, Twenty-Seven (Book 1 is really good–read it on the plane home), Dan Parent talked about making Archie Meets Kiss, Bill Sienkiewicz talked about making Voodoo Child: The Illustrated Legend of Jimi Hendrix and his career in general, and I talked about Hopeless Savages. Chris Powell from Diamond talked about helping retailers, readers, new readers and comickers reach each other with material like this, pointing out that librarians are really great at (and get more support for) grouping materials by theme or interest group, for instance, rather than by publisher. That whole panel was educational for me, thoughtful, fun and engaged, and I’m so glad to have been invited to participate.
On a related note, I got to meet Seamus Burke when I stopped by to pick up my prizes from his recent Kickstarter to fund printing up his rock-n-roll webcomic Oh Goodie! His cartooning reminds me a little of some of the the underground cartoonists of the 60s and 70s and maybe Alison Bechdel’s early stuff as well; it’s goofy, earnest, a little raunchy and a lot of fun. Seamus himself is a sweetheart and his stuff is worth a look.
Saturday, I was at the Challengers! booth, signing books for a couple hours (thanks to Cory Casoni at Oni Press for setting that up!) and met so many wonderful people. Patrick and Dal and their crew are amazing folks and were lovely hosts. Sold a few books, signed far, far more than I expected and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Every person who came by was super sweet and a delight to talk with.
Finally got to hang out with Jon and Ruth Jordon and their Crimespree staff; Greg’s known them for years, and I’ve known them online, but the real live meeting felt long-overdue. These are not just super sweet, funny people, they are tireless supporters of mystery and crime fiction as well as comics.
On a friend’s recommendation, I picked up the Marvel Heroic RPG, and got to briefly meet game designer Cam Banks. We like our tabletop gaming at my house, so I was excited to bring this one home; it looks like a well-built game, very flexible, and it sounds like the publisher has a lot of plans for support materials.
All in all, it was a great trip and a great show. In the next couple days I’m planning to tell you a little about what I’ve been reading and after that, a little about what I’ve been writing. Do let me know if there’s anything else you want to hear about.