Elayne Riggs' Journal (for Leah)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

New York Comic Con 2010 Report

It's hard to know what kind of emotions going to a comic book convention will conjure up in us nowadays. On the one hand, with Robin "between jobs" for so long now, it can be a depressing and discouraging experience, made even more so by the fact that he had asked for a table in Artist Alley months ago, nobody ever got back to him and we saw lots of people who had secured spots, we surmised, a good deal later than he'd asked for his. On the other hand, as I like to half-joke, this is my social life. These are, as Robin put it, "our peeps." Seeing my comic industry friends reminds me of so many happy times in the past (which also gets me verklempt when I think, for instance, "Leah Adezio would love this"), that my heart feels fit to bursting.

Then there's also the finally-mobile thing. As mentioned before, the second my stent came out I felt like I had the proper use of my left leg again, after a month of hobbling about and generally feeling "off" during the Great Kidney Debacle of Aught-Ten. So I'd only been able to for-really walk for a little over a day, and I started out with great ambitions; since we got out of the house a bit late to catch one of the free shuttle buses from various Manhattan hotels to the Javits Center, I was determined to walk it from 34th Street and 7th Avenue.

Oh, I should mention that all the photos (and the video) below are on Flickr, so you can go there if you want to see them full-size.

Okay, what the heck happened to fall foliage? We'll be going to Macy Park next Saturday in the hopes of seeing some, but methinks it's a bit late this year; this tree was pretty much the extent of it in our neighborhood.

Sorry, I digress. Back to the con. First stop, Artist Alley!

It was great seeing my old Usenet buddy Jamie S. Rich again, and I was delighted to meet Joëlle Jones for the first time. Joëlle's art on Vertigo's Madame Xanadu really knocks me out. I bought a copy of "the last Minx title," Token, from her and am looking forward to reading it. (Having to watch our budget, I set myself a six-book limit for this con, and I believe I bought five over the course of the weekend, so not bad!)

The lovely Ramona Fradon, one of my eternal comic idols, doing some sketching. Kids, always ask the pros if they mind you taking their photos while they're sketching; the flash in particular can really muck up their eyesight if they don't know it's coming.

Of course we had to visit Big Daddy, Jamal Igle. Jamal's one of those friends I've been photographing since well before he was A-list, so I was joking that we kind of have "Jamal Through the Years" on my iPhoto. Naturally I demanded to see Catie photos, which he always has at the ready. Inexplicably, I neglected to take a photo of another perennial and long-time Rob friend Rodney Ramos, who greeted me with such an outpouring of concern over my recent kidney troubles and hospitalization that I was probably too blown away to remember to click the camera. Thanks Rod, you really made my day. This community of ours is just so amazing sometimes, I don't have the words.

That'd be Andrew Pepoy, another member of our community, and former ComicMix colleague. He was (and is) a creative, I was just another darn columnist. And heck yeah, I want to see a Monica Moon comic!

Always great catching up with Peter and Kath David. That's Ariel David making the bunny ears behind her dad. I love me some family photo action! Had a nice long (for a con) talk with Kath about her puppet-making and her blog (Go, Fig!) and Harlan Ellison and whatnot. Lots of whatnot.

Speaking of ComicMix, here's my former CM columnist colleague and long-time bud Martha Thomases, posing with Carla Speed McNeil who recognized me and everything. I guess I've been going to these things long enough that it shouldn't surprise me, but it still does; after all, ComicMix and Friends of Lulu work aside, I consider Robin the industry pro, not me. That said, I really needed the ego boost this weekend, and promise to never, ever take this sort of thing for granted.

And I love the cool coincidences that happen at comics. I was chatting with Jennifer Crute when Cheryl Lynn came along, so naturally I had to get another "cool duo" shot.

Then I turned around and there was Phyllis Novin, stylin' as always so out the camera came again.

As Rich Johnston (seen here speaking with Robin; have you seen their Rosary collaboration?) noted, however, "you're Elayne, everybody knows you," so again, maybe I shouldn't be that taken aback when I run into so many friends at once. This photo was taken at the DC booth, where I also saw Vinnie Bartilucci whom I've known for decades as well as Joan Hilty who's (alas) been let go by DC as of the end of 2010 but was in typically high spirits and looks forward to working on her art some more.

After about half of Artist Alley and a crushing walk around some of the main exhibition hall, it was well past time to go. We'd lasted three hours. Today I vowed to walk less and walk smarter. We got to Manhattan around 10 AM in plenty of time to catch the cushiony-seated bus from the Park Central Hotel (about a block away from my workplace) directly to the Javits. We decided to scope out bits of the main hall early before it got to be too much for my feet, then cover the rest of Artist Alley.

Well, that was the plan, but my insides said "bathroom, now," and after the last month I listen harder than ever to that sort of thing. Oh, a brief digression for all my contemporary friends: when I was in the bathroom queue yesterday, a 20-something girl in back of me remarked, "Why are there always lines for the bathroom at these things?" Which was all the impetus I needed to launch into my Wise Old Woman "Oh honey, you have no idea, ten years ago there were no lines at all because so few women were going to these cons, and those of us who were there then are so happy there are lines now!" bit. Yeah, I was giddy. How times have changed! And not just because half the gals in the queue were texting whilst waiting. I have got to get me one o' them smart phones!

So okay, the bathrooms were right by Nathan Sawaya's "Art of the Brick" display, so naturally I had to snap a couple photos of that:

Pretty cool, huh? Anyway, we were about to head to Artist Alley when we were waylaid by one of the industry's truly Nice Guys, Alex Simmons:

"Robin, would you like to do some sketches for the kids?" Sunday at NYCC is Kids Day (oh my goodness, Leah would have loved that), and how can you say no to Alex and those eager young faces? Well, you just can't. Plus, we got to sit! So we settled in.

Look, it's Robin the Sketcher! Sketch not by Robin.

And the kids started queuing, and there was a steady enough stream of them for the next two hours.

And Alex's peeps took photos of Robin's sketches.

And of me taking photos of them. (This is one of my favorite kinds of photos, by the way. I'm weird like that.)

So Robin sketched, in this order: Lego Luke Skywalker, a lovely rose, the Hulk, two ninjas fighting, Gir from Invader Zim (did I mention yet that the NYCC was held in conjunction with the NY Anime Con? Lots of cute costumes), Wonder Woman, Spider-Man (twice), Dr. Who (Tennant), Boba Fett, Batman (twice), Cyclops, Wolverine, Superman and Venom. I think I worry a little about that last kid. Here are some of the sketches:

The kids' stuff was set up near the stage, and a couple of tables down from us was a guy selling lots of shiny toys (one of which looked like a large Slinky attached to half a Hula Hoop, in case older folks out there don't know what to do with their discarded gimmick toys). I took a little movie of him playing with his ball while some girls performed some sort of dance aerobics on the stage:

Next to us were some very nice folks from The Art Force 5, doing great things to promote diversity "through interactive superhero construction" - they don't appear to have a website but they've been written up a lot.

By the way, Alex's project bringing his Kids Comic Con to Africa is still a go; click here for more information. They needed to restart the pledging process, so if you've already pledged you just need to do so again, it'll still count as only one pledge.

Spotted Gail Simone way too briefly, but she was so pretty in purple I couldn't resist a photo, which will not be referenced on Facebook like about a thousand others are:

My goodness, what a lovely smile. I knew her "when," you know. :) We did one last sweep of Artist Alley, and I'm glad I did because Karine and Catie Igle were there, so I was able to snap another family photo:

Then Alex took Robin up to the main exhibition hall via very circuitous but lesser-travelled routes (seriously, you ever want to get around a con, follow Alex) and Robin met with Archie head honcho Victor Gorelick:

We're hoping the fact that we actually live in Riverdale might help get Robin some Archie assignments. I'd love to see him tackle Kevin Keller, but in a platonic way, of course.

We hightailed it out of there early enough to enjoy the bright sunshine and catch a mid-afternoon express bus back to the Bronx. I was amused by this statue a few blocks away from my office building:

I just liked that it was headless and pigeons moved in to fill the gap, as it were. Also that it's on the corner of WC Handys Place and Cousin Brucie Way.

All in all, we had a lot more fun today, what with the kids and the sketches and Robin "taking meetings" and breathing room and sitting room, than we did yesterday, but I can't discount the wonderful impact of friends. Can't wait for the next one! We can has Artist Alley table next time, please? Kthxbai!