Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
I apologize for not having this up earlier, but we left Chicago right after the show and didn’t arrive home until the wee hours of this morning. I was too pooped to post, but I’m sufficiently awake now to give it a shot.
My intention for Sunday was to see some more panels and do some shopping, but it ended up being lower key than that. I skipped the panels, which is usual behavior from me on convention Sundays after being overloaded on Saturday. Attendance was down from Saturday and that also helped make it more laid back, but there was still a nice crowd, many of whom had come out just for the day. And there were tons of kids.
I babysat Grant Gould’s table while he and Katie Cook conducted a panel for kids on drawing Star Wars characters. I’m sorry I missed it because Grant said it went really well. There were kids sitting on the floor in front of the stage and drawing as he and Katie instructed and cracked jokes.
Kids vs Grown-Ups, shopping, and I meet my own heroes after the break.
All the kids in costume reinforced a thought I’ve had for a while now. It’s not a new thought – to me or anyone else – but it was really driven home by the enthusiasm of these kids for their favorite heroes. I get a kick out of seeing adult cosplayers. I love the talent and effort they put into their costumes. But that appreciation doesn’t give me the same thrill as seeing a four-year-old girl in her Supergirl costume posing like she’s ready to kick Lex Luthor’s butt. And so I’m reminded again that comics (and especially superhero comics) should be for kids. Not just for kids of course, but if we’re leaving them out, then we’re failing. Fortunately, we’re not leaving them out, but seeing them on Sunday renewed my commitment to championing their interests.
In contrast to that, I debated mentioning a couple of cosplayers who embodied the exact opposite of the positivity I felt from the kids. There was a man and a woman dressed as Lex Luthor and Supergirl, but Supergirl had a bruise painted onto her cheek and fake blood dried at the corner of her mouth. And she was wearing a dog-collar attached to a chain held by Luthor. Whenever it came time for them to pose, Supergirl would bend forward in pain and look humiliated as Luthor cocked his head and looked down his nose at the camera. I’m not sure what kind of message this sent to the children at the show, but I’m not offended for them. I’m pissed off for me. And I’m confused by the motivations of the woman dressed as Supergirl. I mean, I don’t excuse the guy dressed as Luthor, but I guess I can believe that a certain kind of male would find the costumes funny. I don’t get why a woman would go along with it though. Or why other women would laugh and take pictures as I saw happening.
Back to more pleasant things though, I did get to do some shopping and ended up with a giant – and very heavy – stack of Archaia books that I’ll be going through in my Gorillas Riding Dinosaurs column. At the risk of sounding like a total tool for Archaia, they had some great deals at their booth. You could buy-one-get-one-free, or buy-two-get-three-free, or buy-three-get-five-free. I sort of expected to see Mark Smylie running around in a straitjacket screaming, “We have to be crazy to offer deals this good.”
I never did find the elusive Volume Three of Checker’s Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon reprints, but I have finally joined the rest of the world by picking up Scalped, Volume 1. Looking forward to finally seeing what that’s all about.
The rest of the time was filled visiting. I talked to Joe Gentile at the Moonstone booth a bit and caught up with Athena Voltaire‘s Steve Bryant. I also got to talk to Jimmy Palmiotti whom I’ve interviewed, but never actually met. He’s as cool in person as he seems digitally and I love that he never seems to write the easy, already-popular projects. I always know that a Palmiotti book is going to be different from anything else I’ve read.
Speaking of cool people, Guy Davis is as nice a person as you could ever hope to meet. We shared an elevator with him at the hotel and I heard stories over the weekend from other people who’d run into him outside the show. He’s a funny, easy-going man; you’d never know you were in the presence of a superstar.
I don’t get a lot of stuff signed anymore, but I regretted not bringing Honour Among Punks to have Davis autograph when I visited his table. Then again, if I’d had it, I would’ve started gushing about it and BPRD and Sandman Mystery Theater and everything else he’s done and that would’ve been uncomfortable for both of us. After totally embarrassing myself in front of Dwayne McDuffie a year or two ago, I can tell now when I’m about to start babbling incoherently at an artist. In lieu of that, I made do this time with picking up a Marquis pin and offering a very civilized, “I love your work.”
Jason Copland and I left the show an hour early to get Jason to his flight, but we left satisfied. I renewed some old acquaintances, met a lot of new people, and made some new friends. The show was flawlessly organized, as far as I could tell, and the staff was amazingly friendly. I can’t imagine a nicer venue either. The attendance numbers came in below expectations, but I hope word-of-mouth about the show will spread and make it a can’t-miss event in future years, for attendees and exhibitors alike.