Friday, July 31, 2009

More Comic-Con 2009!

Okay…well this is more than a bit late, but somehow the early part of the week was bundled up in just getting home and catching up on snooze time.

This was Comic-Con’s 40th anniversary and there was a lot of extra celebrating going on. The Convention published a deluxe hardcover history of the convention and also the usual soft cover free souvenir Con book. I filled out the questionnaire over the winter but on first flip of the books I didn’t see my responses in there so I thought I’d print my responses here. After all, that is what a blog is for, right?

So here we go:
Larry Marder’s Comic con Memories

1. What was the first year you attended Comic-Con?

2. How many years have you attended (did you attend)?

3. Did you first attend as an attendee, professional, exhibitor; volunteer or other (please specify "other")?
Pro. My first Comic-Con was the year that Tales of the Beanworld #1 launched.

4. What is your most memorable Comic-Con moment?
Jack Kirby's Surprise 70th birthday party.
I will never forget the moments before Jack and Roz entered the room.
I swear the room was surging with Kirby Krackle!

5. Who is the most memorable person you've met at Comic-Con?
Will Eisner.

6. Have you ever had a major project occur because of something that happened at Comic-Con? If so, how did that come about?
For Beanworld that depends on how one defines "major." That said both of my favorite licensing deals happened at Comic-Con with Planet Studios and Ready-Made Rubber. In my days with Eclipse, Moondogs, Image Comics, and McFarlane Toys--all sorts of deals and schemes were hatched at Comic-Con.

7. Optional personal note about Comic-Con.
Long ago, I recognized that Comic-Con is the equivalent of the Native American Sun Dance, a once a year event that was timed to be near the summer solstice.
A Sun Dance was a true gathering of the tribes, clans, rivalries, and factions.
And so is our Comic-Con. It's an unequaled yearly meeting of lots of people, who tend to be a little isolated and go it alone, and have an opportunity to come together in a huge gathering of people who are just like themselves.
Just like at a Sun Dance, friendships are made and renewed, news and gossip is traded, business is conducted, and people who have passed on are remembered and honored.
The last moments of the last day of Comic-Con always struck me as being exactly like a Sun Dance camp being struck. Everyone packed up, loaded their tipis and horses, and struck off for home renewed and invigorated.
Now that I look at it, I can see my answers were probably way too long and obtuse for the editors.
As for the Con itself, it was the first time I’ve set up independently since 1999 and even then I was doing far more Image Comics business than personal business out of the Beanworld space in the red carpeted Independent Publishers’ Pavilion.

It was the first time since 1993 that I was sitting down at an Artist’s Alley spot and promoting fresh, hot-off-the presses Beanworld stuff.

Book Two “A Gift Comes!” broke at Comic-Con and it feels incredibly satisfying to have the entire run of Tales of the Beanworld safely ensconced in the two beautiful Dark Horse Beanworld volumes.

Artist’s Alley was a real joy.
Somehow I was able to pack a whole lotta Beanworld into 4 feet of table space. It was split up into three zones. Facing the table from left to right it was Beanworld volumes, a notebook chock filled with original art work of the Beanworld Orphan variety, and on the far right was FREE Beanworld Action Figures. Behind the art notebook was a display case of Ashcans, Cute Collectible Trading Cards and Beanworld Holiday Special. Anybody that was looking for something was able to scratch their Beanworld itch. I sat next to Randy Emberlin, who I’d never met before, and we hit it off really well, so when things slowed down, we’d trade tall tales about our many years in the business.

This is most certainly the summer of the Zombies. It seems as if just about every major comics publisher has some sort of zombie horror book in its upper tier of sellers. DC just joined the fray with Blackest Night. They can call it whatever they want but the huge drawings facing CBLDFs booth area sure looked liked zombified versions of the JLA. I thought the stuff actually quite intriguing. I even read the Blackest Night #0 book and I liked the premise a lotOf course, eagle eyed Beanworld fans know I have a sweet tooth for the subject matter.. I can’t remember the last time I was intrigued by a mainstream superhero book.
Speaking of CBLDF, on Thursday, as I was trekking form the convention center to the Westgate Hotel I stumbled across The Zombie Walk.

At the time I didn’t know it was a Zombie Walk. I didn't know there was such a thing as a Zombie Walk. All I knew was I was just walking in one direction and a motely crew of Zombies (in full make up, garb and totally in character in character) was swhambling in the opposite direction.
The first cluster I passed was a dozen or so Zombies.
I thought...well, they are pretty interesting.

And then another dozen passed.
And I thought, wow, there are as many Zombies here as Klingons in the past.

And then there were more.
And I thought, wow there more Zombies here than a Storm Trooper forced march.

And more.
And more.
And more.
I passed hundreds of Zombies.
Even Zombie moms with li’l Zombies in strollers.
All never breaking character.

At one point I started to wonder.
Uh oh. Have I lost my mind?
And then, of course, I remembered, this is Comic-Con.
It was all stunt for the Zombieland movie.
It was well done.

Of course, I had Zombies on my mind because at the con, I broke out the new ZOMBIE model of FREE Beanworld Action Figures. They went as fast as I could mint them. VERY popular indeed.
I’m not at all sure what all this Zombie stuff says about our culture at this point in time (after all we even have the President of the United States talking about Zombie Banks) but it does mean SOMEthing.
Just don’t know what.
All I do know is we have passed the time of the zuvembie.

More to come still.

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