7.25.2010

San Diego Comic Con 2010: Once More Unto The Breach, Dear Friends


The San Diego Comic Con is like that ex-girlfriend who will always occupy a special place in your heart, but that you simply grew apart from. Before I explain my personal disheartening further, let me give you a fairly straightforward laundry list of my experiences this year. I always enjoy reading these personal recaps, and I hope you do too.

THURSDAY
  • I met up early with Ryan Claytor from Elephant Eater Comics, who was located in a terrific location right on the corner of the Small Press Pavilion at a busy intersection across from Oni Press. Ryan was the first to receive one of the super limited edition hand silkscreened 13 Minutes t-shirts I had printed up! I took an early trot through the main exhibit hall and got the lay of the land, which hadn’t changed much aside from the slight relocation of Artists Alley.

  • My first stop was the Strangeco booth, and I was able to pick up an extremely limited edition “Mr. Spray” vinyl figure designed by Shepard Fairey. Shepard is currently exhibiting at the Museum of Contemporary Art where I work, along with several other prominent street artists.

  • As I walked through the exhibit hall early, I luckily stumbled upon a booth handing out free t-shirts to about 50 people, and was able to get a cool “Blue Sun” t-shirt from Joss Whedon’s Firefly/Serenity Universe.

  • After that jaunt, I wound up back in the Small Press Pavilion and suddenly saw Rich Johnston from Bleeding Cool going up and down the aisles interviewing small press creators, which I thought was really cool. I decided to introduce myself to Rich, told him how much I liked the site, and handed him a 13 Minutes business card. He was super gracious, appreciative of the feedback, and struck me as a surprisingly humble guy, which sort of defied the preconceived notion I had of him judging solely by the snark on his site.

  • One of the creators I wanted to establish a relationship with was Kody Chamberlain, who recently put out a book called Sweets, published by Image Comics. I found him early, bought the first issue from him, and also continued my (long) streak of handing out 13 Minutes business cards. He seemed excited by the prospect of an additional review, and also struck me as really down to Earth. I can’t wait to finally read that book after holding off buying it the previous Wednesday.

  • My next stop was Sparkplug Comic Books, in an effort to find my old friend Tim Goodyear, who was the artist of my first mini-comic, The Mercy Killing. Tim wasn’t in yet, but I ended up having a long chat with Sparkplug Publisher Dylan Williams, who I’d had some sporadic online correspondence with. Dylan was genuinely thankful for the reviews I’ve done of Sparkplug’s output here at 13 Minutes, and also over at Poopsheet Foundation. Dylan was kind enough to comp me a handful of review copies for some new books from Elijah Brubaker, Chris Cilla, and David King. They all look terrific and I’ll tell you right now, Sparkplug is really turning into my favorite indie publisher, reliably pumping out one interesting project after another. One thing led to another, and I also gave Dylan a couple of copies of my mini comics The Mercy Killing and Blood Orange after he inquired about them. I left Dylan a business card and continued my day.

  • Next door to Sparkplug was Tom Neely from I Will Destroy You, whose book The Blot is one of my all time favorite works. Every year I purchase all of Neely’s new stuff and Poopsheet Foundation readers will recognize his name from one of my “Top 10 Mini-Comics & Small Press Titles of 2009.” I purchased a couple of books and when Tom realized who I was, he was kind enough to comp me on a couple of titles as well. I really appreciated that and he too received, you guessed it, a 13 Minutes business card.

  • I ended up back in the Small Press Pavilion and found a great looking book called The Wandering Shaolin Monk, which is a handsome hardcover and a Xeric Grant recipient. I bought the book, which came with a free t-shirt and a homemade cookie! You’d be crazy if you think these creators didn’t also get a 13 Minutes business card.

  • I ran into Stan Yan, who did a book called The Wang: Erection Year, which I reviewed mostly favorably at Poopsheet Foundation. I bought Stan’s new books, called SubCulture (one of which I already read and loved!) and he gave me a couple of free books as well. Did Stan get a business card, you ask? Yes, of course he did.

  • I picked up another book in the Small Press Pavilion at this point called The Society of Unordinary Young Ladies, which was pitched as an indie riff on League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but starring 80’s TV show girls. Honestly the pitch didn’t do much for me, but damn the art looked nice and the covers were amazing. Yes, dear friends, the roll of self-promoting 13 Minutes business cards… Did. Not. End. Here.

  • I hooked up with my friend Jason from the San Francisco Bay Area and we attended a CBLDF Spotlight Panel on Paul Pope. Pope is one of my favorite creators, certainly my favorite writer/artists double threat, and it was great to see him ink a page live, which I think he said was the cover to a Hamlet adaptation, since it featured the infamous skull of Yorick. This was also a nice chance to get off my feet and eat my lunch as I watched Pope ink. It was a pretty technical session, all about specific brushes and pencils, brush techniques, types of ink, hand motions, and different line weights, but really was amazing to see how effortlessly he creates. I know Pope takes plenty of high paying freelance jobs in fashion, graphic design, and many other industries, but hey, this here’s a comic site, and I’d sure like to see Battling Boy and the Total THB Collected Edition, which were both announced oh, I don’t know, three years ago when I bought a piece of original art from him in 2007. Seriously, what’s the hold up?

  • Jason and I continued our team up and I went with him to the Radical Comics booth, so he could pick up The Last Days of American Crime from Rick Remender. I like that book, probably the only book from Radical that I buy, but dude, their booth was kind of a joke. Heavy media spin, buxom blonde booth babes handing out recyclable junk, and nothing new to note. Jason and I split up at this point since he was on a mission to find some exclusive toys, so I handed him a 13 Minutes t-shirt and we went our separate ways.

  • I retreated from the media saturated end of the exhibit hall to the Small Press area once again, and scoped out about 30 people in line at the Oni Press booth picking up their Scott Pilgrim: Volume 06 (with free wristband!) and found myself back at Sparkplug, this time with buddy Tim Goodyear. We got caught up on personal news and he comp’d me a bunch of ‘zines he’s been working on, in which he illustrates his movie reviews. I haven’t read them yet, but they sure looked entertaining.

  • My friend Mike, who was only attending Friday, wanted to get (another) commissioned piece from Matt Kindt, so I met with Kindt at the Top Shelf booth and got him started on this project. The end result was a beautiful watercolor of some favorite X-Men and this has become an annual tradition for Mike, to get a Kindt original. Pretty cool.

  • I was in the area at this point, so I did a deep dive on Top Shelf, Fantagraphics, Drawn & Quarterly, Oni Press, and Heavy Metal. After scoping it all out, nothing really caught my attention very strongly, but the large 50% off signs at Heavy Metal drew me in. I was handed a free copy of the latest issue, which, surprise, surprise, had a cover drawn by Nathan Fox, who is becoming one of my favorite artists. I swear, this guy is going to be a rock star. This guy is going to be the next Paul Pope. I’ve been saying it for a couple of years now. Check out Dark Reign: Zodiac with Joe Casey at Marvel. Check out the fill in issues he’s done with Brian Wood for DMZ (another one of those coming, btw, starring Wilson!). Anyway, apparently he did this huge HC OGN for Heavy Metal, with writer MF Wilson and colorist Jeremy Cox called Fluorescent Black. It looks amazing. I couldn’t fight my way through the crowd and was running late to meet up with Jason again, so I decided to skip it and cross my fingers they wouldn’t sell out.

  • I met up with Jason and we attended a panel starring James Sturm, moderated by Tom Spurgeon. Some official walked in and presented Sturm with an Inkpot Award, which was cool to see live. I’m not a huge Sturm fan (though I do love his Fantastic Four: Unstable Molecules project), but this retrospective survey of his career was really interesting. He was a great speaker and dropped a couple memorable quotes, like “make media, don’t just consume it” and warned about “being a slave to your own vanity” when he swore off the internet for a few weeks.

  • I decided to do a thorough tour of Artists Alley, and honestly this was a really underwhelming process. It seemed like a wide canyon, with overpriced superhero nonsense, ala Whilce Portacio on one end, and decrepit stick figure entry level mini-comics and buttons or whatever on the other end. One of the very few bright spots was a little corner occupied by Zander Cannon and Ryan Kelly. I got a good deal on two of Ryan’s creator owned projects, All The Fun and Funrama.

  • The day was just about over, so I headed back to meet up with Ryan Claytor at Elephant Eater in the Small Press Pavilion. I hadn’t paid much attention to Oni Press honestly, since I knew that Antony Johnston, Matthew Southworth, and Brian Wood weren’t going to be there, and it was looking like all Scott Pilgrim, all the time, a long line of people still, who were buying two and three copies of this book apiece. However, I casually looked across the aisle and there’s Christopher Mitten, the (former) artist of Wasteland. I walked up and we chatted for a few minutes. Chris thanked me again for all of my reviews of that book and I learned some of the plans for the remainder of the book (which I won’t spoil! but it’s really fucking cool!), along with some new work he’s doing at both Oni and IDW. I ended up giving Chris a 13 Minutes shirt as well. And thus concludes day one!

FRIDAY

  • My friend Mike and I got in early, so while we waited for the exhibit hall to open, we purchased our tickets for next year and I also seeded with freebie table with some business cards.

  • When I got home Thursday night and unpacked, I learned that the Nathan Fox book at Heavy metal was limited to 500 copies(!) and started panicking that I wouldn’t be able to get a copy. So, first stop Friday morning was the Heavy Metal booth. I’d seen Nathan Fox in Artists Alley, so I figured I could buy the book, then run over and have him sign it up. We chatted briefly, and as he did a quick sketch, he suggested I come see him at the Heavy Metal booth for the official signing between 1pm and 4pm to get some additional swag.

  • On our way back from Artists Alley, Mike and I got sucked into the DC Booth somehow, I swear it’s like a vortex you can’t escape with lines swirling around the entire area, and found ourselves in line to get free books. The line was fairly sluggish, but we ended up with some decent freebies, number ones of The Flash, some Justice League thing, the new Green Arrow (which I will enjoy detesting), iZombie, DV8, Action Comics, American Vampire, Sparta, etc.

  • We ended up in the Silver Age area, which used to be a prime hang out for us, but didn’t stay long. We were able to see the last remnants of the Mile High Collection that’s being cut loose, all CGC’d out, and Mike picked up a few stray issues of Bronze Age Iron Fist that he was missing.

  • We hit Top Shelf to pick up the Matt Kindt piece, and I also purchased Alan Moore’s Dodgem Logic #1-3, which I have yet to see at any LCS. I paid a little over cover price, but they looked quite interesting, with plenty of bonus inserts.

  • We wound up at Last Gasp, and I was able to pick up Dodgem Logic #4, which is, I believe, the newest issue, so I’ll be all up to speed.

  • Mike and I hooked up with my friend Jason and our big panel of the day was the Grant Morrison shindig, moderated by Senior Story Editor Ian Sattler. Morrison is always entertaining, that Scottish brogue and general worldview endlessly charming to me. It was interesting to hear about Grant’s affinity for the DCU, his outlook on America and Superman from his outsider perspective, his thoughts on violence after his WWII veteran father raised him as a pacifist, and his general approach to writing Batman. Grant let slip that he was on food stamps for 9 years before breaking in, which lines up with quite a few theories I’ve been hearing about that suggest all “great creators” in many divergent mediums toil away in obscurity for approximately 10 years before breaking in. If you subscribe to that hypothesis, then I should be writing for Entertainment Weekly by about 2015. Anyway, I love that Flex Mentallo came up more than once. He and Ian seemed to insinuate there could be news in our future about a (finally!) collected edition. I actually own two sets of the single issues, but he said that a collected edition would surely have the already penciled Frank Quitely cover, along with some bonus scenes he had to cut out of the serialized version. For me, this is Grant’s magnum opus, and I’d love a swanky HC, even an Absolute Edition.

  • We dropped by the CBLDF booth, where I always buy something to support the cause, but there was really nothing that looked interesting or that I hadn’t already read. When all else fails, I will buy a t-shirt in lieu of a book, but the one I wanted, with all of the Free Speech text, was sold out on my size. So, for the first time in years I did not make a contribution to the CBLDF, for shame!

  • I checked in with Ryan Claytor at Elephant Eater, and Ryan was cool enough to give me one of his new t-shirts. They’re really sweet!

  • Mike and I decided to see if we could get any free goodies at the Marvel booth, kind of like how we scored at the DC booth. What a disappointment this was. The Marvel booth had a palpable media slant to it, with video games, err... something, statues in cases like priceless Etruscan artifacts, and a big ass set piece that I guess was a throne room from the Thor movie. It took up about half the square footage. It was gaudy and awful. Oh, and guess what? Not a comic could be found in the Marvel Comics booth. Lame.

  • After a leisurely lunch on the back mezzanine overlooking the bay, we attended a panel on the 24 Hour Comics Day Challenge, which Ryan was also appearing on. I had some issues with the moderation of the panel, which I’ll be a gentleman about and won’t get into, but the good news is that there were some good tips for both retailers and creators, along with a free anthology of some of the 24 Hour Comics made during one of the events.

  • We decided to go through the entire exhibit hall from beginning to end, one final time, and I got caught up in some of the toy booths. I’ve been casually buying the DC Universe Infinite Heroes 3.75 inch figures whenever I can get a deal. I’ve never paid full retail and have managed to get most of them, but am missing a few. I ended up finding one or two singles I didn’t have on a sale table, and then scored three of the three-packs, two for $10 each and one for $5(!) These things are usually pushing $20 each in typical retail outlets, so I picked those up, getting one with Animal Man, and one with Harbinger. I’ve never been a toy collector, but these are just too cool, also – my kids really like them!

  • Along the way, I ended up with free copies of the latest issues of Wizard Magazine, Toyfare Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, and the TV Guide: Comic Con Edition which all seemed to get shoved in my hand and make it into my backpack without me remembering exactly how.

  • I talked to Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon, who were next to the Jill Thompson and Cliff Chiang booth and checked something for Ryan Claytor. In short, they are definitely NOT selling any original art pages from Daytripper, because it is just too personal a work for the brothers from Brazil.

  • I finally made it back over to the Heavy Metal booth during the right window and really scored. I got sketches, signatures, and personalized stuff from Nathan Fox (artist), MF Wilson (writer), and Jeremy Cox (colorist), along with a beautiful print of a page from the book. This was well worth the three attempts it took me to get the whole swag package and will probably go down as my favorite buy of the con this year.

  • And that was pretty much that. Mike and I rendezvoused with Ryan and Jason and our foursome decided to grab dinner before attending the Eisner Awards. We bet on the tourists all going toward the Gaslamp and decided to go the other way to avoid them all. Our gambit worked. We walked right into Joe’s Crab Shack, about one block behind the Convention Center, around 7:05pm right after the exhibit hall closed, and waited all of 5 minutes for a table. We ate some awesome food, shared beers and laughs, and replenished our energy for the three hour Eisner marathon.

EISNER AWARDS

  • We actually left Joe’s Crab Shack right at 8:30pm when the Eisner Awards were supposed to start, took a nice quick stroll to the Indigo Ballroom at the Hilton Bayfront (the one with the huge Scott Pilgrim banner) and walked right in. As we sat, they were just getting started. We didn’t miss a thing. So, the Eisners. In short, I’m losing faith in this process and don’t seem to identify (or agree) with the majority of the selections. They're losing credibility with me. There’s always this running debate I have with myself between who I *think* will win and who I *want* to win. I can accurately predict who will win with about 90% precision, but it rarely lines up with my personal preferences. The larger issue is that I’m picking from a list I don’t agree with in the first place, which I don’t feel represents the best that comics has to offer in any given year. My nominees would look entirely different. In any case, here are a few random observations, some about the actual winners (or losers) and some more about the proceedings, which were kicked off by the cast of the Scott Pilgrim movie.

  • My favorite quote was “an undereducated waffle iron assembler from Missouri.” It’s totally out of context, but trust me, it wouldn’t help if I cited it properly. This guy had me stifling laughter so hard that I began tearing up. It was ridiculous, because he really wasn’t trying to be funny.

  • The big news was that Will Eisner’s seminal graphic novel A Contract With God is going to be a movie!

  • Thomas Jane is a jackass. Really, this guy was an embarrassment. He came off like a total tool, an outsider who didn’t know anything about comics, attempted to be funny and wasn’t, butchered names, was a distraction, and his antics served only to de-legitimize the dignity of the entire affair. It was awful. I was ashamed to be in the same room as this douchebag.

  • I don’t like the notion of a rotating emcee or host or whatever. It’s very inconsistent. If it wasn’t Thomas Jane up there mucking it up, it was incoherent Chris Claremont, who was either dyslexic, drunk, or just plain illiterate. He couldn’t pronounce his own name correctly. If you’re going to have presenters, you might want to, I don’t know, I’m just spit-balling here, but you might want to make sure they can read? See if they speak English (hello, Milo Manara)? Ascertain ahead of time if they’re comfortable in front of 500 people? Provide them a script ahead of time? Coach them on particularly difficult Japanese names? I vote for a presenting duo of Chip Kidd and Paul Levitz. Chip was actually funny on the fly, deadpanning some lines without dragging jokes out, getting his point across without being disrespectful. And Paul Levitz just strikes me as a classy cat. He is knowledgeable and articulate, providing the right level of intellect and gravitas to what is hyped as the “Academy Awards of Comics.” So yeah, we’re a big boy medium now, right? Let’s class it up a little. No more Stormtroopers at the Eisners. No more drunk Frank Miller. No more Thomas Jane. No more Chris Claremont. When it all goes on the web for you to see, really pay attention to Chip Kidd and Paul Levitz. They have my vote. Also, three hours is just too long. The last hour is painful. Maybe tighten that up. Maybe start earlier. Or maybe leave it the same. Maybe I slit your throat and play around in your blood a little.

  • As for the awards, there were a couple I found sensible. Since James Jean was not nominated in the Best Cover Artist category, it allowed the very deserving John Cassaday and JH Williams III to be nominated, and JH Williams III ended up taking it. I have no problem with that. Though I will say that John Cassaday does have a larger body of cover work to his name. Jim also ended up winning for Best Penciller/Inker, which is great, because that Detective Comics run with Batwoman was fucking great, but this double win does expose a weakness in the voting process. Once the committee down-selects the finalists, the body of professionals does a blind vote to determine the winner in each category. Since they have no holistic view of the entire process, they’re unable to spread the love in a more equitable and strategic fashion. For example, in this specific scenario, if you know JH Williams III is going to win for Best Penciller/Inker, why not allow John Cassaday to take the Best Cover Artist category? The problem is that the voters have no holistic view of the entire field and simply vote in isolated categories. This is a flaw to me.

  • A couple of years ago, they changed the rules to allow online venues to compete in the Best Comics Related Periodical/Journalism category. This is great – and really interesting. This year, four of the five nominees are exclusively web-based, with The Comics Reporter taking the win. Print seems to be dead, as far as comics criticism and journalism goes anyway.

  • I cannot believe that Mauro Cascioli was nominated in the Best Painter/Multimedia Artist category for Justice League: Cry for Justice. This book was universally derided and generally considered one of the worst books of the year. The writing was indecipherable tragedy porn, and the art was equally awful. Cascioli couldn’t find a consistent light source or a tit smaller than a D-cup if his life depended on it, and even though this was a seven issue mini-series, he couldn’t even be bothered to do the damn interior art in the last two issues!

  • Someone, somewhere, sure had a boner for Absolute Justice. It beat Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow? in the Best Publication Design category, which is a joke, and then took a second award for the Best Graphic Album – Reprint category, beating out Eddie Campbell, Jeff Lemire, and John Porcellino. What?! Long live superhero comics, I guess.

  • Something about the Best Writer category disturbs me. I don’t read any of those writers regularly and I don’t buy any of those books regularly, though I have sampled them sufficiently courtesy of quarter bins. It seems like it’s not about “best,” but most popular or recognizable. Everyone’s heard of Geoff Johns and Ed Brubaker, so it’s no surprise one of them (Brubaker) won, but do these people seriously think these are the best writers working in comics today? That’s sad. And James Robinson for Justice League: Cry for Justice? Are you fucking kidding? I think we’ve covered this haven’t we? Universally panned. A parody of itself. Dozens of bloggers openly mocking this. The worst book of the year.

  • It was really refreshing to see Terry Moore’s Echo nominated in the Best Writer/Artist Category, but he lost to David Mazzucchelli and Asterios Polyp (of course). Asterios is a great book, but again, to me this exposes a procedural weakness. If a panel of judges could openly discuss a holistic set of awards and knew that Asterios would be taking home two other Eisners, they could spread the love and give a nod here to Terry Moore and let him take this category, but instead, he gets shunted and Asterios Polyp ends up sweeping three Eisners.

  • It’s about time that people start taking notice of Joe Sacco’s work; I was pleased to see a win for him in the Best Writer/Artist – Nonfiction category for Footnotes in Gaza. Sacco’s got an amazing body of work.

  • Back in the “another travesty that proves superheroes trump indie books,” we have Captain America #601 beating Ganges #3 by Kevin Huizenga in the Best Single Issue category. Lame.

  • Overall, the big winners were Asterios Polyp, with three total Eisner wins, Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s A Drifting Life with two well deserved wins, and Scott Pilgrim (surprisingly) only taking one. The big loser of the night seemed to be Robert Crumb and The Illustrated Book of Genesis, which was shut out in the three categories it was nominated. Again, this seems kind of strange and I’ll keep harping on process. Not only is it a slap in the face to not get Crumb a win, but it’s further evidence that the love can’t be spread around due to a systemic flaw. If the judges had foreknowledge that Asterios Polyp would win in two other categories, they could grant a single win for Crumb in say, Best Graphic Album – New. But since they’re voting blind and independent, there are these odd double and triple dips, which seem excessive, while other deserving work gets repeatedly shut out. It creates a needless imbalance.

  • The end trifecta of Best New Series, Best Limited Series, and Best Continuing Series saw wins for Chew, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and The Walking Dead respectively. Those books are all… ok. They’re not bad, but I don’t think they’re particularly great either. Chew is original, but one-note, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has great Skottie Young art, but let’s call it what it is – an adaptation of The Wizard of Oz after all, and The Walking Dead is a zombie book that’s been going a really long time. I enjoy it when I get the trades at a discount, probably the best book in a genre that is tired and played out, for whatever that’s worth. But none of this stuff has any pizzazz! It’s bland! Where’s the innovation!? Even looking around at the other nominees, nothing lights me up. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Awful art! Another adaptation! Blackest Night? Really? Geoff Johns and the endless Green Lantern crossover? It certainly sells a lot. Does that mean it deserves an Eisner? Why don’t we just have a Most Popular or Best Selling/Best Revenue Generation category? Fables? Yeah, I do like when literary canon gets blended with fiction. I liked it the first time, when it was called Sandman. I liked it the second time, when it was called League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. You see what I’m saying? I’m not particularly excited about comics, judging solely from the Eisners.

San Diego Comic Con 2010. Overall, I spent around $300, including a meal. That’s slightly more than I spent last year, but is severely down from the 2007 time frame, which I guess was the peak of my purchasing habits and general interest. My thoughts haven’t entirely coalesced around this year, except to keep returning to that word – disillusioned. This is going to sound like a blasphemous fart in church, but there are days when I wonder if I really like comics anymore. Maybe it’s just the Con scene getting me down, but as a whole, as a majority, purely statistically, there’s evidence to suggest I don’t, or that it’s at least on the decline. What is clear is that I like a small handful of creators very much. I’m very loyal to these folks and will follow them just about anywhere. Even to Con. The rest is just context. And it is needless and disposable. I don’t like the crowds. I don’t like the inevitable intersection of art and commerce. I don’t like all the retards running around for their hyped up Con exclusives. I thought the Warner Brothers canvas bags were so dumb, so non-functional. I don’t dig the marketing hype, which was so frenzied it seems like everybody announced whatever they had to announce two days before Con, so when Con came, everybody was scurrying about looking for something they didn’t know about. I’m tired of hearing people complain about Hollywood invading Con. I’m tired of people saying they’re tired of Con, which is what I’m doing now. Is this self-loathing? Should I write a navel-gazing mini about it? I’m tired of wading through the sea of poor quality. For every Nathan Fox, there are literally hundreds of people who are not nearly as good, and who never will be, because they’re not willing to put in the work to get better. I’m tired of looking at their stuff. It’s clogging up my Con. It’s clogging up my art. It’s clogging up my life. After just two days, I’m worn out. I must sound depressed. I’m not. I love comics. But, I want to read comics for the sheer love of it, nothing more. For sheer love of the game, love of the craft, none of the other stuff I just mentioned. It is 80% pointless non-related chaos, followed by 20% that feels just right. I like seeing my friends and extending my personal and professional network. I like connecting. I like finding that one gem amid the detritus. I like the few surprises I got, like the Nathan Fox book, like the warm welcome from Dylan Williams at Sparkplug, bumping into Rich Johnston, buying Sweets #1, not from an LCS, not from Image Comics, but directly from creator Kody Chamberlain, getting Dodgem Logic when my LCS doesn’t carry it. But the scale seems so tipped in favor of what annoys me vs. what delights me.

It’s a game of diminishing returns. More effort, less results. The effort exhausting, the minority results somehow still managing to keep me hopeful and interested – until they don’t. Perhaps this is the typical life cycle of a fan, ebbing and flowing, but never managing to cease completely? Does every fan need an occasional respite from their passion? Am I just reeling from sensory overload, will this feeling pass? I’ve never been the type of person who was given to extremes. I’m not naïve. I’m unable to muster the type of hopeful optimism that would suggest we’re due for some Renaissance in comics. It doesn’t feel like the beginning. I’m also not a bleak pessimist who will cry that I’m done with comics. It certainly doesn’t feel like the end just yet. My stoic pragmatic heart probably lies somewhere in between. When I’m away from the buzz of the crowd and can create a quiet place to listen to the faint whisper of my own intuition, maybe I’ll look back some day and think this was merely the beginning of the end.

2 Comments:

At 9:19 AM, Blogger Kody Chamberlain said...

IT was a pleasure meeting you at Comic-Con.

Kody Chamberlain

 
At 12:57 PM, Blogger Justin said...

Hi Kody,

Nice meeting you too! I haven't gotten to Sweets yet, but it's actually in my next "chunk" of books to review, so I should have it up within a few days.

Best,

Justin

 

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