The Big (Comic) Con
But before we begin with our recap, behold the glory and power of the crazy Animoto video! Here are my pics (link courtesy of Alvina Ling). Watch the volume, since this puppy is a bit louder than you might expect.
Now on to the recap!
Friday is the day when professionals *straightens tie* like me get to get into the Con early. Yes, we call it "The Con". We are professionals. We don’t have time for three syllables when we can find a way to use only two.
Now anyone who has ever attended a conference in New York will attest to the fact that the Javits Convention Center is an atrocity of a structure. I’ve called it The Building that Ray-Bans Built because of its bizarre tinted glass look. I suspect that some poor sap thought that this would be a new Crystal Palace or Ally Pally. It is not. It is a greenhouse located many many blocks away from the nearest subway stop. What’s more, if you happen to walk there you will find that not only does the walk include a steep incline but a steep decline as well. That’s fine for Comic Con, where you are not lugging heavy books, but events like Book Expo are another matter altogether.
Fortunately, I am pleased to report that the temperature this weekend was not bad. Not bad at all. Quite pleasant really.
On the first day I knew I was going in the right direction when I could pass a fellow wearing a t-shirt reading, "He Shot First". Oh yeah. I am enough of a nerd to know what that refers to.
The nice thing about going on Friday is that that is the Professionals Day. Random people can get in after 3:00, but before then it’s a relatively peaceful affair. You can mosey on down to the meeting rooms where people are giving presentations or walk about the convention floor.
Now the very weird thing about Javits, above and beyond its choice of architecture, is that it is so large that it tends to prefer to simultaneously book several conventions at once. So on one side of Comic Con was the Big Apple Job Fair and on the other side was Club Industry East.
That meant that you had guys who looked like this . . .
. . . intermingling with guys who looked like this . . .
Frankly I think the two conventions should have just combined forces. That fellow looks like a superhero anyway. Why fight it?
My panel on shelving graphic novels in the libraries went swimmingly, all thanks to librarians James Poole of Webster Public Library and Christian Zabriskie of Queens. These fellows knew their business (and I’m still a steaming pool of envy when I think of Christian’s drop dead gorgeous children’s GN section of his library). We had hoped to add Michele Gorman, fellow librarian and author of Getting Graphic! Comics for Kids to our ranks, but she was waylaid and could not join us. I don’t know how many people stayed, but we had at least fifteen people sign up for me to send them a list of recommended GN titles, so that was nice. By the way, if your name is David, your last name begins with the letter B. and you attended my panel, could you send me an e-mail posthaste? You wrote down your e-mail address but I cannot make hide or hair out of some of your more eclectic spellings. My e-mail is in my name at the beginning of this post.
That done, it was time to storm the floor. With children’s literature firmly at the front of my lobes I noticed a couple interesting tidbits right off the bat. Feast your eyeballies on this pretty little number. It’s Shannon Hale’s new graphic novel, due via Bloomsbury this Fall. Sadly they only had a copy with which to tempt us. No ARCs are forthcoming as of yet.
And what do I spy at the Abrams booth? Could it be not one but TWO Wimpy Kid related titles?
The first is for the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book. As far as I can tell that’s just a remarkably smart way to sell an otherwise normal sketch book. The second is Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw. My husband took one look at the situation on the cover and said, "That looks unpleasant". Yup. But can anyone make tightier whitier tighty-whites than Jeff Kinney? I think not.
Some publishers were easier to find than others. For example, unlike at ALA where you need to search for First Second as fast as possible before the goodies are gone, here they were practically at the front door of the floor.
That’s Gina Gagliano on the right, Mark Siegel on the left, and a very nice woman that I do not know right smack dab in the center. This is why I’m bad at taking pictures. I’m horrible with names and I just end up embarrassing myself when I post people without the proper info.
By the way, check out that banner in the back. Know how smart these people are?
They knew to highlight libraries for one and all to see using scenes from Robot Dreams. Pretty sneaky, sis.
Comic Con works as well as it does simply because it takes every aspect of nerd culture and mixes it in one bit bowl. It takes all kinds. Sometimes you’ll be shaking hands with this fellow:
Other times you’ll be sitting around waiting for this guy:
And lest we forget, this is a great place to sell video games as well. There were two areas in particular that I had difficulty with. The first was around the LOST vids. It’s a really odd game. You’re apparently a survivor and you have to ask fellow survivors questions to figure out . . . something. The voices weren’t done by the actors, though, so I kept getting distracted by the pseudo-John Locke and pseudo-Kate I heard.
The other fellow responsible for ripping full hours out of my already too too short life was this guy:
Recognize him? Yeah, at first I didn’t either. In fact, I spent much of my day just sort of walking about snapping pictures of people being interviewed that I didn’t know. For example, who is this girl?
But that fellow up above was none other than Sid Meier. Curse you, Sid Meier! Sid Meier is the guy who created such games as Civilization, Colonization, Pirates, and the is-it-released-yet? Spoor. There’s a new Civilization in town too, and it’s a doozy. I shall avoid it at all costs.
As you can see, I’ve gotten slightly more comfortable with my camera. But I alternate between one of two settings. Terribly Scared and Afraid to Get Anywhere Near My Subject:
And Stalker. I got particularly stalkerish when I saw Neil Gaiman being interviewed way way way up above all the action by MTV. Here is Neil from a distance:
Halloooooo, Neil! And here is Neil directly above me.
Rump o’ Neil, that’s what that is.
The costumes are another reason to go. I don’t know why I’m so afraid to photograph people at this convention. After all, nine times out of ten they’re just begging for the attention. And will you look at this adorable Harley Quinn. Doesn’t she just match her doll to a tee?
On a slight tangent, I don’t quite understand the world of fantasy dolls. Do you play with them? Do you display them? To what end? Little tiny figurines that you paint, that I understand. But dolls? Then again, the idea of having Alan Rickman on my desk is somewhat tantalizing . . . . .
Now on Saturday I was joined by fellow children’s literary cohert and partner in crime Monica Edinger of the blog Educating Alice. Here a very game Monica sits in the pinkest, fluffiest, oh so kawaii porch swing.
Saturday proved to be roughly 70% more busy than the day before. Check out these crowds.
Every convention, as far as I am concerned, should have some of these lying about. They even had a separate set in front of the stage for the fashion show:
Ironically, the one day I did not go to Comic Con was Sunday, the day specifically set aside for kids. I could have seen Mo Willems speak or watched Lisa Von Drasek interview Shannon Hale and Holly Black. Instead, I cuddled up at home and wrote you this recap instead. A good time was definitely had, and I’ll be looking forward to the next one. There is something to be said for a convention where you don’t get weighed down by books at the end of the day. There really is.
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About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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