MARTHA THOMASES: Like a Virgin
In many ways, this will be my first San Diego ComiCon. Oh, sure, I went to ten of them before, but that was because I was working for DC Comics. This will be my first San Diego without booth duty.
At DC, I was Publicity Manager from 1990 to 1999. I had a great time showing off our ever-expanding list of titles and, eventually, imprints. Turning people on to Vertigo, to Milestone, to Impact and to Helix was really fun.
Unfortunately, I never got to leave the booth. I mean, I could take bathroom breaks, and if one of my many media contacts came by, I could walk that person around to show off what was cool in comics. For the most part, however, it was four solid days of standing in the booth.
There were chairs at the booth, lots of chairs. Unfortunately, these comfortable pieces of foldable furniture were not for those of us in the Marketing Department. The chairs were for the talent. Now, I agree that the writers and artists who work on comic books, who interrupt their work to come to conventions (where they don’t get paid) should be made as comfortable as possible. They deserve to be treated like rock stars. The Marketing team should be there to make life easier for the talent and for the fans, and to assure everyone of a good time.
That’s my belief, and I tried really hard to live up to it with a smile on my face. Usually, I got through Thursday and Friday pretty well. By Saturday, even with my best running shoes, my feet would be hurting. By Sunday afternoon, my face would hurt from smiling. There would be lots of news and excitement I’d overhear among the fans that they’d picked up at panels, which I could never go to because I was at the booth.
There would be some weird things I’d have to do that weren’t, strictly speaking, in my job description. I’d get the talent bottled water, because the water in San Diego gives me horrible headaches, and talent shouldn’t have headaches. I’d be the bitch at the end of the signing line, the person past whom no one else would get their books signed. It’s a horribly thankless task, because you have to tell people they can’t have something they really want. The worst is being the bitch at the end of the Neil Gaiman line. Neil will have agreed to sign for two hours. After these two hours, I would get in line to stop it, but the line would grow behind me. By the time I got to the front of the line, Neil would have been signing for more than three hours. I’d tell people they couldn’t get anything signed, and Neil would say, ‘Oh, no! That’s alright, I’m happy to do a few more.”
On the plus side, I had an expense account. I could take journalists and talent out for dinners and drinks. DC had travel agents who put us up at the Marriott, and then the Hyatt, which were close to the convention center. My feet might hurt, but I didn’t have far to walk.
This year, there is no booth. This year, I get to walk around and see what’s happening. There are lots of meetings about Phase II of ComicMix (stay tuned!), but I can go to panels if I want, and maybe even a movie.
My bags aren’t packed. I’m not ready to go. It’s about 45 hours before my plane takes off, and I still don’t know how many books I should bring (Are three enough? Are six too many?). I started a pair of socks, because knitting socks is portable and fun. I have running shoes and workout clothes, because otherwise I don’t burn off the hostility and scream at people. Best of all, this time, my husband will be with me. This is great, because he is the most fabulous husband on the planet. I’ll have someone to complain to.
Martha Thomases, Media Goddess of ComicMix, hopes that readers of this column will let her know what happened on All My Children on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Please post your synopses in our Comments section, below.