Final Countdown to San Diego Secret Crisis, by Martha Thomases
Like so many other people who write about and work in comics, I’m in a tizzy getting ready to go to San Diego for Comic-Con International. Not only do I have to worry about all the normal travel stuff – Can I fit a week’s worth of clothes in a carry-on bag? How much knitting do I need for such a long flight? – but this year, I also have extra San Diego stuff to consider.
For starters, there are all the people I have a crush on, people I see only once a year, and try to flirt with in that awkward, married way that I hope is charming, but fear might be excruciating. Last year, there were painful moments when the people I only used to see once a year tried to remember who I was after not seeing me since 1999. Instead of flirting, they wondered why this gray-haired woman presumed to ask them about their exercise programs.
(If you’re keeping score, Neil Gaiman remains the champion of charming, deniable flirting. We can sit together with our spouses and children and he is so adorable that I believe that if we were only 30 years younger, childless and single, we could still make each other laugh.)
The Con has changed, and so have I. When you work for one of the Big Two publishers at a comic book convention, you feel important. You may be a cog in the corporate machine, but you have a hotel room at the main hotel, you have an expense account, and you have a recognizable identity.
However, San Diego is no longer a comic book convention but a multi-media orgy, and instead of comic book stars, there are movie and television stars. Ed Brubaker will be there, and that’s very cool, but Paris Hilton is going to be at a Lionsgate panel on Thursday.
And I no longer work for a Big Two publisher, but a plucky little upstart, so while people may recognize me (“Aren’t you that crazy lady who was hassling me last year), I’m sharing my hotel room.
Unlike last year, ComicMix has a booth this year, so you can stop by (Booth #2308, with Insight Studios and the fabulous Mark Wheatley of EZ Street and Hammer of the Gods 2), say hello, and meet some of the fine people who make ComicMix the place to be. And this is amazing and wonderful, but, like so many other amazing, wonderful things, this means more work for me. Mark Ryan and Mike Grell will be on hand to promote their new graphic novel, The Pilgrim. The previously mentioned Mark Wheatley will be there. Mike Gold, not only editor-in-chief of ComicMix but also a founder of First Comics and former big muckety-muck at one of the Big Two, is available. Jerry Carr and Allan Gross from Insight (and creators of Cryptozoo Crew) are fun guys. Michael Davis and Rick Marshall are funny guys who can draw a crowd.
And it’s up to me to schedule them.
Unfortunately, these talented people are humans. This means that they not only might want to do other things than simply hang out at our booth, but they also need to sleep, eat, and go to the bathroom. They cannot be at my beck and call 24-hours a day. Even if they wanted to be (and they should), they have other obligations, panels to be on, people to see.
There were holes in my schedule. What could I do? The only person who wrote or drew things for ComicMix that I hadn’t assigned a spot was myself.
To be a good publicist, one has to not only understand ego, but also serve it. I must consider the needs of my clients, enhance their interactions with fans, and do what I can to make them feel good about themselves. I’m a cheerleader, not a quarterback. Anyone who has ever been to any kind of game knows that cheerleaders are accomplished athletes. The nature of cheerleading, however, is to aim attention elsewhere.
However, an organized person cannot live with a gaping hole in a schedule. And neither can I. Therefore, next Saturday afternoon, July 26, from 4 PM to 6 PM Pacific Time, You’ll find me at Booth #2308. Bring your old copies of Dakota North (and, if you don’t have old issues of your own, you can buy a complete set for about $5.00 from many dealers in the hall), or print up The Crimson Tide and I’ll sign that.
Or just form a line to come up and insult me. I’ll smile and take it if it means I don’t have to sit there all alone and pathetic.
Martha Thomases, Media Goddess of ComicMix, usually demands more of her worshipers.