BookExpo America 2009 recap
As with any convention, a lot of fast, disjointed thoughts kicking around. In no particular order:
- The most action at the con was in the Diamond Comics aisle and the e-publishers area. Other areas seemed quieter.
- There seemed to be fewer freebies this year. A lot, in fact. When asking about getting on the press list, most publicists were relieved when I asked for PDFs over paper copies.
- One paper copy I did get was a preview of IDW’s upcoming adaptation of The Hunter by Darwyn Cooke, taken from the Richard Stark (Donald Westlake) Parker novel. Having read the thing and knowing that they haven’t printed the final version yet, they should just save time and print “Future Eisner Award Nominee” on the cover now. Barnes & Noble is going to move a lot of these babies. (Disclaimer: IDW will be publishing the print version of ComicMix projects, and they picked up the tab for lunch on Friday. We tried, but Ted Adams insisted.)
- DC did not have an official presence at the con, which considering the amount of backlist books they do is very surprising. Marvel and Diamond did, and seemed to be well rewarded for their efforts, with many people showing up for signings and even more showing up later on Saturday for the finger food and drinks. (Sorry you missed it, Alan.)
- Lines for comics creators were very long. Neil Gaiman made a “surprise” appearance at the Harper Collins booth signing The Graveyard Book and handing out previews of Odd And The Frost Giants (I say surprise because I don’t remember seeing it on his blog).
Marvel’s signings for Peter David and Chris Claremont went strongly, Chris estimated that he went through about two and a half boxes of X-Men Forever. I lost track of how many Oz books Skottie Young and Eric Shanower went through.
- Over at the Image booth, Frank Cho and Chris Giarusso moved a lot of copies of their books as well.
- The crowd seemed a bit older, even for BEA. Not sure if it’s an actual age difference, or if the young folks got fire from publishing houses, or if everyone at traditional houses were just muted this year.
- There will be photos surfacing of me and Torsten Adair. I will not say which of us is the evil twin.
- I had two publishers who knew me from my days as an e-publishing pioneer come up to me and say that their sales in paper were flat and the only bright spots were in e-publishing. Nice to know I’m remembered as a prophet, even if it’s taken a while to get there.
All in all, a decent, if not spectacular, trade show. Always fun to see many of my colleagues in a much less frenzied venue than San Diego or even Wizard World. Hopefully I’ll be recovered in time for MOCCA this weekend. Oy.
Oh, one final shot– this is from Thursday’s CBLDF party, with Denis Kitchen, Heidi Macdonald, Milton Griepp, and ComicMix alumnus Rick Marshall ordering a drink– no doubt steeling himself for the upcoming hell week starting with the MTV Movie Awards and ending with his name being pinned to an idiot in a major motion picture. Pray for him.