MARTHA THOMASES: Good Times At Comic Con High
That’s how I felt before New York Comic Con.
It’s another cliché that, just when you think you have life figured out, it changes. I had a pretty good time.
Granted, I was frustrated by the crowds, and the noise aggravated me (and yet, I live in New York City!). Also, I wasn’t there on Saturday, when I’m told the crowds were the worst. And I’ve been to so many shows by now that I know how to edit my experience.
So, despite the backpacks and the people who thought that because they were taking photographs they were entitled to take away an entire aisle from pedestrian traffic, and the plethora of booths devoted to gaming, not comics, there’s a fun time in there.
Let me count the ways:
• Even before the show, the press coverage was so much better than comics used to get. Sure, there was a lot of attention paid to people in funny costumes, but there were also stories like this in the New York Times, which focused on people who are cool and creative and artists worthy of attention, just like other New York talents.
• Not only are talented writers and artists getting some respect, but so are the fans. True, there was lots of pandering to people’s desire to get something for free, but there were also some unusual businesses setting up booths. The Museum of Natural History promoted their planetarium. Chevrolet not only had a booth, but they also had artist-painted cars around the show, including one by Neal Adams. This is so much better than the first show, where there were military recruiters.
• There are so many kids (who probably hate being called kids, but indulge this old fart) who are excited enough by comics to want to make them. For example, Joe Corallo recognized me and chased after me to give me his self-published comic, The Uncanny Undergrads. Comics remain one of most democratic of media, where anyone with an idea and guts can make something amazing and try to make a career out of it.
• Best of all is seeing old friends. I never went to comic conventions as a fan. It was never part of my social life. When I met Denny O’Neil, I started to go to convention parties, back when they were easier to crash. When I had to go to cons for work, I found out that, for me, Artists’ Alley was the most fun place. It still is. At a big show, it’s a place where you can usually avoid mobs, and actually talk to the people who make the comics we love. This year, I was blessed to run into Bob Camp, whom I hadn’t seen in more than 20 years. He’s still sweet and funny and brilliant.
So maybe, if I have to go to more comic shows, I’ll go. I’ll kvetch, but I’ll be secretly pleased about it.
Martha Thomases is proud of herself for not buying a rabbit on Saturday.
SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman