Mike Gold: The Other Convention
Last week, I attended two conventions in Chicago: the massive C2E2 multimedia clusterfuck-on-the-lake, and the more sublime Windy City Pulp and Paper show out in the western suburb of Lombard. Guess which one I enjoyed more?
To be fair, C2E2 is a lot of work for me, and my response to “work” is similar to that of Maynard G. Krebs (Google, chillun!). Lots of walking, lots of talking, some negotiating, some promoting, all the doo-dah day. As always, I enjoy seeing my friends – and that’s a big deal in Chicago. Dinner with the Unshavens on Friday at the wonderful Eleven City Diner (best deli in America), dinner with my ol’ pal and former (Real) First Comics partner Rick Obadiah at the wonderful Weber Grill on Saturday. The food was great at both venues, and the conversations were even better.
I went to the Windy City Pulp and Paper show on Sunday. Yes, “paper” includes comic books as well as old magazines and illustration art. There were tons and tons of self-published print-on-demand reprints of classic pulps, and even more original pulp fiction novels being hawked by their authors.
This latter phenomenon is extremely exciting. The authors are getting to do what they want and reach the audience they need, both through print-on-demand and electronic publishing. I wish I had the time (and money, and storage space) to read all the new pulp originals that caught my eye – but when it comes to this sort of thing I’m a stoner kid in a candy store. I will say this past year or two I’ve received more satisfaction from reading the new pulp originals than reading new comics.
Pulps are comic books without the pictures. And they’re usually self-contained. And they’re usually largely or totally insane in scope and story.
I haven’t been able to make it there ever since C2E2 moved their date to within a couple weeks of the Windy City Pulp and Paper show. This year I got lucky: they were held at the same time, albeit maybe two-dozen or so miles away. Again, lots of old friends, but no cosplay. Damn.
Lunch was in that neighborhood and was with two very old Chicago comics fan buddies, Jim Wisniewski and George Hagenauer, a frequent co-conspirator. The beauty of comics fandom is that it can be an extended family. I’ve got friends in this community that I can trace back 40 years or more.
That is the best thing about being a comics fan.
And the meals ain’t bad, neither.