Sunday, February 26, 2006

NY Comic-Con: Mom, Can You Come Get Me?

Image of Imperial Stormtrooper dialing his ride courtesy of my own camera for once.

I've got more pictures offloaded but not webbable yet. So I'll have more tomorrow. For now, I can say it was a scene. A Mob Scene. If I can believe the many strangers upon whom I eavesdropped, the registrations were oversold and they had to stop selling new admissions by afternoon. When I arrived, fifteen minutes before the event's opening at 11am, there were long lines of others who'd been waiting to buy tickets for hours. Glad I didn't bother since the line didn't start moving until 11 anyway, but since the Bookspot guys I was meeting had Press Passes that let them breeze in, for Jabba's sake, I was still able to nurse my own bitter disadvantages.

If that weren't enough, now I have to write up the first session we attended as an article for Bookspot's Comic-Con coverage. Serves me right for visibly taking notes. Disrespect and Hard Labor, that's what I get. Kidding. It was a terrific session with authors and editors from Del Rey and Tor talking about how to get published in scifi and fantasy (and noir), and much of the guidance I've heard before for Mystery is echoed here. I'm now officially going to extrapolate and guess it's true for most genre and commercial fiction, except strict romance which I know is its own unique beast. If that's up your mental cul-de-sac, it'll likely be posted tomorrow and I'll link here.

Actually, the scene in the ticket line was an interesting one, too. I ended up waiting 40-ish minutes to buy my wristband with people in costume ahead of me and hypothetical chatterers behind. By hypothetical chatterers I mean the kind of people who keep themselves interested for many, many ticks by debating what kind of music Batman would have on his iPod and whether or not grooving in the musical coccoon would enhance his combat skills.

Concurrently at the Javitz Center is also the New York Times Travel Show. I don't care what their website promises, there was not nearly the rush at the windows for this show as ours. Since the different registration areas exist side-by-side in a grand foyer, the snaking, ever-extending line of the comics crowd was somewhat impeding flow toward the almost-empty travel show registration kiosks.

Result: Bellowing security guards threw all the comics people outside to wait in the cold in a line that wrapped the edges of the building. They must have run out of instant cordons and been incapable of organizing a new line configuration without an existing pattern like the sidewalk to follow. Sure, some comics folks had long since checked their coats, and were wearing skimpy Manga style costumes. Let them face the wind chill, they're degenerates! It was crucial that the travel crowd (well, what would have been the travel crowd had anyone shown up) have primary access to the heated interior spaces. The people that might-have-been versus those present. You may bet it also had to do with the relative age and stuffiness of the travel crowd versus the feeling that the oodles of teens and college-age kids could be more easily inconvenienced and pushed around. But as a crusty old buzzard myself, I was planning a travel-agent style hissy throw-down about it, but it started moving before my head of steam built to Krakatoan levels.

Surely, the numbers must've been a big surprise to the organizers and Javitz staff, but they didn't have to seem so raggedly panicked and pre-emptively a-hole about it when calm would've done the job. The actual law enforcers on hand, with real Smokey-the-Bear hats, were smiling and relaxed. The Rent-A-Cops appeared drunk and belligerent with the momentary thrill of something beyond tedium. The whole day we were ALL in the excuse-me spot, but I found the diverse crowd to be doggedly friendly and ready for fun. I was disappointed by security staff persistently yelling and bossing and threatening at the bottlenecked spots as if the attendees were convicts-to-be, not people paying good money to attend and who were, despite their non-conforming souls, basically following the rules and being cooled out.

Proving my endless point about genre crossover, (until all naysayers cave, I'll keep asserting it), I was pleasantly surprised to find other die-hard Mystery cronies at the Comic-Con session on publishing that I'll have written up by tomorrow. Seated a row in front of me was Joe Gulielmelli, co-owner with Bonnie Claeson of the fantastic Black Orchid Bookshop near my apartment, who will be awarded this year's Raven Award by Mystery Writers of America for outstanding achievement outside creative writing in honor of years enthusiastically supporting Mystery and its authors. Also on hand was Charles Ardai, publisher and author for Hard Case Crime which specializes in forgotten, hard-boiled reprints and originals in small paperbacks with wonderful new covers painted by classic pulp artists. (At $6.99 for consistently great work- including Stephen King's Colorado Kid written especially for the imprint- there's a lot to love for afficionados of lurid, portable, and cost-effective crime.)

It seemed they were there in support of Charlie Huston, a noir guy who also writes Marvel comics and a series about a vampire P.I. See what I'm saying about genre fluidity? I asked him which book he wanted me to review for BookSpot, and he said Caught Stealing. So I will, though it's not his newest. It's flying along so far, a very smooth read like slitting your wrists in a warm bath. Public Notice Served: I'm also going to try to get a profanity-filled interview from him for Mystery Bookspot later. I think it's a good plan to partially fill up the emptier mystery cupboard with authors who might also appeal to the fantasy, horror, or comic site visitors. Brad Meltzer, whose session I also attended, writes D.C. comics plus bestselling thrillers like the ones he based in the Supreme Court and White House. I'm not weird after all, merely a spectacularly unsuccessful example.

Could there possibly be more to say? Tune in tomorrow. Less of the booky-booky, more pics and mise en scene.


Anonymous said...

Listen anyone that shows up with an ipaq and pen and paper is just destined to be the one to write the article :) Now you know for next time :) I have already scouted out a few more conventions we may go to so I will make sure to let you know as well. Was great meeting you!


Henway Twingo said...

Good finally meeting you in person, too. Not an iPaq, a Tungsten, but I see your point. Look like a slacker, dodge the chores. I'm going to have to find my Shaggy-Scooby headspace for the next con.

Anonymous said...

Yeah I am excited to see some of your pictures, I only got pictures of the porn stars and Naomi along with a few random Milla pictures. Bah Im a guy, what can I say. I also plan on wearing a green jacket now to every convention I attend. Get some airfare for dragoncon in ATL in september and then we can really see some interesting people :)