Thursday, April 24, 2008

A kind of Con Report

McKeever, Moore, Haun, Norton in New York

The first real con report I've done in years. Sprinkled with graphics to keep you entertained.

Don't get me wrong. There are some real class-A douchebags in comics. But by and large, I enjoy being around creators and love meeting new ones. I mean, ultimately these are people who battered their way into a fucked up business because they have stories they want to tell. This goes for writers, artists and editors...

J. Torres

Mike Norton

As a result, the most fun I have at cons is running into old friends and just catching up. My oldest friend in comics is probably J. Torres, so it was nice hanging out with him during the DC events and afterwards, and if I've known J. for the longest time, I've known Mike Norton almost as long, and Mike generally had Sean McKeever tagging along, so hanging with those guys was great. Staying with Jeremy Haun (and Haun's pal Aaron Norton) and Jason Latour, I obviously saw a lot of them, as well. Got to meet Latour's sort-of girlfriend, Tracy, who was great company.
Haun, with Newsarama's Vaneta Rogers


The DC "media mixer" on Thursday night was a lot of fun. I got to chat with my primary lifeline at DC, editor Mike Siglain (although chatting with editors is a tricky proposition, since someone is always trying to pull them away), and ended up sharing a table with Darwyn Cooke and Jimmy Palmiotti. I've known Darwyn for years and actually first met Jimmy at a barbecue of Darwyn's a few years ago. While I wouldn't say I'm close to Jimmy, I think it's safe to say he's one of the nicest guys in comics, and he understands the business as well as anyone. If you need advice on any aspect of comics, Jimmy's the best guy to go to. Darwyn was his usual self, holding court on any number of things, as Bob Wayne, Amanda Conner and Rodney Ramos chipped in. The lovely Jann Jones hosted the event for DC, and was all over the room.

Jimmy and Darwyn

Friday at the con was uneventful. I camped out with Tony and Kara at the booth they shared with Rick Remender, Eric Powell and Steve Niles, since Rick, Eric and Niles had yet to show. (Any port in a storm) Ran into Josh Fialkov, Marc Bernardin and Tony Lee, and chatted a bit. Josh has done a fine job of forging a career by following his own path, even if he stopped seeking my advice after I told him to abandon Elk's Run. Had lunch with my Wildstorm editor, Ben Abernathy, who's a truly great guy. Friday night Jason Aaron and I wandered over to the DC party, where I ran into old friends Mike Hawthorne and Christine Norrie. Mike's another guy I've known for almost a decade, having published some of his early work way back in the Love in Tights days... And Christine used to run with the Oni gang back in the day. Also bumped into KC area creator Nathan Fox, who had with him some amazing pages for a new graphic novel he's working on. That guy's a step ahead of most people in the game. Met Vertigo editor Mark Doyle for the first time, and managed to hook up with Ramon Perez and Andy B., from the Canadian posse.

Jason Aaron

I owe Andy a script, and Ramon is doing amazing work on my Wildcat story for JSA Classified, and it was gratifying to have people come up to me all weekend and insist that we badger DC into letting us do a regular Wildcat book. Andy B. was doing his best to drink the bar dry before it was time to split. Before Remender, Hawthorne, Mike's friend Pierre and I left to go meet Ivan Brandon's crew at the Irish Rogue, Brian Azzarello summoned me over to discuss a "mystery authors" even we've both been invited to in November up around Milwaukee. Brian told me a funny story about how he "insulted" Fraction by asking if he was the guy who wrote Hawaiian Dick...


The Irish Rogue was a great time. Bumped into CB Cebulski (another one of the nicest guys in comics), Jade Dodge, Matt Camp, and the usual gang of idiots: Paul Azaceta, Ivan, Andy McDonald, Ivan's better half Kristin, Rick Spears (but no Rob G.)...Esad Ribic was with Ivan, along with Nicky Barucci (who regaled us with tales of his bowel movements). Spears and I vented about the industry, and then argued the Clash, before Ribic, Spears, Ivan, Remender and I started debating the music of the 90s. Those guys were all veterans of the punk wars, whereas I spent the decade on the fringes of every scene. For me the 90s were about Britpop (yes, I defenses Oasis), twee and emerging singer-songwriters like Elliott Smith.

Saturday was eventful. Shawn Crystal was kind enough to treat me to lunch at Burgers and Cupcakes. I always enjoy hanging with Shawn. Had a long conversation with Top Cow's Matt Hawkins, did a little video thing for Word Balloon's John Siuntres, and had a signing at the DC booth, followed by missed meetings and the Wildstorm panel. The panel was at six o'clock, and as a result a little lacking in energy, but I did get to meet and chat with Keith Giffen about a project, before listening to Keith mutter annoyed observations about the panel for an hour. I bumped into Larsen on the way back to the hotel, and asked who he had in mind to draw a recent Next Issue Project story that I wrote. I was kind of jazzed to hear him say he thought he might do it, although he hadn't read it yet, so...

Cage, Giffen and Moore at the Wildstorm panel.

Shawn Crystal

At the Wildstorm dinner that night, Haun and I sat with Tom Fowler (who's now doing regular work for Mad), and Glenn Fabry, whom I'd never met before. Glenn turned out to be a delightful dinner companion, and we discussed movies, television, sports, books, and, of course, art supplies, before Glenn and a number of other Brits wandered off looking for a pub to watch a boxing match. We soon ended up at another local bar, where we gathered Chris Neseman from Around Comics and KC homeboy Ande Parks, who joined our sordid crew. Ande later took Jeremy hat shopping. Ande is a man of fine tastes.

Tom Fowler

Ande Parks

After gathering Shawn Crystal and Andrew Robinson, we made our way to another bar (the Gaff?), where we found Doyle, Siglain, McKeever, Norton, and the Kids in the Hall's Kevin McDonald. Latour and his gal pal arrived before long, and we spent the evening drinking and debating (Latour and I ended up arguing politics, despite sharing nearly identical political views).

Andrew Robinson (with Lee Loughridge)

Sunday? Yes, Sunday. Slept in (I don't get to do that in real life) before hitting the Wildstorm booth for another signing. Chatted with Wildstorm VP Hank Kanalz, and was amazed at Jim Lee's memory as he recalled our first meeting, at a Steak n Shake in Dallas four years ago... Met with Mark Doyle, had a chat with Top Cow's Rob Levin about a project, did a Wizard pod thing, and bid farewell to Brian Hurtt (who I never saw leave the Oni booth) and the Canadians (including Kalman and Cameron) before heading to the airport. Oni's James Lucas Jones walked me back to my hotel, and we discussed a few things, including the upcoming OGN Billy Smoke, which I need to get cracking on.

Jim Lee

Delays at the airport and I bumped one more time into Brian Azzarello and then Brian Hurtt (whose plane was held up by my plane's failure to depart on time), and I was OFF.

And that was my con in a nutshell.


rico said...

I don't know how I managed to miss you/ you avoided me all weekend! Looks like you saw all my buddies though! Kooky! Excellent report mang!

Here's some pics I took over the weekend...

Geoff said...

Well Clay... this report proves that Joel and I are definitely the bottom of the barrel when it comes to people you hang out with!!!

B. Clay Moore said...

Rico! Where the fuck were you, man? I don't think I even know you were there.

Heard your name a lot, though. "Rico really hooked me up" is becoming common in comics.

B. Clay Moore said...

Geoff, you and Joel fit into any conversation about good people in comics. Hope to see you both in Chitown.

Joel said...

Clay we will be in Chicago.

ryan cody said...

I remember Norton being big, I don't remember him being a giant.

Shawn Crystal said...


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