Monday, November 10, 2008

All Murdered and Mayhemmed Up


So, that was about the coolest weekend ever.

I can’t say I slotted right in with a gathering of “true” mystery writers, but I wasn’t the only graphic novelist there, as Tim Broderick, who wrote and drew the book Cash & Carry was in attendance. Also on hand was the delightful Kat Richardson, whose Greywalker books walk a fine line between mystery and science fiction. Kat and I ended up sitting next to each other on the flight home, and had a great conversation about publishing, Hollyweasels and future creative plans. And when it was time for my panel (on "Hooking the Reader," along with three other writers), I was pleasantly surprised that people seemed genuinely curious about my experiences writing comics.

The event drew a lot of people (250, I'd guess?), all of whom sat through the entire day’s lineup of panels, right up until the grand finale, when Michael Koryta interviewed Dennis Lehane in a rather illuminating conversation. I suppose it was telling that the one panel that seemed to draw the attention of all the assembled writers was Lehane’s. In fairness, a couple of things Lehane said really clicked with me, particularly about storytelling and his influences. And he proved to be as nice and down-to-earth a guy as the rest of the group.

Full credit and thanks to Penny Halle and the library, and, of course, Jon and Ruth Jordan, who opened their home (the Cave of Cool) to the entire assemblage of writers on both Friday and Saturday nights. I’d feel badly about imposing upon the Jordans if it wasn’t clear how thoroughly they loved every moment of it. And who the hell doesn’t love a bathtub full of beer? Great folks, the Jordans. I wouldn't have been there without their support.

Everyone was accommodating and provided great conversation, but special shout outs go to Mario Aceveda, creator of the Felix Gomez vampire detective series, who proved to be one of the genuinely nicest guys I’ve met in any industry, Victor Gischler, whose work I’d already enjoyed, and who, it turned out, is a lot of fun to sit around and drink beers with, talking about Wolverine, golf and Freddie and the Dreamers, Anthony Neil Smith, with whom I had a great conversation about comic books and creative writing programs, Tom Schreck, who moonlights as a world class boxing judge and gave me a beer koozy that doubled as advertising for his latest book, Chicago writer Michael Allen Dymmoch, who carted us all around Muskego when the mythical limos failed to materialize, and the list goes on. Special nod to Mystery One bookseller Richard Katz, who wasn’t much on comics, but provided great discussion about NBA and college basketball.

Also, if you’re in Milwaukee, you should really drop by the Iron Horse Hotel. I can’t explain the place (obviously, as my “upscale biker” description failed to move my wife at all), but it provided superior accommodations, from the humongous HDTV on the wall to the giant-sized shower that rained straight down on me from the ceiling. Fine eating at Slim McGinn’s (the meat really did just fall of those ribs, and…deviled eggs as an appetizer? Just call me Cool Hand Luke).
Also thanks to Sam and Jo, two comic fans who showed up and argued over the value of superhero comics while I nodded sagely at both sides of the debate (sort of).

I’d love to do it again, and hanging out with such literary minded kids has half-convinced me to (attempt to) adapt a nagging pulp/mystery concept into prose form…

We shall see.

5 comments:

Kat Richardson said...

I knew someone else would blog better than I--me--whatevah.

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