Ahh! This was a big mess of a crazy weekend.
I dunno, crazy is a bit wrong I think, unless it's a qualifier followed by tiring, then it's totes true.
I backed the kickstarter for the con last year before even knowing what I'd be able to do this year. being chronically unemployed, it was pretty easy to go to the convention. I rode in from Vienna on Friday afternoon to get my ticket and thankfully there was pretty much no line so I was able to hit the exhibitor hall pretty much immediately. Con maps are somehow really difficult for me to understand, so I pretty much ignored my guide book and just started walking past the exhibitors to find people I knew in Artist Alley. I first I ran into Ross at the beginning of Artist Alley. He had a great spot next to Earnie Hudson and the Ghostbusters car, so I'm pretty sure a lot of people in line wandered to him after staring at his booth for however long that line took. SpaghettiKiss (Michael) was right next to him and it looks like his shirts sold well. I wished them good weekends and promised I'd wander back again later.
I chose an aisle and walked. I wore my Iron Patriot hoodie on Friday and Saturday, along with my pin hat making myself pretty recognizable, at least to people I knew. I stumbled across Joe Keatinge and Leila del Duca who are currently writing and drawing Shutter respectively. This meeting ended up being a highlight of my Friday. Joe and Leila was stoked to meet me, I happened to by the first non-friend to draw fanart of Kate. Their excitement made me feel all the more special, I gave them minis and Joe signed and gave me a copy of Glory tpb 1 which was incredibly awesome of him. I hung out at their tables for about 20 minutes or so and described Super Art Fight, which will become important, that was fun :D
Continuing my search for my friends in the tables I found Chris and PeetSketches the next block up from Leila and Joe. I told them about meeting Leila and Joe, I told everyone because it was cool for me. I perceive myself to be an internet nobody. I feel as if no one's waiting for my comics or really pays attention to my art, but I create because I feel best when creating and I crave the validation of that one person who gives it a 'like' on tumblr. Anyway, they both thought it was cool and I promised to return again if not Friday then on Saturday. I'm always happy for and proud of my friends when they table, and seeing a friendly face always make a long con day nice.
I continued wandering, making faces at the T&A booths, I saw one at some point, that used some of the smallest post-its to censor nipples on a display print. Trust me, I'm totally a fan of ogling bodies and I'm not against pin ups or T&A, but is the person drawn a person or an object. That's that I was judging.
Uncool things aside, I found Lee and offered him a hand or gofer-ing favor as necessary. I asked him where Phil was and Lee said 'right over there', literally across the aisle. Phil was still tired from his drive in and was low energy when I went over to say hi. I circled back to Ross and Michael for a minute before I remembered that Jeremy Whitley would be there for Princeless, which I wanted to get for my sister. It was great meeting his wife, Alicia, we had fun talking and joking all weekend. I picked up both 1 and 2 so my sister as her belated birthday gift, I hope she likes them :/ I have no idea that 14 year olds are interested in. I was into anime and manga then. Down the row from Jeremy was Kata Kane whom I met back in January at B-More Into Comics, I hope there's another soon (there is! May 17th, I feel..there's a Super Art Fight that night, will I actually drive into DC again? Terrifying thought. I'm getting unexpectedly busy with things I want to do and places I want to be this spring).
Around this time I ran off, waving at the Fantom Comic booth on my way to meet a friend in Adams Morgan for dinner. I eventually made it home after a long afternoon, crawled into bed and was grateful I'd done my daily sketch for Friday early.
Saturday I rushed out of the door after completing my daily sketch and circled back to Vienna then into DC. The convention was underway with tons of people in line. I heard the presale ticket line was less organized that it could have been so I was pretty happy I'd picked up my stuff on Friday. Thinking about it and comparing it to Friday and how I picked up my ticket, if pre-sale people had gotten anything else,along with their badge I can see how it would take time. An easy way that the organization could be made easier would be not putting people's names on bags with their badge in it, but separating each type of badge out so when someone came up and said 'I backed at their tier' or 'bought this bag' after finding and verifying it they could be given literally any bag and go on up stairs.
Massive logistics aside, I went back and said 'good morning' to pretty much everyone. I was able to get a physical copy of Shutter from the Third Eye booth, also Pretty Deadly 1, Sex Criminals 1 (4th printing), and I think something else. I'm kicking myself for skipping over Moon Knight, but I can still try somewhere else, or get it digital. I greeted the SAF crew and mentioned Leila's interest in participating in SAF (see, I said it was important), she happens to be invited to the Collector's Corner for Free Comic Book Day where and SAF is also happening that day and they were interested in having her participate. I hit up a few of my friends to say 'morning' and got my copy of Shutter signed. While hanging around I told Leila that someone from SAF would be by to discuss her participating at FCBD, she was pretty excited which is cool.
I wandered and remebered to pick up Molly Danger by Jamal Iger for my sister and before heading to the Kickstarter Backer Panel which was a super low key Q&A with Ben and Steve who run Awesome Con, but also Andrew WK and Phil LaMarr. One person found an Eternal Pass hidden in a gift bag, everyone got these little cut out robot dudes. There were Q's that were A'd. Phil shared some Pulp Fiction stories and did Jon Stewart and Static's voices for a second in response to a question about making them sound different when they have to shriek or groan in pain. Ben decided to hold an impromptu costume contest, a guy in the sickest Shadow costume and a chick dressed as Steampunk Scar (Lion King) both won 3 day passes for next year, which is pretty nice, but not eternal pass nice.
I went back to the exhibition room around now I think. I know I spent some time riffling through longboxes looking for Devil Dinosaur, but I ended up buying a few non-sequitor Doctor Strange books because there aren't many collections of his arcs and I have not the money no the space for the but reprints Marvel did that one time. Those are a wishlist item. Had I been thinking I would have looked for some Spirit books, but getting some Eisners would probably be next to impossible without paying through the nose for 'em. Thinking now I also wish I'd grabbed an old X-Men or two for a buddy. It's interesting, because I'm not a bag and board person, and I'm not a collector for monthlies, that I spent some time looking.
I ran into Brandon who referees SAF and he told me that I was apparently helpful in getting Leila to participate. I feel a bit skeptical about that, but if I really helped than awesome. I ran off to Potbelly for food and returned with a bag of cookies to pass out to my buddies tabling which was fun. People like cookies and Potbelly makes a good cookie. Lee had a panel to participate in so I watched his table, which was cool. I was able to take care of a bunch of my streetpasses and I passed out a bunch of bookmarks. I hope some of the people I interacted with check out his comic, that'd be cool. When Lee came back I did one last circuit of the floor before sitting by an outlet to charge my phone. I did more streetpass stuff and wanted to strangle about 10 tweebs who were all dressed as homestucks. I don't care about their cosplay, but they were loud and kept screaming. It was worse because they went partially down a stairwell and acoustics. Ugh.
I had Daikaya for dinner which was a great decision. Umeshu choyu is interesting, I liked it watered more than as was. I has shoyu ramen and some gyoza, so many good life choices. I made my way to the Black Cat for the Awesome Con-cert. Ross and Marty were MCs for the show, and a few other SAF crew came by. Rare Candy from Baltimore were a fun opener. Rock covers of video game music, I was pretty into it. Adam Warrock played second, if he jumped around too much the audio out from his laptop would get disconnected. There was some downtime until WK and his fans showed up. I was near the front and took some show photos of Rare Candy and Warrock, all my weekend photos can be seen on Flickr and a few on my instabubs, links at the end. But WK's fans decided they had to push their way to the front and started up chants as if they would get him on stage sooner. I spoke to Ross after we left the Black Cat and he said WK went up just a little late but he and Marty did their intro a bit early.
WK took the stage and I have no idea what he sounded like.
I saw the keyboardist make it up and the blur of WK's approach to the stage when I felt this surge of bodies behind me as his fans tried to push themselves up to the stage through the people who had already been there. This was made worse by my being behind a guy in a wheelchair. Not knocking wheelchairs, but they're a bit unmovable when an unknown number of bodies some crashing into you. I had one thought on my mind, get out. I eventually made my way out of the crush of people to the cooler hair behind them and felt so worn out. He had to have been on stage for all of 5 minutes by the time I made it to the back of the room and sat down for a second. Warrock had packed up already and the SAF guys had too. I made my way downstairs with Carlos and Raine near by. I've met Carlos at other SAF shows and I met Raine in line for the Con-cert and we happened to be near each other by the stage up during the openers.
In the cool outside I joked about how we survived WK, not because we made it through his performance, but because we got out. I had someone's beer on my, had be lightly battered but I made it out pretty much intact. Carlos got a scratch from crashing into the wheelchair and Raine's sandals gave up the ghost. But we made it out. That's what matters.
Tired from the con and then the hell that was the few minutes I was in the crush of bodies I was ready to pass out. I made it home by driving about 25 mph the entire way, good thing it was 1 am and no body was behind me at all. I just took my time to get home and crawl into bed.
Staying for WK was a bad life choice and really the only problem I had all weekend, other than fatigue from standing and walking for 9 hours. But i made it home and Sunday morning happened all too soon.
When my phone's alarm went off I cursed. I felt gross and was so tired and someone I stood up on the swollen painful cushions that were once my feet. I yawned my way through a shower, back to Vienna and into the Chinatown Dunkin Donuts then McDonalds for breakfast. I had a panel I wanted to go to at noon-thirty so I wanted to be back around 11, so I wouldn't have to rush.
In the convention center I sat in one of the food court-table areas and sketched out two quick Kates for Joe and Leila. In my mind it was a thank you for being cool to me, but it's also because I love giving people art. (Fact: you should read Shutter. It's better in print that on my phone, but there's nothing worth reading on my phone). They were happy to take them and I wished them safe trips home. They had to leave early Sunday. I made the rounds and some Easter jokes before I went to the Women in Comics panel.
The Women in Comics panel was Teresa Logan who writes all types of humor and has drawn greeting cards; Carolyn Belefski who did at least the kickstarter 3 day passes, but also cartoons; Juana Medina a designer and illustrator from Colombia and Michael Cavna a cartoonist and journalist for the Washington Post. Much of their panel was about women in syndicated comics and some of the evolution in the comics page with women appearing and creating. I haven't read the post comics page recently but I didn't realize that there are only 2 (I think) women on it now. Cathy's gone, Better or Worse is an re-runs, there's Rhymes with Orange and I can't remember the other one off the top of my head. It could be so much better than it is. They mentioned the value of the internet and how there aren't old white men there saying that there can only be so many women, or so many people of color, or so many people of a specific age, publishing comics. At one point Teresa mentioned how Aaron MaGruder, Keith Knight, Ray Billingsley and Darren Bell had a time getting syndicated and into the same papers together given they're all black comics, but they all discuss wildly different things.
The internet is changing this and representation of women in comics online and outside of the Big 2 is changing things for girls (and boys) growing up and being interested in comics who don't draw in the One Superhero Style. (Okay, I know it's not one style, but look at the line work for supes and look at the line work for things put out by most everyone else, it's pretty damn different). During the Q&A part I threw out a comment about the Smut Peddler 2 kickstarter and what it represents for women in comics. It's an anthology of sexy time comics, created by women (and men with discerning taste), published by a black woman, and it's kickstarter is killing it. As of my writing this they've passed earning their budget 5 times over and there's another 2 weeks until it's over. I brought it up because it's a stellar example of there being a want for woman created comics and people are willing and eager to make it happen.
Good times. It was now time for Super Art Fight, which had a crazy good turn out for a Sunday panel. the Wheel of Death 2.0 was revealed in a public setting, I'd seen it on a Sunday live show, but the new wheel is pretty cool. The matches, let's see. First it match of the afternoon was Team Dudeler and Commando versus Sketch Hero and Doctor Destructo. Sketch Hero and Doctor Destructo won. Match two was Krod and the Angry Zenmaster up against Red Erin and Alex Herberling, Krod and the Zenmaster won this time. Then the last match of the day was Baron von Sexyful against newcomer Officer CP Bristol (it took me until last night to realize, cold press. Art nerdery forever) (if it's not 'cold press' than it will always be cold press in my heart). While ticketing never ending art crime, crimes against fashion, puns and sucking, Officer Bristol came out on top and was triumphant with his flashing lights and flashier art moves. It was fun, it was really hearing 'wheel of death' echoing off the absurdly high convention ceilings, and the room was packed. IT was a Sunday afternoon panel than ran until almost the end of the afternoon and it was packed. I was near hoarse after this and the con-cert from Saturday.
With SAF over, I hung out with James and Carlos for the last hour of Sunday as I hunted down the SpaghettiKiss AwesomeCon tee (they were sold out in my size D: )and I picked up Finder 2 from Carla Speed McNeil. She gave me some great advice on working with markers, so I'm going to have to try that out soon, and I gushed over how great her variant cover for Smut Peddler looks. I also saw her completed Little Nemo pages, gorgeous. I love looking at other people's work. I look forward to having a proper workspace and being able to work larger, seeing full size 11 x 17 work is somehow jawdropping for me, I only have the space to work at 9 x 12. I also haven't really finished anything in a while, I should.
I made a few last minute purchases and made my way back to the metro and went home. I barely got Sunday's daily sketch done up, I was just worn out. My ankles and feet still ache a bit from the weekend, my legs are pretty much fine. It was good times, I have some new comics and things to pin to my wall, including a lovely Shutter poster.
Well, until the next time, keep your drawing hand strong :)
Photos! From the Instabubs