Comic Geek Speak Super Show 2010
March 26, 2010 / 08:50
I'm more or less set for my trip to the Comic Geek Speak Super Show in Reading, PA this weekend. I've got my tickets for the show and a hotel reservation for Friday and Saturday nights. There are some additional logistical details that I need to work out.
Laundry, as in when am I going to get it done? Before I leave? After I get back? Or do I take it with me and get it done while I am up there? I'm leaning towards taking it with me.
I need to drop off some shirts with the dry cleaner before I leave. I'm going to try to leave work early in order to get that done.
When should I leave? Traffic will almost certainly be worse during rush hour. I could leave later, like say 8 or 9. This would probably give me enough time to pack and also get my laundry washed.
What do I take with me? The short answer is not too much. I'll be coming back on Sunday. The obvious things to take are of course clothes, toiletries, snack food, cash, etc.
Then there are the things that I won't be doing because I won't be around to do them, like working on my parents' taxes, grocery shopping, etc.
Lots of decisions to make in the next 12 hours. Hopefully I will have fun and won't feel like I wasted my time and money.
I didn't leave the office much earlier than usual. Something came up @ 2:30 and it took a couple more hours and my expertise to resolve the matter. I would have preferred to have left the office by 3:00 pm but at least I get paid by the hour.
When I get home I'm gonna try to get the laundry knocked out, then rush home to pack, and then take off for Reading; hopefully I'll be on the road no later than 9. I'll either grab a bite to eat on the way or else whip up something quick while I'm packing.
March 27, 2010 / 08:30
I'm in Reading now. I arrived here around 00:45 this morning. I left home just after 22:00 last night which was later than I wanted to. I washed my laundry and dropped off shirts at the dry cleaners as planned. I finished those tasks and was back at my apartment by 20:00. It took me a couple more hours to pack, eat, put in my drops, and get out of my apartment. Could I have moved faster? Probably, but I also probably would have forgotten something if I had.
I will say this much about leaving as late as I did: never again. I really had to push myself to stay awake, especially during the 90 minutes that it took me to get from the intersection of 29 and 198 in MD to York, PA. For some reason that part of the drive was very monotonous and made me very sleepy possibly because it was all highways. I had close to an hour's drive after I reached York but it was broken up by the occasional stoplight and I also seemed to get a second wind as I slowed to the first stoplight.
I'm having breakfast right now at Take Two Bagels, which is just down the street from the hotel I'm staying in. The bagels are slightly chewy, just like bagels should be. I had one cranberry walnut and one everything, both toasted with butter. They have lots of seating, but weren't too busy when I got here at 08:25. Best bagels I've ever had? No, but they were tasty and worth a try if you are in the neighborhood and like bagels.
Its a bit cooler here in Reading than it is in DC this morning. The temp was in the mid-20s when I got up. The heat wasn't on in my room when I arrived a little before 01:00. I turned it on but in took a while for it to warm up. My only other kvetch about my room is that the handle that controls the water temperature for the shower is very sensitive: nudge it even slightly and it gets either much hotter or much colder. Aside from that I'm happy with room.
Sitting at the bar @ 3rd & Spruce. Just ordered dinner. Drinking a beer. As with all my other attempts (in the greater Reading area) at following the google maps directions the ones I used to try and get over here didn't work out. They got me within a few blocks but then I had to circle around until I got my bearings and found the place. It didn't help that it was after sunset and the street lighting wasn't adequate for reading most of the street signs.
The same thing happened this morning when I was looking for the expo center. I wound up way off course. First I veered off in the wrong direction and then I thought I got back on course but I actually wasn't. I went a few miles out of my way before I realized that I must be on the wrong road. I did some wandering and circling and eventually got back on track. What should have taken 10 minutes ended up taking about 40 minutes.
Once I got to the show everything went well. I spent the whole day there, from 10:00 until 18:00. I bought 3 single issues, 8 books, and one sketch card. More about that stuff later.
The expo center is much bigger than what they need for the show. They are using just two rooms and even those rooms aren't packed. I saw a lot of stuff that looked interesting. I bought many of them and will buy a few more of them tomorrow.
I sat in on two panels. The first one was also the first panel of the day: Comics in Education. It wasn't very well attended. There were more people on the panel (5) than there was in the audience (4) but it was still an interesting discussion. I got in a question during the Q&A section. Actually it was the only question asked by audience members.
The other panel was the fourth and final panel of the day: Meet the Simonsons (Walt and Louise). Both of them work and have worked in comics for the past 30+ years. It was a good panel. They weren't the only guests of the con that work for the big 2 (DC, Marvel) but they were certainly the biggest names and the probably the most widely recognized. There were a few questions from the audience, but that I'm not very familiar with the work of either husband (I've only read part of his run on Thor from the early-1980s) or wife (I dunno know if I've ever read anything she wrote but I've certainly read books she edited but have no idea, off the top of my head, which ones they were) and couldn't think of anything to ask.
After the second panel I wandered around a little bit and looked through some back issue bins without buying anything. There was a table set up for trading comics at which there wasn't any real trading going on. Instead it was a dumping ground for comics that people did not want. I looked through those books too without finding anything worth taking home with me.
Towards the end of the day there was a live recording of an episode of Comic Geek Speak. I stood around and watched and listened along with many other of the attendees. For the most part it was an opportunity to thank people and hand out awards. It was not a typical CGS episode.
At the end of the day I attended the one man puppet show put on by Charlito, of Indie Spinner Rack. He was just as manic and crazy in person as he comes across in their podcast. It was good although it wasn't quite as polished as it could have been. I think his act works better in the audio show, or maybe it is just a matter of him being used to performing for that format.
I went back to my hotel after the show to put in my drops, charge my phone, and get a few moments to reflect. I was there for about an hour before I took off for 3rd & Spruce. I think the Super Show get together was upstairs. I found a spot at the bar downstairs. I had a bite to eat, had a beer (Yuengling), and typed out some of my recollections of the day. I thought about going upstairs but instead opted to go back to my hotel, it was about 21:00, to write some more. I probably crashed before 23:00.
March 28, 2010 / 09:30
I had breakfast again this morning at Take Two Bagels. This time I had a cinnamon raisin and a black russian, both toasted with butter. Delicious, once again. I'm all packed up, ready go check out and head back to the con. Hopefully it won't take me 40 minutes to find the place today. I got considerably more sleep last night than I did Friday night
I'm planning on staying most of the day which means I probably won't be back until after the sunsets. I'm planning on stopping at Isaac's Deli in Centreville, PA for dinner. I first ate there a couple years ago when I was on my way to an orienteering meet in French Creek State Park.
Still not at the con, but this time it has nothing to do with getting lost. I've got a flat tire. The tire was flat when I got in the car. I suspect that it was punctured some time yesterday or the day before. I noticed last night that the car was acting funny. It seemed to take more effort than usual to pull the wheel over to the left or right. It didn't occur to me at the time that it might be the tire but now but now I think that it was.
I don't want to spend half the day getting this squared away but I'm afraid this is going to wind up taking a lot longer than I want it to.
I'm at NTB getting a new tire put on my car. AAA showed up within 45 minutes. The guy helped me change the tire. I would have done it myself but I couldn't get the tire off the car. I struggled with the lugnuts but I got them off but then the tire wouldn't budge. The jack that my car comes equipped with isn't the best. When I tried pulling hard on the tire the car started to rock on the jack and I thought it would come tumbling over. That's why and when I called AAA. The guy from AAA used my kind of solution to solve the problem: after jacking my car up with his much sturdier jack and trying unsuccessfully to pull the tire off he went back to his truck and got a hammer. It only took one whack to loosen the tire.
After he put some air in the spare I thanked him and drove to NTB. They told me I would have a 40-60 minute wait, so I crossed the street and went to Golden Eagle Comics.
At this point they are telling me that it will be another 30 minutes before my car is ready. I had a feeling that it would take longer than they originally estimated. I've taken my car in for service before. I know what it can be like.
I finally made it to the show around 13:30. I missed two panels and decided to pass on the third one. I've spent a bundle more, picked up seven more books, one more issue, and one print. I think I'm toast. I've got more than enough to keep me busy for quite some time. I don't know if there's much point in coming up for the Wild Pig sale in a couple months. There a few things to look for, maybe I could get a sketch card or two, but that's about it.
Waiting for the puppet show part deux to begin.
I'm just outside of York at the moment, just off of Mt Zion Road. I'm sitting in one of the many Isaac's Restaurant & Deli locations in central PA.
I left the con around 16:30. I didn't escape without spending a little more money, $10 to be precise, on back issues from Wild Pig. Aside from that, after the puppet show (which was better than yesterday's edition) I just wandered around a little bit, and entered a dice-rolling contest to win a boxed game. I didn't win the contest and left soon after.
I think I enjoyed the puppet show more today because it was better coordinated and also because I sat closer to the front. I'm still not so sure about that one song that Charlito wrote. It makes me feel a little uncomfortable no matter how many people laugh at it. Still, there's no denying the guy is talented and creative and knows his audience.
March 29, 2010 / 22:25
I had a lot of fun. I really enjoyed this con. I think I'll come back again next time, whenever that will be. Part of the appeal is the nature of the show. Its a small show that is run by a bunch of guys who really love comics. This did not strike me as a money making venture for the organizers.
The only bad part of the weekend, aside from the flat tire, was the stench in the bathroom. Yuck.
April 03 / 19:00
A final thought although there might be more to come. I packed more than I needed in the way of clothes. I couldn't decide what to wear to the show in advance. I ultimately decided that I didn't want to look (or at the very least dress) like everyone else. Instead of wearing a t-shirt and a pair of jeans I wore chinos and an oxford shirt on Saturday; chinos and a polo shirt on Sunday. I'm not sure how much I stood out but at the very least I felt comfortable dressed that way. Its not that I don't like dressing in a t-shirt and jeans its that I didn't want to do it just to fit in. I prefer stand out, be an eyesore, rather than conform just so that I can/will fit in.
What I bought (on Saturday)
Probably the item I am most pleased with is the sketch card I got from Katie Cook. She was only asking $5 per card. I asked if she could do a mashup of Dilbert and Mr. Fantastic. It only took a few minutes to complete. She drew it in ink and they colored it with watercolors. I am vary happy with the final product. It makes me want to get more sketch cards.
Fred Chao was the first person I bought stuff from. He had a few boxes of trades that he was selling for $5 a piece. I went through his boxes and wound up buying 5 of them. I bought 3 more trades but each from different sellers.
The First 5
Last of the Independents - written by Matt Fraction with artwork by Kiernon Dwyer; I believe this is a heist story modeled after old heist films from decades ago; like most of the other books I bought I've heard good things about this one and I like the look of the artwork
The Other Side - written by Jason Aaron with artwork by Cameron Stewart, two names I know from the podcasts I listen to but whose work I am unfamiliar with; it is a story from the Vietnam War told from both the American and Vietnamese sides; I liked the look of the pictures and felt obliged to pick it up
Batman: Secrets - written and drawn by Sam Kieth; that's all I really needed to know; I love Sam Kieth's creator owned work such as Maxx and Zero Girl; fropm flipping through the book I can see it involves the Joker (in addition to Batman) but aside from that I have no clue as to what it is about.
City People Notebook - written and drawn by Will Eisner; another collection of stories about NYC; I love Eisner's stories of the city; maybe someday I'll branch out and read some of his other works like the Spirit
Male Call - written and drawn by Milton Caniff; this is the complete collection of the strip that he did for Stars & Stripes, the newspaper of the armed forces of the United States, during World War II
The Other 3
Essex County Tales v1 - link - written and drawn by Jeff Lemire; I've heard a lot of good things about this series from the guys on 11 O'clock Comics although I'm still not sure if there's anything more to it than the title implies; the person I bought this from also had v2 but I decided to just get the first installment
Misery Loves Sherman - link - written and drawn by Chris Eliopolous; I've enjoyed reading this web comic almost from day one; this book collects the first year of the strip; the strips are all available online for free; I also got a little Mort plushy; separately, the book was $15.00 and the plushy was $6.00 but because I bought them both it was just $20.00, not a huge savings but I didn't care about that; I bought them because I wanted to pay back Chris for all that he has given me at no cost up until now
Heathentown - written by Corinna Sara Bechko with art by Gabriel Hardman; I'm not familiar with either of these creators' work; I dunno what this is about exactly (the back of the book mentions something about a mystery set in the Everglades) but I like the black and white art work; what really sold me was the picture on the back which looks like it shows a zombie riding a mammoth; I bought this at the Indie Spinner Rack table
The Curse - written and drawn by Mike Norton; it cost $4, which seems excessive for such a short comic book but I like the podcast he does with Chris Crank; in other words I more or less bought it because I like listening to him shoot the shit with Chris each week on the Crankcast; the funny thing was that Mike was wearing what looked like a slanket; what was even funnier is that the guy at the next table (Jamal Igle) was wearing one too, and it looked identical to the one Mike had on
I took a picture of Mike's sign, which brought a smile to my face; I asked his permission before I did; he said OK but then quickly asked it it was going to get him in trouble somehow; I wasn't sure how to respond to that; I think I mumbled a quick response but I can't remember exactly what I said
Most of the people I spoke to were behind behind tables, trying to sell me stuff. Some people allowed me to ask questions about their work. Others seemed more interested in making a sale. Some artists were too busy doing sketches to even look up when I approached their table. That said, most people (behind tables) tried to engage me in conversation of one sort or another unless they were otherwise occupied with other people.
I am amused by the fact that I could actually feel myself blushing when I mentioned Dr Who when someone brought up Simon Pegg. It really was silly of me.
What I bought (on Sunday)
Before getting to the con I made an unplanned visit to Golden Eagle Comics; they were having a sale: all back issues were 50% off; I paid a total of $5.16 for the following 5 issues:
Batman and the Outsiders # 13, 14 - unfortunately they didn't have #15 or Brave and the Bold # 200. Those are the only issues I need to complete my run of this series.
New Teen Titans # 37 - this is the first part of the crossover story that finishes up in Batman and the Outsiders # 5
JLA # 63, 64 - I think I'm just missing one issue and then I'll have a complete run of Joe Kelly and Doug Mahnke's run on this series.
Once I got to the con the first thing I bought was at Brian Glass' table
Mice Templar v1 - written by Brian J.L. Glass and drawn by Michael Avon Oeming; this looks awesome; of course I love Oeming's work on Powers; this was the priciest single item that I bought; it cost $30; the book is a bit dinged up I probably could have gotten a discount for it if I had asked; the writer was nice enough to do a sketch in the inside cover, that's right the writer; I wonder if he got a kick out of my surprise that he was doing more than just signing the book
At Fred Chao's table I bought:
Persepolis v1 & v2 - Random House - written and drawn by Marjane Satrapi; Given how much has been written about these books and how inexpensive they were, $5 each, I felt obliged to pick them up
Hellboy v3: The Chained Coffin & Other Stories - Dark Horse Comics - Written and drawn by Mike Mignola; I've read very little Hellboy and this was very inexpensive, just $5
At the Indie Spinner Rack table I picked up:
Agnes Quill: An Anthology of Mystery - SLG Publishing - written by Dave Roman with art by Jason Ho, Dave Roman, Raina Telgemaier, and Jeff Zorrow; this really looks neat; four supernatural mysteries, each drawn by a different artist but featuring the same main character
Scandalous - Oni Press - written by J. Torres with art by Scott Chantler; a story about tabloid journalism in Hollywood in the 1950s; the playful nature of the artwork is what caught my eye when I flipped through the book, but it was the subject matter that convinced me to buy it
Mister X v2 - by Dean Motter with Seth; this looked too cool to pass up; I don't own and haven't read v1; I'll have to find it somewhere before I get down to reading this one
...and at the Wild Pig tables I found the following comics; I feel kind of bad for buying so many of them but I did look through a ton of comics before settling on these. Altogether I paid $10 for them:
The Spectre # 26-34 - written by John Ostrander and drawn by Tom Mandrake; I already have the previous issues; at some point I'm going to send them to library binding
Sidekick # 1-5 - written by Paul Jenkins with art by Chris Moreno; this is a mini-series and a spoof of superhero comics. I've been meaning to pick this up for quite some time. They had all five issues so I bought them.
Badlands # 1-6 - written by Steven Grant with art by Vince Giarrano; I'm not familiar with this mini-series but it looks intriguing; it has something to do with the assassination of JFK; they had all 6 issues so I picked it up; I've read at least one other mini-series by Steven Grant that I enjoyed, Damned, which also had a dark theme.
Jonah Hex # 24 - Written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, with artwork by Jodi Bernet. I've looked at some of the Jonah Hex trades at Barbarian. The artists change from issue to issue. Some I like, some I don't. Bernet is one of the ones that I like.
I spent a good deal of time flipping through the original art work at the Cadence Comic Art table. There was a lot of really nice work but the ones that really had me thinking about buying were the pages from Teen Titans Go! by Mike Norton, they weren't cheap ($100/page) but I also saw more expensive stuff that didn't appeal to me any more than these pages did. I did buy an Iron Man print by Skottie Young which really grabbed my eye.
The last couple items that I picked up were from a couple tables that I had visited.
The Contingent # 1 - written by Zack Kruse with art by Cameron Merkler. Zack was at the table and described it as the New Mutants meet Steve Ditko, which didn't exactly sell me on the book. Still, I wanted to try some new things so I bought the first issue.
Short Stack # 2 - Angry Gnome Comics - written by Shawn Gabborin with art by 13 different artists. This was one of the first tables I visited on Saturday. It took me a while to to come back to it. I wasn't completely sold on the concept but still I bought an issue. The issues in this series consist of 2-page short stories of the supernatural and horrific variety, all written by the same person but each drawn by a different artist. Looks much better now that I've got it home and read a few of the stories.