Awoke Friday, and remembered that I forgot a big chunk of what happened Thursday morning that I didn't include in a blog post that I'd write five days later.
Okay, not really, but I forgot to mention that I did stop into Dark Delicacies the first day I was in town. I'd never been, to my shame, and wasn't disappointed. It's a great bookstore even if you don't really like straight-up horror but are into esoterica. Grabbed a two-volume private press survey of UFO photography, dated 1986. That's the good stuff, so far as I'm concerned. I like to put X-FILES as a hard demarcation (though there are some post-X-FILES documentaries that weren't a waste of my time). Honestly, anything UFO that takes place before absorbing the awful lessons of Cooper's BEHOLD A PALE HORSE is likely to get my interest. Unfortunately, that book has become the ur-document of UFOlogy, at least where it wanders over into popular culture, and it did Q way before they saw an opportunity to make some money off the Current Situation. But some grifts are really old, right? Actually placed a copy of QUEEN OF NO TOMORROWS there, and maybe that'll lead to more orders.
Right. Back to Friday.
Awoke and immediately saw the rising sunlight coming through the blinds in the front room and catching some sunflowers on the table so I of course raced over to grab some pictures. Okay, maybe I just stared at it for awhile because my brain wasn't yet processing anything and my head was pounding because I'd walked around a lot of LA yesterday and hadn't been drinking water and yeah, that happens. I wish it had been from wild consumption of margaritas with dinner, but no, simple dehydration. Yay. Breakfast and a lot of water and coffee. Coffee counts as hydration. Don't tell me different.
Grabbed a friend from his place in Burbank and hit the road to Wonder-Con. Listened to a lot of old metal on XM, since the car decided to stop recognizing my iPod. Bright, sunny, beautiful morning. I forgot how great those were in Southern California. Realtalk: coastal Southern California is cloudy or overcast way more than it's sunny. I know, BAYWATCH taught you different. I'm telling you, BAYWATCH fucking lies. Trust me. I'm an actual person. So, yeah, great tunes, great company, great weather, so even being stuck in traffic on the 5 south can be okay. And here, I'm going to let you in on a little secret. You can't tell anyone else or it'll get ruined. But if you're going to the Anaheim Convention Center for Wonder-Con, you've got a couple options when you park. 1 - try the Convention Center, which fills up very quickly. 2 - Go to the overflow parking out at the hockey stadium, which is exposed and hot and a fifteen minute shuttle ride while you stand out there in the sun and wait for the next shuttle - don't do this. 3 - Turn down Harbor Boulevard from Katella and park at Garden Center. You pay some money, sure. But it's a short walk and basically hassle-free. So thanks to my buddy for pointing that out. Now don't tell your friends this or everyone will be doing it and then nobody can do it again.
Wonder-Con itself is a big and well-run show. This isn't a surprise, since it's now the sister show to the San Diego Comic Con. The big kahuna, the bad mammajamma, ground zero, the show to end all shows. The funny thing is that it's a smaller show now than Emerald City Comic Con, where I was, what, two weeks before? March has been a blur, I tell you. Three shows over four weekends (and I know some maniacs who went to C2E2 the week after ECCC). But, the fact is that it's a smaller show, both in floor space and raw numbers (unless they were hiding folks in the equivalent of SDCC's Hall H). This isn't a complaint, but an observation.
As for the show itself, I don't know how much I've got to say. I mostly did rounds on the floor, said hello to folks like Tom Neely (he and his partner are working on the next chapter of THE HUMANS, titled "The Jungle" and I'm looking forward to that, you should too.) I also spent some time looking over artist's alley and seeing if there were folks who might be good to work with in the future. See, I've got a new idea that I'm in love with and it really needs the right artist as it has some odd requirements and POVs that aren't usual to comics. Unfortunately, a lot of what I found, and I mean a lot, were people selling prints of other people's work. Hey, I know everyone has to make a living and bringing your own material to a market that doesn't want anything new is hard. Ask me how much I spent making comics some time. Ask me how much time I have to spend convincing folks to look at a book called QUEEN OF NO TOMORROWS. I know it's tough. It's still irritating to see that being a major sector of artist's alley at comic shows. It's one thing to have say, your webcomic or unique character prints and a few commissions or some fan art off to the side. It's another to have three walls of other people's characters and your straight-up redrawing of them. Blah blah blah, whine whine whine, shut up, dude, don't tip over the apple cart. Whatever.
Honestly, though, I wanna see new stuff, not someone's redrawn old stuff.
And the new stuff is out there, just gotta hunt for it some. But that's harder than standing in a line for Scott Snyder (which I saw a lot of people doing and more power to 'em.) Shout out to Nicholas Burman (who does sorta witchy sorta metal work) and Cryomera, who are both doing their own thing, tucked way away back in a corner of one of the less-traversed halls. I know. it sucks to be that far away from things, but you gotta keep soldiering on.
Looked at a lot of overpriced Godzilla merchandise. Didn't buy any of it. Didn't really do any panels. Just looked at original art which is now so fantastically expensive that I can barely afford to do even that anymore. Oh, I did make one big find, that being a copy of Ron Cobb's COLOR VISION from 1980 or 1981, from the Stuart Ng booth. Cobb, if you don't know, was a cartoonist and designer (having done design work on movies like DUNE, ALIEN and STAR WARS, among many others) and I've been snapping up books of his work when I can find them. This has been on the list for awhile. Easily the most expensive thing I laid money down for (though I did think about the $2000 radio control Godzilla toy. Okay, not really. But still, I bet it's really cool.) Grabbed a few other oddities as well. Those'll be catalogued in a future post.
Judging the quality of the show? Hard to do. These things have changed a fair bit since I started going to them. That said, they're still worth the time and effort, but a lot of that is seeing the people face to face. Well that and rummaging through grubby dollar bins for oddities that'll never get collected ever in anyone's lifetime.
There's other stuff that happened at the show that I can't really talk about now. (Cagey!) But I hope to have an update in the near future.
Left the para-paradise of Anaheim for a sunset drive back to the very familiar hunting grounds of Costa Mesa, where I lived for awhile after regularly haunting it as a kid since my dad worked at the LA TIMES there. It was easy to slip into a frame of mind where things were back then, the light, the atmosphere, cruising steadily over highways that I'd driven a thousand times before. Dinner with longtime friends and crashing out early because that's how I roll. Admit it, you're envious.