Saturday…was not that bad. At the height of the afternoon traffic, I needed to go from the very back of the exhibit hall to the front, and thought for sure I’d never be seen again. But to my surprise (well, astonishment), I was able to zip right through, with only one minor roadblock. Several other people I spoke to throughout the day expressed surprise at what seemed to be, if not a less-populated con, then at least a more maneuverable one. There were still obviously areas of high concentration, but they were somewhat easier to get around this year. So…yay!
For me, cons aren’t just about toys and comics and sharing a blissful elevator ride with Patrick Wharburton. No, these crazy things are also about seeing old friends, meeting new people and learning about what passions drive other geeks to wait in line for an autograph or pull on a pair of tights. The people aspect is extremely fun, and I’ve had a blast geeking out with my fellow fanboys (and fangirls!). So, while I’m exhausted and my poor feet may never recover from this ordeal, I’m a little sorry to see it end. But it ain’t over yet, kids. Here’s my schedule for Sunday:
10:30 – 12:00 Queer Comics Panel
1:00 – 5:00 FBOTU @ Prism Comics Booth (#2049)
2:00 – 4:00 Meet Fanboy of the Month/Gay Comic Geek Paul at the Prism Booth!
Now, for my recap of Saturday, where do I begin? Really, the whole day was about FBOTM Rafael. Months ago, Rafael and I had joked about him being a booth babe should I ever get a spot to exhibit at Comic-Con. So, when it actually came to fruition, I contacted Raf, with fingers crossed, hoping he was a little serious about being eye candy for 150,000 passersby. Luckily, he was all for it. We met in my hotel room Saturday morning for him to try on a couple of costumes. We decided on Nightwing over Superman and headed to the show. I spent a large part of the morning doing some shopping and avoiding the crush around the panel rooms. I was pretty shocked I was able to walk right up to the BBC America booth to get my Doctor/Dalek set. I kept looking around to see if I’d somehow accidentally cut in line, which I’m known to do. With a little time to kill before heading to the Prism Comics booth, I went upstairs to the autograph area to look around and check out people in costume. That’s where I first encountered Hawkman (or Hawkbulge, as I called him). Saturday night is the annual masquerade, so it’s often the best day to see costumes. And certainly the best day to see men in tights.
I was a little late getting to the Prism booth, where I found Rafael had already charmed everyone there, proving he was a great choice for the job. We set up and then spent the next few hours chatting with fans, handing out swag and generally being goofy. While Rafael posed for pictures and handed out buttons and postcards, I got a chance to chat with some of my fellow exhibitors, including the amazing Paige Braddock, creator of Jane’s World; Jon Macy (Telleny and Camille), Ed Luce (Wuvable Oaf); Sean-Z (Myth); and Justin Hall (Glamazonia). Truly, if you ever get the chance to visit Prism at any of the major West Coast shows, you really must. Getting to meet and talk to LGBT comics creators is so much fun, and they’ve all been so gracious and friendly with fans. I have some audio of my chats, which I’ll piece together and post tomorrow or Tuesday. So, stay tuned!
Our hours at the booth really flew by, and I suddenly found it ridiculous that the exhibit hall closes so early. But there was also the “Gays in Comics” panel to attend, so Rafael and I packed up our crap and headed upstairs to good, old 6A. The panel always draws a big crowd, but even Daniel Way (Dark Wolverine) seemed surprised, saying it was a bigger crowd than they got at the X-Men panel. Geoff Johns started to make a joke about the X-Men, then refrained. Also on the panel were Marjorie M. Liu (Dark Wolverine), Jim McCann (Dazzler), Zan Christensen (Mark of Aecus), Dan Parent (Veronica), Tim Fish (Cavalcade of Boys) and Howard Cruse (Stuck Rubber Baby).
I’ve been going to this panel for several years now, and it’s amazing to actually see the progress that’s been made in terms of adding LGBT characters to mainstream comics. I still believe that adding Kevin Keller to Archie is revolutionary in a way that will affect the lives of LGBT kids for years to come. Luckily, Dan Parent assured the audience this wasn’t planned to be a one-time thing. Kevin is here to stay. His description of his daughters and their friends and how accepting they are was really inspirational and gave me some hope for the future. Marjorie M. Liu and Daniel Way are people I just want to hang out with. Intelligent, well-spoken and insanely talented, they were probably my favorite part of the panel. Both spoke very eloquently and honestly about writing a bisexual character who is defined more by his actions than his sexuality. And for the record, Daken is pronounced Dock-en. I’ve been saying Dack-en. I’m glad that’s all cleared up now. I didn’t expect Geoff Johns to say much. Since ascending to the throne, his new responsibilities seem to be looking cute and repeating “I can’t talk about that” over and over again. He did give some slight hints that we might be seeing Pied Piper again, as well as maybe, sort of, possibly a male Star Sapphire and a new gay character in the Green Lantern title somewhere.
Finally, I’ve learned so much about Howard Cruse at the Con this year and his impact on gay comics. While fans always tend to be looking forward, it’s also a good idea to look back and see just how far we’ve come and recognize the people who paved the way.
I couldn’t stay very long for the mixer following the panel, but I did get to say hi to a few people. And Rafael helped me do a little FBOTM recruiting. If we really get one of the guys we talked to, you’re all going to freak out. But I can’t talk about that right now. It’s been a good weekend, overall, in terms of signing up our next FBOTMs. We have four potentials now, waiting in the wings, ready for the spotlight. Unfortunately, Geoff Johns declined, but there’s always next year.