Saturday was my final day at the San Diego Comicon, but we went out with a BANG! With my Bill Everett book having already sold out, my signing at 11am was a little quieter than normal, but the good news is that people were still buying my two Ditko books and graciously flattering me with their appreciation for my work. Thank you to everyone who came out to see me. As is doing comics, writing is a solitary profession, so connecting with my audience is always a joy. I started writing for a few reasons, but mainly because there was a vacuum out there for this material, and I know how appreciative I was (and am) whenever able to purchase a quality book on a subject that's near and dear to me.
Speaking of enjoyable encounters, the entire Fantagraphics contingent was very accommodating throughout the show, and are a pleasure to associate with. It was great seeing Eric Reynolds, Mike Baehr and Janice Headley again, and I had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of the rest of the crew, including my first in-person meeting with Adam Grano who’s designed all three of my books with Fantagraphics and it was nice to hear him receive the praise he deserves. And he’s only 27 years old! I look forward to more collaborations with him. As always, time spent with the co-publisher Gary Groth (and his onto-university son, Conrad) is extremely enjoyable. We share a similar sense of humour, and a similar desire to put out the best quality product we can. From Day One of our association, he’s been nothing but accommodating, flexible, extremely easy to work with, and has always maintained a respectful manner when presenting the boundaries that publishers must operate within, and “the whys” behind this.
What also made the signing a joy was being interviewed for 10 minutes by the owner of Meltdown Comics (a super comic store in the Los Angeles area) Chris Roa for their “Meltcast” podcast (to be posted soon!) about my Bill Everett book. Chris is a huge Namor fan and it was great fun doing the first interview for the book. Expect a lot more press for this book in the months to come, and this will be the place to follow along.
Once I was able to break away from the signing, I made one last swoop of the floor, and had a few interesting encounters before preparing for my Bill Everett panel with his daughter Wendy at 5:30pm (I’ll post more tomorrow about the Everett panel, including a link to the audio!).
Click HERE to view the pictures I took on Saturday (new pics start on page two, third row) of the floor including multiples from the booth of original comic-book art dealer, Scott Eder (http://www.scotteder.com/) who also owns a gallery in Brooklyn, New York. His table was a stunning visual display of original art from my favourite artists of the past 10-20 years, including Dan Clowes, Chris Ware, Seth, Gilbert Hernandez, Chester Brown, and many more. Of course, my favourite comic store in the world, The Beguiling in Toronto, and Peter Berkimoe (owner) and Chris Butcher (manager) had great original artwork with them too, including three beautiful pieces from Seth's seminal graphic novel, It's a Good Life If You Don't Weaken.
Celebrity sightings on Saturday included standing beside Thomas Jane (Hung, Punisher) at Michael Zulli’s booth; watching Ray Bradbury pass right by me; shaking hands with Jerry Robinson (creator of The Joker); eyeing Dirk Benedict (original Starbuck of Battlestar Galactica and “Face” from the A-Team); brushing right by Zachary Levi (the lead in the TV show “Chuck”), and shaking hands with Sterling Beaumon (the young Ben Linus, a wee bit older now and with no glasses) and Noor Abed Jazeem (Nadia, Sayid’s soulmate) from one of my favourite shows, Lost. Ironically, the Lost panel that she was on was playing next door to my Bill Everett panel a half-hour later. I joked with a friend that they were going to have to take over because I’d leave my panel halfway through to see the Lost panel. Sensibly, I didn’t leave Wendy Everett hanging.
Another nice moment was getting a picture of Bern Nadette Stanis, who played Thelma on the 1970s show "Good Times" (also featuring Jimmy "Dynomite!" Walker). She’s still lookin’ hot and was very sweet, telling me that, indeed, lots of white guys have told her that they ended up with black women because of watching her on the show at a tender age (can’t argue it!).
Night time was spent having dinner with the preeminent Timely-Atlas historian (and Joe Maneely expert) Dr. Michael J. Vassallo and his family, then it was gelato til midnight with Gary Groth, Jaime Hernandez and the FBI crew.
On the way home to Toronto now (waiting in Houston for my connecting flight) but check back tomorrow for audio of my Everett panel and my interview with Chris Rosa of Meltdown, and maybe Prism Comics will have my “Spotlight on Howard Cruse” panel posted on YouTube by then!