Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Me and Stan Lee

Look – I’m back! Not really back, but back enough. I really just wanted to pop in and say hey.

So, hey.

Also, I took a quick gander up to “FANDOMFEST” in Louisville over the past weekend. A three day event that celebrates nerdy things. 

It was a far cry from comic-con, but it was a much bigger event than I expected. I'd only been there for an hour or so when I bumped into Jason Momoa (Stargate Atlantis, Game of Thrones, Conan) and he happened to be looking at the comic art that was on display. I'd been thumbing through the stuff because the artists were there signing things and I was thinking of buying something.  We didn’t talk because, honestly, I’m not sure I have anything to say to the man, except maybe, “Dude, you’re taller than I expected.” So I let it go.*
Here is Stan - pic courtesy of my step-son

Anyway, I saw William Shatner, Stan Lee… I think the cast from The Walking Dead was there. Firefly, a few other shows. I dunno, it was cool.

But what made me lose my crap was when I saw Neal Adams sitting around signing things. Of course, I probably didn’t realize it before, but the point of celebs and artists coming to cons like this one are for the opportunity to make money. So they tend to charge for signatures.

But still, it was Neal Adams. I knew him from his work with DC, I was much more of a Marvel guy as a kid, but I remember he drew a few pages of JLA # 200 (I think)** and as a child I stared at those pages for hours on end, marveling at the work of the artist. And there he was. Probably the earliest guy I can think of whose art in a comic blew me away.

So I turned to the guy beside him and purchased some of his signed work instead. In retrospect, not sure what my logic was there. Except that what I bought was awesome. He’s the guy that’s been doing recent covers for The Walking Dead.
Beautiful Walking Dead Cover Art!

Anyway, that isn’t what I was going to talk about, what I thought was pertinent for this post was that they had isles of folks selling their novels. There was a literary track at the con, full of panels and such, but I had heard of NOBODY on any of the panels, never heard of the authors, never heard of their books. So I ended up not going to any of those panels.

Instead, I wandered about the showroom and found the authors all clustered together in about 6 or 7 booths (some were 4 or 5 per booth) and selling their wares.

I think it’s safe to say that they were all either small press or self-pubbed authors. What was cool was that all of the authors had their books there for sale (at $10-$15 per book), but many had the QR Barcodes that linked directly to their story’s amazon page right there at their table – so I was able to talk to them for a few minutes, see what their novel was about, then download a copy (or sample) from Amazon as we spoke.  

Pretty cool stuff… I heard there were something in the neighborhood of 35k folks that showed up on Saturday (don’t know about Fri or Sun), so many that they had to start turning folks away. I get the idea that there was a lot of foot traffic at the event.

I came away from the event a little like I used to feel when I would go to the circus as a kid. As great as a show it might be, I still felt horrible for the animals. Something about seeing folks (the small authors) yelling at me as I walked by to PLEASE check out their book… I don’t know. It felt a little bit awkward.

Still, I did purchase a couple of items, a book from a small publisher about the craft of writing, and a self-pubbed comic about a zombie hunter, and I picked up tons and tons of bookmarks, business cards, flyers and such.

I can see why so many people attend these types of things all the time.

*Hard to tell in that environment… I’m guessing he’s 11 feet tall…  Too bad I couldn’t just look something like that up on the internet.

** Again, only if there were some way for me to look things up! Actually, I did look it up. I was right! Click this link to see a few panels of his brilliance!