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!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You saw a lot of cool people!
I'd heard a lot of people do charge for their signatures, unless they are a key speaker and being paid by the venue.
Sad about the small press authors. Guess I'm glad I've never attended one of those cons although I've been asked. I know my publisher sends promotional items to a lot of the science fiction cons.

Andrew Leon said...

I've never been to a con I really thought was all that great, even the one where I met Todd McFarlane. And I do mean met, sort of, as he stopped to talk to me about the odd choice of comic I took to have him sign. He was very unimpressive even at the height of his popularity.

Sounds like your event is the counter-event to SDCC.

Danette Baltzer said...

I went to Star Con and had similar impressions. It's all about making money and the stars or "names" are there making money of their former fame, etc. and they usually charge for autographs. The talks were the most fun- at least the one I went to. It was Nichelle Nichols (Uhuru) and she had some great stories. It was free with entry. Other than that, everything else cost something.

Stephen Tremp said...

Hey Rusty, stopping by to say hello as its been a while since I visited.

I've been a huge Stan Lee fan since a small kid buying Marvel comics at the local stores. It would be so cool to meet the guy one day.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

I have a dream of bumping into Jason Momoa, then backing up and bumping into Chris Evans' chest, turning around and seeing Ryan Reynolds, and they all happen to be shirtless.

That'd be the best day of my life.

M Pax said...

That sounds like a lot of fun. We didn't have any celebs at the Portland sci-fi cons. Maybe this year.

Jay Noel said...

Did you go over to the Hydra Publications booth? That's my publisher, but they are giving me an opportunity to get my rights back.

I've decided to go indie. On my own. Sola Jay Noella.

Maurice Mitchell said...

That's awesome. Just seeing those guys would make my day, but anything else would be a bonus Rusty!

Cindy said...

Hi Rusty, glad to see you posting again. That sounds like a great time. I may go to a con one of these days.

Jo said...

Always wanted to go to a con but never will for a host of reasons. Sounds like fun although I don't know a lot of authors you mentioned.