Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Wondering about WonderCon

WonderCon is almost upon us again. So in no particular order, some thoughts on comic conventions:

After going to last year's show, I decided that the 2005 con was my last.

Okay, maybe I was a little hasty.

Last year, I got a little overwhelmed. It seemed a lot more crowded than before, with not many places to be out of the way while my brother and my cousin were checking out the back issues.

This is a problem I have with going just about anywhere. I don't like crowds. I get really irritable, and when it gets really crowded, I start stressing out a lot.

So you can imagine the fun I had at the 2002 Comic-Con in San Diego, where the attendance was roughly in the billions.

The other thing that kinda bummed me out is how much more expensive things have gotten in the relatively short time I've been going. My first WonderCon was only in 1999, I think, and it seemed pretty laid back.

But last year, a lot more celebrities were asking to be paid for signing anything, even if it was something you brought yourself. I still haven't figured out how I feel about this.

On one hand, I know that many TV stars from my youth don't get residuals from the shows they were on, and this is a way for them to make some scratch. But I don't know.

I have no problem paying an artist for a sketch, though I've seen plenty who don't charge. I pay my $20 and I have a tangible product from someone whose work I admire. Does an actor whose show I grew up watching and enjoying deserve the same $20 for scribbling their name on something I bought to support their show in its initial run and brought with me?

I haven't paid for an autograph yet, if that tells you anything. I know some people are getting autographs for resale, and this is a way for actors to make sure they're getting something for it, but it just rubs me the wrong way. Glossy pictures that they bring with them? Sure, I know that stuff costs money. Asking for a donation to charity? No problem.

But here's the thing: I have a limited amount of money. Am I going to spend it on artwork, videos and (of course) comic books, or am I going to spend it so a star can sign my trading card?

I have to maximize my spending.

Okay, I feel like I'm ranting, so I'm gonna stop. There are lots of cool things about conventions. I got to meet the hosts of "Creature Features," Bob Wilkins and John Stanley. I almost ran right into announcer extraordinaire Gary Owens because I wasn't watching where I was going.

I think my biggest problem is that I am painfully shy. The con is filled with tons of nice people whose work I admire, and I have a hard time talking to any of them. Fortunately, my brother is always with me, and he has no problem talking to anyone. He doesn't see why I have a hard time.

"Dude, they're not going to eat you. Just talk to them. That's why they're there. Jeez, grow a pair, huh?"

My baby brother, ladies and gentlemen.

He's right, though. If I were a guest at a convention, I'd be jazzed to hear from someone who liked my work. Sure, some clown could come up to my table and tell me how much I suck, but chances are that it would be my brother, anyway.

If you are going to WonderCon this year (probably on the 11th), be on the lookout for someone who looks like this and say hi.

And yes, I know that 53% of the attendees will look vaguely like that, just in different shapes and sizes. You'd know me if you saw me.

I'm the one holding up the wall.

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