I'm back from the convention, and overall I had a good time. My wife and I went to Seattle, where we had a room reserved for us through my mom's travel club. When we finally got there, we got checked in and the condo place asked us if they could pay us to sit through their sales pitch to join the travel club. That was a bit of a mistake, as the sales guy, once he knew we weren't buying, began insulting us. We did get a $75 credit card out of it, but I'm not sure it covers the abuse I took.
Once the sales pitch was out of the way, we headed over to the convention center to exchange our tickets and get our passes/badges. Coming up the escalators, a helpful lady indicated which way to go for ticketing. Unfortunately, it was across the convention center from where people we supposed to do the exchange, so we had to head back the way we came. We got our passes and then made our way to the convention hall.
I had prepared by printing the map from the convention's website, and marking down the locations of the people I wanted to meet. Fir on my list were the Comic Geek Speak guys. I have listened to them since their first episode, and they were one of the main reasons I wanted to go to the con. Four of them were attending, though only Bryan Deemer and his wife were at the booth at first. Eventually another showed up, Adam Murdough.
I discovered that right next to the CGS guys was the booth for Jill Thompson, one of my favorite artists on the Sandman series. She got there a bit late and was having trouble getting her backdrop set up, so I offered to help and managed to get the thing to open up. More on her later.
Next we moved on to Eric Trautmann and Greg Rucka, whose booths were right behind the CGS booth. I've seen both of these gentlemen many times, as Eric's wife owns and runs a local comic shop, Olympic Cards and Comics, and Mr. Rucka visits that shop fairly often to do signings and such. While waiting in line for Rucka, I chatted a bit with Eric, and took a picture for a fellow attendee of her and Rucka. I had Rucka sign a couple of his books, and he made fun of me for bringing real books to a comic convention, to which I pointed out that he'd already signed all of my comics.
From there, we visited Mike Norton, artist on the All-New Atom and Green Arrow/Black Canary, and co-star of the Crankcast podcast. I know from listening to his show that he doesn't take compliments well, but I couldn't help telling him how much I like his artwork and how much I enjoy listening to the show. I picked up a real copy of his self-published 24-hour comic, The Curse. If you haven't read it, take a look, but be warned that the language isn't for younger kids.
After that, we visited the creator of a web comic that I just adore, Danielle Corsetto, creator of Girls With Slingshots. I had wanted to get her four trade paperbacks, but once I knew that she was coming to the con, I held off in the hopes that I would get to meet her and have her sign and sketch them for me. It's been hard for me to read the trades, as I will sit down to read a page or two and discover that I've read ten or twenty when I had other things to do.
Next we headed over to the table of Steve Lieber, artist on Whiteout. He kindly drew a sketch in the first volume and signed both of them for me. I had already gotten the writer, Greg Rucka, to sign them one time he visited Olympic Cards and Comics. It was interesting to watch him first sketch the rough lines, and then use inks to finish the line art and to fill in the shading.
It was around this time that I realized that I hadn't prepared as well as I should have, as I didn't check the list of guests as well as I should have and had forgotten about half the books I should have brought. For example, I forgot the Strangers in Paradise and Echo trades for Terry Moore to sign, as well as the Starman Omnibi for James Robinson. Next year, I will try to do better.
The last books I needed to have signed were the Essex County trilogy by Jeff Lemire. When we got there, he had stepped away, so we decided to wait. While we were waiting, I saw Mark Waid walking by, got his attention, and made a total fool of myself before he excused himself. Oh well, another lesson learned: I'm not good at small talk with people I admire that greatly.
Jeff Lemire returned, and he quickly signed my books before stepping away again. I barely had time even to express my love of his books. I suspect he hadn't intended to return and only did so to sign our books. Hopefully I'll catch him again next year if I love his new book, Sweet Tooth, as much as I suspect I will.
We returned to the CGS booth, where I finally got to meet the other two guys who came from Pennsylvania, Brian and Peter. It was nice chatting with them, as Peter's reading habits as a kid tend to mirror my own, and Brian is a mostly-DC reader like myself.
Now that Jill Thompson was set up, we watched her draw a spectacular Sandman, with some incredible use of negative space. We also purchased a copy of her Death book and after some prompting, we got her to sign it. At the time I was bothered that it took some prompting to get her to sign it, but I suspect she was focussed on doing her commissions.
By this time, I had gotten all my books signed and seen pretty much every one I wanted to see, so my wife headed back to the hotel and I started to do my shopping. Over the course of the two days, I ended up buying about 200 books, which is still somewhat disappointing to me. I usually end up getting closer to 500, but I know that it's because I already own a majority of the books I want that would end up in a cheaper box. It didn't help that my list was a bit broken, as I'm converting to a new inventory program.
At any rate, I ended up buying quite a number of 80s Superman and Action Comics issues, as well as the issues I needed to complete or nearly complete a couple of series from the 80s and 90s, including Catwoman, Deathstroke, Unlimited Access, and Star Trek. I also picked up a bunch of the issues I was missing from Batman and Detective Comics from the 90s, and random issues of Showcase, Tarzan, Korak, and others. I also discovered a Seattle comic shop that appears to run occasional sales like the shop I visit in Portland, so the con was probably worth it for that, if for nothing else.
It was great getting to meet all those great creators, and my shopping was good, if not as comprehensive as I'd hoped. My guess is that I will be going again next year, and hopefully I will be a bit better prepared.