I really hadn’t been planning on going to Wizard World Portland at all this year. I didn’t go last year (the first year it was held here in Portland) mostly because it was so close to Emerald City Comic Con. And even though Wizard World was a little earlier this year and ECCC is a little later, there still wasn’t much compelling me to go.
Most of the artists there (if not all) were given free tables and I probably could have finagled my way into one, but the price of a convention is more than just table cost. Maybe I’m just getting old (alright, that’s not a “maybe”) but what I find most costly about a show these days is the amount of hours I have to spend under florescent lights being a salesman rather than at home with my family or working in my studio.
So what changed? Well, exhibiting was still out of the question, but I decided I could at least swing by on Friday, the first day of the show. A few of my creator friends were tempting me with the new comics they were putting together for the show. That, and I found out that kids under 10 were free with an adult, so I could take my daughter, Maddy. What a unique idea, attending a comic convention for the sake of fostering a new generation of comic fans!
Maddy was quite excited and even laid out her outfit the night before; a Batman shirt (not-Batgirl, mind you) and a ninja mask. She wore the Batman shirt to school on Friday but I wouldn’t let her wear the ninja mask until after I picked her up.
We managed to get into the show without much incident. It was pretty well organized with plenty of staff working the lines and the show floor. The first major “site” we came across with a Darth Vader in a kilt playing the bagpipes on a unicycle. That’s a Wizard World show for you.
After absorbing much the cacophony of sounds and cosplay that first hits you upon entering the show floor, we opened up our guide to look at the show floor map and track down the books we were after.
Our first stop was to get the new Bandette hardcover. I had been reading this series to Maddy on the iPad. It was put out digitally by Monkey Brain Comics on the ComiXology app, and now published in print by Dark Horse. The hardcover looks really nice and definitely worth buying even if you’ve downloaded the digital issues. Plus Maddy got to meet the creators, Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover.
Next, we went to visit Jonathan Hill. Jonathan was the artist on the amazing graphic novel, Americus (collaborating with writer M.K. Reed). He’s a new project in the works, The Littlest Littles. Maddy and I were excited to get our hands on the mini-comic previewing the story. It’s going to be a good one.
Then we swung by Shawn Aldridge and Christopher Peterson’s table to get the ashcan of there new series, Go Getters. Actually, this one was just for me, but I’ve been waiting quite a while for this. Both Shawn and Chris have been teasing artwork for this series online and it was about time I got to read some of it. It’ll be published by the aforementioned Monkey Brain Comics in February, but this Ashcan provided a perfect taste of what to expect. The story starts off with a bang and the sharp dialog and crisp linework leads you straight through to the cliffhanger ending. Dang it, now I have to wait until the next installment.
With our major tasks accomplished, we had some time to walk around, talk to a few more artist friends, see some of the sites. Maddy got a picture with R2-D2 and another droid. Then she found a toy that she really loved. It was a purple skeleton with painted designs on it, hand-painted by Ma’at Crook.
And that was it. We were done by 6:30 on Friday. On the way out, Maddy made the workers at Starbucks a little nervous when she ordered a hot chocolate with her ninja mask on, but I’m sure that’s not the craziest thing they saw this past weekend.
The best part of it was I got to spend the rest of the weekend as I had intended, spending time with the family and getting some work done. My plan is to have a mini-comic previewing my new project done in time for Wendy’s book launch at IPRC on March 14th. Then we have Emerald City coming up on March 28, and hopefully I’ll have a table at the new small press show in Portland, Linework NW, coming up in April.
Hope to see you guys there.