I'm not going to Comic-Con International in San Diego next week.
I know I've told you this before, but I keep receiving e-mails and even phone calls from friends and other industry folks asking me if we can get together - you can take your pick - for breakfast, for lunch, for dinner, coffee, drinks, at their booth, at my booth, at the Comics Buyer's Guide booth, before a panel, after a panel, for them to give me a beating, or for them to have sex with me. Of course, after 35 years in comics, the last two blur together a lot. Once you've been screwed by...
But I digress.
Every year, I go through what I call the stages of Comic-Con. I share them here because I'm in my "too depressed about Comic-Con to write about anything else" stage.
Just before and during Comic-Con, I get depressed that I can't be there with my friends. During the con, I'll call my friends on their cell phones, friends who can't hear what I'm saying because they're in the middle of Comic-Con and I'm not. I say real stupid things like "Say hi to folks for me" and "Did anyone ask about me?" and "Tell me all the interesting news."
Dear God, I'm pathetic.
After Comic-Con, I'll receive e-mails and the occasional phone calls from people who are sorry they didn't get a chance to come to the CBG booth to see me...or they missed that panel I was on...or they saw me in the crowd and couldn't get away from what they were doing to talk to me. That I wasn't at the convention doesn't seem to register with them. Wasn't everyone there?
Just to be clear. I'm not going to be at this year's Comic-Con. I'm writing this on Thursday, July 19. I don't have a plane ticket, hotel room, or guest badge. I'm not lying. I'm not going to be there.
If you do see me at the convention, it means there's a rupture in the space-time continuum. But do tell me the interesting Comic-Con news in those few seconds we have before all reality as we know explodes into utter nothingness.
During and after Comic-Con, I go online to read all the news and con reports and vow that I'm definitely going to make it to the next Comic-Con.
I book my hotel room for next year. For some reason, I don't check on plane fares or register as a guest, but I get that hotel room. This is where you could benefit from being my good friend or a friend of one of my good friends. Because when you can't book a good hotel room, you'll be able to get the one I booked in August. It pays to have me think ahead.
For the rest of the year, I casually mention to friends that I'm looking forward to going to next year's Comic-Con. But I still don't check on plane fares and I still don't register for a guest pass. I'm not even fooling myself.
Sometime between February and April of next year - depending on how little money I made this year - I start adding up how much going to Comic-Con will cost me. Just the hotel room usually tops a grand. Add in plane fare and meals and other costs of attending the convention, not to mention that trip to Los Angeles right after the convention to see all the people I never got a chance to see at the convention, and I start to question my sanity.
I'm not the best-paid anything in the comics industry or any other industry. How can I justify this incredible expense of going to Comic-Con? What deal could I possibly make there that would make that expense less insane?
This is where reality rises up and smacks me around the head and face. I may try to soften the blows by telling myself Comic-Con is more about Hollywood these days than about the comics, that it's too big and crowded to qualify as just an enjoyable vacation, that I'm getting too old to put myself through that, but I'm lying to myself again.
There's another reality, one not involving business or money. Comic-Con makes me feel like a bright-eyed teen again. Seeing old pals, even if it's just for a few minutes, is just plain wonderful. Talking in the immensity of this huge event filled with people who love what I love is intoxicating. Meeting my fans and readers is a nice little boost to the ego. Allowing myself the delicious hope a chance encounter with an editor or publisher will pay off is okay at Comic-Con. Most of the time, I live in the real world; why not play along with the fantasy for a few days?
I'm not going to Comic-Con.
I check around to see if anyone wants the hotel room I booked. If they do, I switch the reservation to their name. If they don't, I cancel it.
Then I start thinking about next year.
Justin, the guy who makes it possible for you read TOT after I write it, will be at Comic-Con International. If you see him, say hi and tell him how much you appreciate all his hard work here at World Famous Comics.
Tony's Online Tips will be on hiatus while Justin's at the convention. Our current plan is that there will be new TOTs on Monday and Tuesday of next week, followed by the break. We expect to return with new TOTs starting Tuesday, July 31.
Over the remaining two columns before the hiatus, I'll try to cover as much old business as possible. Then we'll get back to the usual mix of news, views, and reviews.
The current Tony Polls questions will remain live until sometime next Tuesday, at which point they will be replaced with a new series of questions. We're currently asking you what you like and don't like about TOT, the better to help us decide what we'll be doing in the months to come. Toward that end, we do appreciate your taking a few minutes to cast your ballots at:
ZERO: Burn your money before buying any comic receiving this rating. It doesn't *necessarily* mean there's absolutely nothing of value here - though it *could* - but whatever value it might possess shrinks into insignificance before its overall awfulness.
ONE: Buy something else. Maybe I found something which wasn't completely dreadful in the item, but not enough for me to recommend it when there are better comics available. I only want what's best for you, my children.
TWO: Basic judgment call. I found some value, but not enough to recommend it. My review should give you enough info to decide if you want to take a chance on it. Are you feeling lucky today, punk? Well, are you?
THREE: This denotes something I find perfectly respectable. There are better books out there, but I wouldn't regret buying this item. Based on my review, you should be able to determine if it's of interest to you. Let the Force guide you.
FOUR: I recommend anything earning this rating. Unless you don't like the genre, subject matter, or past work of the creators, I believe you'll enjoy this item. Isn't it uncanny how I can look right into your soul that way?
FIVE: Anything getting this rating is among the best comicdom has to offer. You should buy/read this, even if the genre/subject matter doesn't appeal to you. It's for your own good. Me, I live for comics and books this good...but not in a pathetic "Comic-Book Guy" sort of way.
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