I've been writing about my past visits to the San Diego Comic-Con, also known as Comic-Con International in San Diego. If you're asking, I prefer the former over the latter. My previous columns - Wednesday and Thursday - were written during SDCC as a means of coping with my annual not-in-San-Diego depression. Today's column is being written after the convention as a means of coping with my annual not-in-Los-Angeles-after-SDCC depression.
My wise friend Mark Evanier has wisely said that, within the multi-faceted San Diego Comic-Con and with a little effort, you can find the convention you want to attend. On my last two SDCC trips, I came in search of two of those conventions.
The first was the one where I get to see a lot of old friends and make new ones. That convention was a rousing success for me. I wish I could afford to go to it every year.
The second convention was the one where I try to connect with people and publishers who might be able to hire me for assignments that would, in turn, allow me the means to afford to attend SDCC every year. Those didn't go so well.
As in not at all.
Before the conventions, I started with a list of two dozen or so contacts and tried to arrange specific meeting times with each of them. Only a couple turned me down outright. The rest told me to come to their convention booths where we could either converse right there or set up a time to converse later. This turned out to be a euphemism for:
"I have no interest in or time for the likes of you, but, this will let me use the chaos of my busy convention schedule to beg off talking to you and allow me to pretend that I'm not, in actuality, the duplicitous dick I am."
Having finagled an exhibitor's badge that allowed me access to the convention before it opened each day, I would visit the booths as early as possible each day in the vain hope of discussing work opportunities with these people. What I got was a variety of lame excuses for not talking to me, all accompanied by pleading thanks for my being so understanding. It felt a lot like being smacked about the head and face with a sockfull of quarters...while trying to figure out how many suitcases full of quarters it had cost me to come to the convention.
It was an encounter during my last-to-date SDCC that convinced me coming to the show in search of employment was futile. A good friend of mine, one of the most talented writers and editors ever to work in this field, wanted to introduce me to DC's Dan DiDio. I don't know what DiDio's actual title was at the time, but he was already running DC editorial. My friend figured getting the two of us together would be good for both DC and myself.
When he was introduced to me, DiDio's face turned into a mask of terror. Now I've known for many years that there are some folks at DC who persist in telling untrue stories about me, stories that portray me as seven kinds of lunatic blended into a big serving of batshit crazy. They lie about my past dealings with DC and about the circumstances of my firing from the second Black Lightning series. I won't speculate on their motives for doing so here. What they do is pertinent only in that it might explain DiDio's fear of meeting me. Because that guy took off so fast that there were speed lines in his wake, leaving me and my friend to look at each other with wide-eyed bafflement.
An opposing viewpoint might be this:
My networking skills suck.
I'm in awe of friends of mine who are always at ease when it comes to hanging out with and speaking with prospective employers or creative partners. It's a skill I lack. Oh, sure, I can be a reasonably entertaining convention guest or panelist. I can amuse my friends and readers. But, beyond that...it seems my 37 years in the comics industry has reduced my confidence and comfort zone to the dimensions an airplane bathroom. I'm certain of my abilities; I just can't translate that sureness to the kind of meetings that lead to contracts.
If I could even get the meetings.
Okay, that's enough with the SDCC boo-hoos. Maybe next year will be my big SDCC year. If so, I will enjoy the convention where I get to see old and few friends, hope for the convention where I come away with some good paying work, and secretly dream about the convention where a dozen beautiful women in classic Zatanna costumes follow me around the convention backwards-cursing out my enemies. Etib em, CD!
Thanks for spending a part of your day with me. I'll be back on Monday with my comments on the various announcements that were made during this year's SDCC.
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.
Please send material you would like me to review to: