The day didn't start well, because whatever sinus infection my coworker came down with last week transferred itself to me midway through Friday and was in full effect by Saturday morning. Not great to deal with during the 3+ hour drive, combined with intermittent rain. It was bad enough that on the drive home, I had to wear my sunglasses even though it was completely overcast and raining, because the light was making my head hurt. But I made it.
It didn't seem as crowded in the main hall as I remember it being last year, which isn't great. But I stepped outside three times during the day including when I left, and every time, while there were people leaving, there were other people driving up and coming in. So maybe there was a steady churn. At some point I'd like to watch an aerial shot of the crowds inside the convention, see if there's a pattern to where they concentrate at certain times. I might walk past an artist's table at one point, and there's a huge crowd, and circle around 10 minutes later and it's empty. But now there's a bunch of people in an aisle a couple of rows over. Does seeing the crowd draw more people in, or send them away (you can guess which it does to me)?
I did not find the recently released comics I was searching for, so that narrator from Friday's post was correct. What a jerk. I did find some issues of Solo Avengers I was looking for, a couple of issues of Incredible Hulk, JSA All Stars, and some Marvel Comics Presents. There's a stretch in that book where Ann Nocenti keeps throwing Typhoid Mary at different characters, mostly Wolverine or Ghost Rider, which are at least interesting in theory. And you never know when they get a strong surprise artist in there, like Gene Colan or young Jae Lee drawing a story about the Beast.
I did not ever work up the nerve to actually talk to Mike Grell. I know, he's there to interact and talk, and sell some artwork, but I felt like I wasn't knowledgeable enough about his work to really talk with him. I just know enough to know Mike Grell is a big deal in the comic world, which is enough to make me not want to stand there shifting awkwardly from one foot to the other, trying to decide if I can buy a print or if I have a good question (fortunately there were a lot of other people not suffering from my social anxiety). It's one of those times I needed Alex there, since he can talk with anyone. But there was no chance of him waking up early enough to hit the road before 6:30 a.m. the way I planned. And I was not inclined to alter my plans to anyone else's whims this time.
I stopped by Brian Rhodes' table to pick up his new comic Six Legs, No Heart, which reminds me a bit of some of those '70s short stories Stephen King might do. What was that one about the rat-infested tunnel and the work crew at the factory? Night Shift? I bought three more prints from Brian Koschak, and I need to make it a point to hold back a little more money next year to commission a sketch from him. I did commission a Starfire sketch from Lorenzo Lizana, who drew the Darkhawk sketch for me last year. Learned that he was a participant in the same contest that got Mark Bagley hired by Marvel back in the day, and then spent several years in toy design for things like Mars Attacks! and the Lost in Space movie, before making his way back to comics. That was kind of cool, because I read about artists working in TV or movies when they aren't in comics, but I never really understood what that would entail.
I bought this really great Two-Face from Matthew Miller, who drew my Amanda Waller sketch last year. He had done one drawing of Harvey Dent, another of Two-Face, cut up the Two-Face side, then glued it on in a shattered mirror style to the Harvey Dent picture. The description doesn't doe it justice, but I had to get that one as soon as I saw it. I picked up a couple of Overwatch-related pieces for Alex, though that involved asking the artists who certain characters are. I basically know the little zippy on the box art, Tracer, and that wasn't one of Alex' favorites. We'll see if they suit him or not. I worry he might have wanted more badass, and these are going to trend towards cute, but oh well. One of those pieces came from Nick Minor, and going through his sets of prints, I realized I have more artwork by him than anyone else at this point. It was like, 'Got that one, ooh that looks- wait I have that, got that one, there's one I want!' I just really like his style.
It isn't all to my interests, but I do appreciate the variety of vendors. People selling comics, people selling arts, or jewelry, or cosplay stuff, or toys and other collectibles, or food. And I feel like there's a good balance between them, in terms of providing something for everyone. Obviously I would prefer nothing but people selling back issues or artists, but this is for your kids' amusement (the kids!)
I saw one table selling Heroclix, which was a disappointment, but I probably don't need to spend money on pieces for a game I never play anymore. But I might take it up again someday! There were a couple of other vendors I'm used to seeing I didn't this year. I don't know if they decided not to show up, or they were too late reserving a table.
On the way back, I stopped at a gas station and after I answered the guy behind the register's, "How's it going?" with "Not too bad," he said I looked like I had a bad day, based on my mumbled response. I told it was just my understated style, then wrecked my attempt at nonchalance when I put my bag of chips in my coat pocket and they tumbled out before I got out the door. But I made it halfway across the parking lot before I realized, and by the time I got back in, another customer had found them and returned them to the counter. That was embarrassing. *sad trombone*
But it was a really good day. Long, but really good.