August 10 - And, so, I am continuing to experience comic book convention withdrawal. This time, this weekend, it's because I am missing my con, what is now called WizardWorld Chicago. Back in the day, when it was called the Chicago Comicon, it was the focus of my entire year. During those late 1980's through 1990's, the Comicon was the nation's second or third biggest convention of the year, and the closest thing that I had to a national platform for my stuff. The Comicon was the instrument which formed much of my "career," and life. It's there that I learned how to make, promote, sell, talk about, plan for, and market my The Adventures of Monkey comic. It's there that I learned how to market myself, for that matter, as I talked to editors and art directors. It's there that I built up my comic book collection, sold off parts of it for profit and trade, began my original art collection, added vintage items to my Wizard of Oz collection, and filled my shelves with books about comics. It's there that I made friendships, cemented friendships, and even tested friendships. Ah, memories. To me, the Chicago Comicon will always be about...
...meeting quiet, scraggly Craig Thompson (and seeing his jaw-dropping mini-comics).
...giving free "monkey socks" to the event organizers every year (both they and I looked forward to this annual tradition).
...waiting behind Vampirella at the payphone.
..."discovering" up-and-coming artists, like Guy Davis, Tom Artis, Vince Stone, and countless others in Artists Alley.
...being kissed by Playboy Playmate Susie "Flaxen" Owens as we shared an elevator down to the convention floor (with the door perfectly opening mid-kiss, just in time for my friends and family to witness the event).
...meeting Stan Lee. And I mean really meeting him, having a conversation and everything.
...sneaking, like, 15 guys into a single hotel room.
...all of the super-hot girls who threw themselves at Tim Seeley. All the time. Super. Hot. Girls.
...my first actual "fans," purchasers of T.A.O.M. from comics stores, who specifically sought me out at the show.
...my first actually published review of my work (in the pages of COMBO Magazine, now defunct...in fact, my review was in the too-scarce last issue, so I've never even seen it!).
...and who could forget the night that Frank Miller peed on me? Yep, my idol, and all-time favorite comic book creator, unwittingly (drunkenly?) relieved himself on me as I attempted to sleep. Ah. I can still smell it.
Basically, as the Comicon was devoured by Wizard, both the traditional feel of the show, and my connection to it, began to fade. Whatever it is today, it's OK, but it's not the same. I have gone to it a few times since then, of course, but more out of curiosity than necessity. In a way, it's like going back to your old school. There's my teacher, now older. There's my old locker, and the place where I had lunch...but...but it's all different, less meaningful now. What seemed so big, so freakin' important to me back then, today seems...I don't know...just smaller, somehow. Ironically, the current version of the show is probably "bigger" now than it has ever been, but not in the ways that actually matter to me. Yes, I may be missing the annual Chicago comic book convention this weekend, but, really, I've been "missing it" since it became WizardWorld. Here's your Mystery Theme Comic Book Character of The Day - Morbius!