October 10th, 2007

The Zombie

The 39th President & The 19th FallCon

October 9 -  First, here's the "Forbidden" WOMP Character of The Day - President James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr.!  Yes, that Jimmy Carter.  When I was a little kid, I was unusually politically active.  My teachers were convinced that I would become a political cartoonist.  I knew, and drew, not only the President, Vice-President, Congressmen, and so forth, but all members of the Cabinet, and even all rival candidates.  When Jimmy Carter took the Oath of Office, I was in the Fourth Grade, and, already, I was lampooning him in cartoons.  More so than any other public figure, President Carter seemed to daily find his way into my childhood scribbles.  Looking at those drawings now, I am surprised that I ever felt like I supported him (which I did...for a time...and now do again).  He was, in fact, a great inspiration to me back then, although that didn't exempt him from my schoolboy criticisms.  In fact, it may have made my critiques more pointed.  There were many cartoons, for example, that featured old Uncle Sam attempting, usually in vain, to warn President Carter about the foolishness of a step he was about to take.  I seldom lambasted The President for any of the unfortunate economic or political conditions of the day (if ever...I can find no evidence nor memory to the contrary), preferring instead to chide him for not living up to his promise.  By the time he was up for re-election, I had lost my hopes in him.  I saw him as a floundering outsider.  Worse, the alternatives seemed, well...worse.  Ronald Reagan?  I saw him as an elderly grinning jerk, prone to grouchy outbursts and flippant intolerance.  John Anderson?  He was the most viable of the so-called "Third Party Candidates," and he picked former Wisconsin Governor Pat Lucey as his running-mate.  Anderson seemed "OK," if uninspiring, so that's who I supported.  Oh...and I was just thirteen (it's not like I could actually vote or anything anyway).  By the time of the actual election, there were hostages in Iran, a disastrous rescue attempt, lines at the gas-pumps, inflation, food shortages, and, as The President called it, a general malaise.  Drawing any politician no longer seemed like fun, so I gave up on any thought of being a political cartoonist.  With that decision, President Carter joined the "forbidden" list.  OK, OK...now on to the first part of -

None Like It Hot  -  WOMP's 2007 FallCon Report

Well, in spite of my year-long trepidations, The WOMP Staff and I did set up at the annual MCBA FallCon this year.  We left Prairie du Chien at 5:05AM in the midst of a thunderstorm, and found ourselves within a mile or two from the convention site (Minnesota State Fairgrounds) by 8:45AM.  We'd have made the entire trip in record time, except that I'd forgotten to bring along our saddle-stapler for assembling the many giveaway copies of Tales From The WOMP-Blog #3, so we had to stop at a Target to get a new one.  Still, by 9:05AM, we were setting up the WOMP table.  Somehow, The Staff's badge/credentials had been misplaced or overlooked, so she was issued a "blank" badge, upon which she had me print "Dorothy Zbornak," the name of Bea Arthur's Golden Girls character.  "Dorothy" and I began laying out my various comics, Oz things, and such, when the thunderstorm, which had been following us all the way there, struck.  For the sake of the lines of fans then standing in the rain, an announcement was made that the convention would open early.  We rushed through our set up, trying to be ready in time.  The whole thing made me, well...pretty sweaty.  OK; I was very sweaty (even for me).  It was only then that we, and those around us, began to realize that it was getting hotter by the minute.  Throughout the first day, in fact, the temperature continuously climbed, going well past "uncomfortable," approaching "dangerous."  Even so, we had some fun, met some new friends, saw some old ones, bought some cool stuff, and even sold some of my stuff (which was unexpected).  So what if I looked like I'd been wrestling with a squid?  No-one seemed to mind (or were very kind in overlooking it).  In spite of the stifling heat, we had many lengthy visits with convention attendees, including a familiar-looking fan whom I best remember as having dressed as Princess Leia years ago ("bun" coif and all), a young girl named Tegan who was also an aspiring artist, another familiar attendee, Allen Klingelhoets, who said that he had just gotten a gig as interviewer for Jazma Online, and several people who were fans of The Wizard of Oz.  Of course, we eventually were able to see many of the Official Friends of WOMP, like Derek Anderson (and Renee), Maxxx Madcap, Jeff Rose (and entire family), Mike Toft, Chad Corrie (and his dad, Lee), the MCBA guys, and Ivan Martin.  It's always fun to see old friends, especially those who live so far from us.  That's part of what makes FallCon my favorite comics show.  I believe that I also made some new friends, including David Tea, our "booth buddy" to the west.  David is the writer, artist, and stapler of quirky existential mini-comic Five Perennial Virtues.  He is a very sweet guy with a quirky sense of humor.  He, like us, entertained young artist Tegan as she hung around our tables for hours.  Later, while I was visiting Mike Toft's table, I also talked to his "booth buddy," Damian Sheridan.  Damian is the creator of the very interesting, and well-written mini-comic, Citizen Kidd.  Coincidentally, he, too, was without a stapler, but he solved the problem by binding his minis with rubber-bands!  Ingenious!  More FallCon tomorrow.  See ya then!