Well, Scott Kurtz may have feared the pimps and chuds that reside in New York, but apparently the only thing to fear was not bringing enough stuff to sell. In the time that I made it away from helping at the Studio Foglio booth (read Girl Genius, dammit — it’s brilliant), it appeared the theme of NYCC09 (apart from Scott Pilgrim rules) was What recession?
Talking things over with Heidi MacDonald on Saturday night, we marvelled at where all the money we saw getting dropped was coming from. Then we talked at length about Cyanide and Happiness, and I was able to point her in the direction of Kris, Dave, and Rob so that she could get educated on the gentlemen in question. Meeting Rob, Kris, and Dave was one of the highlights of the show for me (C&Her Matt was unable to attend, unfortunately), and I quickly discovered several things about them:
- They dress sharply, with jackets, bowties, and snappy hats (bowler, fedora, top)
- The single most common word out of their mouths is thanks, or some variation thereon; I’m struck by how genuinely grateful they are for the well-wishes and interactions from readers
- They’re almost digustingly young, and I had to fight the urge to tell them to stay the hell off my lawn
- Kris flew to New York from his home in Wyoming; per the latest US Census data, the population of Wyoming should have no more than 0.73 of one cartoonist, making him a rounding error or a statistic anomaly — a charming one, in a hat
Mike “Mister” Krahulik and Jerry “Mister” Holkins can, in fact, have a conversation without using the word wang; they brought their teach schoolkids to make comics program to NYCC, and despite the fact that there were about 90% adults in the audience, they conducted the program for the inner 3rd grader in all of us. Takeaways:
- My art skills have improved from subliterate stick figures to barely recognizable cartoon men, ladies, cats, elephants, octopi, dogs, and monkeys … the secret is ovals, the letters C and T, and not worrying that I don’t draw as well as Mr Krahulik
- Those barely recognizable cartoons will accompany me to my grave
Speaking of Penny Arcade, a talk with P-A business supremo Robert Khoo led to some secret plans about where the website is heading, which I can now reveal exclusively: Penny Arcade will be making comics about videogames, then releasing those comics in book form.
Other people I was thrilled to run into (in many cases, meeting for the first time), in no particular order:
- Karl Kerschl, who when asked for a Charles Christopher sketch, interrupted his commission sketch list to do an absolutely beautiful rendering of his title character, utilizing no fewer than four separate pens
- Rosscott, of The System, whose business card is as beautifully stark as his comic
- Milton Griepp of ICv2, with whom Phil Foglio and I had an interesting talk about webcomics, making money by giving things away, and what support services may be needed there
- Joey Manley, host extraordinaire; should he ever invite you to a party, jump on the opportunity because the food and booze and company and environs will all be wonderful
- Every one of the Foglio superfans who presented in nervous, thrilled states to meet Our Hero — you remind us why we love this medium so much (and to the five Girl Genius cosplayers — excellent jobs, all of you)
- No fewer than three people (Susan, John, and I’m sorry, didn’t get the third one’s name) who came up to say hi and recognized me solely by the moustache
- No fewer than three others who were convinced that I was Phil Foglio — given the general level of worship Phil’s fans demonstrate, I was tempted to agree with them and ride out the love
- Ottilie Millson, better known as Phil’s mom, who was with us in the booth for the weekend, and who assures us she still has the baby photos
- Carla Speed McNeil, whose Finder you really should be reading; grab the trades, then get to work on the latest story which is at her website
- Onezumi and Harknell, lovely people and soon to be forces of nature at next weekend’s Katsucon
- Darren Gendron of Dear Pirate, if only for the the business card that identifies him as a “known scallywag” (some evidence indicates that he may not be a scallywag after all)
- Magnolia Porter, who just happened to be at the ROFLThing party on Saturday night and whose Bobwhite is good readin’
But unfortunately, there are downsides to any convention:
- The creative team behind Remedy offered me a naked bribe in the form of a print to drum up some attention for their webcomic from Fleen. For shame! Naked bribery at NYCC is my schtick (traditionally on Saturday morning, I make the rounds with coffee and donuts for those who need them).
- The local restaurants that dropped menus off at every booth were apparently unprepared to handle the volume of orders from the Javits Center, resulting in late and often severely compromised food
- But they were still better than the convention center sandwiches, which lacked any kind of moistening agents (mayo, mustard, anything) for the low-low price of only nine bucks apiece
- Missing all but the last five minutes of the Making Comic Strips panel (with Danielle Corsetto and Brad Guigar) due to unannounced and undocumented room changes
Overheard during the show:
Mr Krahulik, on piggybacking your new comic to an existing audience — If you want to do a comic about a horse, maybe there’s a website that would like to run it. So have your mom and dad check out horselovers.com and ask.
Mr Holkins, on that suggestion — That might not be the best website to contact, kids.
Mr Holkins, on being offered a Saturday morning pick-me-up — Wait, there’s coffe in there? That’s a box.
Me, in reply — Yep. Want a donut?
Holkins — Don’t you worry about eroding the wall of your journalistic integrity?
Me — In fact, this is naked bribery.
A young woman who was literally dragged through the crowd by her friends to meet her idol, Phil Foglio, and was reduced to a state of bashful vibrations and giggling — Hi.
Danielle Corsetto, to Tom Wilson II at the conclusion of their panel, bouncing with excitement — I have to get a picture with you!
An ancient and white-haired bartender at the ComicSpace party, having been asked by Corsetto if he knew “how to make a Sex on the Beach” — I always get sand in it.
Corsetto, in response — He’s my New York boyfriend.