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NEWW Two, Part One

Okay, it’s been a long day of going through notes recollections of the immediate past weekend, whilst simultaneously trying to get back to regular life (boo). One of the things about NEWW that stuck with me was an offhand comment (and I’m sorry, I didn’t note who observed this bit of truth) that this wasn’t the show where you’d see a lot of big announcements. I think that’s partly because it’s at the very end of the con season, partly because any such announcements will be possibly more effective next week as the end-of-year merch sales pick up, and partly because it’s not a commerce-centric show.

Make no mistake, there was plenty of merchandise, with creator after creator selling and taking commissions at their tables (along with two merchandise rooms for collective business groups), but it was a lot more about recognizing the creators, the fans, and the peculiar bond between them. So much of what’s below weren’t announcements, but just things that came up because that’s where the conversation (and the booze) took us.

  • During setup (some Friday evening, some Saturday morning), Erika Moen was omnipresent. And that pile of Squishable T-Rexes and Yelling Birds? I flung myself on it like it was a leaf pile and bounced. Less than 15 minutes after show opening on Saturday, it was all but invisible.
  • The Eastworks building is dog-friendly. In addition to two of the three most famous webcomicker dogs (alas, Commissioner James Gordon couldn’t make it this year), there were numerous people from the area that walked their dogs through the building. The whippets I met on Saturday morning were especially adorable.
  • Ongoing debate for the weekend — is Aaron “Latin Artthrob” Diaz dapper, or tweedy? I’m tending towards the former. Regardless, his new print is gorgeous in person; monitor resolution, no matter how high, does not do it justice.
  • Evan Dahm (foreground, with the disembodied headwear of Ananth Panagariya and Yuko Ota behind him) tells us that Order of Tales book 3 will be released soon, and even more excitingly, there will be a one-volume edition next year, with a foreword by Jeff Smith. Speaking of Yuko and Ananth, everybody agreed that Yuko’s artwork for the VIP show sketchbooks (with wonderfully thick paper that didn’t let Sharpies bleed through) was a marvel. Also, George Rohac agreed with me that Yuko and Ananth should make up giant “George’s smile” masks, if only so that he can wear one at shows.
  • Frank Gibson and Becky Dreistadt (Gibson’s hands visible behind Karl Kerschl, followed by Dreistadt, then Scott Yoshinaga and Audra Furuichi) are working on a graphic novel for ______ and getting ready to put together a ______ for ______! Wow! Okay, yeah, they can’t talk about all of their stuff now, but trust me — it was amazing. Speaking of Kerschl, he wins Best Business Card In The History Of Business Cards, thanks to a printer’s overrun: the two-sided, four-page gatefold from the back of the Charles Christopher book, with it’s full cast illustration? That was his business card.
  • David Malki ! (no photo, he was a blur of motion all weekend) has weeks and months related to Machine of Death in the immediate future, but did manage to slow down long enough to give us a hard number: 5000 copies sold on Day One; even more impressive: you will eventually hear about the numbers after Day One.
  • Magnolia Porter (seen waaaay back in both this photo — behind Chris Hallbeck, Randy Milholland, and Spike — and this one — behind Angela Melick, Tyson Hesse, David McGuire, and Kel McDonald) is working on a graphic novel that may become a Xeric contender. She will also be collaborating with McDonald on “Cocksuckers”, a period vampire story. Also, her Ben Bailey print is going to be a gift to my wife, who loves Cash Cab; shhh, nobody tell her.
  • Here’s a better photo of Angela Melick’s “Red” — the highly personalized jacket of an engineering student at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Ms Melick, by the by, is even as we speak winging her way with her husband on a delayed honeymoon to Thailand, and was relieved to see that her copy of Machine of Death did not come with a slip that said PLANE CRASH, THAI POLITICAL UNREST RIOT or HIDEOUS TROPICAL DISEASE. Come back safe, Jam.
  • Team Topatoco honcho Kaliis Smith (seen here giving the volunteers their pre-show briefing, including a bit on the importance of high reflectivity) gave us the low-down on what “sold out” meant for NEWW on Saturday: 1000 tickets sold (plus weekend and VIP passes). On that note, the volunteers were awesome (one of the most common sights during the weekend was watching one of them wheel a cart of snacks and water to the exhibitors) and thanks to the greater exhibit space and compelling programming, meant that the floor felt less crowded than last year, despite at least 25% more attendees.
  • Speaking of the programming, this is the Best. Panel room. EVER. Everything from in-depth discussions of world-building to all-out Jean-Luc Picard lovefests took place on these couches, under the gaze of Socrates.
  • Also on those couches (and elsewhere in Eastworks), Dave Kellett (with David and Maggie Willis in the background) used the set as interview space for a documentary film he is currently working on — more about which tomorrow.
  • Jorge Cham has the most amazing hair in webcomics. Howard Tayler (my nemesis and evil twin) does not. Emily Vasseur was the second-most impressive cosplayer at the show, outshone only by the duo of Reginald and Beartato (I later saw the gentleman in the Reginald costume remove his headpiece and while I felt it would have been disrespectful to snap a photo of him half-clad, I will note that he had a prodigious moustache — respect, my brother). I also hear that Reginald and Beartato may be making an appearance in Reprographics soon.
  • Danielle Corsetto (with Jenn Jordan and Sophie Goldstein in the background) had so many people lining up at her table, she was declared a fire hazard and moved closer the the exits on Sunday. She also let us know that GWS book five will drop in time for Christmas, and that there are other big announcements between now and the end of the month.
  • Best merch of the show? Either the new Baffler! by Chris Yates line of puzzles, or the do it yourself Dinosaur Comics whiteboard.

In other news, yay! John “Magnus Apollo” Champlin’s photos from NEWW have landed: http://www.flickr.com/photos/magnusapollo/page1/ (no set yet). You might remember him as the most prolific photo taker of NEWW 1 ( http://www.flickr.com/photos/magnusapollo/sets/72157615915533839/ ), and this time it seems there are even more; I let you decide whether this is a good or bad thing. (he was taking photos so much he was taken himself: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sarabeephoto/5159687620/ )

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