heart of the beast: Comic Con

July 24th, 2007 | Travels and Appearances

I’m getting ready to head off to the San Diego Comic Con, mother of all comic cons, god help me. Here’s a good article about it in yesterday’s SD Tribune, framing the current moment in comics as a battle of “edge vs. respectability.” It also quotes Doug Wolk a lot, a smart comics critic who just wrote a new book called Reading Comics. I haven’t read it yet but maybe I’ll get it in San Diego.

If by any chance you’ll be attending this wild rumpus and you need respite from all the people dressed as wookies and corpse brides, here’s my schedule:

Friday 7/27

3:30-4:30, “Spotlight on Alison Bechdel.” This’ll just be me talking about my work. In room 1AB

5pm, signing at the Prism Comics booth, #2148. Prism is a gay comics organization and they have all kinds of stuff they’re doing at the Con too. Here’s their schedule.

The Eisner Awards, a big comics industry awards ceremony, will be held Friday night. Fun Home is nominated in the three categories below. It’s some pretty frickin’ stiff competition.

Best Reality-Based Work

  • Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel (Houghton Mifflin)
  • I Love Led Zeppelin, by Ellen Forney (Fantagraphics)
  • Mom’s Cancer, by Brian Fies (Abrams)
  • Project X Challengers: Cup Noodle, by Tadashi Katoh (Digital Manga)
  • Stagger Lee, by Derek McCulloch and Shepherd Hendrix (Image)

Best Graphic Album—New

  • American Born Chinese, by Gene Luen Yang (First Second)
  • Billy Hazelnuts, by Tony Millionaire (Fantagraphics)
  • Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel (Houghton Mifflin)
  • Ninja, by Brian Chippendale (Gingko Press)
  • Scrublands, by Joe Daly (Fantagraphics)
  • The Ticking, by Renée French (Top Shelf)

Best Writer/Artist

        • Allison Bechdel, Fun Home (Houghton Mifflin)
        • Renée French, The Ticking (Top Shelf)
        • Gilbert Hernandez, Love and Rockets, New Tales of Old Palomar (Fantagraphics); Sloth (Vertigo/DC)
        • Paul Pope, Batman: Year 100 (DC)
        • Joann Sfar, Klezmer, Vampire Loves (First Second)

Saturday 7/28

11:30-12:30 Reality-Based Graphic Novels— Moderator Andrew Farago (Cartoon Art Museum, San Francisco) interviews Comic-Con special guests Alison Bechdel (Fun Home), Guy Delisle (Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea), Rick Geary (The Bloody Benders), Miriam Katin (We Are On Our Own), and Joe Matt (Spent) about tales of their own lives and those of others. Room 3

From 1-1:30pm I’ll be doing drawings to raise money for the Comic Art Museum in SF. Table E-11.

5:30-8:00 Gays in Comics Panel: The 20th Anniversary!— Two decades of “Gays in Comics” is celebrated at its birthplace: Comic-Con! Joining founding moderator Andy Mangels, best-selling author of Star Trek novels and director of She-Ra and Isis DVD documentaries, are Alison Bechdel, the writer/artist of the critical best-seller Fun Home and Dykes to Watch Out For; Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the writer of Sensational Spider-Man and Nightcrawler; Chuck Kim, a writer for the Heroes TV series and many DC Comics titles; Charles “Zan” Christensen, the co-founder of PRISM and writer of the upcoming The Mark of Aeacus; Alonso Duralde, pop culture critic, author of 101 Must-See Movies for Gay Men, and former Advocate arts editor; and Megan Gedris, PRISM grant-winning artist of Yu+Me manga webcomic. Plus, a very important special guest may make an appearance! Afterward, stick around for the hour-long gay comics fan mixer/social, sponsored by PRISM Comics, with prizes and surprise special guests! Room 6A

45 Responses to “heart of the beast: Comic Con”

  1. cranky librarian says:

    I met Gene Luen Yang at ALA and he was kind enough to sign my copy of *American Born Chinese* and not make fun of me when i started crying. (in another 8 years or so my 4 year old nephew, who is an ABC should be old enough to read it…) It’s good, folks should read it if they havn’t already. And, yeah, it is stiff competion. Good luck to you both!

  2. Josiah says:

    Good luck indeed, Alison — not only in the Eisners, but in surviving ComicCon. I’ve never been there, but I have a strong impression of sweaty fanboys, underclothed “booth babes” and people in costumes from every comic or movie released in the last 30 years. I hope that there’s room for an introverted, slightly dorky dyke in the midst of that chaos!

  3. Josiah says:

    P.S. — if any blog readers are going, please give us a report! (I’m sure Alison will fill us in in her own time, but I’m greedy.)

  4. So UN-pc says:

    “Hear that deafening roar? That’s the buzz surrounding this hand-drawn memoir, nominated for a 2007 Eisner award.” Delicious.

  5. Hey, look how the ClustrMap is filling out! Our Siberian friend is back, and South America and Africa have sprouted dots.

  6. --MC says:

    Ooof .. good luck, take good walking shoes ..

  7. Leslie says:

    We’ll want PHOTOS and perhaps one or two of your charming videos.

  8. aerAK says:

    Best of luck, Alison! I’ll be rooting for you from Fairbanks, AK. I’m the big red dot up there. Keep us updated!

  9. kate says:

    mom’s cancer was so funny and sad all at once much like fun home–that is tough competition. i’ll have to read abc sometime. has anyone else read these others and would like to make recommendations?

    alison–i tried to give you a clustr dot from slovakia but had a somewhat dodgy internet connection 🙁

  10. LondonBoy says:

    You’ve got some tough competition there. Is it just me, or is the standard particularly high this time round ?

  11. Feminista says:

    Good job on the wallpaper; such attention to detail is getting its well-deserved accolades. And also enjoyed the Sizer cartoon.

    Aunt Soozie,have you considered standup comedy?

  12. Betsy says:

    Alison, I was struck by your posting today. You’ve still got some Minneapolis left in you. I know one of the men who helped found the Heart Of The Beast (giant puppet) theatre in Mpls, and I just visited my favorite kids bookstore, The Wild Rumpus, this past weekend by Lake Harriet. Still lots of different animals running around the store for the kids to pet and enjoy.

  13. Jaibe says:

    Excuse me, I think Fun Home is only nominated in *two* categories, in the third the nominees are authors! Congratulations on your nomination!!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Oh great the year I DON’T go to ComicCon you go. Aiiee! *ripping out hair*

    Seriously this is awesome. Good luck!

  15. Dr. Empirical says:

    Alison,

    If you get a chance, introduce yourself to Mark Evanier. Not only is he a really nice guy, but he knows everyone in the entertainment industry and everything there is to know about Comic Con.

    His schedule is posted on his blog:

    http://www.newsfromme.com/

  16. Ezee says:

    I will be there just because I want to meet you and no, I don’t think I’m a stalker. I am only going on Friday to try and avoid the massive crowds of Saturday. Hope you have a safe flight!

  17. nora says:

    Joann Sfar is great, too; “The Rabbi’s Cat” is just wonderful (cats + comix = joy). And of course Gilbert Hernandez (and Jaime)…hey, is it just me, or does it seem like there might be a generation of men out there making pop culture who really do care about women, who think we’re strong and complicated and nifty? You know, people like los Bros Hernandez, and Daniel Handler, and Jos Wheedon? (How much would I love to see an interview between, the latter two, or the Bros and say, John Waters.) Gives a girl hope.

    But of course I’m pulling for you, Alison.

  18. Glbqtt says:

    Tsk. All this fuss over ClustrMap.
    I suppose it could be interesting if you are content to restrict your attention to the Earth-based readers of Alison Bechdel’s work. But what about the others of us??

    What a provincial planet…

    One final request: If you folks are going to be using my name all the time, please at least show the simple courtesy of spelling it correctly.

    G

    [P.S. Dykes and Sundry Other Carbon-base Lifeforms To Watch Out For… How quaint.]

  19. Ann S. in Madison says:

    Excerpt from the SD Tribune:

    [“American Born Chinese”]won the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature. From the American Library Association.

    Let me repeat: The ALA. If librarians are applauding a book, how disreputable can it be?

    ~~~

    Harummpf. Clearly this journalist knows next to nothing about librarians. Was there ever a more radical group?

    Ann “LibrariAnn” S. in Madison

  20. Alex the Bold says:

    You must win all three awards! Crucify your competition. Beat the crap out of them.

    And, of course, accept graciously…

  21. sunicarus says:

    Ann “LibrariAnn” S.~Here! Here! I think it’s time to repeat this quote from Michael Moore:

    “[Librarians] are subversive. You think they’re just sitting there at the desk, all quiet and everything. They’re like plotting the revolution, man. I wouldn’t mess with them.”

  22. sunicarus says:

    On librarians~a quote from Barbara Gittings and her partner is as follows:

    In an article Gittings and her partner contributed to a book I have and very much appreciate entitled Our Right to Love — A Lesbian Resource Book, published in 1978, she and her partner wrote, in an essay entitled “The Gay and Lesbian Movement”:

    Rage, reaction, rebellion? These aren’t the central stuff of the lesbian experience. Knowing the traditional female role isn’t right for her — that’s different from raging and rebelling against it — the lesbian is automatically freed up to invent her own way and be her own person. She doesn’t need to join a pack and trade in her satisfying sense of self for a nebulous group consciousness…

    Social scientists are beginning to confirm what most lesbians have known all along: that lesbians along with gay men, generally feel quite good about themselves and enjoy a heightened sense of personal strength and autonomy and freedom…

    We believe in a united front. With so much work to be done — on job discrimination, psychiatric views, the law, the media, religious attitudes, the literature and much more — the movement needs diversity but can ill afford divisiveness…

    The gay movement should be a better place for lesbians to go for friendship and love as well as for constructive work to end the bigotries and barriers against gay people. And, in the main, it is.

    This quote notwithstanding, one interviewer said of her:

    Gittings had a reputation as one of the nicest, sweetest people in the often fractious LGBT movement, but she also had a great sense of humor. When she was once asked why men were not permitted as members of the Daughters of Bilitis, she replied that they did have honorary male members whom they call the Sons of Bilitis or “S.O.B.”

  23. Sivko says:

    I reckon that Siberian dot is from Krasnoyarsk – wish I’d known about the DTWOF archives when I was there for 4 months a few years ago 🙂 Good luck with the awards.

  24. smctopia says:

    Have you heard of an artist called Dan Goodsell? He’ll be there with his Shakey Bacon newsstand:

    http://mistertoast.blogspot.com/

    His “Mr. Toast” character kind of grew on me. He also has a really cool book called Crazy Kids Food.

  25. Aunt Soozie says:

    Femi,
    I’m a therapist so it’s kinda the same thing.
    of course the audience is much smaller..which works well for me. and the material is always coming right at you…you can’t miss.
    I saw a television show on ComicCon on this weird channel we have on cable… I think it’s called G-4. There were two people hyping and prepping the audience for what to expect at ComicCon. I was not geeky enough to sit through it but I felt empathy for Alison immediately. Seems like serious masses of people will attend…and the noise level…well, not at all like being in a cabin in Vermont. Still…I wish Dr E was going so he could take lots of photos for me. Bummer.

  26. Ydnic says:

    Awww, wish I could go and cheer you on. And Ray Bradbury’s going to be there, too! I met him at the third-ever Comic Con back in 1971. There were all of 800 people there, and we thought it was a mob! My roommate brought home Kirk Alyn for dinner. I remember it as a culinary fiasco.

    I can’t believe the zoo Comic Con’s turned into now.

    Good luck with the awards, and with the madding crowd.

  27. Dr. Empirical says:

    San Diego Comic Con is too big for me, and has long since ceased to be about comics. Movie and video game hustlers outnumber comics geeks by a healthy margin. Too much noise, and too many people dressed as Darth Vader.

    On top of that, you can’t get a hotel room within 50 miles of the place.

    I’ll do Baltimore Con in September, but that’s not a big cosplay event. It’s mostly about 1-on-1 face time with favorite creators. Meanwhile, if anyone wants to check out my pictures from Wizard World Philadelphia 2007, they can go to http://www.popthought.com/display_column.asp?DAID=1395 Thank you, Auntie, for giving me an excuse to post that.

    Quothe Mark Evanier: ‘The Single Most-Heard Phrase This Evening at Comic-Con…
    “My God, if it’s this crowded on Preview Night…”‘

  28. Aunt Soozie says:

    Doc…can you post a link to the Baltimore Con if it’s available? Just in case we want to start organizing a posse? I have to double check the dates cause there are some holidays in September.

    I think you said that Alison isn’t going so we can represent for Fun Home and for all Dykes to Watch out For. in fact, though it’s not a cosplay event (I just learned that word) maybe we’d have to go in dtwof drag. Do you have a kilt doc?

    I think I’d have to be Harriet…only she and Jezanna are built like me. Those other dykes to watch out for are all kinda lean, even though they’re aging, they have more Alisonesque builds. but, there’s always imagination. I’d like to be Lois. she’s got the spunk I admire. maybe I’ll be Larriet?

    If anyone out there is thinking of going to Baltimore you can email me and I’ll forward to Dr E and we can arrange a meet up. The email address I had posted here before has been found by the internet bots and I’m getting a ton of email about enhancing my penis size and foreign bank accounts that have money for me. so, I’m going to delete that address and change the first part to transphoebe. It’ll be that…you know…transphoebe.
    And then the second part will be at mac dot com.

  29. Dr. Empirical says:

    Alison hasn’t announced that she’s going, but that doesn’t mean she won’t. I wouldn’t presume to speak for her.

    Baltimore is a great convention for chatting with fans, but it’s really small potatoes compared to San Diego. Also, the Harvey Awards aren’t as prestigious as the Eisners, which are awarded in San Diego.

    Baltimore Con will be September 8&9. Their web site is:
    http://www.comicon.com/baltimore/

    There is also a myspace page:
    http://www.myspace.com/baltimorecomics

    The Harvey awards (Alison is up for three) will be the evening of the 8th. The awards dinner costs a whopping $75 a plate! The awards web site needs updating, but can be found at:
    http://harveyawards.org/

    There will be seating available for people who want to attend the awards without eating dinner. That shouldn’t be more than ten bucks, but no prices are posted yet. It’s possible that it will be free or discounted if you have a ticket for the convention. I’ll most likely have a press pass, which will get me in, but won’t get me dinner.

    Finally, because clicks on my column make it easier to get press credentials, my writeup of last year’s Baltimore Con is at: http://www.popthought.com/display_column.asp?DAID=1216

    Note the dearth of cosplay photos.

  30. Dr. Empirical says:

    Ooh! I triggered an autobot! My comment is awaiting moderation! Too many links, I’m guessing. It’ll turn up eventually, I guess.

  31. Sir Real says:

    Hey cool! You’re being moderated by Andrew Farago – who happens to be Shaenon Garrity*’s husband. Maybe she’ll be on the scene?
    *creator of my second-favorite comic site, Narbonic, the story of a genius mad scientist, her clone, and her henchmen. (Yes, she uses the term `henchmen’ for all her assistants including a girl and a super-intelligent gerbil, so if that bugs ya, don’t look! Plus, the early Narbonic is not so great to look at, but later draftmanship – er, drawing skills, improve radically, methinks.)

  32. Ed says:

    I love seeing the name “Houghton Mifflin” in amongst all those other publishers. Course, I also like seeing AB’s name up there even more.

    I read the AB section in “Reading Comics” (Yes, she gets a chapter!) in my local bookstore. Very well-written.

  33. Ann S. in Madison says:

    Righteous, sunicarus!

  34. Dr. Empirical says:

    It’s important to have henchmen, in case you need to manhandle a guy wire.

  35. --MC says:

    I need henchmen in my life just so I can yell at them, “Don’t just stand around, go hench!”

  36. DeLandDeLakes says:

    I hope San Diego has been fun, Alison.

    I am also eagerly awaiting the next DTWOF strip- call me a hopeless dork, but if Janis or anybody else is going through any post-Deathly Hallows depression, it may help me get over my own. 🙁

  37. Jana C.H. says:

    I wonder if henchmen dust and vacuum. And clean the bathtub. I want henchmmen to clean my bathtub! They’ll have to hench over for that, of course.

    Jana C.H.
    Seattle
    Saith JcH: Anyone with the poor taste to be tall enough to see the top of a refrigerator deserves to look at dirt.

  38. Ginjoint says:

    *GASP!*

    DeLand!! I’m still reading! Please don’t even give me a hint of what happens!

  39. Aunt Soozie says:

    Ginjoint,
    I think Deland is just sad that it’s the last of the series…is that right? nothing to look forward to??
    I’m sure there will be many other generations of wizards attending hogwarts for ms. rowling to write about…
    and if not…you know Alison’s working on another book…
    ps…I promise to disclose nothing but I finished deathly hallows on Monday night.

  40. Deb says:

    I had to crack up with the “post Deathly Hallows” depression! I can identify totally! Alison, have a great time at the con and welcome to the west coast!

  41. So UN-pc says:

    Jana C.H. – You don’t need henchmen; you need me. I cleaned apartments for a summer in college, and nobody can bust off soapscum like me. Plus, I actually like cleaning. (A butch that would be happy being a housewife? It *is* 2007…) Alas, I am in Burlington, VT (!) Happy hench-hunting….;)

  42. sillipitti says:

    Alison–just have fun! BTW, is “the wild rumpus” a deliberate Maurice Sendak allusion? From all the descriptions above, I would daresay you are going where the wild things are!

  43. DeLandDeLakes says:

    Don’t worry Ginjoint- Aunt Soozie is right, I’m just suffering for the fact that the series ended, rather than out of any dissatisfaction with the ending. Yesterday was the first day since I finished that I hadn’t either cried or turned to substances to deal with the post-DH blues. (And I don’t even consider myself to be an obsessive fan, like my sis, who is heading to Toronto for the big Harry Potter convention next week!) Anyway, I would rather die than slip any spoilers. Unfortunately, Aunt Soozie, J.K. Rowling has definitively stated that she will not return to the series- I imagine she and her kids are just going to go retire on a private island paved with money. 🙂

  44. Dr. Empirical says:

    Rowling is currently working on two books, one for adults and one for kids. We may never get more Potter, but we’ll get more Rowling!

    No matter how much money they have, writers never retire.

  45. PrelKikam says:

    enter text? test, sorry

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