It’s no secret that over the years, I’ve come to favor C2E2 over Wizard World Chicago each and every time. As a result, I felt betrayed when I was notified that C2E2 would not be granting me a press pass for 2013. It hurt pretty badly, especially considering how fucking expensive it is to get into this thing for the whole weekend. But when I thought more about it, I wasn’t quite so pissed. Last year, I got sick on the first day, so I was only able to use what precious little material I was able to gather on Friday of the 2012 show. While I think it’s unfair (because I spent the weekend in the ER being pumped full of fluids, anti-nausea medicine, and Dilaudid, which was not fun, rather than hanging out at C2E2 with my friends, meeting people, and going to panels, which is fun), I can see why they turned me down.
So I made it my personal mission this year to gather as much info as I could and write as many articles as I could muster. Hence the incredibly long list of C2E2 coverage this year. Seriously. You just read seven weeks of C2E2 coverage. If this doesn’t earn me a press pass for 2014, fucking nothing will.
I’m sorry to say that Friday seemed kind of lackluster. I’d brought my friend, Fitz, along for the ride this year, and it was his first convention ever. It was cool to watch his reaction to the whole thing, but I could tell even he was a bit disappointed. He got to meet Laurie Holden, who plays Andrea on THE WALKING DEAD. He actually brought a photo of her on the set of the MAGNIFICENT SEVEN TV show, which she probably found absolutely ludicrous. As we walked away, he told me she was the first celebrity he’d ever actually talked to. He was with me when I met James Cosmo and Natalie Dormer, but Holden was his First.
He handled it pretty well. I remember when I met my first celebrity, which left me a bit starstruck, but after all of these years, it never strikes me anymore.
Anyway, Fitz was really hoping to meet Ron Perlman (and so was I, a bit), but the line was always too long, or he just wasn’t there. Fitz felt the same way about the guy who played the Green Power Ranger, but the line was way longer than anyone expected.
Fitz had hung his hopes on meeting a lot of people, but as it turns out, most of them decided to only show up on Saturday. He even wanted to meet J. Michael Straczynski because of the writer’s involvement with THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS cartoon, but that turned out to be a no-go. I think Fitz had a good time taking in the experience, but when it came to meeting celebrities, he was let down. I was, too. Friday was kind of a bust.
The highlight was introducing Fitz to Jon Lennon. Here’s the thing: Jon tried to get a table in Artists Alley, and they turned him down. Sure, all of the tables were taken, but there was a ton of room for more tables. They could have fit him and Mat Festa and anyone else who had requested to PAY for a table. I could see them turning down a press pass for me, but to turn away PAYING ARTISTS? That was lame.
It was also great to see Leo Perez, Kevin Bandt, Z.M. Thomas, and a few other Artists Alley friends (although surprisingly enough, I didn’t get to see Kurt Dinse until Sunday). Josh Filer showed up the next day, so it was fun shooting the shit with him. It was great to find out that he’s been telling people about all the horrendous stories I’ve told him in regards to my life. The burn victim story, as portrayed in an issue of PRODUCT OF SOCIETY, seems to be a favorite. I wished I could have gotten drunk with them on Saturday night, but by that point, I’d been fucked up beyond all belief. I was ready to collapse. I was still fucked up on Sunday. Guys: when Wizard World Chicago comes around, I promise to get drunk with you. I have more fucked up stories about my life to tell. Since the StrangeHouse guys will be there, maybe I can get all of you together for an evening of absolute lunacy.
My favorite part of any convention is hanging out with my Artists Alley friends, but this year I only got to stop by a couple of times. I was too busy getting material for my C2E2 coverage, meeting celebrities, getting interviews, going to panels, etc. I also had to dedicate some time to picking up a few books for my collection, like the most recent volume of THE GOON. I was missing a few issues of SAGA, which I promptly bought. Much to my surprise, Avatar’s new CALIGULA series had begun. I guess my comic book shop must have missed it, so I got the four issues they’ve released so far (and yes, it’s fucking intense and crazy).
One of my big regrets is not getting a pulp magazine this year. Every convention, I at least buy one, but not this year. I couldn’t find a place selling them. I’m sure there was one somewhere, but I don’t think I would have been able to afford it, anyway. I spent the last of my money on something far more cooler than a pulp magazine: a sketch from John McCrea.
Oh, you want to see it? We’re almost there. Hang on just a while longer.
I don’t regret the pulp thing too much, though. My comic book shop now has a section for pulp magazines, and I’ve got a bunch on my pile, so that satisfies at least a part of my collecting OCD.
What surprised me the most was how busy it was on Sunday. I expected it to be packed on Saturday, so I got there as early as my hangover would allow. I still wound up parking on the roof, and it was in a handicapped space. (What? Don’t look at me like that. The parking attendant TOLD ME to park there.) On Sunday, I wound up on the roof again, but all the handicapped spots were taken. The attendants were making up parking spots, and one of them directed me to such a non-existent space.
But even after a good night’s rest (and no hangover), on Sunday I still felt like collapsing. I left a bit early, two hours from closing time. I think I might be getting too old for this shit.
Either that, or I’ve finally gotten too fat for conventions. Anyone who has seen me at one of these things can attest to how out of breath and sweaty I get, and that’s when I’m in fairly good shape. This leads me to my next problem.
Will I get my press pass back for C2E2 2014? I hope so . . . but I’ve decided that if I don’t get it, I’m going to give up. These things are taking too much of a toll on me. Besides, I’ve pretty much interviewed everyone I want to interview by this point. There are two on my list that I want, and I know I’ll never get them: Garth Ennis and William Christensen. I’ve tried for the former the few times I’ve seen him, and the latter has apologetically turned me down ever since I first saw him at a con several years ago (being editor-in-chief of Avatar during a con is a pretty busy job, so I understand).
I’ve also had to face facts: I’m not that great of an interviewer. I’ve found that I can handle myself pretty well as an interviewee, but when I’m asking questions, I think I’m just mediocre. I’ve only ever done a handful of great interviews, and they are as follows: Jon Lennon and Leo Perez at the same time, Josh Filer, Jason Yungbluth, and this year’s John McCrea. (There was also the interview Leo Perez and I did with Brian Azzarello, which was really good, but it was more Leo than me on that one.) Those felt more like conversations rather than interviews, and that’s the way it should be.
If C2E2 gives me back my press pass, I will definitely do all the things that would require of me, but if they don’t . . . I guess I’ll just go for one day. Whichever day has the most panels I want to sit in on will be the winner. I’ll cover them, of course, because that’s fun, and I’ll review whatever I pick up in Artists Alley . . . although I’m starting to think some of you don’t believe the disclaimers I post for all the books I review that are written and/or illustrated by my Artists Alley friends. Even they probably don’t believe me on some level, and saying otherwise will convince no one.
I’m pretty sure that Wizard World Chicago will grant me a press pass, and I’ll cover the shit out of it. It’s just not as exhausting as C2E2 is, which may be what is killing it for me.
Even though Friday was disappointing, the other two days completely made it up for me. The whole excursion was worth it. It was great meeting so many new people, so many new creators, and hanging out with old friends that I know I couldn’t pass up another such opportunity. C2E2 is still as fun as it was the first year, and it shows no signs of diminishing. If you have the chance to go for 2014, I say do it. I’ll be there.
I might be, as Robert Browning said near the end of “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came,” “the last of me, a living frame/for one more picture” by the time you see me, but I will still be there.
And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for. I can’t tell you how much this sketch of Tommy and Natt from HITMAN means to me. It is now one of my most prized possessions. These characters have long been gone from the DCU, but for just a brief second, whenever I hold this sketch, they’re alive again. I now present it to you as my final word on C2E2 2013: