A long time ago, in this very galaxy, I used to write comic book reviews for the Elmhurst College LEADER. I was the first of my kind, apparently. No one in any other college wrote comic book reviews (at least in Illinois), and I won an honorary mention for my efforts at a state-run journalism contest (run in conjunction with the Chicago TRIBUNE).
I don't want to get all weird and suck my own dick or anything, but I never really considered myself a reviewer in those days. I wrote about books I wanted people to read, because they were fucking awesome. I very rarely wrote a negative review. It comes from my history of wanting the best comic book reading experience possible.
I never planned on becoming a comic book convention attendee, but it happened all because I wrote a critical letter to Brian Pulido, the guy who created Evil Ernie and Lady Death, among other great Chaos! characters. I thought Evil Ernie's books had lost the plot, and I wrote a ten page letter explaining all the cool shit the series had done, and all the terrible things that were ruining the story at the time. A severely edited version was printed in one of the EE books, and I was named Fiend of the Month. Shockingly enough, Brian listened to me. He came back to writing the character he created, and he put EE back on his path. He also called me up at home and talked to me about the experience. I couldn't believe it. I actually spoke to one of the three guys who got me back into reading comics. It was an amazing experience.
Even more amazing: he invited me out to Wizard World Chicago that year, my very first comic book convention. I didn't know what to expect, but after walking around the place for a day, I got the hang of it very quickly. I also got to meet another of the three guys, Garth Ennis, for the first time. In fact, I got to meet a couple of guys who were doing a great indie book at the time, one of the first of its kind that I'd found by myself. The book was called BATTLE POPE, and the guys were Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore, before the rest of the world knew who they were. I can't tell you how awesome that first con was.
The next year, I knew what to expect. I knew which creators would be there, so I loaded up on my comics and brought a bunch of them to be signed. Every con since, my backpack has been full of books I wanted to get autographs on.
For the first time since that first year, my backpack is very, very light. That's because the emphasis has been taken off of comic books and has been placed on pop culture figures. I like guys like Stan Lee, Bruce Campbell, William Shatner and the rest, but my main reason to go to these things is to meet the people who create my favorite comics.
This year, there were only two big name comics guys I wanted to meet: Rafael Albuquerque, who co-created AMERICAN VAMPIRE, and Leinil Yu, who did a couple of books with Mark Millar. (I also want to get my WEAPON BROWN omnibus signed by Jason Yungbluth, but I've met him before. These other two guys? I haven't.) Then, Albuquerque had to step down. For the first time since the first time, I have almost no comic books to bring with me. Just Yu's two series for Millar, and I don't even know if I'll be able to get to him.
I have a few other things I want to get pop culture icons to sign, but it depresses the hell out of me that comic books have taken such a backseat at the con that got me started all those years ago. To those who have read my con coverage in the past, you might recall that I thought last year I'd give up on WWC and just stick to C2E2, which is a far superior show. Yet . . . I find it hard to quit the one that started me on this path. Besides, I have friends at WWC that I don't usually get to see the rest of the year.
To those who remember, I'm still SWORN TO THE BLACK.