When you overhear someone saying this, you can only be in one place—Comic-Con.
I attended my first Comic-Con the other week. Wow, isn’t it big? From its humble beginnings as a comic book convention, it’s grown into a multimedia extravaganza, covering comic books, movies, TV, video games and books. Its sheer size is staggering. Somewhere around 150,000 people attended this year. That’s about 100 times bigger than the average Bouchercon.
Numbers, shnumbers, I say. I’m seasoned. I can handle anything thrown at me. I strode onto the exhibition floor ready for anything and left about twenty minutes later crying. It was total sensory overload. There were so many bright and shiny things to look at that I couldn’t focus. I saw comic book heaven and it hurt. I know how Bruce Banner felt when he got blasted with all those gamma rays. I learned my lesson fast and only returned with a welder’s hood over my head.
Luckily, I didn’t look out of place with my protective headgear. Comic-Con fans aren’t ones for hiding their love under a bushel. No, they’re quite happy to toss their bushels aside for four days. There were plenty of rabid fans dressed up as characters from Star Wars, Star Trek, Batman, Superman, Heroes, 300. You name it, people were dressed up as it. I took a keen interest in the dozens of ladies dressed up as Princess Leia from The Return of Jedi wearing that bikini. You know the one I mean. And as far as I’m concerned, you can’t have enough semi-clad Princess Leias running about. Giada would make a good Princess Leia. Hmm, Giada…
“So what were you doing at Comic-Con, Simon?” I hear you cry. You should be asking why Jemma Jameson was at Comic-Con, but I’ll answer your question. I’m a little bit of a fan boy. As a dyslexic, I took refuge in comic books. Telling stories with pictures was a lifesaver. So it was a little bit of a pilgrimage, but it also turned into a little bit of a busman’s holiday as I was selected for panel duty. I was on a panel entitled “Where did that come from” with F. Paul Wilson, David Morrell, Mike Carey, Chris Golden, Stephen Woodworth, Jeff Marriotte, and Richard Kadrey. This was quite a lineup. Mike Carey has written X-Men scripts and I tried talking him into creating an X-man based on my special powers of mediocrity. He said he’d not think about it. I’m a big David Morrell, so that was neat-o. He asked me a question and it had nothing to do with getting him some water or to get out of a chair because an adult should be sitting there.
It was interesting to see how many big name authors are writing comic books these days. Orson Scott Card, Tad Williams, Brad Meltzer and Denise Mina are just a few to have snapped some of the big name superheroes in comics. David Morrell has a Captain America story coming out later this year. I’m hoping this trend continues and an opportunity falls my way. First, it’ll be a dream realized. Having spent years consuming these stories, it would be an honor to return the favor. Secondly, there’s the challenge. I like to tell stories, whether that be novels, short stories, plays, etc. Comic books would be another opportunity to tell stories, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. You really do have to show and not tell, and what is shown has to be laser sharp. There isn’t room for reams of dialog. Telling details have to illustrate a character. The way I would introduce a character in a novel would be totally different in a comic book. It’s a hard discipline, but I think I can do it. The problem is with all these big name authors snapping up the higher echelons of the comic book world, that there isn’t much room for me. As far as I can see, there’s only Atom Ant and Snugglepuss left, but that’s cool. I’ll take the assignment. I know can do it. Heavens to Betsy, I can do it. J
I do have a couple of people to thank for looking after me while I was at the convention. Thanks to Eunice Magill for showing me the ropes and to Maryelizabeth from Mysterious Galaxy bookstore for the panel assignment and for embarrassing me in public. She knows what she did.
Yours a caricature,