Working In Comics: New York Comic-Con & Stalking Frank Cho

“I hope you guys have ‘hobo-stab insurance’!”

So, where were we…regrets. You know, as I looked back on the last 3 posts, they were real downers, and this series could really go on forever. So, for now, I’m going to make it an recurring feature, but not let it take over the entire blog. It’s too easy to fall into that trap. Look at Dateline. You know, there WAS a time when it wasn’t all about child predators. Anyway, that’s not a life for me. Let’s talk about work.

I haven’t really written about my job, as comic kids are WAY too web-savvy. I mention a title that I hate, and the next thing you know, I’m going to read “The Diamond Guy hates Planet Hulk!” on some Newsarama post.

In any case, sometimes I lose track of reality, and certain events serve to show me just how jaded I’ve become. You think your job’s hard? You ain’t seen nothing til you’ve seen a pair of horny giraffes going down on each other. Yup, a longnecked soixante-neuf (did you know that a giraffe has 2 penises? Well, one of these most certainly did!.) Oh yeah, it’s real and it’s $2.50.
You see, people think of comics, and they think, “Biff, Bam, Pow!” but there’s a lot of freaky stuff out there that’s not advertised in everday places. And it’s my job to peruse and list each and every one of them.

And the industry. Everybody hates everybody else. Recently, I was talking to one of my coworkers about a guy, and his response was, “You know, it’s a shame that some people just didn’t go down with the towers.” Yeah, those towers.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my job, and I don’t think I’ve ever said that before. Sure, there aren’t enough hours in the day, and my commute’s an hour each way, but I get to work in comics! Whoo-hoo! At the same time, I hop online and everyone hates me. Not me, specifically, but my role in the machine. Everybody hates a middleman, even when things aren’t his fault. They love to kill the messenger, but they need the messenger to get the word out about a golden age revival, or the latest wave of hot Japanese boy-on-boy action. Yep, all of these are out there. Comics aren’t just Batman & Spider-Man. Nowadays, comics are “art”, they’re used to educate, and if you like furries, they’re there to help you get your rocks off. These ain’t your grandaddy’s comics. Or maybe they are…it might explain why you no longer go home for the holidays.

Anyway, I haven’t posted lately because I have been bone tired from the New York Comic Con. It was my first work trip, and it rocked my socks! At the same time, it was exhausting. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not parties with “creative types” all the time. The show was from Thursday-Sunday, and I didn’t even go out until Saturday night. But OH, what a night it was!

2 of my dreams came true at the end of the con on Saturday. First of all, I was walking through the hall, and noticed a new-ish banner hanging in the DC Booth. The previous night, Gail Simone had been seated there (btw, I introduced myself to her, and tried to discuss the Reappropriate drama, which went over about as well as a fart in church…), but I saw that there was now a Wildstorm banner there. Well, curiosity got the best of me, and I couldn’t believe my eyes. I thought it was a comic mirage. Certainly, Jim Lee couldn’t be sitting right in front of me! And I would have to be losing my mind if I seriously thought that only 7 people were in line for him! But alas, it was him.

***********************sidebar, creator stats*******************************************
Jim Lee,
former EIC Wildstorm
founder, Image Comics (the first real competitor to Marvel & DC)

Penciller on launch of X-Men (#1 held record for highest selling comic @ 1,000,000 copies)
Went on to pencil WildC.A.T.S.; Gen13; Batman: Hush; Superman: For Tomorrow; All-Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder

Creator of the Wildstorm Universe

*************************end of creator stats******************************************

So, I got in line, but I had NOTHING for him to sign. Nor did I have a sketchbook. After all, I was there to work. So, imagine how I felt when I noticed that, not only was he signing, he was SKETCHING. FOR. FREE.

Luckily, DC had these backing board-sized pages on one of the tables, and soon my time came. I got up to him, and he said hi I responded with a nervous, “Hi, it’s an honor to meet you. How are you?” He didn’t catch that last part. Once again, I stammered, “How are you?” I don’t even remember what happened. I think I asked him for Batman. Either way, about 5 mins later,I had my very own Batman head sketch, signed “To Will, Best, Jim Lee”. My own Jim Lee Batman. If you’re one of the 3 comic people who read this thing, I’ll give you a moment to go get a towel and wipe yourselves off. If not, all other men should just imagine they’ve met Chuck Norris, and women should picture…I dunno…who’s a woman that all women would like to meet? Forget it. Anyway, it was a momentous occasion. But wait; there’s more!

So, as I was leaving the DC booth, I noticed Frank Cho seated at an adjacent booth. Now, Frank is a U.MD:CP grad, mostly known for his sydicated comic strip “Liberty Meadows”. Recently, he’s had a bunch of success drawing Marvel superheroes, like Spider-Woman and the Avengers.

Now, here’s my thing with Frank. I’m almost stalking him lately. You see, I met him 2 years ago at my first Baltimore Con, but he meets so many people at those things that it doesn’t count. But about 3 months ago, I met him, “for real”, at a local comic shop. It seems that he likes the sushi place next door, so he comes in to eat his lunch. Imagine my shock to walk into a comic shop on a quiet Thursday, and find him just sitting, eating his lunch! We had about an hour-long shit-shooting fest, as I asked him about Civil War and whatnot.

Well, fast forward to about a month after that meeting, when he and his family came into Toys R Us. Immediately, I recognized him, and after his “this guy is sketching me out” look subsided, I helped him find some Legos.

So, back to NYCC. I see Frank, and I go over to him just to say hi. When I get up to the table, it’s just the two of us, and I say, “Man, I swear I’m not stalking you!” Then, I asked if he was doing the whole show and if he’d be doing sketches. I was just chatting, so I was pretty surprised when he said, “Well, I’ll do one for you.” Once again, I had nothing to sketch on. It had taken me forever to get the page for Jim Lee, and now this! As I frantically searched my bag for some semblance of flat paper, I decided to run off to a retailer friend for paper. I told him I’d be right back, and capped it off with “Please don’t hate me!” As I ran off, I heard him say, “Hey, I hate you already!” BFF, baby!

So, I came back with a backing board, and when he asked what I wanted, I just told him to surprise me. Well, it was awesome when he skecthed Liberty Meadows mainstay Truman, who was screaming, “I Want My Lego!”. He remembered

Why did I remember that story today? Well, when I came in to work this morning, there was a comic sitting in front of my monitor. Looking closer, I saw that it was signed, “To Will, my Diamond Stalker”. You see, Frank did the art on last week’s Mighty Avengers #1 (tie-in to the death of Captain America, which I’m sure you heard about), and he was doing signings at the same store in which I met him. It seems that one of my coworkers who knows EVERYBODY in the industry had gotten it for me. And it’s moments like that where I can’t help but think, “This job kicks ASS!”


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