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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Comic Con Report- Day 4

Saturday is usually the busiest day of the con and it was for me as well.  Dennis and I got up very early to head over for the Comics Pro breakfast.  I was interested in going as I was a retailer for many years and also a publisher.  We got there early and stole some coffee and met up with Jim Sokolowski of Archie after a long time with Marvel.  The meeting was more crowded than expected so I left, not wanting to take up space for a retailer that might need it.

I walked the con floor, venturing into areas I hadn’t gone into before.  People may complain about it not being a comic convention but the longest lines were at the game, toy, and celebrity areas so I’m guessing that fact doesn’t bother most.  I navigated through and met the producers I had scheduled a meeting with at the Hyatt for coffee.  Talks went good but if you know how it is dealing with producers, everything sounds great at the meeting and then it returns to the typical crawl on inactivity.  So, while a very good meeting, I really won’t know for a few weeks just how fruitful it really was.

I returned to the con and was met by a book wholesaler who had been looking for me, not realizing that I wasn’t set up.  We discussed a deal of supplying books, not only from Transfuzion, but also Deadworld.  After that, I received a call from Kevin VanHook who came into town from LA for the day and was at a get together at the Omni.  I planned to get there before he left but I never did as he left right when I was on my way there later that afternoon.  Kevin has written and directed a number of movies for the SyFy Channel as well as written many comics for Valiant and DC and of course, he was the writer/artist on the Rocky Horror Picture Show comic which Transfuzion is bringing back into print in October.

Stopped back at IDW and talked briefly with Dirk Wood to find out what the numbers were on the Deadworld: War of the Dead series coming in August.  He didn’t have specific numbers as they were just coming in but did say that everyone was pleasantly surprised and gave some comparison numbers of other titles.  So, sounds like the Deadworld series did better than expected.

Met up with Dennis who had brought the packets to promote Detroit Fanfare.  We talked with publishers and talent about the show which can be difficult in the middle of something like Comic Con but it seemed we had some great response, but just like Hollywood producers, you never know until later.

My daughter, Stephanie, called and was planning to come to the con later that afternoon to check it out.  She’s been to some local conventions and she’s dabbled in reading comics so she would find it more appealing than Jessica.

It was a flurry of quick meetings and bounced from Mike Richardson at Dark Horse, Jim Salicrup at Paper Cutz, Archie, and Titan Books.   By the end of all that, Stephanie had arrived and so we walked the con including the autograph area upstairs.  

It was getting towards the end of the con so Stephanie and I left for the US Grant where the Richard Alf Memorial dinner was being held.  Dennis was going to meet us there. Organized by Greg Koudloulian, it was to commemorate the legacy of Richard Alf, one of the co-founders of Comic Con decades ago and Shel Dorf’s right hand man.  Richard also financed the first three years of the convention which allowed it to grow until it became the monster it is today.  Greg thought it was important for Dennis and me to attend since we sponsor the Official Shel Dorf Awards as part of Detroit Fanfare and Fanfare continues to pay homage to the early founders of comic conventions.  Stephanie thought it would be interesting to attend but was ready to leave if it proved to be too crowded as she didn’t want to limit anyone else’s attendance.  Unfortunately, the initial audience was small but it did pick up throughout the evening although never to full capacity.  We did see Don Cheadle in the lobby of the hotel as we were waiting for Dennis to arrive.

In addition to Greg, there were many other members of the con’s early days including David Scroggy, Jackie Estrada, Mark Evanier, Phil Yey, George Clayton Johnson, and others who may not have been there in the beginning but paid homage.  Sorry to say, I didn’t recognize some of them. Michael D. Hamersky, the blogger attended, and has posted some Youtube videos of the event.   The food was great, the drinks plentiful, and it was interesting to watch the passion and remembrances flow.  When Stephanie and I arrived, we were greeted by another founder who I found during the conversation was the multi-award winning sci-fi author, Greg Bear.  After dinner, some awards were presented and many took turns to reminiscence about Richard and Shel Dorf.  Greg even asked Dennis to speak about the Shel Dorf Awards presented at Fanfare.

The entire celebration would not have been possible without the sponsorship of Steve Geppi.  Steve came with his daughter and was an active participant in getting the tribute up and running and I think he ended up sponsoring most if not all.  Steve gets a bevy of criticism with Diamond Comics but he should be applauded for this.  I talked with Steve as I’ve known him for some 20 years and even though a lot of creators and publishers see Diamond as the enemy, I never have.  I won’t get into it here but a lot of the policies and actions of Diamond are just good business and even though they don’t carry the entire Transfuzion line, I don’t have a problem with them.  So kudos to Steve for his great generosity.

Dennis stayed after Stephanie and I left.  We went to the trolley station and Steph headed back to Ocean Beach while I left for the Omni.  When I got back, I ran into a couple of Deadworld fans who pleaded with me to start up a fan-fiction site as they had some great stories they wanted to post.  I told them that I had been considering it which I have been for awhile.  As usual, time is always the problem.

I decided to check out Trickster again but had only gone about a block when Dennis returned and called so I went back to hook up with him.  He was talking with an art agent who was a fan of Caliber so we discussed the early days for a bit.  Dennis and I decided against Trickster as we remembered the heat and the bar closing early, so we headed to the Gas Lamp district and found a small bar that was surprisingly not overwhelmed.  Grabbed a drink and found out that all the bars close at midnight for serving but that’s the downtown area only although clubs can serve until two.

Dennis was wiped out from his zombie obstacle course he ran that morning (but he was a survivor of the course.)  We returned to the Omni and it was interesting to see Ron Perlman in the lobby with his handler standing guard next to him to keep away the fan boys, I guess.

The next day would be the last day and I had purposely left it open as there were still some people I wanted to see and catch up on.


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