No, actually, I have to say it was the BEST SDCC EVER! And here's a buncha reasons why:
• In honor of Eisner-winner Tom Spurgeon, I'm gonna write this FLOG post in bullet point, Comics Reporter-style. As our own Steven Weissmansaid on Twitter, Tom was everyone's Comic-Con crush this year. Getting to hang out with him was definitely one of my highlights, and I was delighted to hear stories of the olden days of Fantagraphics, sigh. God, we're so boring and nice now.
• Speaking of Tom, his brother Whit wins for "Best T-Shirt of Comic-Con": an Ivan Brunetti-illustrated tee for the band... Sex Fist. Yup.
• Although, on the way to dinner Saturday night, someone stopped me to tell me my Eightball tee was the "Best T-Shirt of Comic-Con," and yeah, I kinda love my Eightball tee. It was an honor to wear some of Dale Yarger's old Fantagraphics t-shirts from the '90s to the convention.
• It's always a thrill when Matt Groening comes by to visit, but especially this year, 'cause we got to geek out over the new Gary Panter book Dal Tokyo together! Matt even shared a few secrets from when he and Panter worked at the L.A. Weekly together, oooh!!!
• After five long years of attending Comic-Con, Mike and I finally managed to make it to a Venture Brothers panel! That has nothing to do with anything, but our own Stephen DeStefano used to do storyboards for them, so there's your "comix tie-in."
• I always love getting to visit with all our guest artists, but especially Miss Natalia Hernandez, who shares my love of Giant Robot, nail polish, Chi's Sweet Home, and more. I'm thinkin' next year, I'm organizing a SDCC manicure outing for us.
• Speaking of Giant Robot, somehow I managed to karaoke with Martin & Greg Wong 'til 3:00 AM and not lose my voice. [ Photo by one of my bestest friends, Susie Ghahremani. Comic-Con would not have been as awesome without her. <3 ]
• THANK YOU to the customer who kindly gave me a Snickers bar on the last day of the show! Yes, you were right, I did need it!
• And on that note, at the risk of sounding corny, I have to say, one of my show highlights is always getting to meet you, our customers, our readers, our mutual fans. Look, I'm just a comic nerd like the rest of you. If you wanna geek out over Sublife and Thrizzle or whatever, come find me. You're all so nice, and smart, and fun to talk to, and you make going to shows my favorite part of working at Fantagraphics.
• My one bummer of SDCC was that it was the last one for Drawn & Quarterly's Jessica Campbell, who I will miss terribly! I thought we were gonna grow old together, side by side in Aisle 1700 of the San Diego Convention Hall, but sadly, she is moving on to saner things. Good-bye, my dear Jessica. You and I will make it to Tijuana someday. [ Photo of me, Jessica, and James Kochalka swiped from the D&Q blog; snapped by the lovely Peggy Burns ]
• And finally, a special shout-out to my partner-in-crime, Mike Baehr. Somehow, you make late nights unpacking, and then later re-packing, books fun. <3
Diana Schutz of Dark Horse visits with Mario & Gilbert while Jaime keeps his nose to the grindstone. Citizen Rex sequel, anyone?
Steven Weissman & Jon Vermilyea compare notes on strap-fondling techniques. Hey, there's Zack Carlson partially visible over Steven's shoulder — a special shout-out to Zack for his good spirit and volunteerism this week. (Zack also made one of the most amazing Comic-Con purchases I've ever heard about: a 1964 Chevrolet Corvair.)
Young Romance is a real page-turner, as editor Michel Gagné demonstrates.
Eric and Tom Spurgeon yak it up while D&Q's Tom Devlin ponders the unspeakable and Janice looks on.
Scott McCloud looks happy to have found some (mc)clouds in Johnny Gruelle's Mr. Twee Deedle (shut up, I'm tired).
Comic-Con Sundays are always too hectic for much picture-taking:
Old friend Roger Langridge popped by and sketched the Great Gonzo for Clem Reynolds, to papa Eric's delight.
Thanks to the thousands of folks who visited our booth this year (especially those who spent their money in it), Comic-Con staff & volunteers, our wonderful artists, our kick-ass staff, all of our pals & colleagues... another humdinger of a year! I'm off for a week of R&R so I'll catch you all next week.
• Los Angeles, CA: Check out the opening of "Freak Scene," featuring Johnny Ryan, Mome-vet Jim Rugg, and our very own Jason T. Miles! This collection of underground comix opens at Synchronicity Space [ 713 N. Heliotrope ] (more info)
Todd Klein posted this great photo by José Luis Garcia-López of Fantagraphics co-founder and current editor Mike Catron freelancing in the DC Comics offices in 1979. Mike is currently in the process of making his arduous cross country move back to Seattle. We miss ya Mike! (Hat tip to Robot 6.)
• New York City, NY: Are you attending BookExpo America? Hey, so are we! Visit us at Booth #3422. Noah Van Sciver will be signing copies of The Hypo: The Melancholic Young Lincoln from 1-3 PM, and you can catch him at 11 AM on the Uptown Stage as part of the panel "Meet 2012 Graphic Novel Authors!"
Thursday, June 7th
• New York City, NY: You've got another chance to meet Noah Van Sciver at Booth #3422 at the BookExpo America. He'll be signing copies of The Hypo: The Melancholic Young Lincoln from 10 AM-12 PM.
• Worldwide: Our warehouse hero Ajax Wood (occasionally Cannibal Fuckface) can be heard worldwide at 9 PM PT with his old band Last Gasp (cough) on radio station KEXP, streaming online across the globe at KEXP.ORG, or at 90.3 FM if you live in Seattle. (Full disclosure: fine, yeah, I work there, too.)
• Spokane, WA: And Jen Vaughn, the latest addition to our marvelous marketing team, will be making an appearance at the Saranac Art Projects, giving a talk about life at The Center for Cartoon Studies! She'll also be available to review your portfolios, so head over there at 2 PM! (more info)
• Review: "The sad, forgotten beauty of the in-between moments of daily life: playing a board game at a kitchen table just cleared from a family dinner; listening to music having just slipped off your shoes; daydreaming while doing the dishes. What would it be like if a series of graphic novellas tried to capture these moments? What if it also featured an omnipresent, invisible rabbit that could change sizes and a dark, cloud-shaped creature ('the Big Blind') living in the basement of an apartment building that fed on the memories, dreams, and nightmares of its inhabitants? It would probably be something like the Italian comic-book creator Gabriella Giandelli’s... Interiorae." – Nicholas Rombes, Oxford American
• Preview: At The Beat, Jessica Lee presents a 5 page sneak peek of the new book by Josh Simmons, saying "Toying with the vulnerability of characters that seem timelessly recognizable, i.e. fairies in a fantastical land or a batman-esque figure scaling a wall, The Furry Trap is a graphic novel that is set to shock and appall its reader, yet Simmons is able to retain an even stronger range of visual style that makes this graphic novel’s scope extend further than being just a horrific tale."
• Plug: "...[T]he new volume of Prince Valiant, volume 5, is here and an event all its own. Fantagraphics' new hardcover printings of these wonderful Hal Foster Sunday pages offers the finest reproduction yet, far superior to their old softcover series. While I own the original Sunday pages, collected years ago, I could not resist sitting down with these new volumes and getting re-hooked on the stories AND art by one of the very true masters of comic art." – Bud Plant
• Plug: "Out of the Shadows deserves your attention. Meskin is one of my favorite artists from the 1940s and 1950s.... Mort's work here are some of the hidden gems of the Golden Age.... This book comes a long way to reveal this incredible talent who rose above the mass of Golden Age artists." – Bud Plant
Filmmaker Helene Christensen took it upon herself to create this marvelous short video about Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, largely shot back in February during our Jack Davis tribute exhibit. Its primary star is, of course, our own Larry Reid, with additional interviews with Gary Groth, Jim Woodring, Frank Santoro and others, and there's also a clip of Jack Davis's video chat at the tribute exhibit opening. Lots more familiar faces make appearances too — maybe you're in it!
The newest addition to our marketing staff, Jen Vaughn, underwent her baptism by fire at this past weekend's MoCCA Fest, and she writes about her experience for her freelance writing gig at The Beat (whose Heidi MacDonald took the photo of Jen above). What's it like to "graduate" from having your own table as a self-publisher to being behind the table for a big, fancy-pants publisher like us? Jen's got the perspective, with photos a-plenty (ooo, Daniel Johnston!).
We had a swell time at the Stumptown Comics Fest in Portland this past weekend and the big news for us there was that Jaime Hernandez received the Stumptown Comic Arts Award for Best Cartoonist! Festival special guest and our longtime pal Stan Sakai picked up the award for Best Letterer, and our newest hire, Jen Vaughn, shares the award for Best Anthology as co-editor of Lies Grown-ups Told Me. Congrats to all!