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I sound so cynical.

I ventured out of the SLG booth at WonderCon, and within minutes I was wishing I was somewhere else. I got The Magic Bottle by Camille Rose Garcia, which is awesome, (and from which my icon comes), but after that everything just started depressing me. Outside one of the toy booths, a woman sat on a chair--I guess to make sure no one ripped stuff off. She was wearing black pointy-heeled pumps with wide ankle straps and a very short pink skirt that was riding up in an unflattering way. Did her employers ask her to dress like a street walker? She looked miserable, and why not? Comic book geeks were shuffling by her, or rudely bumping into her without saying "Excuse me," and where she sat, she was just about gut-level.

I think what depressed me is the separation I feel from comics and graphic novels as storytelling and art when I'm in convention crowds. Sometimes it is not like that. Sometimes I'm gratified that we're getting these comics into people's hands. And there are those moments, when more girls pick up Wonderland  or GloomCookie, or I say, "Oh, no, they can look at it all they want! We don't believe in putting comics in plastic bags around here!" when a father warns his kids not to touch copies of The Super-Scary Monster Show too much, and the kids open the book and grin at the art, and one declares, "I want to be a cartoonist when grow up!"

Yeah, that's good. But out on the floor, when you've gone past the Oni booth and the Top Shelf booth and the Image and the Last Gasp booth, and you're caught between a bunch of toy booths and looking for some glimmer of individual creativity, then it feels very bleak. That's why I wanted to get back to the booth so much, back to some place where there was some meaning for me.

Some questions I've asked myself this weekend:

Why do people wear things like T-shirts that show the silhouette of a monkey scratching its butt accompanied by the slogan "SCRATCH 'N' SNIFF"?

What in the world is a T-shirt that reads "Voting is for old people" supposed to mean? Is it ironic in an unclever way I'm just not getting, or am I justified in thinking it makes its wearer deserved to be slapped?

Why will people wait in such a long line at the DC booth just to get free bookmarks that will just get all battered up in their con bag and end up being thrown away and little pins that you can gather by the handful on your way out as the hall is closing?

Fur-suiter in wolf suit wearing wolf-howling-at-moon T-shirt. WHY?

Is the crackly-electricity-sparky thing that guy has every year, which makes that annoying Tazer sound, dangerous? It looks dangerous. I hate it.

An observation:

Award-winning and talented graphic novelist Gene Yang sat at our booth chatting with only a couple of readers while in the aisle behind them, throngs of people gathered around a guy dressed up like Adam West's Batman to take pictures of him. This is my emblem of the "mainstream" comic book industry.


( 10 messages received — Tell Me )
Mar. 4th, 2007 05:04 pm (UTC)
ya. i decided to skip wondercon this year for all those reasons. I did go last year and showed you a portfolio and you had some kind words and some feedback that was nice, then i got a sketch from mike mignola and went home, i was kind of bummed 20 minutes into the show and there wasn't really anything left to do. i ended up selling my ticket to some guy in the line as i walked out which made the trip free so that worked out ok.
Mar. 4th, 2007 05:09 pm (UTC)
This is precisely why I don't like going to conventions without a table to stand behind. Maybe it means I won't have the chance to visit the indie publishers, but at least I'm not wandering in the aisles, coming down down down. My table is my safety blanket. I claim three feet of my own country where I am queen.

Let's see if I have any answers for your questions (rantiness ahead):

1. Some people think monkeys are funny. (However, I think they are creepy. Especially ones made out of socks.)

2. That person needed to be hit by a truck. Not only is it not clever, it's the reason assholes get elected over and over by vocal minorities.... who bother to vote. You don't want to participate in a democracy? Go live in Russia. I hear their on their way to a dictatorship. Hey, no worries for you! Sit back and let the mob do the driving!

3. Maybe someone promised them free cookies? Those buttons, by the by, are utterly useless. The ones I was given at Philly were made like metal bottle caps and fell of their pins withing a few blocks. What is the point of cheap promotional materials that fall apart before they can promote?

I have no comments about the last two. As for your observation, that is just pathetic. I swear someone needs to make some sort of a literary/comics/art con where there is a strict no-tights-allowed policy regarding attendess and exhibitors. I can't believe what gets overlooked when lumped in with some of this stuff.
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 9th, 2007 02:38 am (UTC)
Pretty LAME, you mean!
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 10th, 2007 09:02 pm (UTC)
I think that because there's more not-lame to counteract the very present lame at Comic-Con, it's more tolerable.
Mar. 4th, 2007 10:59 pm (UTC)
i know exactly how you feel. its the same feeling i get when i go to a show where i LOVE LOVE LOVE the opening band and only midly tolerate the headliner

at the Murder by Death/Hush Sound show, i was actually HARASSED in the pit by Hush Sound fans for liking Murder by Death. Granted, Hush Sound fans were collectively 14 and stupid and decked out in enough plastic jewlery to convince me that time travel was possible. it just made me angry and sad at the same time.

Mar. 5th, 2007 02:51 am (UTC)
It is pretty disheartening to see first hand just how fetishistic much of the comics-reading public is. It's even more depressing for a creator when you realize that the stuff you like to do isn't the kind of stuff they seem to want to read.
All you can do is follow your muse and hope that someday some college professor will discover your work decades after you're dead and proclaim you a genius.

Mar. 5th, 2007 06:34 pm (UTC)
>_< I am incredibly jeaous of anyone who ahs anything CRG!!!! It's not fair... of course my jealousy is born of my own lacking of her wonderous works (I have been able to see the actual paintings on two separate showings though, which was wonderful)... so I am green because of your loot, know that now, and feel guilty!

yeah, I have no idea that I can soundly offer regarding the con-tshirts thing, I would also ask why people feel it necessary to wear socks with "reef" sandals or other inappropriate footwear, typically lack in hygene, or why furries are aloud to live at all... I'm just sayin'.
Mar. 9th, 2007 12:48 am (UTC)
jennifer, i totally understand where you're coming from, as someone who's been in both the mainstream comics biz and now working on the indy side, but its not as dire as it might seem. i posted something on my blog in answer to yoursso as not to take up too much space: http://inkdestroyedmybrush.blogspot.com/2007/03/cynic-jennifer-de-guzman-and-more.html

I hope that slave labor had a good show!
Mar. 9th, 2007 02:36 am (UTC)
Re: thoughts
"Take a deep breath and relax"? Are you my yoga guru?

I know you mean well, but I don't need paternalistic guidance here.

I know the progress the industry is making, my point was is that progress really hasn't made it to Wondercon.
Mar. 12th, 2007 02:56 am (UTC)
Re: thoughts
as always the internet is difficult to make tone come through. sigh.

sorry, I did not mean to come off paternalistic at all. So if I did come off that way, I apologize. I meant to say that while it didn't appear that wondercon '07 had come that far, at least there is change around us, incremental change. Yoga is good for the soul, I wish that I had time these days to do it. There was meant to be some humor in that, but, alas, it is my failing that it didn't.

I, too, have always deplored the "booth girls" that we find at just abbout every trade show, from autos to boats to comics. Its just sad. I've never quite understood that need for T and A except to keep an eye on shoplifters in the booth.
( 10 messages received — Tell Me )

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