Archive for July, 2011

SDCC Comics in the Library Panel

July 31, 2011 @ 7:36 pm | Filed under: ,

One of the best panels I attended at SDCC was Comics in the Library, moderated by Gina Gagliano of First Second Books, featuring four librarians from different parts of the country:

• Candice Mack, LA Public Library
• Mike Pawuk, Cuyahoga County Public Library (Ohio)
• Eva Volin, Alameda Library (CA) [Twitter]
• Gene Anbaum, Unshelved [Twitter]

This is a writeup of my panel notes. I was writing quickly, so it’s possible I’ve made mistakes below—my apologies if so!

From left: Candice Mack, Mike Pawuk, Eva Volin, Gina Gagliano. Sorry I didn’t get Gene Anbaum in the photo!

SDCC Diary: Sunday

July 29, 2011 @ 7:15 pm | Filed under:

Sunday was Jane’s turn. There was a manga-drawing workshop at 11 a.m. she was keen to attend, and I was hoping to get into the 10 a.m. Jim Henson panel. We arrived at the latter about two seconds after the room reached capacity, so we trekked to the other end of the convention center to see what was going on in the manga-panel room during the 10:00 time slot.

This turned out to be one of the most serendipitous events of the week, because what was going on in that room was the fantastic Teen Comics Workshop I blogged about at GeekMom.

After the workshop, I left Jane to enjoy her manga panel and I scurried off for a brief meetup with my pal Kristen and our fellow GeekMom Nicole Wakelin.

Me, Nicole, Kristen

Then I ran back upstairs to get Jane, who had enjoyed the manga workshop but said it wasn’t as cool as the other one. And then back downstairs to con floor—Jane’s turn to explore it from top to bottom. The whole time we were there, we were texting Kristen, who was also braving the crowds. Jane wanted her turn to see Vivi. We’re all a little Vivi-mad in this house. Alas, we never spotted each other, despite series of texts like: “We’re at the G4 booth RIGHT NOW.” “Great! We’re at Dance Party, be right there!” (These two booths were next door.) “Augh, we’re at G4, did we miss you???” (Later we discovered that we were at the G4 booth at the exact same time—but Kristen & Co. were right above us on the upper level.)

But Jane did get to meet up with someone very special. I took her to the booth of Daxiong, an artist Scott discovered in portfolio review two years ago. Daxiong was a highly acclaimed comics artist in China when, in 2008, he was imprisoned and tortured for illustrating a book called Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party. After two months he was rescued by friends and came to the States.

As a WildStorm editor, one of Scott’s Comic-Con duties was to meet with artists who submitted portfolios, offering them advice and critiques of their work. When he looked at Daxiong’s work, he had only one thing to say: “When can you start?” Daxiong is now drawing comics for DC, Marvel, and other publishers. He and his translator, Mike Chen, are two of the nicest, most generous people I’ve ever met, and it was an honor to introduce my girl to them.

::kicks self for not getting a picture::

After that came my Biggest Doofus Moment of the year (so far; still time to beat it): we were wandering the floor and I found myself practically on top of the entire cast of The Guild. I’m a huge fan. They were sitting at a table, and what I realized later is that there must have been a line snaking away on the other end of the table. At my end, there was a little pocket of space right behind a security guard. I mean, I know this now. At the time, it was like this: I was browsing along one booth, and I kept right on going to the next booth, which was just the other side of a divider. In my periphery there was a person with her back to me on my right (the guard) and the corner of a table, and someone sitting at the short end of the table with her back to me also, beside a whole row of people behind the table. And I suddenly registered that one of those people was Robin Thorsen. Clara. She must have seen the shock dawn on my face because she gave me a very sweet and amused smile. And then I saw Jeff Lewis—Vork—beside her, and I realized, with a total fangirl gasp, that this a Guild signing, and the person sitting at the short end of the table inches away from me was Felicia Day.

Photo nicked from the Guild blog. Picture me where the guy in the chartreuse vest is, only uninvited.

I may have squealed a little. I most certainly babbled. Squee squee squee big fan squee squee, and Felicia was so kind, murmuring apologetically that they were finished and had to leave, and the guard turned around which is how I found out she was a guard, and I realized suddenly that I had stumbled, quite by accident, into sort of restricted space and was basically cutting in front of this huge throng of people who’d been waiting in line on the other side of the guard, and Felicia was being so nice and polite about the signing being over now, and in my flurry of embarrassment and horror at having inadvertently become a linecrasher, I found myself actually patting her on the shoulder, saying, “Oh that’s all right!”

So, yeah, I’m that obnoxious fan who invades a celebrity’s personal space and touches her. MORTIFYING.

What’s a little funny about this is that I’d had my own small celebrity moment an hour earlier, at the manga panel. A really nice woman saw me waiting for Jane, and she came over and whispered “Are you Melissa Wiley?” and said she recognized me from the blog and her daughter’s a big fan of my books. I got to chat with them both a bit, and the girl was super smart and funny and sweet, and it was an incredibly nice moment, and nobody pawed at my shoulder because sane fans don’t do that.

WELL. After the goofy fangirl moment, Jane and I wandered on down the con floor in search of a couple of booths she particularly wanted to visit. One of these was the Girl Genius booth. You may recall that we encountered these folks at the Steampunk/Victoriana convention in May. Jane went home from that encounter and promptly read all eight and a half YEARS’ worth of the Girl Genius webcomic archives. She is a huge fan and keeps telling me I need to read it myself. Which I surely will, at some point!

The webcomic has been collected into several volumes of trade paperbacks, and like good, supportive fans we bought a few and had them signed by artist/writer Kaja Foglio (pictured on the left). We oohed and ahhed over the cool trilobite pins but restrained ourselves and walked away only with books—and a giant Jane grin.

Oh, and I got a picture of another Girl Genius fan in an excellent costume.

(“Don’t get my shoes,” she murmured. “Flip-flops aren’t steampunk!”)

Then Jane and I betook ourselves aaaaalllll the way down to the bottom end of the hall to scour the manga booths for a certain series she is hooked on, Case Closed, which can be quite hard to find. She found two of the issues she is missing, so it was one happy teen who left the con that day.

Just then we heard from a writer friend, Kelley Puckett, who was exploring the con with his own daughter. Our girls had never met each other, so we texted back and forth a dozen times in an attempt to find a meeting spot, and after some wild goose chasing, we caught each other. In those crowds, this is almost a superhuman feat. But before long, we had to dash off again to the last panel on my list: the Disney/Marvel preview of the new superhero storybooks and chapter books (some of which Scott is writing).

I couldn’t stay for the whole panel, because Scott had a 4pm meeting, and Jane and I needed to get to our appointed meeting spot so he could hand over the minivan (and the other children) to me. We made it with five minutes to spare. The kids and I headed home, and Jane disappeared with her Girl Genius books, and I made a pitiful excuse of a dinner, and in the blink of an eye it was time for me to head back downtown, leaving my older girls in charge of the littles.

I caught up with Scott and some friends at the Marriott’s outdoor lounge, and we spent an hour or so rehashing the weekend and being divebombed by little (angry?) birds. Our friend Jordan took this picture of us.

And then we walked the long, long expanse of Harbor Drive to the Hilton, where Kristen and Vivi were waiting for us. You know I have to squeeze in as much goddaughter time as I can! A hotel employee saw us heading for the firepit on the terrace, and he came and lit it just at the moment we arrived—and so Comic-Con ended with two hours of fire-devils swirling over the coals and harbor lights sparkling on the Pacific and Vivi playing peekaboo with me behind her mama’s chair.

Next year’s con will have to work pretty hard to top an evening like that.

My SDCC 2011 roundup:
Day 1: Quick Peek
My favorite costume: Neo-Victorian biologist (at GeekMom)
Day 2: Again with the Quick Peeks
Things My Kids Can’t Wait to See at SDCC (at GeekMom)
The Streets of San Diego (at GeekMom)
SDCC Day of Recovery
SDCC Diary: Thursday
SDCC Teen Comics Workshop (at GeekMom)—emphasis on art
SDCC Comics for Teens Recap (at GeekMom)—emphasis on writing
SDCC Diary: Friday & Saturday

SDCC 2011 Roundup

July 28, 2011 @ 6:16 am | Filed under: ,

Hokey smokes, it cannot be Thursday already! A week since SDCC began! I have got to wrap up this wrap-up!

Well, first things first. The Comics for Teens panel recap I promised is up at GeekMom today. Excellent lineup of writers—Cecil Castellucci, Hope Larson, Gene Yang, and Nate Powell, with moderator Scott Westerfeld—talking about their work. This kind of discussion is exactly why I brave the crowds each year.

Next: some important shoe business. I had a few inquiries about those zombie ballerina flats I posted the other day. Here’s a link to the Iron Fist website, but be warned: not safe for kids. Because I mean come on, how can you model shoes without an unlaced black leather bustier? Ahem.


My SDCC roundup so far:

Day 1: Quick Peek

My favorite costume: Neo-Victorian biologist (at GeekMom)

Day 2: Again with the Quick Peeks

Things My Kids Can’t Wait to See at SDCC (at GeekMom)

The Streets of San Diego (at GeekMom)

SDCC Day of Recovery

SDCC Diary: Thursday

SDCC Teen Comics Workshop (at GeekMom)—emphasis on art

SDCC Comics for Teens Recap (at GeekMom)—emphasis on writing

SDCC Diary: Friday & Saturday

I’m in the middle of my Comics in the Library recap now. And I should do a Sunday diary post before a whole new Sunday rolls around…

But I get kinda busy with other stuff, you know? Like watching someone read herself to sleep…again.

*ETA last links:

Comics in the Library

Sunday Diary

SDCC Diary: Friday & Saturday

July 27, 2011 @ 4:17 pm | Filed under:

Friday, July 22nd. Scott was still chugging toward his deadline and I spent the morning with the kids. I think it was close to 2pm when we headed downtown and found decent parking on 8th Avenue, several blocks from the convention center.

The street crowds were considerably thicker that day.

(Actually, in this pic it doesn’t look so bad. Don’t be fooled by that open space in the foreground. That’s where the cars would have been, if anyone were foolhardy enough to drive that close to the convention center. OH WAIT THAT RIGHT, Scott had to do it about five times.)

I didn’t take many pictures on Friday. This must be because I was with Scott, and therefore too busy talking to point and shoot. And really, Friday was more of a meetings-and-meals day than a seeing-the-sights day.

Of course, you can’t help seeing some sights. That guy’s big human head on a little Grinch body really wigs me out.

On Friday afternoon I went to the Comics in the Library panel, about which (I keep saying) MORE LATER. Then the evening was dinner with friends, drinks with friends, a party with friends. And home to bed, exhausted. Saturday morning had been supposed to be an early one, but…it wasn’t.

Saturday, July 23rd. A big day for Rose and Beanie: THEIR FIRST TRIP TO COMIC-CON.

They each had a wish list. Beanie wanted to see as much Pokemon stuff as possible, and Rose was hoping to get her precious copy of Smile signed by Raina Telgemeier.



Speaking of check…check out that big ole Eisner Award, which Raina received for Best Teen Publication the night before!

(You all know Smile, right? Such a great book. Rose rereads it every six weeks at a minimum—after each orthodontist appointment. “It’s what gets me through,” she says.)

Missions accomplished, we explored the hall from top to bottom, finding plenty to gawk at along the way.

The Bone display was a hit, as I’d suspected.

Everywhere you go, people are drawing intriguing things on large screens.

Larger than life.

Two hours in those crowds feels like a full day. By 1pm, the girls were ready to venture out for some lunch. Of course, the fact that we were going to be lunching with my friend Kristen and my little goddaughter, Vivi—two of our favorite people in the world—might have contributed to their eagerness. We moseyed toward our meeting place and did a lot of squealing at the sight of one another.

And then Kristen handed me a Giant Bag of Chocolate.

So, yeah, a pretty great day.

After a very long lunch, Kristen and Vivi walked us back to the spot where Scott was picking us up. I tried to smuggle Vivi home with me but her mother was wise to my tricks, drat her.

Back at home, I may have taken a wee nap. Scott and I returned to the con around six. He had to meet with someone, and I had a Kidlit Meetup to go to—a wonderful bunch of children’s & YA authors, illustrators, and publishing folks who were in town for the con, gathering for food and talk.

Raina’s company makes me SMILE.

It was there that Raina’s hubby, Dave Roman (author/illustrator of Beanie’s current compulsive re-read, Astronaut Academy), gave me a peek at the book that most enchanted me at SDCC this year: the upcoming Nursery Rhyme Comics, published by First Second. Every rhyme is illustrated by a different artist—cartoonists, picture book illustrators, an incredible assortment of talent. Jules Feiffer, Gene Yang, Vera Brosgol, even our beloved Marc Rosenthal, illustrator of Peterson family favorite Peter and the Talking Shoes! I was blown away. The humor, the range, the sense of fun that leaps from every page: I really think kids (and their grownups) are going to find it irresistible. I can’t wait to get my hands on one. It doesn’t pub until October. I may die.

A bunch of us moseyed over to Buster’s for a late dinner. (I had the Bangkok pizza. Winning.) If you want to know why I get so fired up about Comic-Con every year, it’s evenings like this. Dinner with Raina, Dan Santat, Matt Holm—and fireworks over the harbor. I ask you.

SDCC Diary: Thursday

July 26, 2011 @ 5:16 pm | Filed under:

There’s just always SO MUCH TO TELL, you know? Argh.

Okay, first: I went to five panels. I would like to recap each one. My recap of the SUPERCOOL Teen Comics Workshop is up at GeekMom. That leaves:

• Books vs. Graphic Novels and Comics—authors who write both talked about the differences.

• Comics in the Library—fantastic panel of librarians speaking about how they built comics/graphic novel collections in their branches.

• Comics for Teens—(not to be confused with the aforementioned Teen Comics Workshop). This one was all authors. Moderated by Scott Westerfeld. Excellent. (My GeekMom recap is here.)

• Disney/Marvel panel.

I don’t know which I’ll recap here, and which at GeekMom, but I’ll add the links to this post either way.

Now for my con diary. I went in alone on Thursday morning—Scott had a book deadline, and he was also celebrating not having to WORK at the con for the first time in five years. I had a full slate of panels I wanted to hit; of course I only caught two of them. You never get to do as much as you think you will. So much of the day is spent walking from one end of the enormous building to the other.

I started off with a tour of the floor. The crowds weren’t too heavy yet, and I half wished I’d brought some kids with me instead of saving their visits for the weekend, which were sure to be packed. (Indeed they were.) But I kept bumping into friends at their various booths, so it’s probably just as well my girls didn’t have to stand around and wait while I gabbed. Catching up with chums I pretty much only see once a year is one of the best things about SDCC, for me.

I ran into our pals Marc Bernardin and Adam Freeman and snagged a copy of their kids’ comic, Jake the Dreaming, which I’m eager to read as soon as I catch my breath.

And right around the corner from them was my local author/illustrator friend Eric Shanower, whose graphic novel adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s The Marvelous Land of Oz (with gorgeous art by Scottie Young) would win an Eisner the next day.

I explored the booths for cool stuff and found a lot to fall in love with: the little marshmallow doll I mentioned at GeekMom, and some Gama-Go shirts, and about seventy-eleven books.

I restrained myself and didn’t buy the books: those things are murder on your shoulders by the end of the day.

I also didn’t buy these shoes.

I did buy this ninja kitty shirt, but it turned out to be too small so I had to give it to Jane. ::shakes fist::

I may have gone home with some Uglydoll loot. Uglydoll creator David Horvath was there, signing autographs. He and his wife seemed awfully nice.

I wandered the aisles, marveling at cool displays like this Lego Boba Fett.

By now it was well past noon, and I had to hurry upstairs to catch the Books vs. Graphic Novels and Comics panel. More on that later, I hope?

The charming Matt Holm, illustrator of Babymouse and Squish, was on that panel, which was part of why I wanted to go.

After the panel, back down to the main hall—this time to the Artists’ Alley end. Looked for some friends, found a few, gabbed awhile. Got hungry, devoured a pretzel dog. I don’t even like hot dogs, but this was delicious.

And then suddenly it was 4pm and I had to rush back upstairs to the Comics for Teens panel. I made it with five minutes to spare, and that’s where I encountered that wonderful Neo-Victorian biologist and her mom that I posted about at GeekMom. What’s funny is I was so enchanted by Linden’s costume that it took me a while to notice that the man she was chatting with was Scott Westerfeld.

Well, the teen comics panel—which Scott Westerfeld moderated—was really excellent. The panelists were Cecil Castellucci (The Plain Janes, Rose Sees Red), Hope Larson (Mercury, Chiggers), Gene Yang (Level Up, American Born Chinese), and Nate Powell (Swallow Me Whole). Definitely more on that later. (Which means you’ll see this photo twice.)

And after the panel, I took my weary self to the trolley and made my way home to show the kids our loot. Scott and I were supposed to go back downtown for a party, but (shhh)…we didn’t.

SDCC: Day of Recovery

July 25, 2011 @ 2:05 pm | Filed under: ,

Well. The Monday after Comic-Con always feels like it should be a Saturday. And my legs always feel like noodles. It’s like a month’s worth of walking crammed into four intense days.

Worth the fatigue, though absolutely.

As always, it’ll take me the better part of a week to sift through my notes and photos. I’m working on panel recaps, but my scrawled notes take a while to decipher. Sheesh, do I loathe writing things by hand. I thought about bringing my laptop this year but my shoulder bag already weighed a thousand pounds even before I started adding books and swag to it.

(I know, it’s unfathomable that a gadget-geek like me doesn’t have an iPad yet. What can I say? All my money’s in children.)

ANYHOO. I’m pretty sure it’s against Comic-Con Recap Law to start a post with this many words AND NO PICTURES. I’m a rebel like that.

But now, after this long drumroll, I notice that Huck’s naptime is nearing the wake-up point, so guess what? Out of time, no more words, just pictures. I’m a rebel even against MY OWN PLANS, I guess.

Is this Blue Meanie costume awesome or what?

Look! It's Becky & Frank! We love their Tigerbuttah.

You haven't lived until you've gotten a steampunk fist-bump.

Lego Batman = So Very Cool

Might as well start my SDCC post roundup now:

Day 1: Quick Peek

My favorite costume: Neo-Victorian biologist (at GeekMom)

Day 2: Again with the Quick Peeks

Things My Kids Can’t Wait to See at SDCC (at GeekMom)

The Streets of San Diego (at GeekMom)