ECCC, Day Three
The final day round up.
Sunday was the last day at the show and that being the case, I had given myself two major goals for the day: wrap up my hunt for comic creator signatures, and circle back through the dealers area of the room for any even better deals being offered by dealers on the last day of the Con. It turns out that when you attend the last day of a con with a wicked hangover and get to the show an hour after it has started for the day, your chances of finding the people you are looking for while they are at their respective tables go down considerably.
The show had started at 11AM but I wasn’t able to haul my sorry ass out of bed and stagger down to the show until 12 Noon, so I was not exactly off to an impressive start for the day. It didn’t take me long to realize that many of the guests had either shown up at the start and then gone off for lunch or had not shown up until after 12. This meant i was roaming the room finding out who was actualy around and who was, like myself, in recovery mode. It was so bad for me that early on I actualy stopped at the wrong table (off by one) and started talking to a creator, only to realize about 30 seconds into the conversation that I was not talking to who I thought I was. Whoops. Yeah, that’s pretty sad. It also meant that I discovered a new creator by accident and kind of felt obligated to make asmall purchase at his table (thanks, hangover). The creator that I had meant to stop at was Matt Kindt, who was actualy not at his table at the time. I took advantage of his absense to do some serious power-browsing of his original art that was for sale. when he came back a few minutes later, I was closer to making a decision on which piece I would buy. I ultimately decided that I could not settle on just one piece and ended up buying two of his original panels at $40 a piece – a decent price for original art from a book I had really enjoyed only a few months earlier, and much more affordable than the prices some artists were asking for con sketches. [For the sake of some clarification, what I was buying were two large single panels from the book, “Three Story: The secret history of the giant man”, a book with which Kindt put together by drawing each panel and digitaly scanning it instead of doing a whole page at a time and scanning that.] These panels are some of the things that I hope to get up on the blog here very soon – well as soon as I finish moving which should be by the end of the week.
Now what about the last few creators that were on my list?
Well, on the sunday the list of names included the likes of Jason Pearson, Frank Quietly, Ben Templesmith, Cameron Stewart and Nick Spencer. Jason Pearson looked (again like myself) a little the worse for wear and sounded the way I felt (a bit rough) and we briefly joked about how we were both surviving. For all three days of the show, Frank quietly had been at his table for a couple hours in the morning and a couple of hours in the afternoon. On Sunday, I missed his morning appearance and so I decided I would make sure to come back to his table early enough before his 4pm return to guarantee a spot in line. It turned out that there was a five book limit for getting stuff signed and just before Quietly got to his table and the line started to move, my local comic shop (LCS) owner wandered up to me to say hi and let me know that he had just missed the line cut off (he was looking kind of devestated by this fact). At this point I counted my small stack and realized I had only three things to get signed and asked how many books he had? He showed me two single comics and we realized how freaky that was. Naturally, I took his two books and added them to my stack and got one signed for him and the friend he was getting the other signed for. When it was my turn to meet Quietly, I asked him about where in Scotland he is from. He said Glasgow. He can’t help it if he is from the West coast, right? Respect to Edinburgh! Coming out of the line afterwards, I handed the two books back to my LCS owner. He looked at them and well, he didn’t cry, but it was close. I just have to decide when I will be cashing in that favour…
Ben Templesmith is always a very charming individual any time I have met him at a show in the past. This time around I was meeting him while dealing with my hangover, and that made for some challenged communication:
ME: Hi, I really enjoyed these books and they wont be leaving my collection. Could I get you to personalize them?
BEN: Sure but first things first: what’s your name?
ME: Stephen with a’ph’.
BEN: Ah, very nice to meet you, ‘Stephen-with-a-ph’! [shakes my hand]
ME: *Gurgle* Heh, thanks…
Cameron Stewart is obviously an artist who has embraced the new media (ooh, tha sounded deep, eh?). On his table, he had an Apple iPad set up as a rotating display of his art along with few very nice prints on his table. That was the only table where I saw an iPad being used in any way. Hello future.
The last signing I had on my list was a big one for me: Nick Spencer. Nick Spencer and Jonathan Hickman were the two names that had been at the top of my list to meet and get my books signed by since I first saw their names on the list of guests for the 2011 ECCC show. Spencer was still out there somewhere waitng to be crossed off my list and so I had been trying to hunt him down. Around 1pm, I had passed by the image table and asked about when Mr. Spencer wopuld be there to sign books and I was told to come back after three o’clock. At 3pm, I stopped by and was told that he was at a panel and would be back around 3:30. Okay, 3:30. Fine, I thought, I’ll come back then. At 3:30 I was told that he was at an interview, so I asked if I should come back in 5 or 10 minutes? ‘Uhm, he just started so probably closer to four o’clock’, I was told by the kind, sweet lady managing the Image booth who by now was probably starting to recognize me. At this point I was still in the hunt for Quietly’s autograph and figured it would be smarter to line up for him and be guaranteed of getting a name off the list instead of just killing time browsing around the show waiting for Spencer to show up at the Image booth. As you have already read, I was successful in getting quietly’s autograph but it was at a cost: he was late showing up at his table so by the time I was done there, it was almost 4:30 and with the show ending at 5pm I figured that it might be too late to get to the Image booth before Spencer had come and gone.
I had left Quietly’s table and made my way quickly through the throngs of Sunday attendees to get back to the Image booth and sure enough once there realized that the person signing books at the table was not Nick Spencer (I’ve seen his picture and knew it was not him). I have to admit that I felt kind of crushed, realizing that he had probably already come and gone while I was at the other end of the room. Maybe also a sense of panic about missing out on meeting with one of my favourite comic writers today. I turned to a young asian gentleman and asked him if he knew whether Nick Spencer had already come and gone? His blank expression told me that he had no idea who I was asking him about. I then turned to a young asian lady accompanying him and asked the same question and sure enough got the same blank expression from her. Great, I thought: this is what comic geek failure feels like. Backing away from them, I asked one more time to no one in particular, ‘Nick Spencer? Does anybody know if he came and left already?’
When I think of What happened next, it still makes me smile.
From behind me a pleasant sounding voice said: “I’m Nick spencer!” I wheeled around to see standing before me the spitting image of the man whose picture I had seen before while browsing Nick Spencer’s wikipedia page. He appeared to be accompanied by a delightful young lady – a redhead reminiscent of one of the main characters in his Morning Glories comic series. All at once I was hit with feelings of great relief, embarrasment and, quite frankly, fatigue. I closed my eyes and hung my head, and as I heard Nick Spencer, his companion and a few of the others standing nearby all begin to laugh at what had just occured, I could not help but laugh with them. This was followed by what you would expect at this point: me telling spencer about how much I loved his work since recently being put onto it and how I had just finished his Forgetless trade and was looking forward to reading other books of his that I had just bought, etc, etc. As he leaned over the table nearby to sign my books (Yay! Double Yay!!), I had a moment to chat with his companion who had asked me if I was having a good weekend so far? I asked her about where her accent was from (something that seems to be afaalback routine for me at Cons) and this led to a discussion of Southern England where both she and my mother hail from. (Thanks Mum for giving me an in!) I never found out the young redhead’s relationship to Spencer, but found out that she was one very delightful individual and a pleasant conversationalist for the whole two minutes of our conversation.
After Spencer returned my books to me and I had shook hands with them while expressing my gratitude to them both, I wandered off and soon realized that I was pretty much done for this year’s show. I had accomplished my goals for the day and had even managed to end the Sunday on an incredibly high note compared to the likely anticlimatic feeling of dissapointment I was expecting when I thought that I had missed out on meeting with Spencer. I made one last visit to a few of the dealers tables and then made my way out of the show. On the way out I stopped at a table manned by one of the guys I had met at the gathering at Von’s the night before and chatted briefly before making my way out of the building.
The Sunday night was a quiet one spent in my hotel room enjoying some last few beers (I know!), cable TV, packing my case for my trip back up to Vancouver on the Monday and browsing the art work and the stack of books I had bought during my weekend at the show.
Next year will be the tenth anniversary of ECCC. It will be another three day show and I am looking forward to it already.