…so the internet in my hotel crapped out last night, which is not very surprising considering 800 people were trying to use it at the same time. Still, I didn’t get a chance to blog yesterday’s show and failing that, I decided to give up and go to sleep. I’ve headed to the convention centre to blog (thanks Press Room!) and it looks like things are just as busy this year as last… It looks like Reed is throwing a pretty successful show.
There were roughly as many people attending the panel I was on yesterday morning–”Retailer Merchandising Best Practice”–as there were actually on the panel I was on yesterday morning. Apparently Diamond was giving away a free lunch at the same time, and I think there’s an axiom somewhere about a free lunch fucking with my panel. So. It was nice though, I got a lot out of the suggestions made by my fellow panelists from Lone Star Comics, Rocketship, and Jim Hanley’s Universe, including the opinion that, as far as comics retailing goes, “Being Canadian Sucks”. We just try to make the most of it.
Then: Lunch! Gina Gagliano treated me to a surprisingly edible convention centre pizza, while we caught up on everything. I talked a lot about the upcoming Toronto Comic Arts Festival, she talked about the great books First Second is preparing. :01 Second is debuting their third season at the show, and the books lookÂ fantastic. I got a chance to read Tiny Tyrant in the hotel room last night and it’s wonderful,Â with classic animation-inspired art that I think will really appeal to the animation/illustration fans. Look for those in stores soon. Miriam Katin, the author of the Drawn & Quarterly graphic novel We Are On Our Own dropped by to sit with us, and it was just a nice, quiet moment before the storm. We’re hoping to see Miriam in Toronto again this summer for the festival, as her last event did really well for us and her book continues to pick up steam. It really is a thematic companion to Maus and expertly crafted, and as more librarians and retailers realise this it will hopefully do better and better for the book (which I really enjoyed).
I wandered the hall for a little bitÂ and stopped by the Oni Press booth. I missed the ridiculously well-attending Steven Colbert signing in advance of his upcoming book, but there were still tons of people swinging by picking up free posters and stuff. The Whiteout movie, based on the Oni Graphic Novel by Greg Rucka and Steve Leiber is set to start filming in two weeks, so there’s lots of excitement there, and the buzz surrounding Scott Pilgrim and it’s possible forthcoming film is loud. I mentioned I was on a blogging panel at 2:30 and James sort of laughed and told me it was 2:29. Timeliness isn’t really one of my strong suits.
The blogging panel was fun. I don’t think we uncovered or covered any state secrets or anything, and the majority of the audience was actually made up of bloggers, but since everyone has a blog anyway, i guess that made sense. Heidi’s comment this morning at The Beat (see sidebar) was that as long as Johanna and I are on a panel there’ll never be an awkward silence… Why do you think I got a blog in the first place? I have a lot to say! I met a lot of great people after the panel too, including the afformentioned Brigid from Manga blog, one of the handsome bearded fellows behind the newly launched Comic Mix, the EiC of DramaQueen (who really seems to like me, despite several folks from the organisation who really seem not to), and… geez. I dunno, my memory’s shot and I can’t find any of the business cards. But like everone was someone I wanted to follow-up with, which is very cool. I’ll be
busy busier after the show, I guess.
Then: Meetings! All of my friends in the industry know that I’m a blogger, and to be honest I’ve been wearing a Press Badge, rather than a retailer/speaker badge, to remind them of that. So pretty-much every conversation I had yesterday began with “Now, this is off the record, but…” so I can’t really talk about 90% of my day. I’m sorry. I will say that Viz’s TOTALLY AWESOME ANNOUNCEMENT that they’ll be bringing both Uzumaki and Gyo back into print in the new digest format precipitates another, even more awesome announcement down the road. But for the first bit of news, check out Brigid’s Mangablog.
Actually, there is one thing that I can mention. I’ve been reading Jog’s excellent comics reviews for quite some time, and really enjoyed them. Since I was talking to the EiC of Viz, I asked him the burning question that’s been on Jog’s mind for 7 months now: Who chose the stories in the best-of-Golgo 13 that Viz is currently publishing? Jog had thought it was a reprint of the fan’s choice or author’s choice editions that came out in Japan. It turns out, the person selecting the stories is actually Carl Horn! Apparently Horn went through and chose his favourite Golgo stories of all time. (I believe it was) the Japanese Golgo 13 editor was so impressed with Horn’s choices that he actually flew over here to meet him. So, there you go Jog, a mystery solved! :)
After all the meetings I made a real effort to actually walk the show floor and see everything. It really is a lot bigger than last year, more than double the space for booths with wider aisles on top of that. There was still a bit of crowding later in the day, after the public had been let in, but since I’m writing this on Saturday Afternoon I can tell you that it’s nothing at all like what’s going on right now. Honestly, if you want to go to see this show, you may as well just skip Saturday altogether as it’s just too uncomfortable to move around. Friday and Sunday are the way to go.
The show floor has a lot of interesting books on it too. I headed over to the SEQUART booth to pick up a copy of their Grant Morrison book for a customer and maybe set up wholesaling so that we could carry it at the store. I was… profoundly… disappointed to learn that their books are all Print On Demand from Lulu. Basically, we can’t sell Print On Demand books, and I know I could sell quite a few copies of a book on Grant Morrison. In talking to the SEQUART rep it basically comes down to a lack of resources on their part, to professionally publish the four books that they’ve produced so far, but it doesn’t seem like it would take that much money or time. If any publishers are reading this, you could do a hell of a lot worse than to talk to these people about getting these books in print for reals, as they’re handsome and well-produced (except for the images, which suffer the limitations of PoD in their graininess).
My only actual purchase yesterday was a Revlotech Optimus Prime figure. I’m not really very proud of this at all. But it’s so cool.
The wonderful Anne Ishi at Vertical hooked me up with a print-edition of To Terra Volume 1, and it looks sensational. She also hooked me up with the news that I’m blurbed all over the back of volume 2, which is actually really nice because now I’ll have something to show my Mom to prove to her that I’m actually doing something with my life… Full review of this one coming soon, btw.
The day ended with a nice dinner with James from Oni, Gina from First Second, the crew of the newly-annouced Comics Bakery (including the lovely and talented Dave Roman and Raina Telegemeier), and a surprise appearance by French cartoonist Bannister, who has contributed to the Flight anthology and whose second French language graphic album has just been released, the lovely les Enfants d’Ailleurs. He gave me a copy! With a sketch! Fantastic.
Heidi MacDonald is blogging here next to me and chuckling to herself every 3 minutes. It’s kind of amazing and disconcerting at the same time. She tells me that the show floor has gotten ridiculous in the 50 minutes since I’ve started writing this. Fuck that, I’m not going anywhere near that. I think I’ll take in panels or something until this all clears out. Actually, I think I’ve been invited to the Stephen King panel? Maybe I’ll go find out if that was true. Thanks to Oni Press for the exhibitor badge that lets me come and go as I please, I’ll try not to abuse it. Much.