Monthly Archives: August 2007

School daze

Yep, just completed our first week of kindergarten for our eldest daughter Lily (5 at the time, but just turned 6 yesterday). That first day (and some the rest of the week), there was a lot of sobbing and tears over the start of “real” school, as opposed to preschool. No, Lily did just fine (in fact, she frankly loves her new digs); it was mom Pam who was weeping and gnashing. At this school, you just let your child off at the front of the school, while one of the sixth grade boys escorts them in, and helps them find their classroom, which didn’t sit too well with mommy, whose been hand-escorting her into her classroom for the last 3 years. (Gotta admit, the sight of my little girl walking off, hand-in-hand with an older man didn’t exactly thrill me either…)

But, we all got through it, and it’s actually one of the coolest schools we’ve ever encountered, with a lot of parent volunteers helping out (including Pam and me, who’ll soon be doing our part in the school cafeteria a couple of times each month). Pam’s already been recruited to design logos and brochures for the booster club as well, and as several people who have kids there have told us, our involvement with school activities is apparently only beginning.

Next up: carpooling. I’ve got an ample supply of Kleenex ready.

Wizard World Chicago wrap-up

Spent close to an hour talking to George Khoury today, who just got back from handling our booth at Wizard World Chicago for us. From what George says, it was definitely one of the slower Chicago shows of recent years. Since Wizard continually insists on having theirs right after Comicon, it’s no wonder WW seems to be shrinking a bit rather than growing.

Wizard needs to face facts; they are not going to compete with Comicon. It’s the mag-daddy of all conventions (at least in the US), and it just keeps growing every year. We always take an extra week after Comicon to vacation in California (hey, I’m not likely to get on a plane to CA more than once a year, so I’ve gotta take advantage of my time there). This year, Wizard World was less than two weeks after the close of Comicon. This made it incredibly difficult for us to get our books shipped to Chicago in time; we got back to NC late Saturday night, so then had to 3-day Express ($$$!) our stuff on Monday to make the Thursday “Preview Night” at Wizard World. (Preview Night at Wizard World was apparently pretty sparsely attended as well this year, whereas at Comicon, it rivaled Saturday for the biggest crowd.) And frankly, if George hadn’t been able to do the Chicago show, we’d have had to skip it; two big conventions that close together (during our busy summer work period) is too much for me.

Next year, Wizard’s trying to have their con BEFORE Comicon; so at least we’ll have a couple of weeks off before heading to San Diego. But what does Wizard do? They schedule it the weekend AFTER Heroes Con (a perennial favorite of TwoMorrows; Shelton Drum knows how to put on a great, fun convention). Remember last year when Wizard decided to have their first-ever Atlanta Con the SAME weekend as Heroes Con? So many pros boycotted the Wizard show (out of respect for Shelton) that they ended up canceling it.

Why they feel the need to go up against other cons is beyond me; it just ends up hurting their own show. There are plenty of weeks from May-August to choose from, without causing everyone to get burned-out by too many, close together. And as great a city as Chicago is, Rosemont (where the con is held) just isn’t the kind of vacation destination that San Diego and Southern California are.
The New York Comicon is rapidly becoming the new “must-see” con, and next year’s move to April should insure even better attendence than their successful ’07 con (and considering NY is charging MORE than Comicon for their booths—while Comicon has at least 4x the number of attendees at NY—they better bring in more people!). I won’t be surprised to see NY blow right past any of Wizard’s shows in popularity, to become the new #2 show. We’ll be in New York in April ’08, and we’ll be in Charlotte for Heroes Con in June. But at this point, I can’t say for sure we’ll be in Chicago the following week. And I know we won’t be at any of the other Wizard shows. Chicago’s by far their best attended one, and when you factor in airfare, booth rental, hotels, and shipping costs, the others don’t make sense, at least for us.

But we’ll be back at Comicon July 23-27, 2008. It’s the one “can’t miss” event for us.
One other way Comicon’s got it all over Wizard; they use a seniority system to determine your booth placement. The more years you’ve been exhibiting, the better your booth location. That’s why we’ve got such good visibility at Comicon. And Wizard? Once again, they stuck us in the back, facing the loading docks, despite our having exhibited at Chicago (and some of their other cons) numerous times over the years. No, our booth isn’t as flashy as Wizard’s own booth, or their pro wrestling/fighting/martial arts/whateveritis stuff, but we’ve been a pretty loyal customer for a lot of years. I wish that had some bearing on things, but for us anyway, it doesn’t.

Mike Wieringo’s passing

I didn’t know Mike Wieringo personally, but like the rest of the comics community, I was totally shocked Monday to hear he’d died of a heart attack. Here’s a guy only 44 years old (same age as me; there’s some food for thought), totally dedicated to his art, who apparently lead a very healthy lifestyle. And now he’s gone.

I discovered his work a few years ago when Mike Manley did a feature on him in Draw magazine, and so when Eric Nolen-Weathington suggested a Modern Masters volume on him, I didn’t need any convincing. Just amazing, amazing stuff.

Eric just emailed me to say there will be a public viewing for Mike this Friday at 1 p.m. at the Hall-Wynne Funeral Service chapel in Durham, NC, followed by a memorial service at 2 p.m. Please help get the word out, so everyone can pay their respects.

And let’s all try to stress-out just a little bit less over all but the most important things.

Jonathan Ross’ Ditko documentary

Finally got to view the “In Search Of Steve Ditko” documentary by British TV commentator Jonathan Ross the other night. Jonathan was kind enough to drop off a DVD of it at our Comicon booth, and I found it immensely entertaining. It was a riveting hour-long look at Ditko’s career that I hope will soon be widely seen in the US. He manages to expose Ditko to the world in a way that’s respectful to comics fans, while keeping it lively enough for the general public to enjoy. I can’t say enough good things about it; you get Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Stan Lee, John Romita, Flo Steinberg, and others on-camera talking about Ditko and his work, and yes, Jonathan does actually go in search of the elusive Mr. Ditko at his New York studio. I won’t spoil the ending for you, but do seek it out if it’s available on YouTube or elsewhere online. (Nice to see Jack Kirby Quarterly‘s Chrissie Harper listed as “Researcher” on the documentary’s credits; near as I could tell, Jonathan got all his facts right on-screen, no doubt largely due to Chrissie’s help.)

Image epilogue

George Khoury gives a nice wrap-up about the trials and tribulations of working on his history of Image Comics, and of successfully getting all seven Image founders together for their recent panel at Comicon (the first-ever panel with all seven members in attendence). It (along with links to the actual panel) is at:

Again, great job George, on both your book, and the Comicon panel!

New stuff’s in the mail

All our newest books and mags are now officially in the mail, including the limited edition of the John Romita…And All That Jazz hardcover (52 copies, with custom Romita sketches in each; sorry folks, they sold out quickly). So if you’ve been patiently waiting while we get caught up on shipping after Comicon, look for your stuff in your mailbox soon. And thanks for hanging in there with us; we’ll be back to same-day and next-day shipping on orders by the end of this week.

Back in the saddle

After a week of vacation, we’re back at TwoMorrows HQ, to a huge pile of orders and emails. So I’ll have to ask everyone’s patience, as we slowly dig out of the rubble. We hope to have everything caught up by week’s end, including shipping of all our new publications that were released over the last two weeks while we were gone.

In the meantime, enjoy this photo of Roy Thomas and your’s truly, basking in the afterglow of Alter Ego’s Eisner Award for “Best Comics Related Periodical”, at our Comicon booth. Photo by Dann Thomas.