August 3, 2007
• Hey Top Shelfers (Shelf Toppers? Shelfheads?), here's a post from the battlefield a few days ago, courtesy of New Guy Leigh Walton...
I'm blogging to you now from sunny San Diego, where the weather is gorgeous, the crowds are endless, and the costumes are uncomfortable (Gorgo
from 300? Really?). And, of course, there's comics everywhere. Yes, it's the comic world's Christmas, Vegas, and Senior Prom all in one, the San Diego Comic Con International.
Top Shelf's booth is an island of sanity in the sea of madness. It's my first time at the show, and I'm staying here in the Top Shelf Zone as much as possible. As much as the big story seems to be the convention's immense size (this year being even bigger than usual), I've been glad to discover that it's not overwhelming. We've got a constant stream of folks coming by the booth, so I never lack for new folks to talk to -- but that's just it; the traffic in this part of the hall is mild enough that I can actually carry on a conversation with everyone who comes by. Over in the big TV/movie/game/sculpture pavilions, good luck finding space to breathe, let alone get to know somebody.
That's been the real treat for me -- the interaction. I've never been in such a great social environment as this, with a never-ending army of happy and excited con-goers coming up to me and asking about these books that I love. And these aren't smelly basement-dwellers in bulging Klingon armor; they are, without exception, bright, friendly, very cool folks of all shapes and sizes who love stories and pictures and that magical picture/story Reese's cup we call comics. Some of them are long-term Top Shelf fans eager to pick up the latest wave of books from this season; others have never read our stuff but have heard good things about us or are simply drawn to the style of one book or another. We've passed out countless copies of our huge FREE sampler book and then watched those same folks come back the next day, eager to buy! Top Shelf has always been about creating a genuine relationship with our fans, and I think we've made a bunch of new friends this week, the same way we always do -- one at a time.
But Top Shelf is not the only game in town! Behold, I have been to the San Diego Comic Con, and I have seen great wonders:
I have seen a grown man changing the diaper on a baby in a Wookiee costume (the baby, not the man). I have concluded that the Sci-Fi Channel has soaked their promotional flyers in LSD, because they sure did spend a million dollars on a several-acre amorphous blob of silver plastic illuminated by fifty computer-guided party lasers -- it helpfully curves up from the floor to form nooks in which to lie back and gaze at the psychedelic display.
I have seen guys in white robes walking around wearing backpacks which emitted both hip-hop tunes and videoscreens on poles. I have seen a movie display several dozen feet tall where the name of the movie was conveniently obscured by the giant sign saying "PROMOTIONAL GIVEAWAY TOKENS REDEEMED HERE." I once found my path blocked by a mob of a hundred people, who (I soon realized) had gathered to stare at an amputee booth babe with an M-16 for a leg. Meanwhile I was able to walk right up to Tom Scioli's table and tell him how much his artwork blows me away on the incomparable GÃ˜DLAND. Then I turned around and bumped into a dude staring at a painting of Jean-Luc Picard that was so reverent that I think Leo III rolled over in his grave complaining of idolatry.
Update: the Sci-Fi Space Rave theory is confirmed - a staffer just came around and distributed ring pops.
Check back later for a panel report from "The Many Faces of the Graphic Novel," including FOUR different Top Shelf creators!
Peace, love, and visual narrative,