Monday, June 6, 2005

Adventures in Philly

aka, The stuff I can't really say in my Buzzscope coverage.

First, the absent-minded professor (that'd be me) achieved a new personal high as I locked my keys in the car after arriving in Philly and checking in to my hotel. (A nice little "boutique hotel"-slash-B&B called the Alexander Inn, right in Center City, about 8 blocks from the Convention Center.) If that wasn't bad enough, I didn't realize it until much later Saturday night, confirming it Sunday morning after I'd tossed my room looking for them and heading over to the garage to find them still in the car. Which, much to my surprise, WAS STILL RUNNING!!!!

I left the damn keys in the ignition and the car had been idling from about 1pm Saturday through 9am Sunday! And that was after being driven from 8:30am!

Thanks to its low idle, you could barely tell, so no one noticed and decided to steal it. Fortunately, I'd turned the AC off so it only burned off a 1/4 tank of gas. Couple of frantic phone calls later - forgot to replace our Road Assistance coverage after we paid off the car and dropped our collision coverage! - and $50, and I was back in business. Fun way to start a Sunday morning!

The Convention itself was fun, if a bit overwhelming for a first-timer, as I was. Met a lot of interesting people; realized, disappointedly, that a couple of artists whose work I don't particularly like were black*; also realized that there are many interesting parallels between the slam scene and the comic book industry, at least as far as the actual talent is concerned. The "after party," such that it was, in the hotel bar on Saturday night was very reminiscent of the late night drinking that takes place at Nationals, with many of the comics people grouped by common publishers or high school classification, ie: the Goth kids, the nerds (yes, there are such distinctions, even in comics!), the "jocks" (the higher profile talent, generally the only ones with attractive girlfriends/wives), and, where I've always tended to fit in, the drifters. I mainly took it all in from an entertained and well-lubricated distance with Jon H., one of the guys from Buzzscope who drove out there with me.

All in all, despite the car fiasco and being tired as hell when I got home last night, it was worth the trip as I got at least a couple of articles out of it (the first one's already posted here), met a lot of up-and-coming creators and picked up a ton of comics I'd never even heard of. One of the highlights was seeing Ken Knudtsen, of My Monkey's Name is Jennifer fame, whom I originally met at my first Big Apple Con a while back and remembered for his sharing a shot of Vodka with me after I bought his comic! Now THAT'S fan service! This time he was selling shot glasses with Jennifer's mug on them, and I bought one off of him along with his latest comic, a bizarre flipbook, CROWPSEY / Rufus & Cleveland, after sharing another shot of Vodka, this time of a much higher quality. Swung around later for a follow-up and he cemented his position as my favorite artist met at a Con yet, even if his whacked out comics aren't my usual taste.

Personality goes a long way in both comics and poetry.

EDIT: *Because there's so little talent of color in the industry, not because I thought black artists couldn't suck!

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