Thursday, June 2, 2011

Chris Remembers Comicon 2011 – Part Two (No Question Mark This Time)

by Chris McGinty (According To Whim .com)

In Part One, I discussed what happened before they opened the sellers floor. Today I discuss after.

They let the VIP people in first and it seemed relatively calm, but thirty minutes later when they let the general convention going public in, we realized that they had one hell of a turnout this time around. When I finally went to the bathroom it wasn’t so much walking as scooting in a focused direction. In the too much information department, I had a terrible pimple on my nose, and I spent a minimum of five minutes on it, first draining it, and then using soap to dry it out so it wouldn’t ooze. It was like high school: no sleep, and huge pimples. Oh, and there were comic books everywhere.

Actually, the weird truth of the matter is that while I love comic books, I actually don’t have that many. My 17 year old daughter has more comic books than I do, and I had a twenty year head start. My brother and sister buy more comics in a year than I have in my whole collection. And yet, I still think of myself as a comic book collector. I think the big disconnect is that I’ve read a pretty good amount of comic books in my adult life, but they’ve often belonged to someone else, or been borrowed from the library (usually as graphic novels). I seem to read at least one title per year, and often more. Even still, I do know that I am horribly out of step with the comic book community as a whole.

I scooted my way back through the mob to the recycle bin to throw my soda can away, and then scooted back to the table. For the next couple of hours I was wondering why we didn’t do this kind of thing more often. There seemed to be a huge demand for our product, which I’m sure Nathan described, but briefly, were model kits of vehicles from Japanese cartoons (known as Anime among people who have bought a comic book in the last decade). There seemed to be a particular interest in the Yamato from Star Blazers. We discovered that a live action movie (either just released or pending release) may have been the reason. We sold out of those models so fast that one guy who had told us he would come back after he looked at everything else found himself unable to buy one because we were sold out (the good kind of sold out). It wasn’t long before I was pocketing $100 at a time just so we didn’t have large gobs of money sitting in our money bag behind the table.

Nathan would frequently tinker with the setup of the table as stuff sold, and eventually we were able to get rid of the extra stands that were semi blocking our view when we sat down. Then eventually we were also able to get almost everything close enough to eyelevel. I wonder if the smaller $5 models would have sold better if we had not been forced to store them on the floor.

At one point this guy came up to the table wearing a Norma Jean t-shirt. I’ve seen them live, and they were crazy amazing live. Later, I listened to their album “The Anti Mother” and loved it. He was wearing a shirt for that album. We started talking and he tried to trip me up (at least that’s how I’d like to tell it) by asking me if I listened to MSI. (Mindless Self Indulgence.) So I busted out with the full name of the group and told him that I really like them. He told me I need to see them live.

I actually have a story about why I didn’t see them live, and it’s a good story, but it’s a good thing I didn’t tell him. When he walked away, Nathan was like, “You shouldn’t block the table with all your grunge talk.” Grunge? You kids with your rock ‘n’ roll and all your new singers like that Elvis Presley. That ain’t music. I’m not sure why Nathan was so worried about it. My little friend did buy something, and it didn’t exactly slow down the feeding frenzy that was happening at our table. I guess it’s because I wasn’t discussing the Yamato.

The story about why I didn’t see Mindless Self Indulgence is because, unlike this year, I wasn’t going to a lot of shows back then. When I did, I tended to go with my friend Cory. In fact, I saw Norma Jean because Cory was a fan of Between the Buried and Me, and they were sharing a bill. Cory told me that he wanted me to go with him to see Mindless Self Indulgence on a Wednesday night. I was scheduled to work, delivering pizza at the time, as was Cory who worked at the same Papa John’s that I did. I asked my boss if there was any way that I could get Wednesday off to go to the show, and she said that she would find someone to come in for me. She was very nice like that. Well, she did find someone to come in… Cory. So I had a choice. I could go see a band that I hadn’t heard, and was going to see entirely on recommendation from someone whose musical taste I mostly liked, or I could save the money and see about going into work or just watching TV. In a way, I wish I’d gone, especially now that I own an album and love it, but I guess maybe one day I’ll see them.

At some point Nathan went to the concession stand to get us some food. He came back almost immediately. Talk about great service! Except that he had no food with him. What gives? Turns out that the line was excessively long. I’m sure he’ll have a detailed account of his wait in line. Honestly, if I’d known his wait would be so long, I might have gone to get food like he suggested. My big concern was that I was not familiar with the area we were in (having never delivered pizza over there) and I didn’t want to come back and not be able to find a parking space. There were so many people there I might not have. So he got us hot dogs after a long, long wait in line. I had asked for nachos, but guess what? No nachos. But I’m not that choosy, so the hot dog was fine.

We had these light sword things that we were selling for $5 each, and the kids at the convention loved them. At some point, while Nathan was gone, one little girl got one, and then there was this really long discussion with her dad and someone else. By the time they were done talking and they all started walking away, I honestly could not remember if they paid me. Don’t get me wrong, if they didn’t, I’m 99% certain it was accidental, because he became very distracted by the conversation, and I became distracted by a sudden upsurge in sales.

Nathan at some point told me to look through the program and see if there was anything I was interested in checking out. It turns out that James O’Barr was there. I wandered around looking for him, but the truth is I don’t really know what he looks like. I saw him once in an interview about the first “The Crow” movie. There seemed to be no uniformity in the signs that stated who was at the tables, so I may have walked right past him, and just not seen his sign. I did walk the floor twice though, and didn’t see him either time, so he may very well have already left.

While I was walking around, I spoke to a police officer. I always figure that it’s a good thing to be friendly with police because of the service they provide… ok, I always figure I should be friendly so they don’t target me… ok, I thought she was cute. I asked her if she had been out there all day (thinking back to last year when I got to work as a security guard at a country music show, which I enjoyed the hell out of, getting paid to watch a show), and she said that she had just got there and would be there most of the night keeping an eye on things.

I think Nathan told me to go walking around because by about 3:30 in the afternoon, I was about ready to pass out from exhaustion. In spite of this, when Nathan asked me if he should go ahead and reserve a spot for the next Comicon, I told him he should. Any advice I gave at that point was probably suspect, but I reasoned that if he paid the fee now, and we still ended up profiting that day (which my pocket being lined with over $1,000 in cash at that moment was likely – when we left it was a little over $1,300) that basically the next Comicon could be considered a “freebie.” Not in the respect that we didn’t pay for our space, but in the respect that we paid for it out of pure profit.

I thought about shopping for comics, but I never did. I called my sister around 10:00 am and asked her if there was anything she needed, but she was half asleep. I mean, I was half asleep too, but I was conscious about it. By the time I was walking around at almost 4:00 pm, I’m pretty sure people thought I had become separated from a zombie exposition, and I really wasn’t thinking clearly enough to remember what I wanted to look for.

So finally, we left, and Nathan dropped me off at home. I would like to say that I went in and went straight to sleep, but it didn’t really work that way. My mom was in town, and I hadn’t seen her but for about fifteen minutes, and besides, I needed to stay up so I could sleep during the day, since I was scheduled to work Sunday night.

Those are all of my memories of Comicon, prior to reading Nathan’s posts. I’ll read his posts, and see if I have anything else to write about for a Part Three on Sunday.

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