Thursday, April 15, 2010

Weekend Travels

After reading Nathaniel's convention recap posts a couple of weeks ago (and...uh...last week. Um, and this week), I was hit by a lightning bolt of inspiration. And by "lightning bolt of inspiration," I mean, I did the exact opposite of everything he did during my trip to the Boston Comic Con this past weekend.

No grand planning involved. No meeting times, no departure/arrival times. Nothing. I actually wasn't even going to go to the con, but Nathaniel talked me into it. And so I went.

Which is kinda unlike me these days. But that wasn't always the case.

You see, by nature, I am a fairly impulsive person. However, in recent years especially, I think I've grown up enough to know that some of my impulsive tendencies needed to be curbed.

Let me give you an example of what I mean.

One Saturday afternoon while still in college (in Westchester County, mind you), a friend and I decided that we wanted to see Niagara Falls. From the Canadian side. And so we went.

We made the long drive up that afternoon (in a driving, stupid-to-leave-the-house-let-alone-drive-to-Canada-in snow), spent the night at the first hotel with a vacant room, saw the Falls, and came back in time to take a Spanish test on Monday morning.

On another occasion (and in a completely different country), that same friend and I (and a merry band of cohorts) decided to drive to Germany...from Florence...for Oktoberfest...for a weekend. Again with no plans, no hotel, and really just a little bit of an idea as to how to make that particular 14-hour drive.

And, yep, we were back by Monday afternoon. My class was at night, so it was all good. Mostly.

So, yeah. Not exactly James Dean or anything, but still (way) more impulsive than I am now. Pretty useless preamble aside, though, I decided to drive up to Boston (about a 3-hour trip from Exfanding HQ) early Saturday morning.

I did so with two things in mind--firstly, I wanted to bring some resumes and hand them out to editors at Marvel, DC, Fluffy Cat Comics, etc., and secondly, Eric Powell was attending the show.

As for the whole handing out resumes thing, I did so before I was notified that I landed my soon-to-be gig, and it was in a bit of a panicked moment. "What if I imagined how well that interview went?" I asked myself. "What if they hated me the whole time, and they were just being nice?"

Obviously, the only logical thing to do would be to get up at 5:00 on a Saturday morning and hand out resumes to booth-dwelling comics editors.

And, you know, say what's up to Eric Powell.

With my genius plan in tow, I pulled myself out of bed, grumbled (a lot), dragged my brother into the car (because I don't suffer alone), and headed north, to Boston.

We made good time, parked the car, stretched our legs, and got into line at the convention center. It was a long line, and there were respectable people dressed in suits and ties and...yeah, we were standing in line to get into some kind of health care summit thing.

"Uh, Al," my brother said, obviously quicker to notice things than I am.

"For the love of--Chris, we've been here five minutes. We're not even in the hall yet and you want to leave--" I snipped.

"No, idiot."

Ah, younger brothers.

"This is definitely not the comic show."

"Whattdoyou mean? That guy's dressed like Clark Kent. And so's that guy, and that guy over there is Bruce Wayne." I retorted, going through my stack of freshly-printed resumes and acting in my usual, oblivious manner.

Exasperated, my brother said, "Just stay here." And I did.

A couple minutes later, he came back, pulled on my arm, and said, "Let's go. It's this way."

As we walked away from the convention center, I complained about how I had a great spot in line, and that everything will be his fault when we don't get into the show.

We walked through the attached hotel, past the lobby and more Clark Kents and Bruce Waynes headed towards the convention center, and down into a corner of the building where a large-ish crowd was gathered. I stopped protesting when I saw Batman and the Riddler standing three people up from us at the back of the line.

"Oh," I said. "Right."

We lined up sometime around 9:30, and by the time the doors opened at about 10 after the hour, the line behind us had grown considerably. It would continue to grow to the point that people were soon wrapped around the street outside of the hotel. But we'll get to that in a minute.

We got into the main hall at 10:15, looked around for any signs of DC/Marvel/Fluffy Cat Comics, noticed that the space was kinda small, didn't see DC/Marvel/Fluffy Cat Comics, found Eric Powell and Mike Mignola set up at tables in the far corner of the room, said hello to Eric Powell and Mike Mignola, and...uh...decided to leave.


Three hours of driving, an hour of looking for and then waiting in line for the show, and by 10:45 we were done. Resumes still in my bag--along with an autographed copy of The Goon, issue 8, and a Goon drawing--we headed for the door.

Happily, I might add.

As we walked past the legions of fans in line--through the hotel lobby, out in front of the hotel, and wrapped around the building and down the street, we got some looks of annoyance, but, hey, I got what I came for and that was that.

A little later, Chris and I were eating lobster at a nearby restaurant, then we were in the car headed home, then I was out on a baseball field, giving a hitting lesson to one of my players.

And I have to say, it was a good day.

I did have one other little scheme that I wanted to try at the show, but I ended up chickening out at the last second. Now, I want to stress that I don't get nervous around people--ever. Just not my thing. I've met a handful of famous athletes, and, on two separate occasions, the 42nd President of the United States. (Okay, fine, so the first time I met Bill Clinton I was nervous and quiet. But the second time, way better. Suave, even.)

Around Eric Powell, though, I got a little nervous. A little awkward, even. And I'd met him a couple of times before, and I'd purchased art directly from him several times in the past. I just...really like The Goon, I guess. So, the big plan was to take a photo of Eric with a little Exfanding Your Horizons sign, like Nathaniel had fearlessly done at PAX East.

Instead of doing that, however, I did the following:
Yep. I snapped a drive-by photo of Eric as I was leaving the show. For shame, Alex.

For shame.

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