It’s time for me to pull myself together and stuff all my heartache and worries into a suitcase in the closet and pull out the vaudeville trunk. I’m headed to Sacramento this weekend for Wizard World Comic Con. I decided not to do as many cons as last year–yes, that’s what they’re called seemingly without irony. Last year I was on the road most of the time either driving back and forth from Berkeley to the Gulf Coast or flying to New England or heading to Richmond or San Diego, New Orleans or Fort Lauderdale for one of the conventions. It was exhilarating but exhausting.
This is the year I have to finish my book as the southern expression goes–come hell or high water–and if you’ve grown up on the Gulf Coast then you know both very well. So I’m limiting my time out on the road. I especially like doing this show in Sacramento. Several of the guys that I’m closest to are also at this show and there is nothing like being with your favorite people talking nonstop for 3 days your passionate obsession–comics.
The panels are especially fun and lately I’ve been given more of an opportunity to create my own panels. My hidden agendas are coming out into the light–pulps, early comic book history and the untold story of women in comics.
The hardest part is being at the table in Artist’s Alley. Since I’m a comics historian and a writer I don’t have the name recognition that many of the other artists and writers do from their work in comic books. Even though without my grandfather none of this would be happening. My paternal grandfather, Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson was one of the founders of the modern comic book industry and unlike the other men associated with the early beginnings who were mostly salesmen, he was a creator. His vision for comics is still very much with us today. You can find out more about him here.
Most of the artists and people in the industry know about “the Major,” are interested in what I’m doing and in hearing about him and his stories. The general public–not so much. So it’s not always easy to be “on” for 8 hours or so, behind my table attempting to engage people whose attention span is miniscule at best. However, I’ve learned a hell of a lot by putting myself out there in this way. It’s the school of marketing 101 and for anyone who attempts to make a living writing these days being on the front lines of the popular culture machine is invaluable.
Besides the sheer pleasure of the attention and love that I get from the guys the moments that I make a real connection with someone who is genuinely interested, or the child who is clearly enamored of a super hero or the young girl who is proudly wearing her cosplay make it all worth while. Come by and see me if you’re there. I have some stories to tell.