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WonderCon 2007

It has been five years since I last attended a comic book convention. Last Sunday I broke that spell of inactivity, and attended WonderCon in San Francisco with Kathleen.

A retail convention?

Biggest impression: So many vendors. Mostly comic book stores, not surprisingly, but also model/toy merchants and clothes/costume sellers. Publishers, such as Slave Labor Graphics and DC/Vertigo, made up the next largest exhibitor segment. This was the first time I went to WonderCon, so I didn’t realize that there was such little focus on creators (comic book writers and artists), at least compared with the other comic book convention I’ve attended, the Alternative Press Expo (APE). Has WonderCon always had a focus on vendors, perhaps so that they could trade stock, or do more corporate or administrative networking?

I admit that my main goal is to investigate the exhibitors at conventions, regardless of genre, topic or medium, rather than sit in on panels or presentations. I prefer to see the individual’s works, be it a single person or an organized company. Sometimes it’s even pleasant, and potentially helpful, to converse, to get a better idea if I would enjoy a particular book or item. An interesting way of socializing, and dare I say it, networking, even though a given convention might not be directly related to my profession.

Given my overall impression, I doubt I’ll go to WonderCon again. I would never have known what it’d be like, so I’m glad I went. Most importantly, I managed to pick up some delightful comics, as well as speak with a couple of creators.

Linda Medley & Castle Waiting

I bought the latest issue of Castle Waiting and chatted briefly with Linda Medley. I asked how she invisioned the series’ duration. After all, not all comics last foreover like X-Men or Batman. Some of the best ones have a definite end, like Sandman and (eventually) A Distant Soil. Her response was that she knows exactly how the last scene appears. I appreciated listening to her reasons for Jain’s and the Castle’s existence.

In addition, Linda has a sensible approach to writer’s block and boredom: when encountering difficulty with a particular character or arc, she knows that there are other roles and lines which she can develop, so shifts and refocuses as needed. I usually shy away from spoilers, but what she told me, in all honesty, didn’t spoil it for me. In fact, it made me feel more confident about her writing, as well as eager to continue reading Castle Waiting!

Gene Yang

It amuses me when people whom I’ve rarely dealt with manage to remember me. I recall meeting Gene Yang at APE, over nine years ago. He had recently published the hilarious and touching Gordon Yamamoto and the King of the Geeks. Seeing the American Born Chinese graphic novel last Sunday filled me with glee. I have always been curious about the Monkey King legend. It entwines the Monkey King, an Asian American adolesence and farcical takes on Chinese caricatures. All performed via Gene’s splendid illustration, and in color. 😀

Tea Club, Digger, winding down with tea

I also picked up a comic I hadn’t seen before: Tea Club, by Phoung-Mai Bui-Quang. It’s a manga-style comic about…tea. Including defending the honor of the tea ceremony. And life in college. With a bear. Perfect!

After thinking that Ursula Vernon’s Digger was out of print, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Sofawolf Press had a booth at WonderCon, selling both volumes. Chomp, dig, yum. They also said that a third volume will be in print this summer. Yay!

Kathleen and I pooped out after only three or four hours at the convention, so we headed over to nearby Samovar for therapeutic tea and reading. A good day, indeed!

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