Saturday, March 24, 2007

My Wizard World LA Experience (Saturday)-- I felt like kind of a big shot

Saturday I was on the schedule from 1:45-2:45 to sign, and then it was off to the KISS 4K panel. I was a bit nervous. Actually, that's an understatement. I usually do fine in situations like this (public speaking, I mean, not panels-- this was my FIRST PANEL!) but that doesn't change the fact that I get nauseated beforehand. Which is what I was. I couldn't eat anything all day, and my stomach was upset. I was going to be on a panel with Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley for crying out loud, talking about the comic book I was writing. Holy $#!+!

We all got there pretty early and while everyone else ate at the food court, I sat and worried. I spotted Ed Brubaker, the man who murdered Captain America, sitting across the dining area eating happily, no big deal at all, just another day for him, meanwhile my stomach was in knots. I flipped through the Toy Magazine that someone handed me as I walked into the con that morning, and learned something about how to create your own Spider Man 2099 doll. It seemed like a lot of trouble to go to.

I signed comics from 1:45 to 2:45, and it was a pretty quick hour. Signed maybe 40 books. Then it was up to the Green Room to hang out with my new best friends, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. As I walked into the room, Gene said, "RICKY!" which obviously meant I'd made an impression on them. Paul asked me where my mother was, and I told them I was sure she was sitting in the front row of the Dave Cockrum meeting room, waiting for us. Gene said something about "We're all doing it for our mothers," which is certainly true.

Scott Rosenberg, president of Platinum Comics, and the fourth member of the panel was also there and I can't say enough about him and everything he's done for me. He's done an amazing job of getting the comic out, of promoting it, and, most important, of making ME, Ricky Sprague, feel like a bigshot comic book writer. He was also exceptionally gracious and accomodating in dealing with my mother.

We hung out for awhile, went over a little about how the panel was going to be set up, what kind of questions, etc. It seemed a little casual to me, but what the hell do I know, I've never been on a panel before. Man, was I nervous. Gene and Paul, of course, couldn't have been cooler. Paul spoke very little, content to sit there and exude cool, while Gene made a couple of business deals. The guy never stops!

The panel was great. Paul and Gene both made a point of making sure I got a chance to speak (most of the people in crowd were there for Gene and Paul anyway); we joked and laughed. At one point I said something complimentary about Kiss, and, as a joke, Gene gave me a $20 bill, which I made a show of unfolding and slipping into my shirt pocket. It was a good joke and it got some laughs. I fully intended to give Gene his $20 back immediately after the panel. I really, really did.

After the panel several friends came up to congratulate me on doing a fine job, although I was convinced I hadn't done that well. But I'm not the person to judge and if THEY said I did alright, then I won't argue with them.

Gene and Paul signed and it was another madhouse. Damn, those guys are popular. They sent me over to the table in Artist's Alley to sign with the colorist of Dan Campos's pages, Jason Embury. He's a pretty decent guy and exceptionally talented, as you know if you've already seen the book. Seated beside him was D.J. Coffman, creator of ""Hero By Night"," the winner of the 2006 Comic Book Challenge which was held at the San Diego Comic Con last year. People who got books signed by Gene and Paul were directed to that table, where they got our signatures. Signed a lot of books there, too. Also there was Adam Black, the embarassingly talented creator of the Kiss 4K webcomic. I'd just spoken to him on the phone a week or two before, so it was great that he had the opportunity to come to LA. He brought some artwork along that will make you sick.

At one point, I went for the silver sharpie I kept in my shirt pocket and my hand touched-- the $20 bill Gene had given me. Holy $#!+ I'd forgotten to give it back to him. Of course by the time I'd realized I still had it, Gene and Paul were probably long gone, I didn't bother to go back to the Golden Apple booth to check. I sincerely hope Gene doesn't mind, but next time I see him (a panel in San Diego?) I'll give him his money back.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

My Wizard World LA Experience (Friday)-- I felt like kind of a big shot

It's difficult to post. I mean, it takes a real commitment and am just so busy right now whine bitch moan complain.


Wizard World LA was a lot of fun, easily the most fun convention experience I've ever had. This isn't saying much; but it makes a big difference attending the con as a "guest" as opposed to a member of the general public or even an attending professional. I had people to take care of me-- people who set me up with a booth for the signing, people to make sure I and as many friends as wanted to get in could get in, people to make sure I had almost anything I wanted.

And, of course, I got to meet Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. These guys really are larger than life, both of them, but they also seemed genuine. They were both kind and gracious with me and, most importantly, my mother, who flew out from eff-el-ay to see me at my first bigshot con experience.

It started Friday March 16. I got to the LA Convention Center around 11 or so and, being an "Exhibitor," I was entitled to go in early and check things out before the public got in. I went over to my friends Chris and Elizabeth Wisnia and their little one Oscar, and chatted with them for awhile. Picked up a couple of his new "Doris Danger" books, which you're all reading if you know what's good for you.

I did a little shopping but not much. I've started using eBay to pick up back issues, but I still had a list of specific titles I wanted to pick up. Couldn't find a SINGLE DAMNED ONE of the comics on my list. I'm always surprised by the paucity of back issues at the conventions these days, and each year it seems the selection is smaller and smaller. But really what's the point of dragging your back issues all the way out to the con when you can just put them on eBay and people like me will buy them there? (Speaking of which, I recently scored Ditko's 5 issues of "Blue Beetle" with "The Question" backup stories!) I get it; I'm hip.

Stocked up on some half-off trades to throw on the pile of books I haven't read yet. Stack is pretty high now.

Checked out the booth at which I would be signing in just a few short hours. Platinum made a deal with Golden Apple and I'm glad they did. Everyone at the booth was exceptionally gracious and made me feel welcome, in spite of the fact they had no idea who the hell I was.

My mother and sister flew in from their respective cities and it was good to see them again. I had a good time catching up with them, but we didn't have too long to for idle chitchat since Gene and Paul were about to make their presence felt.

At around 2:45 everything was set up and Gene and Paul appeared, causing a serious ruckus and a (relatively) huge crowd materialized to check them out. With cameras flashing and eveyrone straining to get a look, Gene and Paul, and Scott Rosenberg, officially unveilled the Guinnness Book of World's Records-certified "World's Largest Comic Book," the comic book I, Ricky Sprague, wrote; KISS 4K, Legends Never Die!

Friday was the first day I'd ever actually SEEN the book (they just got a few under 300 copies from the printer; the rest are being folded and stapled even as I write this) and I was impressed. It's big, almost three x two feet. The artwork, by the incomparable Dan Campos and the inimitable Kev Crossley, is mind-boggling. I'm proud to be associated with it.

My mother had brought along copies of the Preview Edition she'd gotten online for Paul's and Gene's signature, and it was at this time that the stars finally aligned and she and I met them for the first time. They were both incredibly gracious and generous with both of us. I couldn't believe I was actually meeting them face-to-face. True enough, I'd gotten feedback from them on the scripts and the original concept, but this was the first time I'd actually MET them-- and MY MOTHER WAS THERE. It couldn't have worked out better. I'd been worried about Mother flying out, because cons can be irritating and dispiriting enterprises, but this five-minute encounter made the trip, so I was happy and relieved.

While Gene and Paul had a huge crowd waiting for their signatures, I had only a small line waiting to get my signature. During the hour I spent at the booth, I signed 8 books (I kept count), and a few other items, mostly at the request of my sister, who decided that signed copies of the advertising postcard would make good gifts for her coworkers and students. The Golden Apple and Platinum people were apologetic, "Friday is always slow here," they said, but I didn't care, since I'd met Gene and Paul, and gotten to see my sister and mother.

Okay, I'll write about Saturday and Sunday later. Saturday was the panel, and I spent a few minutes in the Green Room with Gene and Paul, and I'll write about it soon enough, I promise.

In the meantime, here are some pictures I posted at flickr.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Ricky Sprague Appearances At Wizard World LA, Including a Panel on KISS 4K with Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley

If you want to see me at Wizard World, here is some information you might need:


2:30p – KISS 4K Destroyer Edition Guinness Certification Unveiling with Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley at the Golden Apple Booth #707

2:45p – Gene Simmons & Paul Stanley will be signing autographs of KISS 4K Merchandise at the Golden Apple Booth #707

4:00p – 5:00p – Ricky Sprague – writer of KISS Destroyer Edition will be signing autographs at the Golden Apple Booth #707


1:45p - 2:45p – Ricky Sprague – writer of KISS Destroyer Edition will be signing autographs at the Golden Apple Booth #707

3:00p to 4:00p - KISS COMICS GROUP presents “KISS 4K – FROM THE TOP” with Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Scott Mitchell Rosenberg and Ricky Sprague” in the Dave Cockrum Room Meeting Room. Join Scott Mitchell Rosenberg’s Platinum Studios and Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley as they take you behind the scenes of the making of the KISS COMICS GROUP and its debut comics KISS 4K: Legends Never Die

4:15p - Gene Simmons & Paul Stanley will sign autographs of KISS 4K Merchandise at the Golden Apple Booth #707


2:00p – 3:00p – Ricky Sprague – writer of KISS Destroyer Edition will be signing autographs at the Golden Apple Booth #707