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.

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