After rousting the Spawn, feeding her pop-tarts and grabbing some brunch for myself in the form of a meatball sub, we strolled down to the con, which was quite busy.
One interesting bit of business is that the Charlotte Convention Center was hosting both our comics convention and the annual convention of the North Carolina Republican Party. There seemed to be very little crosstalk between the various attendees, but we were a bit startled to see picketers outside the venue. One gentleman was calling for the GOP to become more biblical, while another couple of people were advocating for marijuana legalization. In context, seeing a cosplayer dressed as Watchmen‘s Rorschach with a sign reading “THE END IS NIGH” seemed somehow appropriate.
We dropped by Todd Nauck’s booth, where he was busy doing commissioned sketches, but took a moment to say hello. He remembered having seen us over Christmas at the Real City comic store (where he had done a Batgirl sketch for the Spawn), and we spoke for a bit before we let him get back to work. As we left, the Spawn said to me, “We have a friend.”
A bit later, we swung by Yale Stewart‘s booth. Yale’s comic, previously called Little League, is now called JL8, and his grade-school adventures of DC heroes has attracted a following (and some industry recognition). We picked up a set of character badges and an autographed postcard-sized depiction of the Miniature Martian Manhunter.
After that, we kicked into the Great Dane Rescue Fund and took a picture of the Spawn behind the wheel of the Mystery Machine:
Said kid was in her Roxy LaLonde getup, and would dash around taking pix with other Homestuck characters as she would sight them. After a bit of this, we wandered up to the frappuccino corral to people-watch.
After a bit of that, we returned to the con floor, where it was my turn to get my fanboy/geek on. I started by finding Peter Bagge‘s booth. I discovered his work through a guitarist in my hard-rock days, and years later, found out that he was occasionally drawing and writing for libertarian mag Reason. I picked up a copy of his newest collection, including a section on his rock-and-roll themed work. After that, we spoke to some other attendee/fans about a variety of topics from fandom to grad schools.
But the cherry on top came a few minutes after three, when Jim Steranko finished his session and made his way back to his booth. Resplendent in a French Vanilla Ice Cream suit, and looking far younger and more energetic than his 74 years (I can only hope to have hair that impressive and distinguished), he started doing the autograph thing. There were a variety of prints and such available for purchase, but being who I am, I went for an old copy of Argosy magazine with one of his illustrations. As he signed, I told him a little story.
“Mr. Steranko, when I was 8 or 9 years old, you became a slang term in my little circle of friends. When something was really great — absolutely top-notch — we’d say ‘That’s really Steranko.'” (The funny thing is that I no longer remember who those other kids were, although I wouldn’t be surprised if Carl Groves were among them, but I remember the adjective.)
When I told him that, his face lit up, and he grabbed his assistant away from another customer. “Tell him what you just told me!” he said, so I did. I mentioned my old FOOM poster, and added that back then, my favorite artists were Steranko and Kirby, and that now I had finally met both. It really seemed to make his day, and he took a moment to shake my hand before I left.
I hope it did make his day — it certainly made mine.