The day isn’t over yet, but I think I can bring us essentially up to date.
I woke up around 7 this morning, wrote the previous post, and let the Spawn sleep in while I went downstairs to the hotel breakfast buffet. After I got back to the room I got a bit more civilized as the Spawn emerged from being zonked out. Once she was sufficiently functional, we went to a nearby diner for her breakfast of waffles and bacon, and I had an order of hash browns. From there, we walked a few blocks to the convention center, arriving just as they were getting ready to take the annual cosplayer “family portraits.” We watched some of that, and then split up again.
One of the neat things about doing this sort of thing year after year is that I’ve actually gotten acquainted with some of the artists and vendors who make HeroesCon a regular stop of their own. For example, I dropped by Yale Stewart’s booth and we talked about his JL8 webcomic, a new strip he’s working on… and his new 5-month-old puppy. In fact, he was talking about the puppy when I walked up, and because I didn’t know he was talking about a puppy, I asked him if he was a new dad.
“Well, a puppy daddy,” he said, “But it’s still a living thing that you have to take care of. And with which you’ll never be able to really communicate.”
“So just like being a human dad, then,” I said.
From there, I met up with the T-shirt folks at World of Strange, from whom I’ve acquired a fair amount of my wardrobe over the last few years. I love their shirts — not only are the designs cool and suitable to a campus eccentric and part-time rock and roll drummer, but they come in… ahem… adult sizes while being reasonably priced. By way of example, a cool graphic T in my size may very well run around 30 dollars or more from a big-and-tall store or catalog. However, WoS hooks me up at two for 30 (the base price is $20 each), and today, 3 for 45. So I walked off with shirts including a 50s Steve Ditko design, a pre-code horror comic from Harvey, and the March 1940 Thrilling Mystery, which included stories by Joe Archibald and Ray Cummings.
As I chatted with the woman who runs the booth, I mentioned that I frequently get admiring comments when I wear their shirts to concerts, mystery conventions, and even when I teach. She told me how much they appreciate the word-of-mouth (or of blog, I guess), and we talked about the stuff they have on the drawing board. I told her I’d love to see more pulp covers, and we talked about how hard it is to keep the plates spinning at a small business.
In fact, both yesterday and today I’ve worn their shirts, and both days I’ve had admiring comments, so I directed folks toward the WoS booth. I’m wearing one of my favorites today, another early-50s Harvey horror comic which happened to provide the inspiration for a classic punk rock single sleeve.
The fact that “Die, Die My Darling” was my original working title for Broken Glass Waltzes just endears it to me that much more.
And as I was walking around, a fellow said, “You know, that comic is for sale here.”
“Yeah, over at Forgotten Five’s booth.”
So I had to go have a look, and sure enough, there it was, and I could take it home for a mere $6900. But while I can get away with buying a few T-shirts while I’m here, I decided that it might be tough to justify dropping seven grand on a 60-plus-year-old comic to Mrs. M. The Spawn agreed that I should opt for self-preservation. Still, it was cool to look at, secure in its safety case with grading sticker. And thanks to the guys at Forgotten Five, I did come away with a souvenir of sorts.
While I had her with me, I went back to the booth of John K. Snyder, III, whose adaptation of Eight Million Ways to Die I had picked up the previous evening. As soon as I said hello, he said “That’s a great shirt,” so I had to tell him about the encounter I had a few minutes earlier. “It’s a classic cover,” he said, but he also agreed that I probably was wise to let them hang on to it. And once again, the man’s hair was better than humans deserve, and made me look even schlubbier, if that’s possible.
After a little more browsing, the Spawn and I decided it was a good afternoon for a movie, so we walked back up the street to a screening of Dark Phoenix, the latest X-Men saga to hit the big screen. It was a nice enough way to spend a couple of hours, even though the critics haven’t been particularly fond of it. The Spawn noted that the pacing of the film seems odd, and the final third or so of the movie consists of a couple of set piece battles of the sort we’ve grown used to over the years. The movie makes significant departures from the Claremont/Byrne original, which I reckon is inevitable for a two-hour flick, and there are a couple of elements (one political and one symbolic) that struck me as being really heavy-handed, but the movie was still a chance to spend some time with characters I’ve learned to love over years in print, and to like in their assorted screen incarnations. And I’m always glad to watch a movie with the Spawn.
And that’s been a theme of this trip — and the others over the years. It’s been a great series of father-daughter weekends, and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to share them with her. How this will shape up next summer, with the Spawn in Maryland, I’m not sure. However, both of us have already said we’re looking forward to continuing our tradition, and where there’s a will, there’s a way. Even if we spend too much money on T-shirts.