Cons. Occasionally aptly named, but they give you an opportunity to meet the great and good – all your favourite comic creators – or in my case, experience a range of emotions. Awe, to embarrassment, shame, and emerging stalking tendencies
Imagine February 11th. Nothing but 2000ad creator droids in one room (but no O’Neil, gruddammit). I think I’m going to have to have a drink or two first. Dutch courage. But enough to relax, rather than knocking them back and becoming being an overly familiar drunken lout. Now I’m in my forties drinking during the day is never a wise move.
First and foremost, I’m a 2000ad fanboy, the Prog’ was my introductory drug to my extensive and wife baiting comic habit. So, I’m most interested in meeting creator droids from 2000ad. I’ve been lucky to meet a few. John Wagner, Simon Bisley, Patrick Goddard, John Higgins (my first), David Roach, Ben Willsher, David Lloyd (he worked on “Crisis” so I’m saying he counts) The godlike Carlos E’.I’ve also been in e mail / Facebook (that great leveller) correspondence with Simon Jacob, Ian Gibson, Mike McMahon and Chris Weston. Even the rejection of a commission request from one of your heroes has a certain frisson.
This isn’t meant to be a long list of “artists and writers I have known ” and certainly not in the biblical sense, but more an indication as to how crap I am at speaking to people whom I admire, and what an idiot I usually make of myself.
When I see one of my heroes, I start on my little emotional rollercoaster. Think of it as the “stages of starstruckness”.
There are 5 stages :
Stage 1 – Catch sight of “fill name of famous 2000ad creator here”. Freeze.
Stage 2 – Then, I dither, cogitate and hesitate. Circling the creators table for around 15 miunutes. Do I disturb them? They look busy. They don’ twant to tbe bothered, I’m sure he doesn’t really want to be disturbed and has more interesting and important things to do than to talk to me.
Stage 3 – Finally, I come round to thinking that if they didn’t want to be approached by fans, they wouldn’t be at a comic convention. I approach, smile, take the seemingly mile long walk to the table , just as a massive queue forms before I reach it. Everyone suddenly has the same idea. The wait becomes longer, if I wasn’t anxious before – I am now.
Stage 4 – Introductions – Babble. Trip over every word that comes out of my mouth. I become a burbling, bald buffoon, forgetting everything I had rehearsed in my head during the “circling / dithering ” stage. Experience seconds that feel like hours of awkward silence as my hero/heroine patiently waits as I gather myself. By now I am convinced they already think I’m a nut and are looking past me to the guy behind me pulling a library book trolley of comics to sign.
Stage 5 – Words finally come. They aren’t good words of course. I try to be calmly complimentary, but instead I gush like a geyser. I refer to their most obscure work, stalker tendencies coming to the fore. Overly obsequious, intolerably reverential. ‘Course this also means that I don’t talk about their most recent stuff. Later, I agonise over any offence I might have caused, whereas in reality creator “x” has already moved onto dealing with the next nutjob.
Stage 6 – Back pedalling – in an attempt to become more objective, my knee jerk reaction is to criticise perhaps their least critically acclaimed work, putting the boot in, watching the creator I have previously bigged up start to lose their patience. Already sressed out about ignoring their most recent work, I think of my favourite creators who will now be making veiled references to your idiocy and rudeness in every strip they create until they retire.
Stage 7 – Move away – quickly, trying not to bow as I go – it’s a touch too much.
The creators at these events are gracious, patient and a bunch of great guys.
At least I hope they are….