The Intermittent

Why Are You Still Here?

Monday, August 08, 2005


So. Wizard World Chicago. Not much to add that can't be found elsewhere. The show is what the show is, and accepted as such, mostly harmless. At least as harmless as any other large gathering of slightly obsessive individuals prone to dressing themselves in costumes that I've been to. I've made my peace with the fanboys, and can walk among them now with neither fear nor rage.

Highlights of the weekend:

Hanging out with my brother, of course; the family connection is the real draw for me. I'm not paying for that airfare merely to buy half price trades.

The hot dogs at Gene and Judes, which are merely competent Chicago hot dogs and therefore better than any other hot dog sold East of Gary Indiana. And of course the dinner at the Duke of Perth.

Picking up a big stack of cheap trades. Most were fill in the gaps type purchases. Best new to me buys: Jeffrey Brown's These Things These Things, and the first three Finder trades. I finally got around to reading Brown last year, and have since caught up with the work in print (anybody got a copy of Early Works they want to get rid of?). His art style--a deliberately slapdash and crude style of cartooning--turns some people off. I can see that; I mean, some art just doesn't work for some people. But those folks are missing out on great stories, oblique little vignettes that glide from the personal to the universal with real subtlety. These Things These Things is more slight than his other works, but no less engrossing, and is perhaps his most heartrending work. Folks turned off by the veins-open display that was Clumsy should try again with TTT.

Finder is a book I've heard things about for, literally, years. But, you know, laziness, plus lack of easy purchasing avenues equals continued ignorance. The kind of ignorance which is hard to justify when Carla Speed McNeil is in fact pressing the books into my greedy little hands. Quick verdict: good stuff. More later, but the curious could do worse than to get Jim Henley's take. I'm told that Salon, in a weird bit of synchroncity, had an article on the book as well this past week, but the ad thing has kept me away.

Most nerve wracking purchase: a color illustration Seth did of sleeping students. A gift for my wife, to put in her classroom. I walked by it seventy nine times, sweaty hands stuck in pockets, trying to look cool and comfortable, prior to stumbling over myself in my rush to Buy! Buy! So comforting to know that my game hasn't improved since eight grade. I love it, even if it does not express the jaded innocence of the silver age or whatnot.

Also had the good luck to meet Ken Lowery and Rick Geerling. Ken is substantially less spittle flecked than one would expect merely from reading his page. Though his taste in souvenirs is questionable at best, and he is completely unintelligible on the phone (though this latter could I suppose, be my fault; damn my childhood, filled as it was with shotguns and punk rock shows). Rick is, for his part, much less pale than I had envisioned. Both are, to the surprise of utterly no one, a good deal of fun to walk around a convention and/or sit around bullshitting with; both are also much younger than writers of their caliber have any right to be, though Jog is the worst offender in this regard. Really, I've been wasting my life.

And that's about it. Those of you who were not there are likely better informed as to the news, such as it was, than was I; they've yet to implement by suggestion of a hype dedicated loudspeaker for the floor, so those of us whose noses were stuck in yet another box of cheap trades could be just as informed of The! Big! News! as those sitting at some panel. Final tip, which I found out late: though the Doubletree is in fact connected to the Exhibition hall, the action is at the Hyatt. File away for next year. Bonus tip: work out those back muscles prior to show time.