Editor's note: Betsy (who draws Extra Elbows for the comics page) wrote this up for 2011's Wizard World Con back in October. Somehow this got edited, but never got posted on the blog. Here it finally is as the first post of the year, better late than never.
Comic book writers, illustrators, Celebrities from the distant past (or future?), wrestlers, superheroes and fans all mingled together in epic nerdiness over the weekend at the Austin Convention Center. I donned my Vulcan ears to join the revelry.
Once I figured out the adjacent fencing tournament was not cosplay, I wandered into an indoor flea market of superhero paraphernalia. Buying, selling and trading comic books is just a small portion of the business Comic Con. You could get your portrait zombified for fifteen dollars, take a photo with a storm trooper for charity, or purchase steampunked versions of superhero garb. I mainly wandered around asking people how they got started and how they make what they make.
Hayden Panettiere (The Cheerleader in "Heroes," Beth Cooper in "I Love You Beth Cooper") was probably the most well known name there. But, I met a lot of really cool artists. Rob Guillory was incredibly friendly for being so successful. He is a multiple Eisner award and Harvey award-winning artist. Notorious freelance comics editor Carolynn Calabrese was also sighted. I talked to Chad Thomas quite a bit about his experience with comics colleges. Overall everyone was very friendly, even to someone like me who is just getting into comics and probably asked plenty of stupid questions. I didn’t get to question actor Adam Baldwin ("Firefly," "Chuck") but that was only because I could not speak in his presence. Talking to famous peeps is hard, y'all.
After this weekend, I feel incredibly inspired, and hopefully that will start showing up in Extra Elbows. It's amazing to me how many artists create comics in ways I could never have imagined. I met an artist who was using wooden sculpting tools to move ink around a page, and another who created his entire comic in Flash and then delivered it in Pizza boxes. Comics have so much more potential than people realize. I gotta go draw.