This little gem is sitting on South 3rd Street in sunny Burbank, California. I had the pleasure of traveling there over the weekend to see a screening of my great-uncle’s film I, THE JURY. Finding this couch was a nice bonus.
WonderCon is a great convention because I see different people (both behind the tables and in attendance) than in any of my other shows. The con itself feels like a more manageable version of San Diego. Instead of a marathon, it’s a 10K. And it’s right beside Disneyland, so we get some spillover happiness.
This year I was happy to loan table space to Warner Archives for part of the day Saturday.
It is a testament to the open-mindedness of convention goers that they accepted without question our oddly-matched table.
I was incredibly lucky with my placement this year. Rarely do I get to know all my neighbors at a con, but my row was chock full of friendly, talented people. If they felt a self-publishing cartoonist was out of place among the animators and illustrators, they didn’t show it.
After the show Sunday, I made my way to Disneyland and California Adventure. The last time I visited was in high school, but I found I remembered quite a bit. I mostly wandered the parks, going on a few classic rides (Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Indiana Jones). I had dinner at Carthay Circle, a converted movie theater. Through fate or just blind chance I sat next to a few fellow convention exhibitors. Apparently I was not the only one with the brilliant idea of going to the park after the con ended.
WonderCon is an interesting show for me because of the involvement of the aforementioned animation industry people. In the Pacific Northwest, there are mainly self-publishing cartoonists such as myself. In Southern California, I’m more of an anomaly. It’s good to have a bit of both experiences, I think. I learn a lot from each crowd.
This weekend I’ll be at WonderCon in beautiful Anaheim, California. If you’re not going to Disneyland this weekend, come see me! I will have the brand new Falling Rock #5, the first all-Pam issue! They moved everybody around this year, so here’s a handy map to find me among the Donald Duck impersonators.
As my plane descended, I looked out at the layer of smog over Anaheim. Although I am not repelled by Los Angeles as many of my friends are, I found this view to be somewhat disconcerting. My first two conventions of the year, Emerald City in Seattle and Linework NW in Portland, were surrounded by the colors green and blue. WonderCon would be set in my mind as brown and tan.
Coming from the southwest, these are not necessarily bad color associations. I consider the desert to be a clean place. Even though I’ve lived in Portland for eight years, I still find the lush environment to be strange, alien. You don’t have to fight for life in the Pacific Northwest. In the desert, everything is hard-won.
That turned out to be a metaphor for the convention itself. There was no shortage of attendees (I later read that WonderCon sold out of badges), but sales were not correspondingly high. It was a good show for me saleswise, but not stellar. In the desert, life is hard-won.
When I work harder for each sale, it makes me appreciate the connection with the reader. Somehow, in the midst of the hubbub and hullaballoo of a large convention center, in the shadow of Disneyland, people told me that my books were terrific. That counts as a minor miracle, I think.
The best part of the convention was spending time with cartoonists. Alec and Greg and I ate at a Hawaiian restaurant, where we talked about how few people Alec wants to see on Facebook (about ten) and how many cats I’ve seen on my rides home (up to eight). Kevin Woody took me to Downtown Disney since I didn’t go into the park itself. “Have you heard of Downtown Disney?” I asked. “I live in Southern California. I’ve heard of Downtown Disney,” he replied. He advised me not to get into the cult of pin-trading.
I also met a guy who works at Warner Bros. He asked me to do a little signmaking in exchange for DVDs. My first work for Warner Bros. was this sign, advertising the guy who wrote Die Hard:
In Portland, you meet graphic designers, web designers, baristas, and guys like me who do whatever pays the bills and ends at 5. In Anaheim, I met people who work for Disney, Sony, Paramount, and Universal animation departments. I tried my best not to say the words gosh, golly, or gee-willikers, but I think they could read the expression on my face.
I’m not entirely sure if I’ll return to WonderCon next year. It was certainly a well-run show, and I got a good experience out of it. Maybe it was that layer of smog sitting over everything. If Disney can find a way to lift that cloud, I’ll definitely be back.
Here they are, the very last robots of 2010. It’s been such a pleasure to bring you new robots every week this year, and I look forward to foisting another 52 or so robots onto an unsuspecting populace in 2011.
Remember: on New Year’s eve, when you’ve had your drink and smoke and injection, beware hitchhiking robots. They may appear harmless, but once they pile into your beat-up station wagon they will commandeer your mind and force you to do horrible things in 2011. Things like voting Republican, not recycling, loudly whistling at people you are attracted to and making statements like “Hey baby, I’ve got what you need.” Don’t make 2011 a year you will regret. Watch out for robots.
Be safe everyone, and I’ll see you next year!
Photos used for these robots were taken in (from top to bottom) Oregon (Bend), California (redwoods), California (off the 101), California (APE in San Fransisco), Ohio (Orrville), Ohio (Oberlin).