When I first started writing comics, I lived in Hattiesburg, Miss., and was a regular guest at CoastCon for several years beginning in 1989. The crew was good to me (and the entire Silverline crew), it was close, and it seemed like everyone locally was attending. But I was always aware of MidSouthCon and really wanted to go. I couldn’t go because it was either on the exact same date or the weekend before or after. Being a struggling writer, I couldn’t really afford to go to both. It wasn’t until the late 90s that I had the opportunity to go to MidSouthCon, held in Memphis, the city of my birth.
Thus I didn’t really realize it was the 30th until sometime during the day Saturday (they use the Roman numerals and since I’m not Roman, I can’t read them easily)…and I don’t know if it was that or just that it is a sign of recovery, but there were a ton of people there; it was very crowded at times—which is good.
This was the first year that a)I didn’t set up at a table; b)I didn’t attend the entire weekend (I couldn’t); c)my son, Brett, had the chance to attend a con. Because I didn’t have a table, I felt a bit orphaned. It was a strange experience. Brett seemed to love the experience, though. He played games practically the entire time (though I did tell him he couldn’t spend $60 on a sword), even electing to skip out on my panels!
My first panel of the day was shared with a few folks, including John Jackson Miller and Anthony Taylor. The topic was “Playing in other people’s sandbox,” which is about writing material that belongs to someone else (like Star Wars or Planet of the Apes). One of the common questions there was about fan fiction as it seemed several were under the impression that writing it is a good way to “get noticed.” Miller was quick to point out that the Star Wars franchise folks do not want that for fear of possible lawsuits. So it doesn’t get read by people who would matter. I’ve never really understood the draw of fan fiction and have read very little of it. My thoughts are write something original; create your own world to play in. That, or get HIRED to do the work.
I then had the opportunity to sit on the “Marketing for Authors” panel with such writers as A. P. Stephens, Janine Spendlove, Mike Preston, Peggy DeKay, and Stephen Zimmer. Zimmer was the only one I’d ever met before, but was a good panel with lots of questions from those in the audience. As you might guess, digital publishing was a big topic!
The last panel I did was “Indie Comics” with Sean Taylor and Tom Bondurant. I’ve “known” Sean for several years now, but never had the pleasure of meeting him in person and was nice to finally get to do so. Go visit Sean’s site to learn more about him. Tom writes for CBR.
I would tell you that Dean Zachary was also on the panel, but he bailed! (in his defense, he was making money in the Dealer’s Room) But I did get to visit with him and other artist extraordinaire Jim Hall and Mitch Foust. Actually, I had a more lengthy chat with Mitch on comic story-telling standing in the hallway at the close of the con which was quite enjoyable.
There’s a whole host of folks that I didn’t get to spend nearly enough time with but who I want to shout out to here: A. Christopher Drown (who was the recipient of a Darrel Award!), Alexander S.
Brown, David Blalock, Herika R. Raymer, J.L. Mulvihill, AND, some folks I had the opportunity to meet for the first time: Kimberly Richardson (who is the editor for an anthology to which I’ve submitted AND who said she remembered my story and liked it—so that bodes well for the story), S.P. Dorning (who I’ve swapped a ton of emails with, but had never met face to face), and Bobby Nash.
And since Brittany had the camera with her for Prom…I didn’t get to take any pictures. Still, a good time was had!