Monthly Archives: April 2015

25

Twenty-five years ago today, I married the love of my life. Fortunately for me, she’s been able to put up with me for 25 years. Well, plus a little more.

Roland and BJ posing after the wedding

Roland and BJ posing after the wedding

BJ is fond of telling folks that we should really add seven years to the number of years we’ve been married, because that’s how long we dated. Usually, when she tells folks—especially the ladies—she gets all sorts of sympathy in the form of “wow, you really waited on him a long time.” It works for her. But you can read more about that in this post seven years ago (the one I wrote for my 18th anniversary).

Had you told me twenty-five years ago that I’d be living in Florida, I’d have told you that you were nuts. Florida was never on my radar as a place to live…never. Alas here we are…

Way back when BJ and I were still just talking about getting married, she once told me she didn’t care where we lived as long as she was with me, all was good. She even said she’d live in a tent! Well, we’ve not had to live in a tent thus far, but there’s been a time or two I had to ask her if she was serious about the tent thing.

But what’s more important impressive is that she’s put up with me these years. Even through all the moves: Mississippi-California-Mississippi-Alabama-Tennessee-Arkansas… She’s let me keep my 10k comics (which have actually dwindled down to about 7.5k these days because I’ve gotten very tired of moving them!), puts up with me going to silly comic conventions (and have pretty successfully gotten my kids hooked on them), actually encourages me to play war games with my son (how cool is that? “Yes, I guess I should spend some quality father/son time and play some war game.”), and will stand in line to watch a superhero movie when it’s released, even if she’s not that excited about it.

Roland and BJ wedding reception 1990

Roland and BJ wedding reception 1990

So while I’m taking the time to say it aloud (and to the world, so y’all listen up!), I say it privately (mostly to myself) pretty much every day: I’m doggone lucky that she’s put up with me for so long.

BJ, you are the love of my life. Don’t ever forget that.

Happy 25th anniversary!

15 Comments

Filed under family

MegaCon2015 = MegaCool!

Me, Brittany and Brett (attempting--but failing to hide behind us) at the booth!

Me, Brittany and Brett (attempting–but failing to hide behind us) at the booth!

As has been my habit the last few years, today’s entry will be a report on MegaCon 2015, which was held last week (Friday, Saturday and Sunday, April 10-12). This was the third year sequentially for me to be at MegaCon since moving to Florida, and my fourth MegaCon overall (the first time I went to MegaCon was in the late 90s—I wasn’t blogging then). Some of you recall my post from last year when I talked about the clogged aisles. It seems all that was resolved this year with the move back to the west arena. While there were still massive crowds (I never saw a final count), the aisles had been expanded allowing for greater foot traffic and stopping for cosplayers. It was still crowded, but with lots of elbow room.

So my move to Indy Press was an interesting experiment as well. There are pros and cons about the location. Pro: I was on the end of the row, a corner, so lots of traffic passed by on two sides. Con: the show would only let us open the booth to one direction, kinda negating the corner aspect. The other—and this was the far bigger issue, I think—is that I signed up to be in “Indy Press,” an area where I thought I’d be surrounded by other small press publishers. There was one. The people to the booth right beside me were selling…get this…pillows. Uh. What? How is that “Indy Press?”

I'm making the face because the young fan (to the right) said I didn't look like my caricature. After I smiled, she agreed I was indeed Roland Mann.

I’m making the face because the young fan (to the right) said I didn’t look like my caricature. After I smiled, she agreed I was indeed Roland Mann.

Sigh.

I shared the booth space with writer Wes Locher (who is also a former student of mine) because the price tag was higher than I really thought I could make. That was a good decision because a)I got to spend time in the booth talking with him when there were occasional lulls (and they were occasional); b)it cut the cost in half…which ultimately meant I covered my portion of the table—which is always nice. We did a give-away together and gave away $50 worth of books to Matt de Simone and Lucas Loman.

I got to take the annual photo with Robert McGinty…but I can’t seem to locate it. Had great dinners both nights; Friday night with the aqua-talented Paul Pelletier and Saturday night with Barry Gregory (and son!). Missed this year was old pal Bill Sawyer.

Autographs are always FREE!

Autographs are always FREE!

I didn’t do a panel this year. There seemed to be confusion about the Mega-folks the last part of the year—at least in their communication with me. They announced they’d sold the show a few days before the start, so I’m guessing that’s where all the confusion came from. The previous two years were smooth sailing.

As with good shows, I’m already anticipating next years. It’ll be moved to May (Memorial Day) next year…which I’m skeptical of (but note that I already said I was anticipating next year!) only because there are so many other shows in the summer, I’d rather see them move it the other way on the calendar. Part of the reason I think the April show worked is this is Florida. It’s not cold in the winter, regardless of what the locals say!

And for you Orlando-local people, don’t forget to mark May 2 on your calendars. It’s FREE COMIC BOOK DAY and I’ll be signing books at the COLISEUM OF COMICS in the Fashion Square Mall—all day long! Come see me!

Leave a comment

Filed under General

MegaCon this weekend—be there!

MegaCon 2015 starts tomorrow and I’ll be set up this year in Indy Press booth #574. I’m sharing space with writer Wes Locher, a rising newcomer in the industry. Take my word for it, you’re going to be seeing Wes’s work pop up regularly—and you can say you heard it here first! And have I ever steered you wrong?

booth574WandRThis’ll be my third straight year since we’ve been down Orlando way, but my first with an Indy Press booth; the other two years I was in artists alley. It’s a step for me in that it’s considerably pricier to get out of the alley. Truthfully, I’m not sure that it’ll make a difference, but I wanted to try it one year and see if it did. Artist alley seems to have become a place where anyone with a pencil and pad can set up. Additionally, artist alley no longer means “comic artist.” When I first started doing comic cons back in the late 80s, the only people in artist alley were people with published work of some sort. Before you think I’m slamming indy comics, I’m not—I’m a huge fan and supporter of them. But I seem to find a lot these days that a great many artists in artist alley have nothing—and I mean nothing—in comic print. Some of them don’t even have “art,” but they have trinkety stuff. Like handmade jewelry, buttons, etc. I always thought the people who did that were traditional vendors…and at one time, they probably were.

On top of that, many of the artists are selling illegal prints. The casual fan doesn’t know the difference, of course, and these artists end up making a lot of money illegally from unknowing fans.

Eh—but I ramble because this post is not about whining. I wanted to move to the indy press area to mainly see if the traffic I get there is different. Obviously, as a comic writer, I don’t have any “prints” to sell (though I’m considering talking to the artists I collaborate with about that), so it takes a lot of $3-$10 comics to make back the expense. I’m hoping the traffic in the indy area are fans actually looking to buy comic books and not just browsing for cool art or trinkets.

Cosplay (which is just costuming by fans) has become a huge deal over the last several years. There’s some hubbub about it in circles higher than mine, but in general, I don’t mind cosplay and think it’s kinda cool (most of the times). The issue to some seems to be they are rude and block the aisles. I’ve only had that happen once, and I asked them nicely to step around the side (I was on a corner), which they politely and immediately did. I’m planning to steal a page out of my friend John Metych’s playbook this year—I’ll tell you if it works next week.

MegaCon caught some flak last year because of the traffic on Saturday. And it was bad, but it was bad because so many people came to the show—which in my mind is a good thing. More people at the show means more money on the floor. They moved back across the street to their old location this year, so hopefully that will solve the traffic issues.

So, come out and see me and Wes. We’ll be at booth #574 in Indy Press!

Leave a comment

Filed under General