Tag Archives: Bill Sawyer

MegaCon 2014 report

Conventions are always highly anticipated, take a long time to arrive, but fly by in such a hurry. So it was with MegaCon 2014. Like last year, I had a fantastic time. This year was a little different, though, in that my entire family actually got to attend at the same time. Usually, it’s just me and one of them, this time, Friday saw all four of us there (see pic).

Friday was a great day. The doors opened at 1 o’clock on Friday and we were there around 11:00. It took us longer to park on Friday than any of the three days. It seemed like the folks parking us wanted to stop each car that came through and chat with them. It wasn’t tough to get the stuff in because I had four sets of hands—which was nice. On the way inside, we bumped into Cully Hamner doing the same thing. When I told the kids I knew him when he had hair down to his waist, they were surprised—not that I knew him, but that his hair was once that long! We located my spot—which was allllll the way in the back next to the cool Lego stuff. We got set up and immediately Brittany and BJ took off headed to a Smallville panel. Brett and I held the fort has folks came rolling through. Before we knew it, the day was over.

We’d been worried that Brittany would not be able to make Saturday, but her professor worked with her and let her make up her work so that she could attend with us. Pretty rockin’, I’d say. We were there right before 9, because the security guard told us as we left on Friday that it would open at nine a.m. I guess I should have clarified exactly what he meant by “open,” because it was open for us to set up, NOT for attendees. Really, I should have trusted the MegaCon schedule!

Saturday was a very hectic day. Crowds were crazy packed in the exhibition hall (we used to call this place, “dealer’s room”) and we later learned that traffic outside was terrible. My friends Thomas and Rene’ Florimonte (who are part of Ka-Blam!) said they were waiting three hours just to park! I heard that from several different people but I guess we were there early enough we didn’t see it at all. I’ve seen some people on social media really lashing out at MegaCon because of that, but I remain unconvinced it is their fault. Certainly they should address it for next year, but it would seem to me that it is the Orange County Convention Center’s fault—like they’ve never parked that many people before? Maybe they should simply call in help from an SEC school, who multiple times a year get in crowds of 50,000 to 100,000 people for a football game. Seriously, it shouldn’t be that hard to park people. My experience with the folks at MegaCon has been nothing but fantastic, so I’m sure they’ll address the issue and it will be resolved next year.

I was on a panel Saturday afternoon; Break-In Stories with Mike Miller, Frank Tieri, Russell Lissau, and Steve Horton. Each of us told our own story of breaking into the comic industry, gave hints to budding creators, and then took questions from attendees. All in all, it was a very fun panel.

Sunday was back to normal craziness, but was a good day. I think many were relieved that the massive crowding from Saturday was gone. That’s not to suggest it wasn’t busy, it was—Sunday was actually my best day—but it was a healthy crowded where Saturday was jam packed. I got to see several folks and visit, even if the visits were short. Aside from those already mentioned, Mike Miller is someone I haven’t seen in close to twenty years! Regrettably, I didn’t take more time to try to catch up with him. I got to see Jimmy Palmiotti—who is probably one of the most encouraging creators I know, Bill Sawyer and Barry Gregory (who is the other main player of Ka-Blam). On top of that, I got to see several of my students from Full Sail University. Was cool seeing them there, if a bit different.

All in all, a great show—I already hope to get put on the guest list for next year!

Up next is the Spring Hemingway Writers Retreat. There are still seats left, so if you’ve ever wanted to write where Hemingway wrote, this is the time/place to do it! Anyone interested should email Dr. Adam Long @adamlong@astate.edu

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Recommendations

Recently I got a recommendation for a book of fiction by a longtime friend (thanks, Bill!). He read a book that he liked and took the time to recommend it, pointing out a few things specifically that he thought I’d like. That got me thinking about recommendations and friends and book reviews and such.

Ages ago, when I was still a student at Hinds Junior College, I used to work at Camelot Music. This was in the days when Camelot’s walls were full of cassette tapes and the racks were full of vinyl…before the cd took over. Over time, I noticed that frequent customers would return to specific employees to ask them for a suggestion for something to buy or for their opinion on something new. I realized that customers came to rely on and trust the opinions of the various employees. Yes, I even had folks come to me to ask if I’d heard an album and what I thought of it.

I think of it much in the same way that I’ve said about feedback on creative work: accept it all but evaluate the source. Country music or rap fans never came to me because they knew I didn’t listen to that style of music. Writers of romance have to take my opinion with a grain of salt—if the romantic parties don’t wear spandex and capes, then I’m probably not interested.

I don’t do a lot of book reviews here, but I do them once a month or so. I often wonder if anyone reads them because I figure the majority of the readers of my blog do not read many comics or superhero related books. Yes, I’ve often wondered about how some of my entries work to create my “writer’s platform”…and then I don’t worry too much because as I’ve said before, that’s okay because I pretty much write this journal—oops, I mean blog—for me.

But when I do book or comic reviews, you the reader, have to evaluate the source (for those who attend Ole Miss, that source would be “me.”). It helps to know me personally and to have had conversations with me so you’d know I like superheroes, civil war and American history and I’m NOT a big fan of the greatest American tyrant, Abraham Lincoln. Oh, you don’t have to know me personally to have gotten that, but see—when you know those things, it helps you evaluate the source when I talk about whether a comic/book/film/whatever is something I liked.

You shouldn’t just do that for the things “I” review, but for every review/recommendation you read.

So, when my longtime friend Bill Sawyer—who knows all those things about me and more—suggests a book I might like, there’s a pretty good chance I will. I hope that you do the same thing when you read any reviews/suggestions/recommendations that “I” make.

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