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Con Report: San Diego Comic Con 2016

Me with Hank Kanalz

Me with Hank Kanalz

Me with Kurtis Fujita, Larry Welch, and Diana Fujita.

Me with Kurtis Fujita, Larry Welch, and Diana Fujita.

I went to San Diego Comic Con last week for the first time since 1999. There’s far too much excitement to be contained in a single blog post (and too many pictures!)…but I’m going to do it anyway!

First, I had the opportunity to go thanks to Barry Gregory and Thomas Florimonte, my pals who also happen to be co-owners of the premier comic POD (Print on demand) company in the US, Ka-Blam! And I wouldn’t have been able to accompany them without the support of my fantastic boss, Noelani Cornell. I gotta admit, it’s pretty cool to actually be appreciated for my comic industry ties (instead of having to hide it at my previous university teaching positions).

Me with Alan Payne

Me with Alan Payne

Me and Ross Richie

Me and Ross Richie

Thomas and I left Wednesday morning of the convention and arrived at SD not long after lunch (I thought I was arriving much later, but that’s another story). Barry was there waiting on us and already all set up in the Indy Comic section. Wednesday was basically “attendees trying to get free and exclusive crap.” And some of the booths had it down to a science—the DC Comics booth moved people through like a ride a Universal!

Me with Jim Chadwick

Me with Jim Chadwick

Me with Dave Dorman

Me with Dave Dorman

Most people told me that I would be surprised at how “different” the show was. Maybe it was because of that, but it didn’t really strike me as that much different than 1999, only far bigger. Yeah, there were a lot of booths of things about which I had no clue (mostly tv shows) and all the madness that is Hall H was away from the convention floor—which is where I pretty much always spent my time anyway…so, to me, it was the same, but bigger…but it was MUCH bigger!

Me with Nat Gertler

Me with Nat Gertler

Me with UV Superfan Michael Novotny, Dave Olbrich, and Tom Mason.

Me with UV Superfan Michael Novotny, Dave Olbrich, and Tom Mason.

There were far too many people I caught up with to compile a complete list here, but some of those I got to see and catch up with included Ross Richie, Hank Kanalz, Bobbie Chase, Kurtis Fujita (and his lovely bride, Diana), Alan Payne, Scott Rosenberg, Dan Nakrosis, Larry Welch, and Bob Schreck. I saw a bunch of people I just got to say a quick “hello” to without catching up—and that was still cool: Joe Phillips, Julie Anne Wight, Dave Dorman, Tom Mason, Mickie Villa, Dave Olbrich, Nat Gertler, Marv Wolfman, Howard Chaykin, Aaron Lopresti, Darick Robertson, Terry Dodson, Robert Roach and I’m sure I’m leaving some out.

Me with Julie Anne Wight

Me with Julie Anne Wight

Mostly, I spent the show catching up with friends and hanging out at the Gallant table (where Barry debuted a cool new action figure!) and Mike Hefforn of Archblue’s table.

I also got to meet some cool indy comic creators I didn’t know before the show. In fact, we hung out a bit and had a fun time: Mike Heffron, James Heffron, Steve Bryant, and Chris Murrin. They even invited us to participate in their traditional end of con debriefing!

Steve Bryant, Chris Murrin, James Heffron, Me, Barry Gregory, Thomas Florimonte

Steve Bryant, Chris Murrin, James Heffron, Me, Barry Gregory, Thomas Florimonte

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Florida Writers Conference 2014 report

While I’ve been to dozens of writers conferences in the past, this is the first time for me to attend the Florida Writers Conference. Had it not been so local, I’m not sure I would have attended this year.

But I’m glad I did. Of course, I have my Full Sail colleague Jennie Jarvis to thank for that.

fwc1Wow, but what a cool conference. It’s already clear to me that many of the attendees there feel and think of each other as family as many of the conversations I heard sounded like those from a family reunion. There were tears shed for those who were no longer able to join the conference or who had passed on. I didn’t know them, of course, but you could tell by the shared emotions of the group that they were talking about a family member.

It’s the kind of group that you want to be a part of because writers are an odd sort. And I mean that in the most affectionate way. They’re (and when I say “they,” they includes me) just weird and nobody understands them but other writers. It’s just the way it is.

I made new friends and some potentially cool contacts as well (maybe they’re both and the same, who knows?). I even discovered there are a few writers groups nearby—and they quickly invited me to be a part of the group.

fwc2I spoke twice on writing comics, once to the main part of the conference and the other time to the young writers conference. The young writers asked some pretty cool questions, too! The good news (for me, that is) is that portion seemed to go over well and I’m already talking with them about next year! Yes, that’s very exciting to me.

I also sat on a transmedia panel with some talented folks (including my Full Sail colleagues Julie Anne Wight, Dr. Tof Eklund moderated by the talented Allen Gorney!) where we talked about taking stories to different formats. It’s cool to hear so much interest in graphic novels.

On a more writing related note, got the first rejection to the C&M reboot. Sigh. Shall soldier on. Nothing more on BEAH, but am about to lick the stamp for CITIZENS. Cross your fingers!

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