Con Season 2010 I – The Tremors


Did you feel that? 
Just then..that quaver?  Like, in your lip, but perhaps your eyelid..? Or was it the stomach?  Like a sense of impending…ache?
That feeling is con season.  At least, that's how I feel it. Oh, I know–Emerald City already happened, but for me, con season starts at home…my original home…San Francisco.  With Wonder-Con
The thing about comic book conventions?  Our cons don't get lame when some show gets cancelled. We don't wait in line to hear some cranky actor who was on a show for a few seasons, playing some role he never really wanted to play on some basic cable show that had some crappy AFTRA paycheck the paid him so little the only way he's gonna keep any kind of insurance is by going to the con and telling stories about being in a show that everyone remembers being much better than it actually was.  No…comics..comics are truly–well..they are forever, in a way, because comics are always new and are always old, they are timeless. The audiences may age, but, as we've talked about before in a much more depressing article, the characters never do.  There's a sense of fun, of optimism, of, well, wonder at comic book convention that, at least for me, never gets old.
I started going to cons a long time ago, starting with gaming conventions, which makes me some kind of über nerd, I gotta tell you. Spending a three day weekend in some crappy hotel near an airport playing D&D and watching untranslated anime?  Yup–fun times…my times. Gaming conventions are their own strange world, I must say.  The next cons that I ended up going to were, I admit it, Star Trek conventions, where I quickly realized that after you've gone to three or four conventions, once you've seen William Shatner and Nimoy and the other stars, you've kind of seen it all. It's fun–it's trippy, but, like…yeah–it's what you think it is and a Star Trek convention is always going to be that way
But with comic books, it always seems that although the format of the convention may stay the same (seminars, shopping, costumes and drinking), they are always a freaking blast. Like, honestly, when I tell my "normal" friends that my favorite thing is to go to a comic book convention, they really think I am kidding. But I am not.  I really like them.  We've talked about this before, but there is something about going to a convention that is so energizing, not only because you get the chance to meet some fantastic creators, but you get to hang out with kids and adults who all enjoy good stories, great art, and fantastic ideas.  
This year is both the same kind of different. iFanboy takes cons really seriously, as you can imagine.  They really work hard to get as many interviews and discussions as they can to make a great show. And, of course, well, if you've hung out with us at the con, you know that we have a seriously good time at them too…but really?  There's a real focus on getting interviews with folks we haven't heard from in awhile, and making sure that the iFanbase has a really, really great party to look forward to during the convention.  Unless it is Wondercon, which means you have two great parties.  Both of which — well, let's just say that I just let out an audible gasp and groan when I think about how I am going to feel on Saturday morning. It's not going to be pretty, folks. 
I have been thinking a lot about the people I want to talk with during the convention (and please, if you have anyone you want to me to talk to and have questions for them, send me an email and I will see what I can do–I cannot obviously guarantee anything at all, but who knows) and wondering what I would talk to them about.  I think for me, this year, even if I were not helping with iFanboy, it would be less about the big names and the big events and more about the…need to create comics. Like, why go into comics these days? What drives a creator, new or old?  I really want to talk to people who are interested in getting into comics because, honestly, the work just seems so challenging, so fraught with frustration, so difficult to break into, that there has to be a real love of the medium to even fantasize about getting into the business.  I want to talk about the desire.  I want to hear about what creators think they are bringing to the game. I want to hear creators who are taking on existing books and explaining why audiences should be excited about the change of command, you know?  
I think we are entering a good year of comics, I really do. We are seeing a string of events end (Brightest Day seems wonderfully contained, at least according to the calendar), which means, I hope, that we'll see the creators really get a chance to do their own thing without worrying about syncing up with the events of a few other books.  We'll see Superman and Batman getting back on track (though I hope Bruce's return doesn't come at the expense of Damian and Dick…I mean, I know it has too…but…still…I was just getting to enjoy that pairing–that's another article later this year, I guess), sure, but I hope we'll see other books come into their own.  The events of Blackest Night #8 provide an incredible foundation for a whole slew of stories–I won't say much more than that, just in case you haven't read it. 
I feel…I feel this hope, somehow, that the books I love will be released from the constraints of other storylines, and my hope is that the cons will fulfill that hope with news and rumors of good stories to come.
But back to the cons. I know that we can all get our news from the web, but I think the cons are less about news and more about insights. Less about announcements and proclamations and more about discussions and stories.  You get a real chance to discuss the creative process, to get some insight on the business of comics, to listen to what inspires the folks who inspire us.  You don't get that opportunity to discuss the creative impulse with many other creative heroes, you know?  Oh, sure, we can go into one of the massive halls in San Diego and hope that you get in line early enough to ask a a question of some director or actor, but oftentimes that interaction is just fulfilling. With comics…there are just so many different creators who show up that the venues are much smaller, and the chances of you getting the opportunity to ask a question the results in an actual back and forth are so much higher.
And, of course, you always have the parties afterward, where you really do have a chance to hang out with the creators and realize that these are just people who are doing what they love. Yes, they are creators, but they are also fans, just like you, and the moment you stop treating them like Creators? The moment you realize that we're all into comics together, whether you are drawing them or buying them.
So, the con season awaits. I am lucky enough to get a chance to come up to Wondercon and see some old friends–and meet new ones. I am really looking forward to, as I said above, meeting the faces of the next generation of comic book creators, the guy with the 12 page comic that they are shopping around, or the girl with the pins of characters she's created…I want to meet the people that are there because they want their work to get seen, I want to meet people who are there because they can't do anything else but think of comics and who are working so hard to break into them.  I want to listen to their stories and their dreams and celebrate their excitement.  
Because that's what a con is all about. The celebration of our shared love of and excitement for, this always changing (and never changing) world of comics.
So, I'll be in San Francisco this weekend and hope to see you there. If I miss you up north, maybe I'll see ya down south in San Diego. And even if you can't make it? I know the guys are working hard on gathering as much material as possible to make it feel like you were there. I'm gonna bring a flip camera and hope to put some pieces together as well…it should be fun. 
See ya soon!

Mike Romo is an actor in LA who needs to find his pirate outfit. Email him here, twitter him there.


  1. Come to New York in October! You are on charge of Starting the Ifanboy Congo Line/Love Train on the Tiki Tour.

  2. Mike, I couldn’t agree with you more.  I started reading comics about 4 years ago (I’m 31 now) and have really enjoyed getting into things and I would think of the WonderCon as a place that was convenient, a place I could hear news, and get free stuff.

    This year, I’m doin something different.  I’m attending more panels on just what you mention above.  I want to hear new ideas and some behind the scenes stuff.  I love podcasts and can’t wait to see the iFanboys up there talking about it.  I have a background in broadcasting and am curious how one starts out on that track independently.

    That said, you hit the nail on the head with this topic.  I’m discovering new ways to love comics and can’t wait to use this Con to take it to the next level. 

  3. I’m excited for Con Season, but I’m super jealous of everyone going to WonderCon. It sounds like it’s going to be a blast. ah well, there’s always San Diego 🙂