WonderCon 2010 Mashup


And a good time was had by all.  
That's kind of the feeling I have whenever I leave a convention, I am pleased to say.  This year's WonderCon was no different…but somehow this year was completely different from any of the other cons I have been to.  As I dig through my addled brain for memories, I thought I would just pull whatever comes to mind for my first ever Post Con Mashup!
First off, I was late. I couldn't make it up to San Francisco until Friday night so I basically felt like I was running late for the entire weekend.  During San Diego I am usually there Thursday morning (it always seems the sessions I want to see the most that day, which is probably because the people involved don't want to be anywhere near San Diego for the weekend) and have a pretty good idea of which panels I want to attend, which parties I want to go, all that kind of thing. But this past weekend, my wife Whit and I hopped in a plane (which was running late), then jumped into a cab (also late) to Casa Awesomé (with friends Sam, ex-iFanboy writer Sonia and Chunk), and then jumped into a (I thought) well-appointed pirate outfit to join the crew at Blue Hawaii, the second stop on the Tiki Tour.
There are very few times in  your life where you get to participate in something that actually becomes a tradition. The Tiki Tour, started by James Sime and Kirsten Baldock over at the world-famous Isotope comics in San Francisco, is that kind of  event.  I mean, who knew that there were enough tiki bars to constitute a tour of them?  I grew up in San Francisco and it never occurred to me to visit as many tiki bars as possible in a single night.  But now I can, with other folks. Dressed up like a pirate. With roller derby girls. Pics here.
That night was fun, if only to see Whit dancing on the dance floor in roller skates while Conor and I debated the finer points of being only two people drinking a Scorpion bowl drink designed for four people.  (By the morning, I realized who lost: me.)
The Tiki Tour was also a great chance to say hello to so many iFanboy folks–it's just so fun to catch up with so many cool people!  And because I know it's boring to read about a party that you weren't able to make, suffice to say that the tour was fun even though I only was able to make it to two actual bars and if you weren't there, be happy that you didn't wake up with my hangover.
Saturday was all con. Funnily enough, I didn't actually think about the con until I was walking across the street and started seeing all these people in costumes. I had been so excited to see my friends and go to the parties the actual convention experience was left on the back burner!
This con was different inasmuch as I didn't really attend any comic book panels. The timing just didn't work out, and I really wanted to help Ron and Conor tape content for the WonderCon show (which is out today) as a sort of preparation for San Diego. In addition to literally poking Ron in the back when we were being asked to finish up, I was actually given the chance to interview Ethan Van Sciver.
Now, in my head, the interview was pretty straightforward. I had a few questions that I figured would be interesting for me and fun for him, and I thought I was all set..but then all of a sudden I was in the middle of the (anemic) DC booth and Conor was all there, with this "camera" and Van Sciver was there after drawing sketches for several hours and I blurt out, "You need a water?"
(Cut to Ron bursting out laughing.)
Well, "we" got Ethan (it's Ethan now) some water and we proceeded to do the interview that I had imagined in my head for the previous 30 minutes and I start in on my first question, which was supposed to be something to the effect of:
"So, when someone who wants to be a comic book artist thinks about being a comic book artist, they imagine a job like being the artist on The Flash as being the dream job–and you got to do it! Was it really a dream job? Or was it actually a nightmare?"
And my question went something like:
"So, here I am with Ethan Van Sciver murbubeblubm bleerrf fergt rotthoroker fofortyou jumblestmff ruble dream job?"
It was mildly infuriating, even in my head as it was happening to watch my mouth make those noises.
But the interview went really well–or so Conor and Ron told me. I remember saying something about the new Flash outfit, and then something about Cyber Frog and then I was done. I guess Ron kept it in–check out the show here.
It was cool, though, you know?  To get a chance to attempt to ask questions of someone whose work you respect? We'll have to check the show to see if worked out or not.
So, WonderCon was better than last year–it was definitely a lot more crowded, that's for sure–but I must admit, I am getting really used to all the booths on the floor.  It's still fun, but mostly, I am just wandering around, wondering, "Have I been here already?" I saw some nice comic book shelving, but, seriously, if all I remember is the shelving booth…?
Then I ended up helping the guys with some interviews featuring the stars of an upcoming movie that is based on a pretty damn popular independent comic book but I don't want to do any spoiling so you'll have to wait for those interviews in a future edition of the video show.
Cut to later that night. It's the big time, western themed Jonah Hex party with Darwyn Cooke, Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner.  Here are the bullet points:
  • Crowded.
  • Darwyn in a Royal Canadian Mountie outfit (looking good!).
  • Singing Happy Birthday to Dave Johnson at 12:02AM.
  • Apologizing to Amanda Conner for not including her in my "Best Artists of 2009" article.  
  • Amanda Conner being very cool and not caring at all about my article whatsoever.
  • Talking with Marley Zarcone, who does art on Forgetless and realizing a day later how much I really enjoyed her art.
  • Talking to Conor and Ron at a specific space in front of the comic book shelves in Isotope and realizing that I have been talking to them in that particular space every year for the past four years.
  • Talking to Jonathan, Ash, Dave, Ryan and so many others and going "wow, this is really awesome how cool everyone is here"
  • Remembering, again, that there is no food, really, at 2am in San Francisco. (Yes, I know about Sparky's and Mel's but still.)
The next day was much more con-oriented (once I got there), with a lot more exploration of the floor. I ended up going to the Oni Press book and getting quite a few books, after some consultation with Ron and Conor, including Northwest Passage, The Big Book of Barry Ween, Boy Genius, Crogan's March and the WonderCon exclusive, The Man With the Getaway Face–the "in-between" book that acts as a kind of prelude to the next Parker book, Parker: The Outfit
Flash forward to a very disappointing episode involving a closed In-and-Out Burger (closed on Easter), past a lunch in the international terminal at SFO, to me, Whit and another WonderCon-er, all on a plane flying back to Los Angeles, reading comics (I devoured Northwest Passage during that flight and am still enjoying the annotations sections).
And I realize, now, that this is what being a comic book fan is really about: friends talking about books.  Like, I will be honest with you, it's been a rough couple of months. I keep feeling I am falling behind on comics, I have no idea what is coming up — I have not time to check the news or anything like that–and I just felt a bit like I was falling out of the scene, you know?  But when I can hang out with other folks who took all the time out to hang out with each other to meet up and enjoy talking about life and, yes, comics, while high fiving our favorite creators, debating various titles, laughing about storylines and freaking out about various news items (cough! Rucka!) — it just gave me a bit of a boost, you know? Like–I feel like I am emerging from a cave, where I have been just hanging out with an ever growing stack, reading books and just…just…reading, you know?  
Comic books are more than comics books. At their core, they are a conversation. These books, these characters–they go beyond us spending a few bucks every week. When you get a chance to talk to a few writers or see a few artists working their asses off in artists alley, you realize that comics are, in every way, a movement, and, for so many of us, a way of life.  When I get a chance to go to Isotope and talk to all of you, I realize that comics go beyond the pages, they become this understanding, this bond, this shared joy that, every so often, I can enjoy with a few folks.  It's freaking awesome, you know?
Comics..I don't know..I am really not convinced they can be fully enjoyed in a vacuum.  Like, for me? Getting a chance to thank Darwyn about making a book like Parker is… well, like–if you get a chance to thank someone whose work you really appreciate? Whose contribution as a creator of amazing stories has made such a profound impact on you? That's…that's living. That's a bit of magic, the closing of a loop.  
WonderCon came at the exact right time for me. Hanging out with people who really love comics, who love making comics, who know comic history and comic book news and who love just…creating? It's inspiring.  I'm looking forward to San Diego and I am planning on going to New York, too.
My main thing?  If you've never been to a con, go. If you can't? Spend a few extra minutes hanging out at your comic book store after you have bought your books.  This is not about you reading some issues every week, right? This is about a community of fans, a community of creators, and with out the community, without enjoying this madness together, it's…it's just not as much fun. And you know what? You deserve some fun.
More next week– I have some reviews for ya. And a special shout out to the incredible additions to the iFanboy staff–the bar…like it's so high right now that I am having problems sleeping. One day?  One day we are going to have an iFanboycon.  Mark my HTML–it's gonna be awesome.
Have a good week!
(Dear Wednesday: I'm back!)

Mike Romo is an actor in LA who really should get more sleep.  You can email him here but Twitter is fun, too. if you need a voice to put with the text, check him out in this week's podcast with Jimski and Paul (okay, and Josh too).


  1. Darwyn Cooke is the coolest person that has ever lived.

  2. Isotope seems like pure fun.  Every picture I seem from the place makes it look like everyone is enjoying him/herself.  

    I’d buy a ticket to iFanboycon.

  3. If it’s any consolation, I thought your Ethan Van Sciver interview went quite well.

  4. Great recap Mike! Great meeting you and everyone else at the con and parties.


    BTW, you can get food in the Mission or North Beach if you like Pizza and Burritoes. 🙂

  5. Great article Mike, it’s making me even more bummed I can’t make it to any decent sized con before August.

    The interview wasn’t as bad as you thought, it’s tough!  I got in on a Joe Quesada interview once and was WAY worse than that 🙂

    Hope you can make it to NYCC dude!

  6. I would go to IFanboy-Con every freakin year if that actually became a real thing. Great article.

  7. Thanks for the shout out, it was great catching up with you and talking SCIENCE with Whit. I actually ended up at Sparky’s after the tiki tour (or so I’m told, I just slept on the table). And I’m glad you got Northwest Passage, it’s a fantastic book and it’s a shame there aren’t more volumes available.

  8. Great Article! A good time was had by all.  I loved talking to you about the current Superman art, that was one of my highlights.

  9. I really wish I could have been there for the Jonah Hex party.  I will met Darwyn Cooke one day.  Your interview went very well Mike. It was entertaining and informative.

  10. It is indeed very gratifying to be able to thank a great creator for work you admire.  I remember I time 9 years ago that James Ellroy was doing a reading from the Cold Six Thousand locally but I couldn’t make it due to work.  I got there just as the event had ended only to see the man getting into his car.  No one else was about so I carpe diemed it and approached him.  Scary as The Demon Dog of American crime fiction always seemed he was extremely gracious, spoke for a couple of minutes shook my hand and went on his way.  Awesome memory to this day.

  11. Mike – Great piece, as always. I like that you feel energized about comics again. There is something really special about the community aspect of comics, and i’ve only started to realize that. Having a site like iFanboy is really pretty cool, but it’s important to actually get that face-to-face interaction. There were indeed many cool people at both parties, all hanging out and having fun.

    But I have to say that my personal favorite Romo moment (Romoment?) was Mike’s treatise on the word "asshole." Well, that and watching him get Tom Sawyer-ed into selling artwork upstairs for a bit. 😉 


    @JesTr – not to make you too jealous, but Jon (jmstump) and I were standing outside at one point, having a conversation with Darwyn and some other folks, and Darwyn was just letting loose. The dude will seriously tell you what’s on his mind when it comes to the business of making comic books. Very insightful. 😉

  12. @daccampo: The "asshole" discussion was very funny. I don’t even remember how it started, but I’m glad it did.

  13. @conor & @daccampo: Pretty sure it started cause Mike was being an "asshole." We must all continue to use quotes, lest we seem mean.

  14. Never EVER imagined Darwyn Cooke was that cool.

  15. I’m really jealous of Americans and their wonderful ‘cons’. Wonder con, comic con…all in America.

    I would love to be able to attend a big con like ComicCon, but in London, where it would be more convenient and cheaper for me to attend with my comic book loving friends.

    There is a huge audience in Britain and Europe for comics and other fantasy and movie products, yet we don’t have a big event like Comic Con or Wonder Con to get to meet creators, meet other fans and attend panels or preview screenings of upcoming exciting projects.


    I think a British ComicCon would be immensely popular. British readers care just as much as our American brothers for Comic books and spend an awful lot of money on the books, movies, toys and so on.

    Ok, so our weather is crap most of the time, but we have the best umbrellas in the world.


  16. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Awesome write-up, man!

    Next year! Next year!

  17. @NathanNicdao Darwyn Cooke is quite possibly the coolest man in comics.  Have you not seen the Winnie the Pooh costume pictures?