Day One Ish at Denver Comic-Con with TOTLB
By Gabe LLanas @xraystyle
Mornings at the Team LLanas house are hectic at best, but when it is a work day for mom and con day for dad, there is a lot of scrambling around to make sure that everything is in order at the house before the two “responsible” adults head out the door. This kind of managed chaos was exacerbated by schedule issues, cosplay part hunting, and just general, “Gabe needs to get his shit together,” issues.
End result Baleigh and Gabe are scrambling to get in the door, looking for Juan in a crowd of thousands in the quickly moving line of the media entrance, no badges, just blank lanyards, hoping to see Juan on time. A frantic call where Gabe is panicked about getting in, and Juan is panicked about getting to the first interview on time. The chaos continued to reign, but then our first interview’s misfortune becomes our boon.
Unable to get into the building because new security rules state that exhibitors can’t bring in their own hand trucks. The first interview has to postpone and the day starts to settle into the mode that it needs to be in. With some time to kill we walked around the Celebrity Summit. As it was very early on there first day there was hardly anyone there doing signings, but I did catch a glimpse of Weird Al, before running into a friend that was about to get in line to talk to him.
First interview, Gabe has a wonderful chat with sparkly suited Andy Mangels. Currently writing “Wonder Woman ‘77 meets The Bionic Woman,” Andy is also the officiant of the second annual Unity Wedding at the end of the convention this year. As one of the first openly gay comic book writers it was wonderful to hear him talk about how much has changed over the years in the comic industry when it comes to tolerance and acceptance, noting that he is more concerned with being rejected by publishers for his age than is sexuality at this point.
Going into my first panel moderation I was nervous (as was Juan) to the point where I had to take a deep breath. Trying to find the Coast City Room ended up being tougher than I expected. After asking several of the volunteers I finally found my way to the room.
Sitting for the first of two Diversity in Comics panels that I will be doing over the course of the con I was joined by, Georges Jeanty, Alitha Martinez, Dan Parent, Dexter Vines and Justin Ponsor. We had a wide ranging discussion on the state of diversity in comics, what mainstream comics can do better, and the market forces that affecting the way comics are created. A fascinating talk that is leading into a one on one interview with Alitha tomorrow. I cannot wait to dig into her opinions on diversity in the industry.
Immediately after that was the Spotlight on Ron Marz. Ron Marz is the creator of the Kyle Rayner iteration of Green Lantern, and a long time writer for both of the big two in comics. Talking about his career and what drives him to create the way that he creates, in a very small and intimate group was fantastic. The kind of opportunity that a fan can only dream of, and the kind of opportunity that can only take place at a comics convention.
Finally after that we were able to catch up with Ian Mcginty. Artist on “Adventure Time” for Boom! And creator of “Welcome to Show-Side,” it was good to catch up with him since the last time he was on the show. His pilot for a cartoon version of “Welcome to Show-Side,” which features voice acting from Henry Rollins, has garnered a lot of interest from the Illuminati and Ian has promised that if he has a big announcement about it he will come back on the show. Check out the pilot below:
The rest of the day was spent wandering up and down Artist Alley, talking with old friends and new acquaintances alike. Talling on record with some fascinating creators of independent comics, and books. Those interviews with be through the next episode(s?). As the day wound down Baleigh and I found ourselves wandering towards the Captain Colorado hall to watch part of the “Opening Ceremony,” which randomly takes place at the end of the first day.
I see a lot of things at Con, but there is always that one moment that defines the day. My daughter Baleigh is the kind of person that isn’t about to see someone crying, and not offer to help, and as we walked down the main concourse that is exactly what she did. She saw a person crying and said, “I’ll be right back dad,” made a beeline for them and asked, “Are you ok?” Within seconds she was sitting next to this cosplayed fan of an anime I will probably never see, consoling someone who saw their significant other for a brief time during the day and wouldn’t have a chance to see them again for three months. Nothing connected them other than a shared love of nerd culture, and the way Con becomes a family.
Catching a set by Sam Adams, this guy was hilarious. Check out this bit that he performed tonight.
Cutting out early Baleigh and I made our way to the Media Mixer at 5280 Burger Bar. Sitting with Dayna (our new intern) and just chilling out with other people that are heavily invested in this community was wonderful. Conversations about how Con and the comics community in general is a place of healing for us.
Each of us has had that experience of a parent, sibling, stranger on the street, whatever; that has yelled at us, tried to drag us down, made fun of us, hurt our hearts just for loving something that may not make a lot of sense to the rest of the world. That shared trauma though, has made us two things. First, it has made each and everyone of us tougher, more willing to stick up for the things that we love no matter how trivial it may seem to other people. Second, it has made us empathetic to those around us that share the same kind of fandoms. I may not “get” furries, but I get that they come from a place where they just want to be happy doing what they love, and Con is a place they can do that. I may not “understand” Homestuck, but I understand that having a group of friends that loves the things that you love is important, and Con is a place you can be with that group with no judgements. Con becomes one big family, and I can’t wait for Day Two.
Day One Ish at Denver Comic-Con with TOTLB