(Dramatic baritone voiceover:) IN A WORLD…full of geeks and nerds, where men dress up like superheroes and women don tarsal-snapping platform heels, where comic books are—wait, what’s a comic book?—one girl wields a Sharpie in pursuit of
fame, fortune, andmaybe a bathroom break. Oh, and it’s her birthday.
That’s right. It’s New York Comic-Con Redux, where I, for yet another year, got to sign a story I wrote for a The Gathering All-Women Anthology. I’m extremely proud to be a part of this anthology and to work with GrayHaven Comics again. Two years in row now makes it a tradition. Two days in a row of signing makes me as exhausted as an ex-Disney starlet.* (*I’m not whining, especially when some friends were at the convention for all four days, but, damn, I’m wiped out!) I’ve heard stories that women and graphic novel publishers go together like, well, women and graphic novel publishers. But GrayHaven, so far, has spoiled me with their kindness and I’ve yet to (and hope never to) feel the sting of sexism in the comic book world.
The day also happened to fall on my birthday. While I’m happy to continue to having birthdays (as opposed to the alternative), they bring up a lot of existential questions like: Who have I become? What is my purpose? Just how far out of MTV’s demographic am I? Not forty just yet, this birthday has me at DEFCON 2, one step shy of nuclear annihilation—but more on that later. Fortunately, hitting a comic book convention in my fangirl t-shirt held off any concerns I had about growing older for one more day.
Or so I thought.
“Zoo,” “madhouse,” “asylum” are the words others have used to describe that Saturday. The lobby of the convention center alone was a sea of people—complete chaos in capes. I feared that Hubs, who came with me out of birthday kindness, would turn right around and go back out. I might’ve joined him if he had. But we trudged on, bumping up against everyone and everything. I haven’t felt this crunched since I was being born, I thought, which now seems a rather appropriate metaphor given the day.
Navigating our way to the booth was like playing Frogger—jumping forward out of the way of a roving pack of Spidermen; sidestepping throngs of Eleven Doctors and Amy Ponds; trying not to get smashed by a costumed bloke who, for obvious reasons, is simply known as “Pyramid Head.” I admit, I love seeing all the “cosplay” at these conventions, but attempting to reach the signing table took precedence over people-watching. The different displays and booths were dizzying, the crush of geeks was overwhelming, and the music booming from nearby video game vendors was almost enough to make me shout, “Turn that crap down!” Yep, I’m definitely getting older.
The signing itself went great, despite my showing up empty-handed–no cupcakes, no toys, no biz cards. I learned that I sold more books when I stood up. I learned it helps to wear comfortable shoes. I learned the term “Con crud,” which is enough to make you want to wash your hands until you no longer have fingerprints. And I learned the world runs very much like a comic book convention—a load of people, many trying to get noticed, some smelling riper than others, all waiting in line to get some money out of the only functioning ATM. That’s when my birthday existential crisis got turned up to eleven—but that’s for part 2. For now, just enjoy the pics.