Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Indiana Comic Con: Where Dreams Come True (Especially if Your Dream is To Own a Print of Wonder Woman as a Cat)

We LOVE Comic Con, where you're free to be as weird as you are! Even Will, who does not engage much with pop culture, has plenty to get excited about, with every third person she passes dressed as an elf with a dragon on their shoulder, etc. There are also plenty of booksellers and comic book writers and artists, and literally, I swear to you LITERALLY, we were all walking through the exhibition hall together when some random guy sitting at a table caught Will's eye, said to her, "Hey, what's your favorite type of fantasy book?", and like a kid promised candy if she'd just get into the nice stranger's windowless white van and help him find his lost puppy, Will peeled off from us and spent the next ten minutes discussing... I don't even know what. Something about Tamora Pierce, I think?... with him.

Our Will. Voluntarily shot the poop with a stranger. Wonders never cease.

We later set the kids free to roam the exhibition hall on their own while we went to more panels, but we did make them get some pop culture education with us. Here we are listening to Jim Swearingen, who designed the original Star Wars toys that were later featured in the documentary, The Toys That Made Us:

As he spoke about the designs he'd made for existing creations, I became curious if he'd ever been interested in doing any original toy designs, so I asked him. He said that he and a friend had made one original prototype once, an extremely spicy lollipop with a personal fan attached so that you could cool yourself while you licked it.

Oh. Okay.

His Star Wars toy designs are brilliant.

Here we are enjoying Matt fanboy over Kevin Conroy, the voice of Batman in the 1990s cartoons:

We're cosplaying as the Hogwarts Comparative Muggle/Wizard Literature Professor and her partner, the Quidditch Coach and Flying Instructor, taking two of our students on a field trip.

Even if I'm not personally that familiar with a speaker, there's always an interesting take-away. Conroy, for instance, spent some time talking about his audition for the Batman role, and he explained to us that when auditioning, an actor has to make a choice about how to portray their character. The casting director may give them some guidance, but it may or may not be that accurate compared to what they're actually looking for, and that's not their fault, because what's in someone's mind is so subjective. But an actor who auditions has to make the choice right then, and that choice, how they're portraying the character, is what gets them hired or not. Probably they could have given the character the tone that the director wanted, but if they didn't make that choice but someone else did, then it's that other person's good luck, and if they're the one who happened to make the choice that got them the part, then that's their own good luck, but luck it is.

Fascinating, and I'm not even interested in acting!

Here are Matt and I listening to Timothy Zahn speak, while the kids were off playing retro video games in the exhibition hall:

 And here we are playing retro video games in the exhibition hall!

They had Crazy Taxi. I was basically in heaven.

Optimus Prime made an appearance:

You might remember that I collect fan art, and Will's into dragons, and Matt's into comic books, and Syd's into My Little Pony and comic strips, so we always spend plenty of time browsing the exhibition hall when we go to Comic Cons. I'm kind of pissed about it this year, because to keep myself from buying ALL THE THINGS, I like to check everything out, and then check out the artists' websites later and maybe buy what I really want, but this year, the organizers deleted the exhibitor list from their app and website basically as soon as the weekend was over, and NOW I AM NEVER GOING TO FIND THAT GUY WHO LASER CUT PUZZLE BOXES AND PUT TEA LIGHTS IN THEM.

I am really sad about that.

Here, at least, is Will's favorite artist. She collects original dragon art, and for the last two Comic Cons where she's been allowed to choose a souvenir, she's chosen one of this guy's pieces. Feel free to buy her something from him for her birthday!

The kids and I were also SUPER interested in this guy, and I'm definitely going to buy them some things from his shop for Christmas. I mean, he sculpts both cats AND dragons! And door knockers, which I really, really want. And steampunk goggles. It was pretty cute to watch Syd seeing all these people cosplaying in steampunk and all of these steampunk accessories in booths and fall in love with all of it in the course of about eight hours.

I have promised to score her a bunch of clock parts and leather scraps if she'll do steampunk for the next Trashion/Refashion Show.

Matt met and bought some art from Ty Templeton, whom he's really into, and I became deeply obsessed with a woman who draws characters as if they were cats. I bought a print of Cat Wonder Woman, but I didn't get her business card, and when I try to Google her there are actually, um, a lot of people who draw characters as cats. Huh.

OMG OMG OMG you guys! I just found THE TEA LIGHT GUY!!!!!!! I was tidying my desk, because I suspected there was some grammar that I hadn't marked somewhere in the pile of clutter (there was), and I found exactly four business cards that I remembered to take from booths that interested me, out of the approximately four hundred booths that interested me.

Lesson for me: remember to take business cards, because sometimes people will delete their exhibitor list right after Comic Con, dang it.

Lesson for exhibitors: put your business cards front and center so I can remember to take one!

I'm probably gonna go buy a bunch of tea lights now, and also about fifteen clocks.

Okay, so here is where the magic happened. Syd's favorite comic strip, by a landslide, is Foxtrot. She's read every strip, and reads the collections over and over. She talks about it when we're hanging out. She retells entire comic strip runs. She references it any time we're doing something relevant, like eating food or doing math or touching a computer. LOVES. IT.

Hey, you know who was one of the guest artists at Comic Con this year?

We bought her a print of her favorite comic strip, and he signed it for her, and drew her a little Sharpie Quincy. She was starstruck and so happy.

It was magical.

And we get to do it all again in June, with more business cards this time, when Indy hosts the Pop Con!

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