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New Worlds Comics - Be Different!

Geeks with Wives Cross-Post: Zappcon Cosplayers

This was originally published by Geeks with Wives by Casey Walsh as part of a series of cross-posts our two websites are doing. To check out various interviews from Zappcon that are still being posted, check out the Geeks with Wives website.

Zappcon Year One is in the books and Fresno’s first comic and gaming convention was a huge success. The floor was full of enthusiastic geeks stoked to be experiencing the Central Valley’s first premiere comic convention. Lucky for you Geeks With Wives was there in force to bring you all the Zappcon goodness. Besides having our very own panel (which we will talk about in future posts) the highlight for us as with every convention we attend is always the Cosplay. Zappcon attendees did not disappoint as local Cosplayers came out in droves and littered the show floor. Geeks With Wives being the huge fans of Cosplay that we are was given the opportunity by Zappcon to host the cosplay photo area and below are all of Zappcon’s awesome Cosplayers displaying their art for the world to see.

Zappcon Cosplay Contest and Convention Gallery

 

Not only did Zappcon draw a huge gathering of Cosplayers to the show floor. They also has a Cospaly Contest so local artists could strut their stuff on stage and show off the months of hard work and passion they put in their inspired Cosplays. Geeks With Wives was again a huge presence at the Cosplay contest with our very own Will Elizondo(Cosplaying as Tony Stark) hosting the event and Casey Walsh judging along with professional cosplayers Holly Brook and CSprankleRun the contest was a rousing success and the room was packed with attendees, cosplayers, and contestants.

To see the 5 million (more or less) cosplayer photos that were taken, check out the original post.

 

Impressions from the Con #4: Autograph Stories

So. I had skipped cons for a couple of years. I was out of practice signing books, what with my last book being published digitally and all.

And now I was back, selling the Goof TPB, and I knew I had to re-remember how to sign copies. The experience brought back past traumas, ridiculous autographs, suggestive autographs, some funny autographs, and the con itself ended with my favorite autograph of all time.

Here’s the full story.

Goof TPB Cover

Goof TPB Cover

 

The First Year Trauma

My first year signing copies was horrible.

My first book had come out, and I wanted to make each time I signed the book to be perfect. It had to fit the person I was talking to, even is s/he was a stranger. It had to be witty, from the heart, and it had to be short.

No problem, right?

It literally took me 10 to 30 minutes to sign a book during those first months. I had to talk to the person, find something out about his/her personal life, and then spend a few more minutes staring into space, thinking of exactly the right thing to say.

Fortunately, there was no signing event during that first con, and no one had ever heard about me yet so I signed in dribs and drabs. By the second con, when there was actually a signing event, I had gotten my act together and could sign a book like a reasonable human being.

But that was just the beginning.

 

The Asimov Autograph

There was one autograph I was dying to try.

In his autobiography (the longer, earlier one) Isaac Asimov tells a story about how one time a young woman waiting in a line to have their books signed, along with her girl friend. Like everyone else in the line, he had never seen her before. He signed something along the lines of: “In memory of the wonderful night we spent together.”

The young women went away, giggling at the joke.

In that first year, I wanted to sign at least one book in that way. Except, of course, that there was always the fear that the woman would hit me over the head with the book and return it.

In one signing event, with my publisher present, I told him about the Asimov signature. I told him I was dying to sign at least one book that way. But he agreed that I just couldn’t do it.

Towards the end of the event, I saw him take aside one of the readers and whisper something to her. Turns out he told her the story and asked her if it was okay that I sign her book that way. She said it was. And I did.

Thirteen years have passed, and I’ve never signed another book that way again. But I still remember it and am proud I did it.

Mission accomplished!

 

The Autograph Trilogy

One of my most memorable autographs was for a fellow author.

For my first book, I signed it the regular way, while talking about something specific to her. For the second book, however, I added something new.

I signed her book, declaring this autograph was the first in a trilogy, and that “what I wanted to say to you was–TO BE CONTINUED IN THE NEXT BOOK!”

My next book had the second part of the autograph trilogy, with the main mystery (what I wanted to tell her) still unresolved. I may finish the autograph in my next book. But then again, I may decide to pull a George R.R.R.R. Martin on her and draw it out for a few more books.

Making her squirm and enjoy it? Mission accomplished!

When we weren't signing, we were sword-fighting.

When we weren’t signing, we were sword-fighting.

 

The Double Autograph

A few years later, I was walking out of an event with a fellow author when a fan caught us.

He had one two books in his hands: One of mine and one of the author’s who was with me. He wanted both signed.

We of course agreed, each stepping aside to sign his own book.

When we were finished, we compared notes. His autograph said that his autograph was so much better than mine. My autograph said that my autograph is so much much better than his.

The fan was ecstatically happy and so were we. Mission accomplished!

 

The Student’s Autograph

And now we get back to this latest con and to a signature I didn’t write.

As I was walking the booths to see what else was going on, someone called my name. I stopped, and a young man behind a booth identified himself.

I didn’t recognize his name. So he told me his internet nickname, and then I recognized him. A few years ago, he was 16 or 17 when I gave some writing exercises in an SF&F young writer’s forum for a few months, and then again a few years later for another few months. He was young but very talented and really wanted to learn.

Turns out that now he has his first book out. Of course I had to buy it, and I had him sign it for me.

It was a very touching autograph about the beginning of his path and my support of it. It was heartwarming.

 

The Spooky Autograph

Then came my most favorite autograph that I had written. After 3 days of signing Goof, this was not a Goof autograph.

In the last few minutes of the last day of the con, with the booth already packed and gone, I was walking out of the con when somebody called my name.

It was a fan I had met a couple of days ago, walking with his friend. He was now equipped with a book that was published 10 years ago, a YA SF adventure. He wanted me to sign it for his kids.

“Sure,” I said. “How old are they?”

“One and three,” he said.

His friend said, “They’re too young, aren’t they?”

The fan said, “No, it’s for when they grow up. You don’t think I’m going to let them grow up without reading your books, do you?”

That was touching by itself. But before I tell you what I signed, let me give you a little background on the book. It was called ‘Life: the Video Game’ and in it a 15-year-old Joel Strickland accidentally activates an alien video game intended for alien teens. That game takes over reality in a certain radius (the town) and reconstructs an entire SF settings in it, using real people as players. The game uses real life to teach you about real life, and it quite often blurs the lines between the game and life.

Which is why I usually signed it, “Hope you enjoy the game!” (as if the book was the game, which it was).

But for his kids, I signed it: “Enjoy the game! It’s been waiting for you since before you were born.”

And I was thinking how spooky and cool it would be for them to read a book that’s been laying around since before they were born (their father bought it years ago) and have inside it a game of self-exploration that tell them it’s been waiting for them all this time.

Of all the autographs I have given so far, I enjoyed this one the most.

It was the perfect end to the con, and I left with a smile on my face. Mission accomplished!

 

The Goof TPB

The Goof TPB

 

 

 

 

 

 

Impressions from the Con #3: Nerd Pride

So there we were, sitting in our booth, selling, among other things, the Goof TBP, and the whole wide roster of visitors paraded in front of our eyes for three days.

There are things you notice only when sitting down and looking at something long enough.

Cobra Commaner posing for the camera

Cobra Commander posing for the camera

First, it looks like a crowd of people. In the morning of the first day, it was all teenagers, most of them awkward. I sat there thinking how different this was from my first con, 13 years ago. Back then I didn’t know anyone else who liked SF & F. The cons were full of people, usually outsiders, that found SF & F during their childhood or teen years. You couldn’t help think how much more popular the cons are today. And how perhaps the facts that geeks are popular in TV and film makes outsiders explore SF & F as a place that might make them cool.

Towards evening, the grownups came. There were also costumes, all the time, from morning till evening. And every person with a costume who was approached by someone wanting to take a picture immediately posed for it. Okay, this is at least somewhat about getting attention. At least for the cosplayers I saw.

The next day the stream of people continued, but patterns hadn’t really begun to form in my eyes.

I spoke to a fellow author about my idea about why cons are more popular today. She said it’s just the opposite. “Look around,” she says. “Teenagers come the first day. But now there are tons of grownups. And they’re bringing their kids.”

“Look around,” she said again. “It’s not just outsiders you see. It’s also a lot of cool kids, or ‘regular’ kids.”

I looked around. She was right.

Nerd pride, baby!

Nerd pride, baby!

She explained, “It’s all because of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. They opened up fantasy and science fiction for everyone. Everyone. Regular kids are brining their friends here to enjoy themselves. Grownups like us are bringing their kids here and they’re bringing their friends, too. Everything’s changed.”

She was right. I think maybe we’re both right at the same time.

The third day came.

Sword fight over the Goof TPB

Sword fight over the Goof TPB

And as I was watching the hordes move past and past and past, it all came together: The bright colors, the feeling of celebration, the dancing, the sword-fights, the games – it was almost exactly like a gay pride parade! (Okay, no sword-fights in a gay pride parade.) And it occurred to me that the con today, the one I was in, and perhaps most of the others have turned into Nerd Pride, where nerds (I am one, I’m not using that word in a negative manner,) wear their nerdom proudly and celebrate it.

And so it was decreed: From this day on thou shalt no longer be called a Con, thou shalt be called Nerd Pride! 

 

Impressions from the Con #2: What Is a Comic Book Worth?

I’m used to going to cons as a guest or a speaker (in my previous and current career as an SF author), and sometimes just as a fan. This was my first con in which I had a booth, in which we sold, among other things, our first trade paperback, Goof TPB #1.

It was a chance to get to see how people make decisions about buying comic books. This next one surprised me.

What Is a Comic Book Worth?

People choose to buy comic books because they’re worth something to them. How do you think they measure that worth?

How much is this page worth to you?

How much is this page worth to you? (Wynter #2, page #4)

From my own limited point of view as creator, I assumed that the ‘worth’ of a comic book comes in the experience it gave you, the reader: Did it excite you? Make you sweat? Make you laugh? Make you want to read it ten times over? Did it blow your mind? Did it touch something deep inside you?

Those are the things I am searching for, but apparently different people are looking for different things. The decision to buy a comic book seems to be based on many standards, many of which I’ve never thought of.

Here’s the one that most amazed me.

A lot of people look at graphic novels, check the price, and then check the number of pages. They divide the price by the number of pages in order to see how much they’re paying per page. Is it 13 cents a page? 15 cents a page? 20 cents a page?

They then decide if they’re getting their money’s worth by how little they’re paying per page. If it’s 13 cents a page, for example, then the comic book is a good deal and they should buy it. If it’s more, then they’re getting screwed and they’ll buy a different graphic novel that is 13 cents a page.

The price-per-page never occured to me as the deciding factor of how much a comic book is worth. For me, the length of the experience of a comic book lasts determines how much it’s worth: Will I come back to it? Will I think about it later? Will it stay as part of my emotional experience? Will I talk about it to other people?

Live and learn.