Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Comic-Con

Sorry all, I'm still recovering from the overwhelming event Comic-Con has evolved into. Even Sunday was packed with wall to wall people, which is new. One hundred thousand individuals attended - and I think every one of 'em elbowed or jostled me. But I'm catching up on my sleep and the headache is starting to subside, so I'll do my best to try to fill you in.

The Show was amazing. Completely different than the other three times because this trip was purpose-driven. I was meeting Mom's Cancer bloggers in person, trying to get the word out there about the book, networking with the screenwriters, hanging with the dealers, all while scheduling in time with a half dozen friends throughout each day. It was an embarrassment of riches, but certainly a different feel than the old days when I could browse with impunity, and wander from panel to panel recording tidbits for Aint it Cool News.

The hotel I stayed in was more akin to a military dorm, complete with shared bathrooms and slamming doors all night long. And of course the elevator was broken just in time for the biggest convention in the world. But I was sooooo lucky to have the room at all...when Nurse Sis realized Mom wouldn't be able to make it to San Diego, I had to cancel our expensive suite and throw myself on my friends' mercy. Thank you Charles Yoakum for making sure I didn't have to drive in from another town every day!

But you all want to know about FRIDAY NIGHT: This was my first year actually attending the Eisner Awards. I had to jet back to the hotel to grab my Sony 150 camera so Mom could see it. Glad I had an industry camera, or else I wouldn't have had a prayer of catching anything from the audience zoomed in with just the camera mic. The shuttle buses took forever both ways, so I ended up arriving late instead of a half hour EARLY. I was freaking out and sweaty and all bad things...until I ran into Room 20 and saw that there were plenty of seats. Unlike the Masquerade ball, there isn't much of an audience for the Eisners. There are something like twenty round tables in front of the stage where the nominees and their guests drink and eat and lord it over the plebians behind them in the folding chairs.

Brian and his family was at a large table in the back row, which was great for me because I could see him and zoom in with the camera to capture his reactions for Mom. I'm not very good at guestimating numbers, but if you know room twenty, the audience was maybe a fourth full at the beginning. Charles and Mark found me immediately and had been saving my seat. They calmed me down, and it turns out the ceremony had started late anyway.

The stage was a podium and a table filled with the coveted Eisners, newly redesigned this year with a spinning globe for winners to fidget with. They left the big screens up from earlier in the day and had a camera shooting closeups of the stage so that the audience members had something to see. It went down like the Academy Awards - guest presenters every two or three categories, five nominees to a category. The Eisners were relentlessly remorse because of the death of Will Eisner. Which was appropriate, and I understand because when I heard of Brian's nomination, my second thought was that I couldn't believe he wouldn't get to shake Will's hand. Even so, at last the Oscars has levity and musical acts during their grueling marathon.

The Digital Award was somewhere around sixth on the list, but they had to get through many speeches and tribute awards before it. I think they ended up doing Brian's award somewhere around the one hour mark of what ended up being a three hour ceremony. Which, by the way, is absolutely ridiculous and rude. Those poor professionals are there until midnight after working booths all day long, with two more days to go. It's just mean to use that time to educate people about the comic industry and the importance of the comic legal defense fund or whatever else they were preaching to the choir. They need to shorten the ceremony. Can't stress it enough.

Scott McCloud was the presenter for Brian's category, which completely freaked me out. I was spazzing. Shouldn't that mean Brian won? Scott was an early supporter of Mom's Cancer, and was a name considered for the book's forward...it seemed so significant that he was the presenter. Charles had to remind me that Mr. McCloud didn't actually HAVE all the votes. And on hindsight, he is the pioneering academic in the field and it is a new media category, so there was probably no connection to Brian whatsoever.

So we were all hand wringing and I was trying to keep the camera steady while it was zoomed in at maximum (right...try NOT breathing), and the actual name announcing was just like the Oscar winners always say. Slow, surreal, and I had to triple check to make sure my ears weren't playing tricks on me. Now that I've replayed the tape for Mom and Nurse Sis I know that we screamed and jumped up and then sat back down again and swore a little.

I'm going to paraphrase because I'm too lazy to do a transcript. Brian walked up calm as a cucumber, though his voice was a little quiet. He had a great prepared speech where he started off with a joke (the fact that none of you have heard of me is not for my lack of trying), plugged the book's release date, mentioned his editor, Mom, Nurse Sis, and that I was in the audience. He said he wished Will was there, and that was that. It was professional and appropriate and I hope he's back there next year with a nom for the book, along with Charles for whichever category he most desires a nom in.

The event was so somber that we were trying not to freak out. I was in between Mark and Charles and we were all acting like nothing happened, until my friend Sarah found us, ran over and hugged me. Then we all kind of freaked out for a moment. It was such a relief Mom's Cancer won. I can't even tell you. Brian needed it, but Mom really needed it, too. She's been in the hospital over three weeks now, and we're looking at the possibility she may be living in assisted living facilities instead of with us. Her spirits are understandably low, and we're all really upset and stressed...it was lovely to finally have some good news to tell her.

Afterwards my friends gathered and we all gushed, and Brian came over to us and let us all hold the award. Very cool. I met a reader who found us through the San Diego Reader's serial run of Mom's Cancer. I didn't meet anyone else...I meant to see if Joss Whedon or Scott McCloud were around, or at least introduce myself to Jackie Estrada. But by midnight, the synpases just weren't firing.

A small group of us went to Dick's for dinner, and things were fairly subdued after the long day and we went home to bed. Sarah was sharing my room by then, and I think we were up until three and then awake elevenish, which is my natural sleeping pattern. Sharing the room with her was much better than being alone in the creepy/haunted 500 West the night before. We blew up my double Aerobed for her and sort of half stuck it under my bed (the rooms were TINY!) and it felt like a slumber party.

Okay, I could go on and on. I'll try to post more favorite moments soon, but for now you all have what you've been clamouring for. Probably more than most of you would have wished for. But eff it, this is a Mom's Cancer blog.

15 comments:

Kid Sis said...

Anyone out there?

Patrick said...

I'm out here. Can't really think of anything to say that I haven't already. I'm just glad mom has something good to latch onto for awhile. Please keep us updated as far as the assisted living facilities are concerned. I think that all of us here wish mom the best in her fight to remain independant. I'll be dropping her a line on her blog in a moment. In the meantime, I hope you make a full recovery from the convention related aches and pains you've come down with. Bye for now.

Kid Sis said...

Thanks Patrick! Leave it to you to say the right things. So reliable.

Moses said...

awesome. not sure what else to say. sometimes things are just -- awesome! -- . words don't always do justice, just gotta sit back and feel it... congrats and best wishes to your family.

American Knight said...

It seems like such a great and wonderful experience. I wanted to go to the Eisners (I had a press pass) but none in my group seemed up for the challenge after the long day before. Anyhow, congrats again.

Anonymous said...

You should read Tom Spurgeon's notes from the Awards Program here:

http://www.comicsreporter.com/index
.php/briefings/commentary/2351/

It's funny because it's true.

BTW, I wrote him back and explained that I knew it was wrong to spoil my own book, but would have been even worse if I hadn't mentioned Mom.
--Brian

Anonymous said...

OK, my FIRST ever post into your blog -- or any blog, for that matter.

THANK YOU so much for letting me be a part of the day for you and with you. It meant a lot to me that you understood my need to go through vain/ maybe not-so-vain attempts at schmoozing and networking, yet also totally empathized with my need to hang out with somebody that day and flat-out gush over all the cool stuff to be seen! I can't believe how lucky I am that we re-connected after so many years. You are a great friend!

And THANK YOU to your bro for putting so much care and craftsmanship into momscancer.com.

Will it be a cure for cancer? Sadly, no -- but maybe it can be, at least in a figurative sense, for a couple of the symptoms felt by those affected, whether as patient or loved one.

BRAVO, to Brian, and especially your MOM, and to you and Nurse Sis.

Remember, if you or the family need legal counsel -- well, ya know. ;)

MIM

Christina said...

Well my dear, that is one wonderful post. I felt like I was there with you. Again, congrats to Brian and happiness to you and your whole family.

It was nice to come home from a long day and catch up on the festivities of the weekend.
Love,
Christina

Shawna said...

I can't add much except to say Congratulations to your whole family. I always love seeing good things happen to good people. :-)

Prayers are with you all as always.

MoDigli said...

Hey ~ great to hear the blow the blow on the weekend. Sounds like a real whirlwind of excitement and fun and fantastic recognition!

Again -
C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S ! ! !

Meg said...

Please send your mom our love and support - there are more of we occasional contributors out there rooting for her than she knows...it's just that we (okay, maybe just me) are always worried that we don't have much to share! It sounds like you are doing everything you can to help her keep her dignity intact and her spirits high. Take care of yourself, too! I hope you're resting up after a crazy weekend. :)

Kid Sis said...

Wow, are you kidding Meg? We live for what you have to share! Especially Mom. No worse feeling than typing into the darkness...gotta get the signal bounced back sometimes. Really, THANK YOU ALL FOR POSTING!!!!!!!

Mo and Christina, glad you actually liked the blow by blow. I was worrying I was a blowhard.

Bri, :) GREAT link. What a way to remember the evening. Better than my camera.

Shawna, that's lovely. Thank you.

AK, it was a long night for those not personally involved. You probably had a better time elsewhere.

And MIM, welcome to a brave new world. Happy to have you there and here.

I'm still goofy from the weekend. Headachey and not at my intellectual best. It happens when I exert like that.

Raymond W. said...

Hello,

It was good to meet you the night of the Eisner Awards. Charles, Sarah, and Otis were also a pleasure to meet. I didn't get to the eisner directory in time, but I was planning to pick up the book anyhow. As always, best of luck with Mom. Some assisted living places are very good - my grandparents found a nice one. Others have well meaning staff who just need some reminders here and there. Others are poorly run. I'm sure your older sister has all the info needed to make a decision as to where. On a positive note, congrats again to Brian, and I'm sure glad I stuck around for the whole show. --Raymond (the San Diego Reader guy).

Kid Sis said...

Raymond, hey! Just saw your post now! It was great to meet you. Please visit the blog again! And thanks for the assisted living advice. It's appreciated.

Charlie said...

That is such fantastic news!! I am so happy for all of you, proud of Brian, and delighted that it has bucked up your Mom's spirits so much. That is just the best. I've always believed in you guys, and now I'm glad someone else is finally as smart as I am! :)

TTFN, and love,

CNWW