Okay, I think of myself as pretty tough. A lot of people have said mean things to me in my career, weirdly personal insults and dismissals, and mostly I laugh it off.
But some of the things people come up and say at cons, moving, kind things, often have been making me collapse like a melting marshmallow.
It’s a little embarrassing to get tearful at a convention but it does happen quite a lot when people tell me their stories lately.
Anyway, here are some of the funnest/most moving things that happened, just randomly.
First, Emerald City Comicon had more kids into comics than any recent con I have been to. Just a ton, and they were incredibly racially diverse, I kept meeting these wonderful, adorable, imaginative kids, every race, just in love with comics.
I can”t even begin to explain what that means to me. And these kids were there for COMICS, baby, don’t you forget it. They were cosplaying, they were back issue hunting, they were getting sketches…it was GLORIOUS.
There was a period where comics had abandoned kids almost entirely, at least superhero books. Those lines still struggle, but between the comics and the animated shows, something is WORKING because kids EVERYWHERE.
And you don’t know what joy is until some shy kid hands you a comic and says you are their favorite writer and would you sign this please?
It was wonderful. Two young boys came up, super adorable, sweet young kids, and the older brought me Batgirl and said, “I love how you write Batgirl. You make her so FIERCE!”
I almost melted. They had some comics from my box of books I was selling, and I asked them what the highlight of the con was for them, and the younger one said, holding up a book from my box, “Getting this signed by you.”
HEARTBREAKERS, I AM TELLING YOU.
And there was a lot of that!
One of my favorite things at this con, it just floored me, was so many dads bringing their daughters to the con, and in many cases, BOTH of them were comics readers. Seeing these wonderful fathers share their daughters’ interest, or even in the cases where they didn’t read comics but were just being good dads and supporting their daughters love of comics…I have to tell you, I almost cried several times.
One very small African American girl, who was a huge fan, was brought by her father, who was clearly overwhelmed by the con, and she shyly asked me to sign some Batgirl and Wonder Woman comics, and when I did, she just spontaneously turned to give her father a huge hug for bringing her to her first convention and started crying and that was it for me, full on tears.
My hubby showed her a sneak peek of a character who had her exact hairstyle, and she just lit up.
That kind of thing happened over and over. I talk about moms a lot, bless them. But I wanted to give some credit to these guys—these good dads. These fathers, step-fathers, foster dads, and the guys who stand in when dads are missing. THANK YOU ALWAYS.
Really, a lot of us didn’t have the great dads. A lot of us didn’t have a dad who would take us to a con, or even have a dad at all. So seriously, those of you who work every day to be great fathers, I have nothing but love and respect for you and you make the world a better place.
Keep bringing your kids to cons, I say, because it makes me JOY.
I may have mentioned this here, but I also met two gorgeous and adorably enthusiastic sisters, half-Japanese and half-Norwegian, who were huge fans who came with their dad. My hubby gave them a sneak peek of the cast of the MOVEMENT and one asked, “Is that character Asian?”
It clearly meant something to her to have Asian female characters.
I was happy to answer yes, but again, goddammit, it just shows how important representation is, and how we should all be talking about that, and demanding it in comics. People give the social justice warriors on Tumblr a lot of shit, but if we can’t point to characters of worth and charisma that represent something OTHER than just white, straight, cis, able characters, that is inexcusable.
To those sisters, thank you again, it was absolutely lovely meeting you twice, and your dad is awesome!
People brought tons of gifts, the other creators find this baffling and amusing but I always leave a big con with a pile of little things people have brought or made or purchased for me.
I always feel guilty, I swear, this is NOT NECESSARY at all, I am always happy to see readers, it’s already like a present, believe me.
But people brought art, treats, comics, books, sketches, magic cards (for my son), and more. Three DIFFERENT people brought me sketches that had Smaug with his beloved cup (which is an inside joke if you follow my twitter).
One sweet thing…a lovely gay couple found out about me being taken off Batgirl the same night they had their first glassblowing class, and they felt bad, so they made this absolutely gorgeous glass bowl for me, all a swirl of purple and orange, it’s really stunning. They made it for me to give to me at this con and kept it all that time and brought it to my table. I don’t know, it was very touching.
Oh, I had no idea there were so many female Red Sonja fans, especially women of color. I probably sound completely naive here, but I simply had no idea. ALL WEEKEND women were coming up who were so happy to hear I was taking on that book. It just goes to prove, expectations are meant to be shattered. I didn’t know. I honestly thought we were going to have to completely convince a female audience of how much fun she could be. Turns out there are LOTS of women waiting to read her stuff, or already reading her stuff.
This makes me VERY HAPPY.
Another thought that hit me over and over at this con…first, attendance had to be pretty close to half and half female. A respected writer said, wow, there’s not much diversity here, and I was like, are you kidding? Come to my table for a while!
I had dinner with my dear friend Mark Waid and his lady friend Christy Blanche. And I had breakfast with the wonderful Phil Lamarr, and the fabulous Ethan Van Sciver. Every con, you try to arrange to visit long-distant friends and at the end of the day, you are always too exhausted to do so, so it’s very nice to actually make it happen.
One of the funnest things about taking the Red Sonja gig is, I came up with this idea to have female artists do all the covers and variants, and holy crap, we started showing the covers by Nicola Scott, Colleen Doran, and Fiona Staples, and that’s just the START. We are asking the very best in the business and they are all jumping aboard, it’s amazing. I am so happy.
We gave away little mini-prints of the two Nicola Scott covers, printed on high quality paper, for free. That was a very cool, very classy thing for Dynamite Comics to do! I should have a bunch extra to give away at Megacon, as well.
Sorry this is so random…I came back to my room totally buzzed and just woke up. There’s a very emotional story I still have to tell from the con but it will take a bit of time so I will write that up soon.
THANK YOU to everyone who came to these two cons and said hello. Your support means the world to me and makes me want to fight even harder!