Detroit FanFare moved to Cobo Hall for its second year. Cobo is a
huge facility. The drive from my Medina Ohio home to the downtown
Detroit venue took less than four hours and I think the last half-
hour of that was spent getting from the entrance to the show floor
to my Artists Alley table. Thank God I had my GPS unit or I might
never have found my table. I jest.
That the actual convention space was truly large is true. That it
was maybe too large for this year’s event is an arguable position.
However, FanFare made it easy to get set up - with free Union help
if you needed it - and the wide aisles made getting around the show
even easier. Always the fear-mongers, the political right tries to
cast unions as greedy parasites, but these folks were friendly and
professional and competent. I’ll take them over the fat cats and
lying politicians any day of the week. But I digress.
The Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center was the convention
hotel and I could probably make my GPS joke about it as well. But
it was an excellent hotel with many amenities and fine restaurants
under its multiple roofs. That first night, Bob Ingersoll and me
ate at Andiamos, a terrific Italian restaurant. Andiamos was also
the setting for the Shel Dorf Awards banquet on Saturday night and
the party that followed the awards. But I’m getting ahead of the
Saturday was FanFare’s first day of the show. There were so many
old friends to see and new friends to meet that it may take me a
couple of blogs to hit just the high points. Not to mention your
faithful blogger’s weird Sunday morning adventures in the Marriott
lobby. Follow the bouncing blogger and I’ll try to share my show
experiences with you.
I was at Table 128 with Michael L. Peters on one side and a sadly
absent Eddy Newell on the other. Peters does amazing mythological
and fantasy drawings and paintings and has done some spiffy stories
for Heavy Metal. You should check out his website.
At my table, I was selling copies of The Grim Ghost and 1000 Comic
Books You Must Read...and also hardcovers, trade paperbacks, and
suitable-for-kids comics from my Vast Accumulation of Stuff. The
bargain prices on the VAOS items attracted enough buyers for me to
cover my expenses and make a decent profit. I also signed a bunch
of comic books I’d written.
The most frequently asked questions:
What’s it like working for Atlas?
Will there be a sequel to 1000 Comic Books You Must Read?
The answer to the first question is: I love working for Atlas and
its triumvirate of publishers. Jason Goodman, Brendan Deneen, and
Richard Emms are good guys who allow me to write my stories my way
and treat me well. There are so many comic books written by good
writers whose editors treat them like typists that I’m fortunate to
have found a situation so much more conducive to great comic books.
I don’t think I could have returned to comic-book writing without
that kind of attitude and support.
With Jason Goodman, I find myself working for a third generation of
the Goodman family. I’m pretty sure Martin was still at Marvel at
the time I started, but I definitely worked for him and Chip when
I did a few jobs for the Atlas Comics of the 1970s. Thus Jason is
my third generation of Goodman employers. I feel like a faithful
family retainer, the Alfred of the Goodman family.
The answer to the second question isn’t as cheery. It’ll likely be
years before I write any sequel to 1000 Comic Books You Must Read.
Despite the success of the book - and that in spite of inadequate
effort from the F&W Media sales department - the publisher rejected
the sequel. I was asked to come up with other book ideas, but I’m
no longer interested in writing books for this publisher.
My reasons start with my having no confidence in a sales department
that didn’t do a good job with the first book and hasn’t promoted
the second printing at all, not even to resolicit it with Diamond.
Because, really, how many copies could we sell to the distributor
who services EVERY DAMN COMIC SHOP IN AMERICA?
Then there’s the company’s complete failure to keep me in the loop
on my book. I learned about the second printing when I ordered
pretty much the last copies of the first printing for my own use.
I only learned about my book being made available digitally when I
saw a press release about it.
Finally, there are the seeming inconsistencies that showed up on my
latest royalty statement. Maybe I’m misreading the statement, but,
at the very least, the inconsistencies bear further investigation.
Though a sequel would be an enormous undertaking, I have several
other books on comics that won’t demand a year of my life and that
I want to do first. I’ll be working on them in between comics
writing gigs. But, barring changes at F&W, I’ll be looking for new
publishers for these books.
Hmm...that wasn’t where I intended today’s blog to go. Let’s meet
again tomorrow and return to the big fun of 2011's Detroit FanFare.
© 2011 Tony Isabella