That Awkward Phase

Mike MignolaOne day of WonderCon down, and the magic hasn’t really taken hold of my soul yet. I’m hoping that that’s just because it’s a weekday, and most people didn’t have the luxury of working in the morning (I actually got stuff done this morning; I couldn’t be more proud) and then finishing up later that night.

I’m still hoping for big, balls-out displays of nerdosity; that’s a big part of why I bought a three-day pass, after all. I’m hoping that they just have to build to that, because today all I saw was a dull sense of desperation and melancholy. It was like the computer game developer’s conference, but with more women. A middle-aged guy wearing a Captain America T-shirt a couple sizes too small here, Blue Sun and Browncoats T-shirts scattered about, a whisper thin guy dressed up as a vampire there. I want to see full-on I-don’t-give-a-damn-because-I’m-with-my-people men and women in costumes, dammit.

As it was, I got to just be a nerdy fanboy today, instead of looking at them and making fun, pretending that I’m not one. I was hoping to continue my tradition of stalking Steve Purcell, but he didn’t show up. It’s just as well; the last time I saw him was when he pulled up along side me in Emeryville and he honked and waved. That just ruins it. Some people are just too friendly and unassuming to be stalker victims, no matter how much you like their work.

But I think I made up for it around Mike Mignola, though. There was a long line of people at the Dark Horse booth waiting for signatures when I went upstairs to catch the lecture from Telltale Games. When I came back down, the crowd was gone, so I walked up and pulled out my big hardback copy of Art of Hellboy, only to be stopped by a Dark Horse representative telling me that the signing was closed, and they’d had to turn away people 20 minutes ago. And my puppy had died.

So I awkardly and dejectedly put my book back in my backpack and shuffled across to the Metreon to drown my disappointment in soba. Afterward I caught the end of a session about Mirrormask (which I still haven’t seen but is coming out on DVD next week), and then the Q&A with Mignola. He kept pretty much the entire time open for questions, and there were actually some good questions asked — I didn’t see any awkward and uncomfortable gushing fanboy comments (they wouldn’t give me the microphone, dammit) or just dumb questions.

Actually, I did ask what’s the status of “The Amazing Screw-on Head,” and he said they’re finishing up the pilot and it should air on SciFi this year; he hasn’t seen it. He also said that he didn’t plan to do any more Screw-on Head comics, because everything he wanted to do with the characters and setting, he managed to get in that one book.

Other stuff: Hellboy 2 is in preliminary talks and could be Guillermo del Toro’s next movie; it depends on his schedule. A couple of Hellboy animated movies are in the works to probably air on Cartoon Network; if popular, they could turn into a series. (Mignola later said that they’re in the storyboard phase and he’s acting as a consultant and plotter but isn’t directly involved other than that). In the comic books, Duncan Fegredo is taking over art for the next three Hellboy mini-series; Mignola said that he sees Fegredo’s three series as Act II in the Hellboy story, and when he takes the book back over after that, it’ll be the final act. He finally knows where he wants to take the character and the story. He also said he appreciates the time he has where he doesn’t have to draw Hellboy or BPRD, because he can work on side projects like Screw-on Head.

After all that, he went back down to the show floor and signed more books, and I finally got to get an autograph and a sketch of Hellboy. He was selling sketchbooks celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Hellboy, and I bought one of those, too. I’d brought my copy of Screw-on Head, but said it was so dark there was no good place to sign it, but he did anyway. When I told him that I thought that was my favorite single comic book ever, he replied that it was probably one of his as well; he was really happy with how it turned out. And he didn’t want to push his luck and make another story that wasn’t as good.

Later I saw Scott Shaw! (he uses the exclamation point) at a booth and I stopped by to say that I was a huge fan of Captain Carrot & His Amazing Zoo Crew “when I was a little kid.” I guess that was kind of rude, in retrospect. Ah well, I’m still going through my awkward phase. And he reminded me that they appeared in a fairly the most recent issue of Teen Titans, so I came out learning something. Learning is growing.

Really, though: I still don’t get the whole idea of being laid back and chatting with comics creators at these things. You’re in an artificial situation to start with, there are a ton of people who also want to get in to get an autograph or picture or whatever, and besides, what is there really left to say after, “That was so awesome.” I thought part of the appeal of comic books was that once marked as a fan, you didn’t have to make conversation with people or be socially adept.