Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Moment in the Life of a Comic Book Artist's Wife

Part 3: Conventions, Part 2

(Didn't know it would be this complicated, huh?)

Fans waiting to get into the San Diego Comicon

Okay, we discussed Klingons in our last lesson. That was VERY important for both your safety and your sanity! Now we are going to discuss "fanboys". Let's define "fanboy", shall we?

Mirriam-Webster Dictionary Online defines "fanboy" as follows:

Main Entry: fan·boy
Pronunciation: \ˈfan-ˌbȯi\
Function: noun
Date: 1919

: a boy who is an enthusiastic devotee (as of comics or movies)

So a Klingon is a particular type of fanboy... a particularly frustrating type of fanboy...

That being said, I think fanboys are some of the most wonderful (and intriguing) people on Earth. I once whispered the word "fanboy" to my husband during a convention and was told that even fanboys call themselves "fanboys" and that there was no reason to whisper the term. And here I thought it was derogatory! Who knew someone would want to be called "fanboy"? (I can't even tell you what some would call my enthusiasm for yarn or fabric...)

So, at conventions (let's call them "cons" for brevity's sake) there are lots of fanboys. I mean LOTS of fanboys! Before a con opens, it is not unusual for the line of fanboys waiting to get in to snake through the lobby of the convention center, out of the front doors, and around the block (This is where having a "guest" badge is most useful. There is a bit of satisfaction when one walks past such a line and waltzes right through the entrance. And, God I hate to admit this, it makes one feel sort of... important... Kinda like a body guard for Captain America. Kinda like Macy's, on the day after Thanksgiving, waiting to open the doors until YOU get there. Sorry fanboy friends, I can't help it!).

They wear costumes, t-shirts and shorts, those goth jeans with all the chains, baseball caps, earrings and nose rings, and suits. They carry back packs, boxes (sometimes stacked several high), art portfolios, messenger bags, and small children. Sometimes they look like this:

photo from http://www.heroesonline.com/heroescon/

And sometimes they look like this:

OH! No! Sorry! I'm HIS fanboy....girl...whatever!

I have even seen a dad fanboy who displaced his baby to fill a stroller with comic book ephemera. His wife did not look pleased to lug said infant through the rest of the convention. Later when I saw fanboy dad's exhausted wife still holding the now dead-weight sleeping infant, I knew that this would be her last con and that fanboy dad would certainly regret his earlier decision.

At cons there are booths and booths of vendors. Vendors of comic books, toys, gaming paraphernalia, t-shirts, and all things manga. As I walk around the convention floor, I stop occasionally at these vendors just to see what's new, what's cool, and to buy the kids a little something. Inevitably my toes get stomped on. Sometimes I get gently shoved, head first, into the Transformers G1 Reissue Powermaster Optimus Prime. These boys, I mean fanboys, are serious shoppers! They know what they want and will go to each and every vendor to comparison shop. Nothing stands in their way (including the throng of Klingons who take up the entire aisle. Yes, I still have issues). They can manage the convention floor like Angelina Jolie manages her leading men. They are going for the throat and propriety be damned! This is something I can completely understand as I am just as much a bully in thrift, yarn, and fabric stores (in that order exactly).

But something miraculous takes place when a fanboy approaches the table of the comic book professional. They are no longer a shark in the sequential art sea. It's almost as if they've swigged a Red Bull and popped a Xanax at the same time. On the surface they are calm, polite, and sweet. But just below the surface, you can see the churning intense excitement of meeting one of the creators of the stories that make them happy. They are nervous when they speak and they say things like, "Excuse me, Mr. Harris. Would you sign a few of my comic books?" (I always chuckle when someone at least as old as my husband calls him "Mr.Harris". My husband is really not a "Mr. Harris". Plus, it's hard to understand the fanaticism when you wash "Mr. Harris'" underwear. Yes, I went there.)

My husband is one of the lucky people that makes a lot of fanboys happy. He's the second guy from the left.


It is very important to Tony to make his fan base happy. He spends most of the time signing books sketching, and talking to fans at cons. After all, these are the people who make our lives possible... they pay our bills and feed our kids. Sometimes I wonder, however, just how far Tony will go to keep even the smallest of fans content!

Photo Source: Side Eyes photostream http://www.flickr.com/photos/10749272@N06/2770425245

So that, my dear Pupils, is the second part of your schooling in the comic book convention survival guide. I am sure you all will put it to good use. Remember: when in doubt, go back to the hotel and ask for the sommelier!


ethelmaepotter! said...

I had never even heard the term, fanboy, and I never would have guessed that's what it was, or that it wasn't derogatory. Live and learn.
By the way, does your Tony write AND draw the comic books, and does he do anything we might know? And did he ever do caricatures at Opryland, USA? I knew a couple of Tonies at Opryland who aspired to do comic books.

Sarena Shasteen said...

Seriously woman...you hit the nail on the head! It is some strange alter world! I think we are all "fanboys/girls" of something! It is what makes us all interesting in our own way!

Stacie said...

No Tony never worked at Opryland. I wish he had, I've always wanted to go there. Plus, he was unemployed when I first met him (insert my father rolling his eyes here). He has more than made up for those first several months of getting work in the comic book world tho (and my father is quite proud). I hope the Tonies you knew made it into the business. It can be a very difficult career to break into.

Sarena- Your Tony never worked at Opryland, did he?

phd in yogurtry said...

I was going to say, if all the fanboys looked like Clive Owen, the fangirl line would be lots longer!

otin said...

I love comics! I used to collect them!

I saw some Alice in chains lyrics below! I know that The Rooster is Jerry Cantrell's Dad!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Next time you hit the San Diego Comic-Con you will have to let me know so we can get together.

My former next-door neighbor was a comic book artist, but he would never let me see what comic books he drew--I'm assuming he thought it might offend my sensibilities. He was a nice kid though and bought his own house at 20.

Stacie said...

Otin!!! I know the long boxes!!! Help!!!! I love Alice in Chains.

Jenn-You wouldn't remember his name, would you??

Louise said...

I think "fanboy" must have other connotations!

And you're hilarious.

Stacie said...

Louise- who me? Hilarious?

Jenn- If I should ever do San Diego again, I will need sane company to get me thru. I will be getting in touch with you!!

Blondie said...

Interesting post! Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting on my Veteran's Day post sweetie! I hope you stop by again...Kori xoxo