February 12th, 2011


My First Convention Party - SDCC 1987

1987 was my first San Diego Comic-Con and when it wrapped up on Sunday I ended up with an invitation to the "kinda official meltdown" after-party, either through Bob Schreck or Diana Schutz, or both of them). I was happy to be invited, but being the geek I was (and am), my first reaction to the invitation was, "Holy crap, Gilbert Hernandez drew this! This is a keeper!".

As you can see it was sponsored by DC Comics, Comico Comics and Graphitti Designs, can you imagine three disparate companies like that co-hosting a con party these days? Well, I can't, and if you can, you're a drunken hippie, go away. Anyway, back then there were a hell of a lot less comics professionals milling about the (old) San Diego Convention Center, so you didn't have to do much of anything to rub elbows with a lot of creators in a more laid-back atmosphere. Everyone seemed easier to talk to, schmucks like me could end up speaking with DC and Marvel "stars", small-press folks at SLG, Dark Horse, Comico et al, Los Bros, Bob Burden -- it was a different vibe, more like SPX or what have you than today's mega-events. People had hotel room parties and folks drifted all over the Holiday Inn from one room to the other, in 1988 Jim Hanley threw a room party and we had professionals like Chris Warner walking in and five minutes later a drunk guy in a Robin costume with a cigarette dangling from his mumbly lips waltzed in. Later that night Chris Warner squared off against a group of punk kids and it almost led to a brawl. He was armed with a chair to even things up. It was pretty wild.

Back to 1987 -- the party was held in a Holiday Inn hotel suite and was an informal, laid-back and enjoyable affair, just like the convention that had wrapped up earlier that day. Anybody had a good chance to meet anyone back then, and at the party I met a number of creators  whose work I was ringing up and reading back home at Jim Hanley's Universe. Added bonus: I got to hear the infamous letter that Bob Burden would read at gatherings, an amazing rant/ramble from a scorned reader. A very memorable evening. The entire convention was a heady experience, I laughed, I cried, I drank, I was mortified. My first peek into how things really were in comics, first time meeting some folks I have since become friendly with and/or worked with. I never even tried to "network", I still don't, but you couldn't help meeting people and talking to them at that show, unless you stayed in your room alone the entire time.

Now that I think about it, 1988 was just as weird/crazy/cool -- more so, actually -- I passed out Hollywood drunk-style in front of David Lloyd, signed up with SLG at a party where Dan Vado and I were flat on our backs intoxicated on the carpet, got in trouble for spitting beer on people from Bob Burden's hotel room window during the Dark Horse party, got hired to assist Bob on Flaming Carrot #20, hooked up with a girl I met at a party where people were wearing paper Spirit masks (we weren't), then got C-blocked when my roommate/boss tossed us out of the room later that evening. The next day the young lady showed up at my table wearing a Rogue costume. Color me uptight, I just couldn't take the lady out for lunch in her superhero costume, which she refused to change out of. My first and only inadvertent experience with a cosplayer, some time before the term existed.


Anyway, I found the '87 invitation while looking for something of Emily's and ended up uncovering a pile of flyers, program books and whatnot. So I have more comic book career ephemera to scan and post here and/or on my Flickr set when I get around to it. This one was just too goofy to let sit, and it brings back a lot of memories.

Wasted too much time, gotta get back to being an old fart cartoonist behind on his deadlines.