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Wow! What a great trip this turned out to be.
A couple of months ago, Steve Younis sent out a general request to the writing staff at the Superman Homepage to see if any of us lived near Orlando, Florida or were planning to attend the convention. I live in Northern California, quite a jaunt from the Sunshine state. But I knew I could make the time, so I volunteered. The primary purpose was for me to accept an award on behalf of the Superman Homepage in the category of "Best Fansite" from Project Fanboy's annual ceremony.
I stayed with my friend Billy Hogan, who I was lucky enough to meet in person for the first time. He and his wife picked me up at the airport, offered me a place to stay and Billy went with me each day to enjoy the con. He even agreed to take photos so visitors to the Superman Homepage could get a sense of the fun we had.
Friday was a short day for us. In my experience, the first days of these conventions are always sparse compared to Saturdays. The DC Panel was great fun. Dan Didio, who was just promoted from senior editor to co-publisher of the company, was in attendance, although he was not originally planning to be there. I sat in the first row directly in front of him and took my notes while recording the panel with a small cassette player.
During that hour, Dan Didio and I kept making mini comments back and forth at each other in a fun way. It was great to interact with those people. They have a lot of fun talking with fans and joking back and forth. Plus Dan kept accidentally releasing information that hasn't been solicited yet.
Saturday was the biggest day with the most people and the DC Nation Panel was outstanding. The theme of that panel was that DC can't please all the people all the time. As a comic book fan, I understand. Many readers have been following comics for years and years and have an expectation that the company can capture the same magic those readers felt when they were growing up in that universe. The industry has changed over the years and the stories have had to change with it. At least that's my unbiased interpretation.
Interacting with the cosplayers (costumed players) on Saturday was great fun. Megacon had a huge number of professional and semi-professional actors and costumers wearing original pieces they created themselves. They are very nice and I've even friended several of them on Facebook. I can't wait to see pictures from the next convention they attend.
On Sunday there was a "conversation with Dan Didio" panel. I had never attended one before because when I go to Wondercon in San Francisco, I usually leave on Saturday. Didio said that he could tell when a reader first started picking up comics based on which version of the Legion of Superheroes, The Flash or Green Lantern they preferred. This was completely interactive and he asked the crowd a lot of questions, treating it like a focus group. I was stunned that just about every person in the room had different answers for his questions. I thought, "No wonder people give a hard time to whoever's in the editor's chair."
Dan's final question for the group was, "If you were editor of DC Comics for one day, what would you do differently." Not all of the answers were necessarily valid, for instance one person said he would cut the price of comic books in half. Didio reminded the audience that DC was in the business to put out a successful product in order to make money, so those kinds of decisions would simply sink the company.
I was called upon for my answer, and I said, "Anybody who is consistently missing deadlines, I would fire."
So Dan came back to me and said, "What if Jim Lee came to me and said he wanted to do Justice League?" I said, "I would tell him to do it and I would solicit the material as soon as he was done." We went back and forth in this fashion for a few minutes, but in the end he said it's a tough position to be in, but that I was partly right.
I responded, "it's ok. I know I'm right," with a smile. As I do.
After that, I went to the Project Fanboy Awards. I received the award for the Superman Homepage and joked to the crowd that I might hold the award itself hostage from Steve Younis. It was quite an honor and I'm so glad I was able to attend. It means a lot that so many people like the work that Steve and the rest of us do on behalf of a character we love.
Finally, I stopped off to meet Billy Tucci, which was certainly a highlight of the weekend. Tucci was an incredibly nice guy who wanted to hear about the work I'm doing at the Superman Homepage and beyond. He told me about his new book, Sgt. Rock: The Lost Battalion and he sold me on the concept alone. I bought a copy of the hardcover, which he signed and sketched on the inside page. He said he plays comic book podcasts while he does his artwork, and he will take a listen to mine about Superman.
I got to meet Marv Wolfman, George Perez and Jimmy Palmiotti for the first times, and several others I had met before. The flight home was less pleasant than the flight out, but I ran into Justice Gray on the way in and Kristanna Loken was on the same flight as me. My trip connected through Washington/Dulles airport for several hours, so I had a chance to meet up with my mother for lunch. She lives about 20 miles from there.
Megacon 2010 was one of the best conventions I've ever been to. I'm so glad I went and hope I get a chance to go again. Until then I still have Wondercon coming up in a couple of weeks. Until then, stay tuned to the Superman Homepage.
Enjoy the pictures.
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