I think I remember at some point, telling myself that one of my goals in life was to be able to attend comic book or pop culture conventions as more than just a fan, as someone who has at least the slightest shred of authority and/or community in the comics world. I figured that, eventually,
It turns out, in some small way, that I'm already going to be doing the expert thing.
For those of you who don't already know, Houston will be playing host to Comicpalooza, which is in its fifth year (I believe), and has grown significantly with each passing year. I've been to all but one of them, including the first year, which was way out on the northwest side of town in a small strip mall. Now it's at the George R. Brown Convention Center, its third year in this venue, and attendance is expected to be in the many thousands.
I will be attending all weekend this year, and can't wait to see all the celebrities and cosplayers, the writers and illustrators, both famous and struggling. I've met and worked with a few of them already, and will hopefully lay the foundations for working with others in the future. But unlike previous years, I won't just be attending as a fan and an annoying chatty guy looking to rub elbows with the people who make the comics industry work.
I'll be attending as a presenter.
This Friday, on the first day of the convention--heck, during the first couple hours of the convention--I and three other comic book-inclined librarians from the Houston Public Library system will be giving a presentation entitled, "Barbara Gordon and You: The Library's Role in the Comic Book Industry." It's an hour-long panel about how libraries can benefit the comic book industry in various ways, and vice versa. Essentially, we'll be discussing how libraries benefit the various communities associated with the industry: the publishers, the reading public, creators, schools and academic institutions.
My section--which should last all of 10 minutes, if I'm lucky--will talk about how libraries have, do, and will continue to benefit creators. It's something I have a little experience with, as I've moderated panels at both the library and at Teen Book Con that have been about graphic novelists, their contributions to the field, and how they got their start in comics. I've therefore gotten to work with some pretty remarkable individuals, and aside from my librarian work with customers, have a little perspective on what they would consider helpful and positive about libraries.
Does this mean I will stop pursuing my dream of writing comics? Hardly! One of the big reasons I want to go to Comicpalooza this weekend is to network with artists and see if I can find a collaborator or three for my comic. I've had good and bad experiences working with artists, but there's no reason not to try again, and this is the perfect environment to get a partner and see what we can do.
But in the meantime, I at least get to say that I'm attending in at least a semi-professional capacity. And this makes me smile a little in my soul. :-)