Monday, May 09, 2005

CAPE 2005 

So that was a roaring success.

Now, I know there were a ton of other Free Comic Book Day events Saturday. All across the country, professionals, fans, retailers, and curious parties came out to show their love and to explore the many, many, many different styles and entertainments the field can offer.

But I can safely say none of you were at an event as cool as CAPE.

From 10 AM to 6 PM on Saturday, Zeus Comics hosted what was essentially a mini-convention inside its doors and outside in the parking lot, under a tent. Pro's showed up in their numbers. Untold boxes of quarter comics were pillaged and torn asunder. Local and semi-local publishers got their product in front of exactly the kind of people they need to get their product in front of. Fanboy Radio was there, doing what it is Fanboy Radio does, which is mostly asking bad questions to smart people... but they did a pretty good job pulling tickets for the raffle.

Ah, the raffle.

Every artist contributed a theme sketch that were drawn for every hour. Yours truly won a sketch in an event that can only be called The Coolest Thing That Happened to Anyone The Entire Day. I'll get to that in a second.

I believe the final headcount was somewhere in the neighborhood of 800 guests.


1) It's official: Lea Hernandez is the coolest person ever born. If you were in the running for that title, sorry, collect your gift basket and go the fuck back home. Hers is a name that's impossible to avoid online, and I've heard so much good about everything she's done that I simply walked up to her table and asked her to indoctrinate me. (Her 24 hour comic in print form was the easiest $5 I've ever spent.) Within five minutes we were speculating on the size, shape, and texture of Neil Gaiman's feces, and swapping tales of newfound exhibitionism in women who've had breast reconstruction surgery. I also found out her biopsy made her want to vomit quite a lot.

You know what that is?

That is fucking magic.

So I walked away with signed and sketched copies of Killer Princesses, Texas Steampunk I & II, Mr. Pluto, and Rumble Girls.

2) Miles Gunter, of NYC Mech fame, loves his work. He loves his work. The sense is palpable, as is his love for the city of New York, conveyed in every fucking panel of their comic. This is what comics is, people: a small group of creators who absolutely cannot wait to show you what comes next.

3) The Coolest Thing That Happened to Anyone The Entire Day: Fanboy Radio's doing drawings every hour for sketches, right? I've bought 12 raffle tickets myself ($10 total, and I'm told they sold 700 of these bad boys), so every time a drawing comes up I weave myself over to the raffle booth to hear the winner. In these kinds of things I have an uncanny luck for winning exactly what I want, so it's worth it to me to check out.

The DJ guy doing the drawing is pretty much exactly how you'd expect a radio personality to be (and I have some experience there), but for comics, and the prize he hoists up is none other than Lea Hernandez's colored sketch of Batgirl. She's even in purple, like the TV show Batgirl. And I think to myself: "Self, that would be pretty fucking rad to win."

So God stepped in and made it so.

Fanboy Radio DJ Guy hoists the sketch up to show it off before the drawing, holding it by the very corner of the page. Did I mention it'd been windy as shit all day? Well, the Hand of God kicked up the gust and the sketch went flying out of Fanboy Radio DJ Guy's hand and straight in in the direction of the parking lot outside the tent.

And thwapped straight into my chest about 20 feet away. I was the only guy even remotely in its path.

Scott Kurtz, whose table is two down from the Fanboy Radio people, points at me and says "It's his."

Lea Hernandez, who's standing nearby and is perhaps fondly remembering our Neil Gaiman Feces talk ("I bet it looks like Despair"), concurs. Loudly.

And so the sketch becomes mine. It chose me as worthy.

FUCK YOU, WORLD! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Your paltry games of chance are as nothing to me.

I'll have a scan of it later. It's too cool not to share.

4) I never got my Batman sketch from the Hero Camp people. I'm upset about that. That Greg Thompson guy, that guy is a promotion machine. Keep an eye on him.

5) Kazu Kibuishi exudes an aura of quiet confidence, which is befitting a god taking mortal form. He and Jake Parker manned the Flight table, talked with confidence on the project, either unaware or unaffected by its growing success and status. I'm led to believe there will be a Volume 3. And Volume 4. And basically as many volumes as the market can stand, which is rather a fucking lot, if you ask me.

6) I talked to the Luna Brothers for like 60 seconds, and they are the two quietest guys ever. Sketches for $40? Ouch. They got bills to pay, but those tables were free... and the only other guy charging for sketches was charging $10, and that was with inking and coloring.

7) There was an after-party. Zeus Comics hosted a little get-together for the pro's and workers and volunteers to unwind and get a little drunk, and that is precisely what everyone did. This was definitely one of those "pro's just want to hang out together" kind of situations, so my jackhole self left with my buddy Joe after scoring some badass little grilled cheese panini things, and some cheap red wine. I loves me some cheap red wine.

Reviews of all materials I picked up from publishers large and small will be forthcoming all week. Watch this space.

ADDENDUM: I was wrong in guest count total. Zeus puts the numbers at something like 2000 visitors all day. Holy shit, huh?

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