Comic Con Collapse
I’ve been back from the Phoenix Comic Con for a week now…and I’m still recovering from its sheer awesomeness. PHXCC16 had more than 100,000 people in attendance. Gadzooks! And I can tell you from experience that they came in all shapes, sizes, ages, and cape lengths. Comic book lovers were in abundance, yes, but like many “comic” cons in the last few years, PHXCC also celebrates TV, movies, books, and anything else that touches on geek culture. It was a four-day chance to fly my geek flag in a sea of people that just wanted to celebrate whatever floated each other’s boats. Dead Pool in a sombrero, hirsute Vikings in mini skirts, toddler Kylo Ren (best parents ever)… you get the idea.
One of the more delightful additions to comic cons in the last few years: authors! PHXCC had a bewildering slate of panels for fantasy and sci-fi book fans. Del Rey, Harper, and Tor were all there to
give me free books spotlight upcoming releases. Plus, several panels were packed with an array of authors—from genre giants to debut indie authors—discussing their love of all things nerdy. While this wasn’t a romance-friendly con (clue number one: a paranormal romance panel staffed by authors who all admit they don’t write paranormal romance… hmmm…), I still walked away with a boatload of books to add to my to-read pile.
Michael J. Martinez: This new-to-me author was on several of my favorite panels, including one about worldbuilding, where he impressed the crap out of me with his insightful discussion about how to fly a Napoleon-era sailing ship into outer space. Because reasons. I got him to sign a copy of The Daedalus Incident for my husband…but I may not let it out of my hands long enough to let him read it. I also can’t wait for the release of MJ-12: Inception, the first in a new series of Cold War paranormal thrillers about spies with super powers. Because reasons.
Patrick Rothfuss: This guy is always a treat to meet in person, where he is kind, irreverent, and totally unafraid to share his love of D&D. At his solo panel, he read to the audience from his disturbing, not-for-children bedtime tale The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle: The Thing Beneath the Bed. (Spoiler alert: things don’t end well for the kitten.) What’s really impressive is that after the con ended, Mr. Rothfuss hopped on a plane back to his home state of Wisconsin and immediately launched into one of his Worldbuilders charity drives for Heifer International (at last count, over $100,000 raised in four days). After I hopped on a plane back to my home state, I immediately launched into twelve hours of sleep.
Alexandra Oliva: This debut author was stumping for her upcoming novel The Last One, which looks to be a literary Survivor: The Apocalypse Edition. Twelve contestants filming a reality show in the Adirondacks get caught in some global catastrophe…without realizing that the end of the world is more than just a challenge cooked up by the show’s producers. Lots of clever, damning commentary on humanity ensues. I adore a good post-apocalyptic thriller, and I can’t wait until this one hits my local library.
Faith #1: It wouldn’t be a comic con wrap-up without a comic, amiright? Welllll, here’s the thing. I don’t actually read comic books. So what on earth was I doing at a comic con? See above re: all the other amazing stuff now available at cons, but it also helps that my sister is a comic book reader extraordinaire (we spent most of our time in the exhibitor hall scouring vendor booths for the ever-elusive Jay Garrick Funko figure and old Fantastic Four comics with Dr. Doom on the cover). So after she won an issue of Faith #1 in the Valiant panel, I did what any self-respecting younger sister would do: I stole it when we get home. Love you, sis! Suffice it to say, there’s a reason this reboot of a plus-sized DC character has taken the media by storm. She’s a “a sci-fi loving, Firefly-quoting fangirl that [winds] up standing shoulder-to-shoulder alongside some of the most powerful superheroes on Earth.” The first issue didn’t disappoint, and I’ll be hunting down the omnibus of issues 1-4 when it’s released this July.
Some quick honorable mentions:
Sarah Remy: More authors on panels should give away ebooks, especially because I learned that the TSA is inherently suspicious of piles of actual books in suitcases (and sequins—don’t wear sequins across your boobs unless you’re looking for a thrill). Thanks, Miss Remy, for my free e-copy of Stonehill Downs!
Con Man: Season two is coming soon with even more hilarious guest stars…including Tahmoh Penikett. FanGrrlSquee!
Timothy Omundson: Just as pissed as us, if not more so, that Galavant was canceled. #MoreGalavant
Lastly, stay tuned for next week’s post, where I’ll distill some of the best and worst moments of my PHXCC experience into convention tips for authors—how to get the most out of attending conventions, how to promote your book without sounding like a zombie, and how not to piss off audience members in your panels so much that they leave after five minutes and vow to avoid you for the rest of the con (true story, though the details will be obscured to protect the offenders).