Every Detail About New York Comic Con! Every. Single. One.

10/16/2014 01:04:00 PM Lexie Dunne 1 Comments

Greetings, wonderful people!

Somehow we ended up in the Deadpool parade! Which is hilarious because Gail...you'll see in November.
So. Last week has been incredibly FULL. Full of nerves, laughter, excitement, newness, people, buildings, smells, and adventures. It’s going to be hard to describe it without taking five thousand words, but I’ll try to keep it in. I gave you a brief preview on Monday or Tuesday or whenever that was, but today I am going into details! ALL OF THE DETAILS.

So last Thursday, I celebrated a pretty big birthday by getting two hours of sleep, driving an unfamiliar truck to the airport in the rain, and leaving my luggage on my bed at home. We had to scramble to make it onto the plane on time and there was a lot of hurrying and trying to communicate with the plan was. So that $300 in new clothing I brought specifically to look good for the trip? Left in St. Louis. For a little while, I panicked, but after about twenty minutes, it became hilarious rather than upsetting. So this is the story of the time I turned 30 and flew to New York with the clothes on my back, a pair of black jeans I’d forgotten in my backpack, and my laptop.

We flew into LaGuardia rather than JFK, so I got my first experience with New York City cabs in a time on the way to the hotel, where I simply hopped out, waved gaily at my family, and headed on my merry way to Hell’s Kitchen. See, when I first found out about this trip, I checked a few sites and was able to score some tickets to see The Daily Show, and I had to get in line almost right away in order to snag some good seat. My twelve-block sprint certainly paid off, too. Wanna know who the guest was?



Is he cuter in person? Yes indeedy do, he certainly is. Does he smell like sunshine and pure manliness in a well-cut suit? I…wish I could confirm that he does, but there was a giant space between the audience and the desk. Getting in to see the Daily Show is an interesting process. First you queue up to get your tickets confirmed, which is about two hours of chilling on the sidewalk outside the building. My friend Sam and I befriended the sisters behind us and chatted about Comic Con (Jo, our new friend, wanted to get in just to see Kim Harrison, who was there signing her latest book). We were ticket number 36 and 37, which meant we had a two hour window to go grab some food. We got pizza at Don Antonio’s, and it was glorrrrrrious, considering it was the only actual meal I had that day.

Pizza Margherita. Yummmm.
 When you come back to the studio, you gather in numbered groups and they shuffle you through security. It’s very efficient and streamlined. When we finally got into the studio itself, they put Sam and me in the front row, but kind off to the side. More waiting followed, but this time they were at least playing punk-ish rock from the 90s that I’m sure Oliver Queen (who writes sins not tragedies) would have loved. An insult comic came out and warmed up the crowd and made us shout and laugh really loudly, and finally, there he was: Jon Stewart! He looks exactly the same in person and I was struck by just how orange and blue the set was. He talked to us a little bit and made jokes about Dick Cheney.

Sam and I are shamelessly in the selfie generation.
The thing that surprised me—and it shouldn’t have—was just how quickly everything moved at that point. Jon moved immediately to the desk after talking to us and BAM, we were off. It was like watching an incredibly coordinated dance. Just bam, bam, bam, camera-people and assistants hitting invisible marks, flying the jib camera in, setting up monitors to be displays and teleprompters. I was almost more fascinated by that bit than the show itself. Also, I tend to laugh quietly unless I find something HYSTERICAL, so I had to step outside my normal zone a bit to get with the BE LOUD program.

If you can get tickets to go see a show like that, it’s education and fascinating.

This was our view!
Thursday night was my first author event, which was a margarita mixer with a few people Harper Collins had put together. Now, I must remind you that my luggage is sitting peaceably on the bed at my parents’ house and I am wearing:
  1. Blue jeans, which I pretty much live in
  2. Black sneakers with obnoxiously bright soles
  3. My Carol Danvers dog tags
  4. A battered and ancient backpack containing pins from all over the country/world, and…
  5. A BRIGHT blue T-shirt bearing a giant neon-pink-and-yellow dancing baby Groot
Pretty much none of which is all that acceptable for my very first “I am an AUTHOR!” event*. Which meant my beautiful and wonderful friend Sam got to dress me at Nordstrom Rack, something that gave her far too much pleasure. We strolled into the party about 20 minutes after it started, and I got to meet my editor Rebecca for the first time, which was so great to put a face to the email address (plus, she has the cutest dog, so I knew we were going to be friends). Even better than that was the fact that she did not immediately go for my throat for some of the bratty things I pulled during the editing process. In reality, she was fantastic and fun and I’m glad we got to experience the bizarreness of Artist Alley together at the con.

Other highlights from Margaritas and Mayhem:
  • The guacamole. Oh my god, it was life-changing.
  • Richard Kadrey! His hair was the most fantastic hair I saw all weekend, and I went to a friggin’ con with WIGS. Go you, sir, go you!
  • Meeting Bishop O’Connell, who tragically was not wearing a kilt (Rebecca and I discussed this possibility at length before he arrived), and who now has plenty of reason to hate me
  • Pomegranate margaritas.
  • Fooling an entire room full of people that I was a suave and sophisticated author.
So that was Thursday! I took the subway back by myself, crawled into bed, and pretty much crashed hard. Friday morning was the bagel breakfast at the Harper Collins offices. That was the most New York City moment for me because the lobby is so grand and reminded me of one of those movies where you could swoon and be caught by Jimmy Stewart. The offices themselves are even better; walls and walls covered in books and books and more books. I got to meet the publicist who’ll be working on SUPERHEROES ANONYMOUS with me, and that was honestly a highlight because she was so nice. C.L. Wilson, and Ilona and Gordon Andrews were at the party, too, and I did the real brave adult thing and went over and introduced myself.

I think the biggest discovery I made this weekend was how many authors are just regular people who are happy to chat. C.L. Wilson and I talked about Dragon*Con and traveling, and Ilona and Gordon gave me advice about indie bookstores and doing signings and they were amazingly kind and funny. My friend Grace is screaming at me because she adores Ilona Andrews; my mom’s also a big fan, and I think C.L. Wilson got a huge kick out of the fact that I opened the conversation with “I once got a HUGE library fine for holding onto one of your books forever.”

(They took some of my book postcards!!!)

 After the breakfast, I skipped out on going to Comic Con with everybody else** and hit up the Strand instead because I love the Strand. Mike (singlewalkrun), a good friend of mine online, met us there and we wandered and chatted and I GOT MY VERY FIRST PIECE OF SUPERHEROES ANONYMOUS FANART. IS IT NOT BEAUTIFUL? Mike is awesome!!!!!!!
I'M STILL SCREAMING. hilariously, this is exactly like the cover I originally requested!
We all went out for sushi and then I picked up tickets to go see Matilda because frankly, I’d been wanting to see it. You should probably know that at this point, I was fighting a migraine (thank god for Imitrex), but it did not kill my enjoyment of Matilda one jot. I grew up with this movie. I think Mara Wilson and I are around the same age, and it tickles me pink that she’s a writer now because I used to watch that absurd, bizarre, wonderful movie every week. I even read and loved the book, and I’ve listened to some of the songs from the musical, so getting to see it was totally worth everything. Matilda herself was TINY, and the stage was magical. It’s set up like a surreal scrabble board, and pieces of the set rise and fall out of the grid, with the kids scrambling acrobatically all over everything. I can now say I’ve seen more of Trunchbull’s legs than I ever want to. It was such a brightly colored, catty-whompus musical with Roald Dahl’s amazing super-dark humor.

(We arrived late because we kept trying to go to really trendy places for dinner and ended up eating at the Blue Dog Café and then racing several blocks to get to the play***)

We did the Stage Door afterward because Chelsea wanted autographs, and I saw the most beautiful “my mom is embarrassing” facepalm from a teenager who was with us (“I think Trunchbull might have been a guy?” Oh, honey). We got back pretty late and I was still buzzy from my migraine, so sleep was a priority that night, especially since…COMIC CON.

Saturday dawned gloomy, gray, and rainy and it also promised to be the biggest day of the Con. I made the mistake of not eating breakfast, which always affects me in very bad ways, so I spent the first hour of the con overwhelmed and bewildered by how many people there were (it didn’t help that I had Chloe, who was cosplaying as Waldo, with me). After dropping $20 on a sandwich and a drink, my perspective cleared and I was able to enjoy myself a little more. I saw so much that day, it’s hard to compact everything together. I wandered the con floor, picked up a free copy of Bound by Night by Larissa Ione (I recommend it! It was surprisingly good), and wandered around, admiring the delightful cosplayers and the booth displays until it was time to meet my agent.

One of my goals on this trip was to enjoy some ramen in New York. I’ve talked on this blog about my problems with MSG (being sensitive to it sucks), so I was really looking forward to eating at a place where they make their own broth, and thanks to my agent, the marvelous Rebecca Strauss, this dream came true! We went to the Gotham West market, which is one of those fancy places with lots of white ceramics and chalkboards and metal décor. Basically, if Pinterest burped out a restaurant, Gotham West would be it. I adored every foot of that place, but even that paled in comparison to getting to meet Rebecca (I will admit to gushing so happily because she bought me ice cream and that’s the way to my heart). We chatted about future stuff (!!) and timelines and very adult, publishery things, and she brought me water and gum to make sure I was okay for the panel.

Hanging with my super reverent Harper Voyager Impulse bros: Bishop O'Connell and Harry Heckel.
Since there wasn’t too much time before my panel, I hung out at the Harper Collins booth with Harry Heckel and Bishop before they left for their panel (which was right before mine). There was an awesome sprint to get to my panel on time (we were almost late) and when we arrived on stage, there…wasn’t a chair for me. So there I am standing up there in my Space Lady Saves Herself T-shirt (Seeking Minions Edition!) with some legit published authors who all have, like, super-fancy hardbacks on the table in front of them…and there’s no chair. Luckily, Caro was on top of that and they put me at the end of the table next to Walter Jury, who was delightful and kept my water glass full and for that I probably owe him my firstborn or something.

I look like I'm listening attentively, but I'm probably thinking about my dog.
 So what was the panel like? Hm. They weren’t kidding when they said it would go by very quickly. There were seven of us and one moderator, so I worried I wasn’t going to get a word in edge-wise and I was so nervous that I was going to start talking and forget what I was saying in the middle of my sentence. But something magical happened.

I made the room laugh!

It was on the question “Who is your favorite villain?” And everybody was going down and mentioning these super-specific, scary villains, like John Malkovich in Blue Velvet. And they get to the end of the row, with little Lexie Dunne (who is probably the youngest person on the panel except for the moderator) and what does she say? Professor Umbridge. And I went on a rant about how perfect a villain she is and how much you just want bad things to happen to her, and the entire room started cracking up. It was so great, and it really broke the ice for me. After that, I tried to walk a line where I could bring up fan favorites, but also answer intelligently. And yes, at one point, I got to banter about trying to develop force powers whenever I don’t want to get up and turn off the light.

Pictured: Anna Schumacher, me, Brandon Sanderson. not pictured: my internal screaming.
All in all, I’d call the panel a success. What was very cool was that afterwards, I got to go to my very first signing. Most of the people were there to see Brandon Sanderson, but I signed some things for people who came up to grab a free copy of my book (a NYCC exclusive, I’m sorry! But pay attention to the blog! Cool stuff happening VERY SOON). And that was a trip. One thing I realized was that I had no idea what to put on the cards! I mean, I’d practiced signing my name out of sheer vanity, but what on earth do you write? Brandon Sanderson writes catchphrases from his books, and Kelly Sue Deconnick does speech bubbles, and so I need to think about that.

Put any suggestions in the comments!

Afterward, I tagged along with Rebecca the Editor to Artist Alley and we talked about the program (I had some questions). So many great artists there. Stephanie Hans was there. I basically have a Pinterest board devoted to her work! Oh my god! Anyway. I finally bowed out of the con and went back to the hotel room to order pizza because I was a little people’d out.

So Sunday was the day where I had to get all of the stuff I’d brought with me signed and to meet my heroes. I had a speaker pass, which meant I got to be in the special opening line, and I basically SPRINTED to the Image booth to get a ticket for Kelly Sue’s signing. While waiting for my sister to show, I wandered “The Block,” where I happened across a webcomic I used to read religiously, and I kind of fangirled over the writer. Then I dragged my sister over to Artist Alley to get my copy of Red Sonja signed by Gail Simone, who is wonderfulness in person.

I should probably stop and point out that I am wearing my WeLoveFine Carol Corps T-shirt, partially because I was going to end up seeing Kelly Sue DeConnick if it killed me, and partially because, hey, lost luggage. Rushing from Gail Simone’s line to Kelly Sue’s line was incredibly fun, and we befriended the people around us in line.

Okay, so I have to stop and talk for a second about my journey with comics. When I wrote SUPERHEROES ANONYMOUS, I wasn’t reading comic books. I didn’t have the money, I had no idea where to start, and frankly a lot of the time, whenever I tried, the writing wasn’t there to help me get over some of the problems I had with associating pictures to text. But people on Tumblr kept reblogging these hilarious comic panels and sharing comics and everything, and I started reading Captain Marvel and I have a pull list and everything. Kelly Sue DeConnick is my favorite writer, and I was incredibly nervous to meet her, even though I’ve heard repeatedly that she is the very soul of amazingness and delight.

Those people were under-exaggerating, if anything. Kelly Sue signed all of my Captain Marvel trade paperbacks and the first issue of Captain Marvel (which I’ll be giving away) and I told her what it was for, and she asked me about my book. I gave her one of my postcards, which is STILL BLOWING MY MIND. Anyway, we did a duck lips picture and everything, and she’s SO COOL, which is why we immediately went and hopped in line for the Women of Marvel panel.

IF YOU CAN EVER MAKE IT TO THIS PANEL, YOU SHOULD GO. They had something like 18 women on the stage, and were encouraging us to tweet. And they made some pretty big announcements, and it was just neat to watch everybody lose their minds a little about what was coming.

It was almost enough of a balm from what Arrow did to Sara Lance.

Oh, who am I kidding? I’m staying angry about that.

Oh, by the way, if you ever get to talk to Ryan from Least I Could Do, you should because he’s super nice. Chelsea’s a GIANT fan of Looking For Group, so we went up to talk to him, and it turns out we share an editor, so I chatted with him for fifteen minutes about industry things while Chelsea stood next to me and screamed internally.

It was precious.

Anyway, I’m back with bags full of comic con swag and hundreds of thousands of stories to tell, but it’s been three thousand words and I have the newsletter to get out still. Sorry for any typos, and I hope you guys had a magical weekend, too!

Stay super!

* A fact that I realized I was possibly mistaken over, as the delightful Caro Perny, who is a master at getting through a crowd, was wearing a shirt with a dinosaur fighting a robot.

** Bishop informed me that I missed out on riding in a limo with everybody.

*** A New Yorker and a Midwesterner have VERY DIFFERENT IDEAS of what constitutes both “nearby” and “quick walk.”

1 comment:

  1. Woohoo!

    Living the dream. Oh yeah!!!!!


    And to quote the end of Star Trek III - and the adventure continues....


Please keep it PG. My mom reads this blog.