So we've been saying "Bi-Mon-Sci-Fi-Con" over the past couple of weeks not realizing that there are people like Kate who are not total nerds and haven't, in fact, seen every episode of the Simpsons. In case you are one of those "people who has a life," the Bi-Mon-Sci-Fi-Con is what the bi-monthly science fiction convention is called on the Simpsons (hear the TV announcer here or even get yourself a t-shirt). The reason that we've been saying it so much is that this past weekend was the local monthly comic and sci-fi convention in LA and Ryan agreed to exhibit with his former boss. When Ryan was a teen (from 12-16, I think it was) he worked in a comic book store and has kept in touch with his old boss, Dave, since then. Dave's shop was shuttered a few years back, so he mostly sells things through conventions and such. Ryan agreed to help him staff the booth as well as promote some of his own work, which means that I had to go too (against my will).
The event is held at the Shrine Auditorium in LA which is this gorgeous old building on the edge of USC that used to be where the Emmys were filmed (along with a lot of other award shows and such that have now outgrown the space and are held at the Kodak Theater). The adjacent Expo Center is where they host various shows, including the bi-mon-sci-fi-con. The same intricate architecture is carried over, although the space isn't very well maintained anymore. Except, I do have to say that the restrooms were roomy and clean and smartly laid out (rare for a convention space).
This show is mostly a "dealer" show -- where various shop owners come to clearance out merchandise on the cheap (think $2 trade paper backs and $4 pornos) and there are a few D-list celebrities who come to sell their autographs (this month, Eric Roberts was the main attraction). Ryan didn't advertise or anything, so he was basically just some dude sitting at the end of a table of Star Wars collectibles. But it actually turned out pretty good.
First of all, Kate - bless her heart - showed up to hang out and scope out the show and provide me with some distraction (and lunch!). We had a lot of fun looking at toys and old comics, such as "I Love You" which have the BEST covers (check one out via the link - classic!) and are so lame at pandering to women that you have to kind of love them. We even made a new friend when we were browsing for old Katy Keene comics. This guy was so sweet and dug through four boxes to find the single Katy issue that they had. He was really funny and nice that when he finally found the book, Kate felt obligated to buy it, even though it cost more than we'd expected. A lot more. But she is so generous, she barely haggled with them and took away her new treasure, still smiling. Along with some $1 Nightmare Before Christmas stuff that we found at another booth that can be used in her fantastic purse-making career. So, it was a mixed bag.
And they were holding an open call for Beauty and the Geek, which was funny and we couldn't decide if everyone should be offended or embrace it. We did overhear one guy who signed up say that if he was chosen "I'm totally going to be the guy who causes all the trouble and starts all the drama." I'm sure he thought he'd be cast as a "beauty" too.
The same was true for Ryan. He got a few cool people and a couple of the... er... strange people who came to talk to him. It always surprises me how many people will ask the professionals to review or critique their work, but they are never sincere. He generally tries to shy away from any of that stuff, because very few people in life can actually handle criticism, but this one guy stood there for an hour to ask him in depth about stuff and so Ryan just kept advising him "practice, practice, practice" and the guy would make a face. Ryan suggests to everyone that you set aside time every day - like 2 hours - to practice basic forms, so that you develop muscle memory. And this guy (of course) just kept getting defensive and pointing to his drawings to explain why he didn't need to practice - see how good it is already? Bleh. BUT then we got a cool group that came over, led by their babyfaced high school teacher (wait, people my age are old enough to teach high school?!) who has recently founded a comic book club at the school for the kids as another way to introduce them to art and storytelling. He asked Ryan if he would mind if the kids (6 of them) observed him doodling - which of course Ryan didn't. So he drew a few things and explained the thought process and how to visually plan it out, etc. The kids were enjoying watching it and Ryan traded business cards with the teacher. He was such a nice guy and trying so hard to introduce these kids to something new (not an easy feat in Downtown LA). We're going to try and put him in touch with a few people and see if we can get the group some swag or something to help keep it going. We were super impressed with that whole idea. And this guy and his comic book club made Ryan's day.