Semi-con report: NYCC 2009

Finally recovering from NYCC and Son of Niece of the Cousin’s Sister’s Dog of the Plague, part 27. The worst of it hit on Friday, where I nevertheless gamely stumbled through the con hall while drugged and semicoherent. Hopefully I didn’t infect several thousand people with my cooties. Saturday I felt better in the morning, but ran down over the course of the day, though I still had fun Sat night when I had impromptu Thai with friends. Sunday I paid for it, when I woke up feeling like crap — at 11, despite going to bed at a reasonable hour the night before. The one panel I’d wanted to attend on Sunday was at 11:15, so that decided me; I stayed home.

All that said, I had a good time. I’m not much into traditional superhero comics, so a goodly portion of NYCC doesn’t really appeal to me, but I’m a raving fan of manga/anime, more indie comics, and of course science fiction and fantasy literature — the latter of which was out in force at the con. All the major SF/F publishers were there, many showing off new pubs and authors, most giving away books. (Bookssses, my precious. We lovesss them.) I came away with a major haul, including many authors I’ve never read before. Picked up the next two volumes (4 & 5) of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, which I’m only just now reading and have fallen in love with. Also got a chance to play the video game Spore, which I’ve heard about for awhile now but never tried. I’m hooked; that will be my next gift to myself. Said hi to the folks at the Orbit booth, and also touched base with friends at Tor and Lerner Publishing. Also got to see an old buddy, Margaret Ronald, whose book just came out as I mentioned a ways back (pay attention! this will be on the quiz!), and who seems to be taking well to new-author bliss. Fun all around!

Enjoyed the heck out of one of the panels at the con, which talked about images of Asian Americans in superhero comics; they were advertising a forthcoming anthology, Secret Identities, which I’m eager to take a look at now. I think this touches on one of the reasons why I’ve never liked superhero comics; they often use allegories to touch on serious issues (like the way mutants in the Marvel Universe have been used to explore racism and anti-Semitism), yet in the process they too often perpetuate in reality the same problems they’re supposedly trying to address in allegory (like the dearth of actual characters of color and Jewish characters, the relegation of those characters to non-heroic or minor roles, and the virtual absence of diversity among the creators and producers). But some of the stories in this one look really interesting, so I’m looking forward to it.

Didn’t get to the Sci-Fi/Fantasy Authors’ Roundtable, though it sounds like it would’ve been a disappointment. A shame; had some good names on it.

Oh! And I rambled through the artist’s alley at one point, mostly out of boredom, and had a literal stop-in-my-tracks moment when I saw this: “Mesa Enchantress,” by Randy Gallegos. It was done for a Magic the Gathering card — and if I’d realized MtG cards could be so beautiful, I would’ve started collecting them ages ago. She sort of resembles my mental image of the protagonist of Book 2 — not the hairstyle/clothing, of course, and Oree’s eyes are more of a no-color because she’s blind, and Oree’s darker-skinned. …OK, she looks nothing like Oree. =) But the spirit is there — the unworldliness underlain by pragmatism, which is how I interpret the Mesa Enchantress’ expression… and her staff. It’s natural and pretty, but it’s also a bigass stick.

It’s rare for fantasy art to speak to me this way. The only other examples I can think of are the odd piece by Todd Lockwood or Michael Whelan, and usually it’s landscapes that intrigue me, not characters. I’ll be keeping an eye on this Gallegos guy.

Next up (maybe) Lunacon!

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