Comic Con fast approaches. This year, hotels and badges sold out at a record speed. Servers crashed just trying to deal with demand.
Once upon a time, this was not so. Whether this is good or bad is a larger debate, but to illustrate how different it once was, I offer you this item from my first ever San Diego Comic Con attendance.
That's a poster for the Marvel/Epic reprint series of Moebius comics. This line was released in 1987, which is when I got the poster. I was 15. I had never read Moebius, but he was well known, everyone was aware of his work. This was a time when Heavy Metal magazine was still sold at convenience stores, and everyone my age had a friend who had an older brother who read Heavy Metal--and usually did so inside a van with a Frank Frazetta painting on the side.
I didn't go to the show planning to meet Moebius. My list of must-sees were the Pander Bros., Dave Stevens, Art Adams, Matt Wagner, and the like. All of which I had hunted down, and so at some point, I started wandering the aisles seeking what was there to find. Down one random aisle, flanked by booksellers and T-shirt displays, Moebius sat all by himself. I don't know if he was with Marvel or a book dealer or just had his own table, but there was this white-haired man with glasses just sitting there, no line, no one in front of him, nothing. I looked at his stuff, saw the free posters, asked to get one signed.
Such promotional techniques worked, in so much as I bought the first Epic volume. I didn't much care for it, so never bought the rest. But that's just the part I tell at parties to shock people.
The memory baffles me to this day. How had the most famous international artist in our industry get hidden away down a side corridor in the convention hall, like a point on a scavenger hunt. "Find Moebius, win a prize!" When was the last time he even set foot through the doors of the San Diego Convention Center? And when he did...did anyone notice?
By the way, I didn't smudge the signature, he did. See the spotting around the "to" and at the end of my name? As you can see, the poster folded multiple times, it was not rolled. Moebius opened the first flap, signed the poster with his silver pen, and immediately flopped it closed again, not even waiting for it to dry. Maybe he sensed I was wasting his time and was punishing me, I have no idea. I remember grabbing the artifact in a panic and opening it back up again to minimize damage. You'd think a cartoonist would know how ink and paint worked!
Current Soundtrack: Hercules & Love Affair, "Painted Eyes;" Asobi Seksu, "All Around" and remixes of "Trails"