I had a great show, minus a few small issues (some problems with the hotel, the scarcity of chairs every day of the show, out-of-control gas prices). It was my first time there. The fans were great, really enthusiastic, and the show drew a big crowd, all of them excited about comics. The retailers had a wide range of back issues at good prices. The guest list was excellent, in spite of a few last-minute cancellations.
I was sketching pretty much non-stop on friday and saturday. Lots of Kirby characters, and a good number of Gødland characters. A lot of people had questions about the end of Gødland. There were a number of people checking out 8-Opus for the first time, and some returning fans looking for the issues they missed, which will be coming soon, now that I'm getting everything back into print, starting with the 8-OPUS PROLOGUE next month. I've been bringing some of my old pre-8-Opus fanzine comics to shows lately and the reception's been really good. There seem to be a number of fans that are interested in that kind of early raw stuff.
Sunday things started out strong, but got really slow, so I took the opportunity to walk around and see the show and pick up a few things. Roger Langridge had a mini of unpublished cartoons he was giving away that became the talk of the show. I got a copy of AquaLeung and Paul Maybury did a great sketch in the book for me. I picked up a couple Cold Heat Specials from Dan Nadel at the Picturebox table. AdHouse's Chris Pitzer gave me the new issue of Superior Showcase. I haven't had a chance to read any of my hauls yet, (with the exception of Frank Santoro and Jim Rugg's evocative COLD HEAT newspaper comic and Pat Lewis's hilarious AAAA mini) but I can't wait.
Excessive gas priced took a bite out of the trip. It's a long, but beautifully scenic drive from Pittsburgh to Charlotte. I'm also disappointed that I didn't get to experience more of the city. It's something I was looking forward to, but found difficult. Charlotte is similar to Pittsburgh in that, when you arrive downtown you think you're at the center of things, but you're really not. There isn't much in the way of coffee shops, restaurants, or book stores, and most of what is there closes early on weekdays and is entirely closed on weekends. Downtown is very much a business district. The real heart of the city lies just outside the downtown area, although I get the feeling that might change a bit by next year. Lots of new construction downtown gave the impression of a rapidly growing downtown area. By the show's end I talked to some people who knew the area better and gave me some leads on where to go next time I'm in town.