And there's always the experiences that can only be had at a comics convention, from the always-entertaining practice of gawking at costumed weirdos to the various discussions and sights that can be seen at panels. One particular highlight for me was a Joe Kubert panel in which attendees could ask questions about the Kubert School or query him about his methods, while watching him draw a picture to be raffled in support of the Hero Initiative. He's a legend, having been in the comics industry for around 70 years, and getting to watch him methodically construct a picture (of Watchmen's Nite Owl, who he described as "a character my son Andy is working on"), stopping occasionally to discuss art tools, anatomy, reference, inking, and myriad other topics about his art and career. For me, attending the con was worth it for this experience alone.
And then on Sunday, I got to experience an entire new perspective on comics conventions by bringing along my family. My wife Sarah, and my daughters Magnolia (age 4) and Dahlia (age 1) seemed a bit overwhelmed by the whole thing, but they had a really great time. The girls were awed by all that they got to see, especially the costumes and big pictures, but for Sarah, the big highlight was meeting David Newell, who played Mr. McFeely, the mailman on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. They also enjoyed watching the kids' costume contest, which was a parade of incredible cuteness. All in all, it made for a great time, with me able to hang out with people as something of an "insider", and them getting a taste of the experience. It's something we'll have to do again, which is a demonstration that no matter how positive or negative I feel about the comics industry, I'll be able to find things to be excited about, and people to share them with. Luckily, that won't be going away anytime soon.