Sean Maher's Quality Control

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Ape Decompression, Day Three

My buddy Manuel convinced his girlfriend, Denise, to come with us to APE, after dragging her to WonderCon last month.

On the short walk towards the Concourse we began warning her.

"There's gonna be a lot of sorry sacks of shit in there, and you kinda just have to suck it up."

"It's kind of a gamble; there's cool stuff in there, but you're gonna have to wade through a bunch of shit to get to it."

"Just don't let the creepy guys get to you."

Funny thing is, she loved the show. Had a great time.

It's a gamble, yeah: but this year, everything was coming up sevens and elevens. The whole vibe was kicked off with a great start when we walked up to the Sugar Free Comics table and creator Shana Manion assaulted our senses with probably the most enthusiastic, confident, and completely insane "check out my comic" pitch I've ever seen in my life, for her 24-hour comic, Ask Miss Anthropy. It's hard to recreate - her "nerd chic" explosion of manic energy reminded me a little bit of James Sime's more insane moments of uncontrolled enthusiasm, but the comparison doesn't really do either of them justice; James is more carnival huckster where Shana was doing sort of a stand-up comic thing, all punchlines and snappy comebacks - but it sure as hell put a smile on our faces, and let me and Manuel relax: maybe this wouldn't seem so creepy to Denise after all.

She ended up telling us she liked APE a lot more than she did WonderCon, and her explanation made a lot of sense to me; at the "fanboy" cons, like WonderCon, you're always gonna see the same thing, and it's largely gonna be the comic book cliche. Jim Lee will always be there. Kevin Smith will always be there. Everyone will have their copies of Wolverine or whatever the hell it is they want signed by whoever is sitting behind a booth signing hundreds upon hundreds of books in a row. The energy is there, the excitement is there, but it's more static - not a lot of new things really going on, y'know? One major publisher shifts around some popular creators on some popular books and the machine keeps going.

APE, though, is a new beast every time, and you never have any idea what to expect. You don't even know what's at the next table because you're too caught up in where you're at right now.

I guess that vibe really came through, 'cause she had a blast.

New readers, new consumers, new blood, new comics.


Well, I'll be. Rodriguez is back.

Watch out, everyone else who has a blog. We're all about to look like idiots.
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