Adventures of a Comic Book Booth Bitch

Here I am, on a plane to LA. I’ll keep on typing ’til my battery dies. I don’t want to make this too long of a story (not like the epic ‘Memoirs of a Ex-Short Track Stalker” from February) but I’ll try to get in as much stuff as I can on my way to LA. I know these story won’t appeal as much to my core readership (well, what I think my core readership is, although I know you comic book lurkers are out there, too) but let me tell you gals, these guys are sweet, friendly, and mighty good lookin’.

So, to start things off, I go to the Chicago Comic Convention every year, this is maybe my 5th or 6th year going. I was going even before it was called Wizard World Chicago. I dunno what possessed me to go that first year, maybe it was the promise of getting FREE comic book stuff. At first, I just went for one day, but when I discovered you can get sketches done and that there were panel discussions, I started going for all three days. And every time I told someone I was going to the con, I would get that ‘You read comic books?’ or ‘Are you crazy?’ look. Basically, because I’m a girl who reads comic books. Also, who could stand to be at a convention for 3 days?

But it’s a lot of fun. Me and Fatima go every year. She is the Robin to my Batman. The Lilo to my Stitch. The Tonto to my Lone Ranger. The Silent Bob to my Jay. You get the picture!

So this year, we had bought tickets to go and were really psyched about seeing Jim Lee and Sean Astin. And I have a friend, and I don’t know if he wants to remain nameless, but I’ll let him be nameless for now, who asked me if I was going to the con, to which I said I was. And then he asked ‘Well, if they need help at the Aspen booth, do you want to help out?’

HELL YEAH!

Aspen MLT, as I might have mentioned before, is the company started by my favorite artist, Michael Turner (see the ‘art’ section for some of his art - yeah, I know the section sucks right now…I’ll fix it in time!). There’s only a few of them in the company right now, and I guess they weren’t sure if they needed help at the booth. So of course, me and Fatima jumped at the chance to help out. We were as giddy as schoolgirls.

So we stopped by the booth on Friday morning, and they told us that they were ok, but to check with them later on in the day. We got to do some cruising around the ‘con, and came back, and they said they were OK with help for the day, but might need us for the next day.

The next day, we came by in the afternoon to see if they needed help. By then we were thinking that they would be OK with help for the rest of the ‘con. But since Michael and crew had a panel to do in the afternoon, it would only be Liz working the booth, as well as two Wizard volunteers. (Sorry I forgot your names, guys!)

So me and Fatima got to be Booth Bitches for the rest of the afternoon, and although it was a lot of work selling the art and comics, and answering questions, we had TONS of fun. It was interesting to see what it was like behind the table, and to actually see how much stuff these companies sell at comic cons. It was a LOT. It was pretty amazing how much people were shelling out for the posters and comics. But if I had the money, I would have bought all the prints. But we had a lot of limited edition stuff to sell, and the prints we had were GORGEOUS. Me and Fatima were drooling over them the whole time. Michael, Talent, Peter & Co had some really great stuff. We were in heaven selling this kick ass art to other people who loved the art, and chatting with them and joking around. These people loved the art as much as we did. It was REALLY cool!

So we worked there Sunday, too, and were really sad to have to leave early. Everyone at Aspen was SO cool to us, and we have to especially thank Liz Brizzi for being so patient with us when we were learning the ropes and for taking in the questions we couldn’t answer for people. And also Frank Mastromauro for letting us work there, and for getting us sloppy joes on Sunday. We knew that he was busy already, and he took the time out to get us something to eat. He rocks! And to Peter, who could be a bit intimidating at first, since he’s the size of most skyscrapers in Chicago, but who is cool as hell. And to Talent, for being a really cute guy, and for taking the time out to make a SPECTACULAR sketch of Psylocke for me in my sketchbook (I’ll scan in later). And to Mike Turner, for looking eerily like Noah Wyle and creating this cool company that for a brief moment in time we pretended that we were affiliated to. Thank you so much, Aspen!

So, here’s some other highlights from the weekend:

- Got a sketch done by Mark Brooks, who will be doing the upcoming series of Deadpool. He was an AWESOME guy who took a lot of time to work on the sketch of Psylocke that he did for me. He was cool, friendly and funny. I promise Mark, when Deadpool comes out I will definitely buy it and preach to my other comic book friends to buy it because ‘Mark is such a neat guy.’ And no, I will not be selling your sketch on EBAY! But I stole one of your pencils and it should be up for sale as we speak. Just kidding.

- Also got a sketch from Tone Rodriguez, who did a Psylocke sketch for me last year, but I enjoyed talking to him so much when he was sketching for me last year that I went back for more this year. He’s such a funny guy, he had me and Fatima laughing the whole time. And he gave me a hug! He’s a hugger! I love hugs from big burly comic book artists! He’s the best. He’s someone I will definitely be looking up when I try to infiltrate the comic book world in LA. Note to all the comic book girls out there: Tone’s a huggable guy.

- Saw what I’d like to call ‘my old friend’ the Chief, Mike Wellman, who did Mac Afro with Luke Lizalde. Remember that comic that I was in? Yeah, that one. And he assured me that yes, that was me in the comic. Wheee!!! It was great to see him again, and he’s got a new comic out called ‘Gone South’ which I will definitely buying once I have the funds.

- Got a picture taken with a man dressed in a ‘Predator’ outfit. The first time I was rubbing his belly. Then I went back for a picture because he was such a damn cute alien, and I asked him for a hug, which he gladly gave me. Note to self: Do not accidentally stick your hand in the armpit of a man who has spent all day dressed up as the Predator, because your hand will be moist and smelly. But I thank him for the picture.

- George R. R. Martin, I will be cursing your name! He’s one of my favorite authors, and he was supposed to be at the ‘con, but since he had to finish his book (which I have been waiting for forever) he was not able to make it. He is SO lucky that I didn’t lug my big hardcover books to the ‘con to get signed. I apologize to the guys working the booth, who I think I scared by taking my books and slamming them onto the table and damning them all to hell. I didn’t mean it guys, it was the heat of the moment. But George, I’m over it now. I will just curse your name every once in a while. Just finish the book, ok?

- Funny exchange #1: at the Aspen booth

Guy: Can I ask you a question?
Me: Yeah, sure!
Guy: Are you related to anyone here?
Me: Yeah, this is my sister…
Guy: Anyone else?
Me: Uh, no
Guy: Good, because I didn’t want to start hitting on Michael Turner’s daughter or anything…

Dude, just how old do you think Mike IS? He’s only a couple years older than me!

- Sorry to our ‘little brothers’ that were helping out at the booth with us for being so old. I know they were a little disappointed when they found out I was 28, a mere 12 years older than them and much to old to hit on. Well, they tried. It was cute.

- Rafael was the most easy going and sweetest person I met at the ‘con. He just had this melodic quality to his voice which just showed that he was a gentle and kind soul. He drew me a female Mexican masked wrestler. I thought it would be a challenge, but I guess it wasn’t! Watch out for Somnabula, everyone!

- Me and Fatima were hanging out at the Jay’s Comics table, when the older woman there said she liked my shirt. I smiled and said ‘thanks’ and she looked at me, and replied, ‘Have you been here before?’ I said ‘yes’ and she proclaimed, ‘I know you girls! You come here every year! Oh my, you both are so grown up now!’ She was so sweet it was like seeing an old auntie. Then she saw my ring, and she said, “Oh my! And you’re getting married, too!” To which I said, “Yeah, we grow up, then we get married!”. She was such a darling. The next day, I was at the booth again, and her son came up to me and said ” My mom was telling me about you yesterday, and she said ‘There were these two girls there today and you would recognize them if you saw them!’ and I saw you, and immediately knew it was you. Congratulations on the wedding!’. It was so cool, to be recognized by these people, it’s like coming to visit old friends!

- Life as a comic book artist isn’t easy. We didn’t get to talk to Mike Turner too much because we saw how incredibly busy he was, doing signings, sketching for people, being part of panels and such. Poor guy was just packed with stuff all the time. There was one instance where he was doing a signing and sketches, and he really had to go to the bathroom, but he kept on getting interrupted on his way to the bathroom. I wanted to just say, ‘Let the man pee!’

- Pet peeve of the con: People who get more than one sketch. Yes, I know you paid to get into the con, yes, I know that you waited in line to get a sketch, but spread the wealth, yo! There’s a bunch of people behind you who’ve driven really far, just to get ONE sketch. Be courteous to your fellow geeks (i say the word affectionately, being one myself) and let someone else have the joy have having a sketch done. I had see too many people with the look of disappointment when the line was capped for sketches.

- There were so many great books there that I wanted to pick up, but didn’t have the money. Hopefully once I settle down, I can grab some new titles. I’ll definitely be picking up ‘The Ultimates’, ‘Gone South’, ‘Violent Messiahs’, ‘Red Star’ and ‘Kabuki’.

- There were a lot of characters walking around, and one of them was Darth Vader. I watched as people took picture with him, some asking for poses where he was choking them or doing the jedi mind trick. I asked him if I could take a picture with him, and he said, in a low menacing voice, ‘YES’. Then I asked if I could get a hug, because, well, even evil ex-jedi’s need hugs, too. SO he said yes, and I took a picture with him. Then after Fatima took the picture, he reached behind him, pulled out a camera, and said “Can I have one, too?” Uh, yeah, sure Vader, as I could say no to you! So we took a hugging picture with his camera, too. Who knew that Anakin Skywalker had a Canon CoolPix? Not I!

- On Saturday I was wearing a ‘Girl’s Rule’ t-shirt. Lots of comments on it, lots of men challenging the fact that girl’s rule. But we do, so they all lost the arguments.

- A suggestion to my fellow geeks - try out soap. It helps. Sorry, but some people there just STANK.

- Talent Caldwell’s mom is the cutest thing, and it’s even cuter to see Talent with her.

- Although I liked to call us Booth Bitches, because we were doing the behind the scenes work at the booth, I would not go as far to call us “Booth Babes”. Which brings to mind the Evil-Lynn that was there, or the Vampirella that was there two years ago, or any other scantilly clad lasses that adorn a booth. We were far from that! Guys would line up to take pictures of these girls. But to tell the truth, it made me and Fatima laugh really hard when guys would ask us if they could take our pictures. I mean, we’re not babes. Just volunteer bitches. Nonetheless, it was cool that they wanted our picture.

- Funny Exchange #2 - At the DC area, taking a picture with Batman and Wonderwoman

Me: Can I take a picture with you guys?
Wonderwoman: Of course!
Batman: What is your name?
Me: Christine
Batman: Nice to meet you, Christine. I’m Batman.
Me: *giggles*
Fatima takes the pictures.
Me: Thanks so much guys!
Wonderwoman: Of course!
Batman: My pleasure. And Christine, *dramatic pause* GIRL’S RULE!
Me: Yes they do, Batman, yes they do!

- A couple people thought I actually worked for Aspen. I said no, I was just a lucky girl who got a break. I was also asked which character was based on me. I said none…yet. *wink* Then one person pointed at Aspen Matthews and said, ‘She looks like you!’ Nice try, guy! I said, ‘Thanks, I wish! Sometimes when I read the book, I pretend she’s me, but nope, it’s not!’.

- Have I told you guys that Sam Campos is just about the coolest human being on the face of the earth? I just wanted to say that. Thank you.

- Although we were quite excited to see Sean Astin before the con, I think the excitement of working the booth took over. We waited in line to see Sean for a while, and saw him come in. He’s really cute, and has lost a lot of weight since the movie. He’s almost in ‘Toy Soldiers’ form. We knew that the wait would be long and tedious, so we stuck around for a bit, got bored of waiting, said ‘fuck it’, and left to check out the rest of the con. Another day, Samwise Gamgee. We shall meet another day!

Damn, didn’t know this would be this long! Thanks for sticking around long enough to read it. Wait! I’m not done! There’s more fun!

- Phrase that I can live the rest of my life without ever saying again (well, until next year anyway): “We’ve got limited edition prints here. They’re hand numbered and each one is already signed by the artists. $35 for one, $60 for two, and if you get four or more, it’s only $25 each, which saves you $40! Get them soon, because they’re selling out fast!”

- More Aspen ass-kissing: Peter just oozes coolness, there’s just something about him. Frank has the nicest smile, it’s nice and big. Talent has gorgeous eyes, and he’s just CUTE. I love Mike’s voice, it’s got a Disney stud quality to it. Liz has an awesome French accent, and as one guy said at the booth - ‘It’s really hot!’ Aspen is DEFINITELY a good looking company.

- I got to see Jim Lee again. He’s SO cool. Wow. No sketch, though, but SOMEDAY. SOMEDAY I will get a sketch from you, Mr. Lee!

- I saw this huge line at the back of the con, and I had no idea what it was for. Then I saw that Rob Liefeld was in the house. Wow. Haven’t heard from him in a while. I guess people still care! And he was doing sketches, too! Damn!

- Best Fatima quote of the ‘con: “When Mike was heading out to the bathroom, he looked at me and nudged me with his hand. Can you believe it? Michael Turner’s magical, gifted hands touched me! I’m so happy!”

- Humberto Ramos looked at me. He gave me ‘the nod’, I swear. I don’t know if it’s because he recognized me as the girl who was stalking him two years ago and asked for a picture of Psylocke, or if he thought that he knew me because I was working the Aspen booth. Nonetheless, it was cool.

- Best pickup line of the ‘con:

I’m handing out free stickers to people. I see a guy that’s looking at our booth…
Me: Hey, I know that you’re eyeing this sticker! Come and take one!
Dude: I’ll take a sticker, but that’s not what I was eyeing at the booth. *lingering stare*
Me: Uh, heh, uh…um…thanks…here’s the sticker. Have a good day!
Fatima looks at me.
I hide under the table laughing.

- Comic book kids are just about the most polite kids on earth. Just about every one that we gave a free sticker to politely said “thank you”. It was so much fun to see the wonder and joy in their eyes when we offered to give them 2 stickers. “Two stickers? Really? Gee, thanks!” Ahh, to be young again!

- We were so happy to have Liz around. If we didn’t, we would have been lost sheep. She was like our mother hen and we were her chickees. She was SO cool, and so nice. At first I was a little intimidated by her, but she was so easy to get along with, and we really grew attached to her.

- Best way to end off the day: We were sad to leave early, but I had to catch a plane to LA for work at 6pm. I’m sitting at the airport talking on the phone and reading my comics, when who saunters over to the gate but Mike Turner! So I sneak up to him and ask him to sign my book. He looks up, surprised, and laughs. He invites me to sit and chill with him before the flight. It was kinda weird sitting next to him while I was reading the book that he drew. And I don’t know if my hands were shaking because I was sitting next to him, or because I had my first coffee in a month. I think it was the coffee. It was still pretty cool to sit with him. I didn’t want to bother him much, though, because I knew he was SO exhausted from the ‘con. I was content just being within spitting distance. *smile* Then again, he never DID sign my book. *evil grin*

OK, I think that’s all. More will probably come to me later on, but I’ll let you guys off the hook for now. I had a TON of fun, and once I get the pics formatted, I’ll post them up. I might even have to make a seperate gallery for my Wizard World Chicago pictures, there’s so many!

Thanks to all of you who made it this far. I’m thinking that only the geeks got to the bottom, but maybe you ST girls made it this far, too. Thanks to everyone at the ‘con for making it such a fun time for me. Looking forward to the LA con in March! Don’t know if I’ll be working the booth, but I’ll definitely be there!

I am definitely a lucky girl, and in no way will I take this experience for granted.



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11 Comments

2003-08-11 07:59:06

Kathy says

great recap!!! wish you got a pic of Samwise, though. i’m glad you had lots of fun!

 
2003-08-11 10:26:34

Lea says

cool event Christine! i’m not much of a comic gal, but i enjoyed your story. =) it’s awesome when you get to do something you’re really passionate about. makes life more memorable!

 
2003-08-11 11:31:37

Noelle says

K, I didn’t read very far in this, cause to be honest, I just don’t get the comic book thing. At all! (then again, I was the kid who hated cartoons. I’m generally nonplussed by animation, too.)

Someday can you do a post on what the appeal is? I mean, were you a comic fan from childhood on, or did you discover this later in life, as a teen or college student? Cause it strikes me as one of those sub-culture-y things, like D&D, or certain video games like Everquest, or skateboarding, or (dare I say it) short track. I’m curious!

 
2003-08-11 11:41:14

Noelle says

oh wait - flashback - I had a thing for Batman when I was 5. Spiderman, too. *drool*

I guess the skinsuit thing is inborn. ;)

 
2003-08-11 13:58:00

bumblebootie says

i can’t believe I actually read the WHOLE thing. i’m glad you had fun this weekend.

have fun in LA. send hugs to Mr Dave for me! and a *muwah* for you. hehe :)

 
2003-08-11 15:25:06

razzmatazz says

Yo Yano…i almost spent the entire day reading this…WHOA!!! Sm:)e

 
2003-08-11 17:04:21

candace says

hehe…i made it thru the whole thing!…this is surprising since i don’t think i’ve ever made it thru a whole comic book…not that i don’t like them…i just never try to read them…

anyways…it’s kewl that u had such a good time…=)

 
2003-08-11 17:28:10

Pat says

Hey Yano,

If you’re looking to giving ‘The Ultimates’ a try…I have a spare copy of the trade paperback with issues 1-6. Just give me a mailing address and I’ll send it your way. :-)
Glad you had fun!

 
2003-08-11 22:14:19

Denise says

I’m a trooper. I made it to the end. I think I and the other troopers should get a ’special friend’ merit badge. :P
And man, that Batman has great legs. ;)

 
2003-08-12 13:09:57

linda j. says

Noelle, I’m with you on that. I don’t get it either, but maybe you are onto something with the skinsuit idea.
If you’re into comics, Christine, that’s cool, we in the short track world still love ya!

 
2003-08-13 00:24:18

Melinda says

I made it! All the way to the bottom! I agree with Denise . . . don’t those of us who made it get some kind of special recognition? An award? A badge that says we have no life so we’re here reading about Christine’s comic book life? Just wondering. :)

 

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