I was blessed to be able to attend the NY Comic Con ’09 convention at the Jacob Javits Center, this past weekend February 6-8. It was an awesome time, with attendence in the thousands.
My primary reason for attending was to seek out artists and illustrators to work with me on my new book, SpeedSuit Powers. My secondary reason was because I love comic books. The outcome of the weekend proved to be extremely beneficial (despite my being physically exhausted from walking around for three days); providing contacts with artists, illustrators, writers, novelists and a noteable television personality. I even hired artist/illustrator Shawn Alleyne to drawn his version of the main character from my novel, based on my concept drawings. They came out great!
When I wasn’t networking or sitting in on panel discussions and performances, I walked around and observed my surroundings. Here are a few of my observations:
1. Everyone wants to be accepted and appreciated by others. When you walk through isles and isles of display booths and look into the eyes of those sitting or standing behind their tables promoting their art products, you realize this. Without saying a word their eyes say (as if back in elementary school lined up to be picked for a game of dodgeball) ‘Pick me! Pick me! Stop by my table and see what I can do!’
I tried to stop and talk with as many creators as I could. It was wonderful to see their eyes and expression light up when the question was asked, ‘So what do you have here?’
2. Each of us are unique. Wtih literally hundreds of artists under one roof, it was amazing to see how each had their own unique style. You could see the same staple charcters (like Superman, Batman, Wonderwoman and others) drawn differently by each artist, yet retaining the key elements that make each character recognizable. And yet even with all of the uniqueness – every artist uses the same foundational tools that speak to the commonality of our existence – pen, pencil and paper. We are all unique and yet amazingly the same.
3. People are searching for identity and meaning. This is my second Comic Con and it is evident that people are searching for something to give their life meaning. When you see the intricacies of the fan-made costumes, you begin to realize the depth of their interaction and devotion.
I understand this because I am a rehabilitated Superman fan. In the past I could relate to Kal-El’s Clark Kent image – since I was myself mild mannered, wore glasses and had various insecurities. I’d spend hours imagining there was another side to me, where I was strong and powerful, able to make a difference while bullets bounced off of my chest. In college and graduate school, my nick name was ‘The Black Clark Kent.’ I thought buying into the last son of Krypton identity (although fiction) helped me deal with who I was… or so I thought. One day, while in graduate school, the realization hit me that Superman had become my idol. My existence has become wrapped around wanting to be like him instead of wanting to be all that God had created me to be.
So I get the intricate fan-costumes. I’ve worn two of my own (in college for my television production class). I understand the rush that comes from being able to be someone else for a few days – to take on an alter ego different from our own. For many at the NY Comic Con ’09, dressing up is nothing more than fun. For a few, their entire identity is tied into the fictional character they proudly portray. However, for all of us… we are searching for identity, meaning and purpose.
All in all, I had a wonderful weekend and look forward to seeing where my new network of artistic colleagues takes me – and where I can take them. Amazingly, months ago I already had another engagement that conflicted with this time. But then that engagement was rescheduled to a later date. I see that as divine intervention. ‘Thank you’ God for this opportunity and to my wife for enthusiastically supporting my attendence to this convention. It’s hard to believe that ten months ago the story was stuck in my head and all I had was a few drawings. Now, the story takes up 248 pages and my collection of concept art keeps growing. I’m one more step closer to the fulfillment of a dream. My new novel is coming.
You can go to apw3.com/speedsuit for more information and to sign up on my update list. My highlight video will be up on Youtube within a couple of days.
-Allen Paul Weaver III-