NEWW has come and gone, and the week­end is still fresh in my mind. A cliché, I real­ize. It’s true though! As I’ve said in many blog posts prior to this one, Sara was there—taking photos, no less!—and she’s been nice enough to cull her favorite pic­tures into a Flickr photo set. Ain’t that great!

What fol­lows might be con­sid­ered long and name-​droppy. I apol­o­gize for none of it. What else is a con report sup­posed to be, anyway? (Also, there are a lot of dashes, and I don’t apol­o­gize for those either.)

Friday

After a taxing1 nine-​hour drive up from Cleve­land, we finally found our­selves in Northamp­ton: small, busy … cold. La Ver­acruzana pro­vided the evening’s dinner bur­ri­tos2 before we walked over to Modern Myths, local comic shop and start­ing line for the evening’s Pub Crawl. Among the coa­lesc­ing atten­dees, we met Indigo—not the color, but an aspir­ing web­car­toon­ist her­self3, and a wel­come com­pan­ion for most of the night. Once every­one had a chance to make eye con­tact and nod and laugh ner­vously, we headed out. The word “crawl” implies a jour­ney with mul­ti­ple stops, you might think, but we arrived almost imme­di­ately at The Tunnel Bar and didn’t leave until the night was almost over.

Have you ever imbibed at a place built inside of a train tunnel? The doors to the place rest inside of a brick arch­way, and the inte­rior is slick as all hell. It suf­fers from an epi­demic of incur­ably comfy chairs. I ordered a Coke (yawn!) and assumed we’d sit around for a half hour or so, making friendly con­ver­sa­tion until some­body decided we’d keep crawl­ing, as it were4. Nope! Thanks to a well-​timed bath­room trip, we fig­ured out that stuff was hap­pen­ing on the second floor5.

The crowd was small at the start, but big folks (both fig­u­ra­tively and lit­er­ally) were there: Ryan North, Jeph Jacques, and Joey Comeau counted among them (Comeau having a more fig­u­ra­tive than lit­eral big­ness). Crowds grow, though, you know. At some point, the lights had dimmed—very atmos­pheric and con­ducive to drink­ing, I imagine—and I real­ized I’d had some very nice con­ver­sa­tions with Tyson Hesse and Josh Lesnick about how great their comics are. Spike was there, pro­ject­ing a sort of friendly impish aura as she talked, as well as other people I am for­get­ting, I’m sure.

I was really lucky, though, to run into Diana Nock, who shared impor­tant advice regard­ing print col­lec­tions, grants, and con­ven­tion eti­quette, among other things. It was pretty embar­rass­ing to look a cer­ti­fied illus­tra­tor in the eye and say “I have never read your comic … but … but I have heard really nice things.” Didn’t seem to phase her too much, though, which was a super relief.

Brian Car­roll was also there, and one phrase comes to mind when describ­ing him: Brian Car­roll is a maniac. The good kind. This is a cryp­tic way of saying that he’s (very) pas­sion­ate about film­mak­ing, and also an ener­gized speaker.

By that time, Sara and I decided to head out to the Dirty Truth, home of a thou­sand exotic ales. On our way out, we met Stevie—a fan of the comic! The first I’ve met in person, and a good-​humored scholar, whose taste in comics is obvi­ously excellent—and Magnus, NEWW’s offi­cial pho­tog­ra­pher for the second year in a row. You should look at this photo set of his, because it is a ver­i­ta­ble bonanza of pic­to­r­ial doc­u­men­ta­tion.6

Saturday and also Sunday

These days were pretty sim­i­lar. We drove down to East­works after sleep­ing in a little too late—those nine-​hour drives, they linger with you—and divided our time between booth-​hovering and panel-​watching. Stan­dard con stuff, as you’d expect, accom­pa­nied by the clear impres­sion that most of exhibitors and atten­dees did indeed show up straight from the inter­net.

Espe­cially mem­o­rable panels included “Car­toon­ists Answer your Ques­tions about Star Trek” —self-explanatory, though dan­ger­ously close to being TNG-​exclusive, if not for Dylan Meco­nis and her “old money” geek cred—and “QUICK DRAW!”, where audi­ence mem­bers shouted sug­ges­tions for draw­ings at a clus­ter of bewil­dered car­toon­ists (fig. 1: “The King of Food“, by Mered­ith Gran and KC Green). MC Frontalot laid down his trade­mark rhymes during a pair of super-​exclusive secret VIP con­certs7 on Sat­ur­day night. Who could say no to the king of nerd­core?8

I think that covers the meat of it, but the com­ments are open if the specifics are unclear. If I’m not mis­taken, Mered­ith Gran and R. Stevens were greatly respon­si­ble for the convention’s suc­cess, and a suc­cess it cer­tainly was. To every­one involved in making NEWW run smoothly: it was a fan­tas­tic show!

1 Actu­ally, you know what? Not that bad, it turned out. iPods really liven up crim­i­nally unend­ing stretches of road, as you might expect. Also, the off-​road McDonald’s we ate at in New York: depress­ing, and not nearly as nice as the McDonald’ses we saw in Mass­a­chu­setts. Go figure.

2 Tasty ‘n’ quick ‘n’ cheap: as much as you’d ever need from a Mex­i­can place in a col­lege town.

3 Web­comics con­ven­tions are a draw for such people, it seems!

4 Not that this didn’t happen. Among the friendly topics dis­cussed were col­le­giate regrets and horrid horror movies.

5 A bar with a second floor! Has the world gone mad?! Actu­ally I am sure it is not that unusual.

6 Also, Magnus is not a given name, but a name chosen by the man him­self to sup­plant a more common and boring name. “Magnus.” God damn, that’s a good name.

7 The con­certs were actu­ally not all that exclu­sive. I guess it depends as to whether $10 cou­pled with “first come first serve” counts as a dec­la­ra­tion of exclu­siv­ity.

8 The answer is Al-​Qaeda.

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