The Post-HeroesCon Report (Finally)

Forgive my tardiness on this one, as it HAS been over a week since the convention… BUT financial considerations forced me to take a more active hand in certain affairs, and that kept me away for a bit.  THEN, I got completely smashed at a wedding Saturday and needed a while to recover.  I mean, in addition to the time I spent asleep in the rain on a bench by Boardwalk Billy’s.  Ahem.

Anyway, the grand and spectacular HeroesCon was a magnificent affair, with much fun had by all.  Everyone I saw out there and introduced AFTER to, welcome to the fold.  And everyone who bought the book, thank you for supporting a lowly indy comic publisher.  People like you are the reason this constant toil is all worth it, and we strive to justify your parting with hard-earned money by keeping the entertainment coming.  Speaking of which, check out the AFTER info page above.  Frequent updates to that one as we get closer to finalizing (gasp) Issue Two.

And now, for your viewing pleasure (or masochism), I present a collection of images from the convention, including some of yours truly:

Convention

AH, THE CONVENTION FLOOR…

Convention

After Team

MARCUS KISER (L) + PARIS BATTLE (R)+SHITTY FOCUS=THIS PICTURE OF TEAM ‘AFTER’

Oh Crap

HERE MARCUS IS ABOUT TO SLIP OUT OF THIS DIMENSION ENTIRELY.  NOTE MY LOOK OF PANIC.

Out for now…

– Paris ‘Rev’ Battle

No Sleep Since Brooklyn

Empire StateFinally, I’ve a chance to breathe, relax, decompress, and gather my thoughts following a very productive trip for Memetic Press up to Big Apple Con in New York City last week. If this post seems scattered and fried, it’s because so much happened in those three days (and the five since) I’m still not really sure where to start or finish. This, I might add, is a bad position for a writer to be in.

First of all, a note on modern conveyance. It is absolutely astounding to me sometimes how we take for granted that a person can go from David Cox Road in Charlotte North Carolina to One Penn Plaza in midtown Manhattan in just under four hours. Car, airport shuttle, plane, air train, subway… And you’re there. This reality is in itself amazing enough, but the experience was made all the more surreal by the fact I’ve never been to New York City.

As a place of myth of legend, the City’s influence obviously cannot be understated. In some ways, it’s everything one imagines it to be: loud, rushed, and full of almost any sort of thing you could imagine the planet Earth to contain. There is quite literally more to see and do in three Manhattan city blocks than most cities I’ve been to can offer at ALL. One finds oneself wandering the streets and remembering every film set there, every tale that’s come from this place, every cliche that’s been burned into the American psyche by the energy emanating from this concrete polis. It is a place of indescribable magnitude, and about five hundred times more impressive in person than it could ever be from afar, regardless of radiance.

StreetsThen, one notices little things that never occurred to you. Did you know people sleep on subways? I don’t mean homeless people, I mean people riding the train. That was a method for spotting native New Yorkers, I think. Not only were they asleep sitting up (and in at least one case I observed, STANDING), but they’ve somehow trained their brains to wake up at their particular stop. This is undoubtedly an acquired skill. As is the timing of a New York jaywalk. The jaywalk, however, one can generally master after a day or two. I wasn’t about to attempt subway sleeping, although the gods know I could have used it.

So after falling in love with New York in general (and Brooklyn in particular), there was the Con itself. Much like the City that hosted it, Big Apple Con was loud and packed. Thanks to the very fine folk at Secret Identity Podcast, Memetic Press quickly went from being a roving operation to having a table all our own, and for this they deserve acres of thanks. Also, Matman scored an interview with an up-and-coming comic book writer who shall remain nameless, at least until the interview is up. I’ll let everyone know.

And so I got my full convention on: signed books, sold books, meeting and greeting with several individuals of note, and a general good time had by all. So now I’ll draw thanks to specific individuals for making this possible and/or memorable:

  • First, the talented and dedicated Lyzette HM, not only for her work at the convention (up to and including coffee retrieval, which was vital), but for all the work Pictor Photography And Publicity has done for Memetic Press and After. Don’t know if you guys know this, but it’s primarily due to HER that the book is on the shelves it’s on. And more shelves to come, I might add. Anyone looking to push a product… A LEGAL product, anyway… should contact her.
  • Even though they’ve already been mentioned, thanks have to go out to Secret Identity Podcast, for table wrangling and general support. These guys rule, and if you haven’t been checking out their podcast, I don’t know that I can do anything for you. Seriously, get out of here. You’re a disappointment to the whole family.
  • Mark Sparacio, for being Memetic’s “across-the-aisle” table buddy, and for trading me for my new Sgt. Rock print. Holy shit this thing rules. Seriously, check it out when he puts it up here. What’s Rock staring at? My theory, either someone in Easy Company said something stupid, or he sees some Nazis that need killing.
  • And finally, to the kind and brilliant Danielle Sucher, for providing a starving writer with a place to sleep (briefly) while in New York City. If you happen to be pushing an ILLEGAL product, you can try contacting her. AFTER they lock you up, gangsta.

And so I left the City, much improved from the experience, if perhaps exhausted. It was a brilliant place, a wondrous convention, and it seems AFTER is on it’s way to a BIT more recognition. And if that’s not worth the tax-deductable investment, nothing is.

Out for now…

– Paris “Rev” Battle

Blood and Bloody Ashes

robert-jordan.jpg Some degree of autumn had fallen over Charlotte finally last night, and I spent the greater part of it scouring the northern part of the city for money in the form of pizza delivery tips. What, you didn’t think an indy book got published for free, did you? Anyway, I was out late, and it was when I began my usual internet perusal for the evening that I came across the bad news. It seems that the creator of the Wheel Of Time put down the mountain. Robert Jordan had died. It was a strange and immediate blow to the head. I, like many other fantasy readers of yesteryear, had virtually grown up on Jordan. Every few years (some less few than others), the man could be counted on to provide an absolutely riveting saga, self-contained in one overarching super-saga of a barely conceivable scale. It was, quite frankly, all that a detail oriented uber-geek could have asked for.

If I were to bother calculating the accumulated hours spent reading, re-reading, analyzing, pondering over, and discussing the dizzying variety of the series’ aspects, both by myself and with others, I would probably come up with a percentage of time expended in my youth comparable to a ‘Star Wars’ related figure.

And that run-on sentence should tell you more than anything else about the matter. To put it in the off-color vernacular: Robert Jordan was the shit, and it’s a shame he’s gone. He had a capacity for epic storytelling that informed (and still does) almost every aspect of my own writing, especially as relates to character development. He was the first writer to show me what a story COULD be, even in concept. And all the different things it could mean if you let it. It’s a rare accomplishment for any story, or series of stories, to deal with any human experience to a truly enlightening degree. The Wheel Of Time did so with many human experiences. Some have argued it damn near addressed them all. Future generations are going to come to learn him like Tolkien, most likely. One day I’ll be able to say I briefly shook his hand.

Eye Of The WorldAnd yet, I can’t bring myself to be sad. Just a little awed. What Robert Jordan wrote will outlast his presence on this world for hundreds of years or more. The tale he crafted, incomplete or not, is going to stand out and inspire generations of readers and writers for long after his original fans get themselves re-spun by the Wheel. He left this world something that may come to touch millions, if it hasn’t already. Any writer would do well to hope for a tenth as much. Perhaps one day, the Wheel will spit me out again, and I can come to see the results of a world three thousand years after The Wheel Of Time was first committed to print. Perhaps we all will, including Mr. Jordan. For now, I’ll leave you with my favorite Aiel proverb:

“Life is a dream from which we all must wake before we can dream again.”

Tai’shar Charleston.

Out for now…

– Paris “Rev” Battle