A Big Room Full of Books | Newberry

A Big Room Full of Books

One of the difficulties of walking around at the Comic Con is that you tend to come out of it staring at people and wondering, “What are YOU dressed up as?”, when they’re not actually in costume at all. Of course, I have that problem at the Book Fair sometimes, too.

Yes, I was at the Chicago Comic Con this weekend. That was NOT some punk kid you saw, just drssed up in an Uncle Blogsy suit. Or maybe it was, depending on what you think of your Uncle Blogsy. Although I did not go just to see whether any copies of the Blogsy book were for sale among the stories of Superman and the Grey Ghost and other superheroes, I can report that they were not. Your copy is still as rare a collectible as we told you when you got it.

I go to keep a finger on the pulse of trends in pop culture. I can report that, in spites of comments to the contrary, zombies are NOT dead. (Yes, and that joke keeps coming back, as well. That’s part of the horror.) I saw more Harry Potters than I saw Wonder Women (and the Wonder Women I saw tended to be eight or younger). I had to dodge a LOT of plastic swords which accidentally came my direction. I did NOT ask to have them aimed at me by inquiring, “Pardon me: are you from Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones?” I did not pose next to the heroic car from Knight Rider, nor with the young lady who was wearing a costume over her costume. (These Harley Quin costumes always involve something large for hitting people, so I decided not to ask why.) I could not decide which T-shirt I liked better, the “Keep Calm and Comic Con” or the picture of Bigfoot saying “Yeah? Well, I don’t believe in humans!”

One of my favorite parts of the show is Artist’s Alley which, back in the day, involved a lot of hungry people who had scraped up enough money to buy a chance to pull a folding chair up behind a folding table and sell the comic books they’d made. It was always interesting to look around, but you had to avoid eye contact. There was that air of, “Please! I sank my life’s savings into printing this: buy a copy!”

It’s more glitzy now, with people setting up massive blow-ups of their favorite artwork to sit behind them, and very professional-looking racks and display stands. The less glitzy sections are now those where AUTHORS sit, looking forlorn but hopeful. I saw four “authors” and two “fiction writers”, but decided asking the difference would be the same as confusing Rings with Thrones again. And, again, I did not approach the tables nor touch the books on display. I could see in their eyes that they’d been answering the main question—Is this a free sample?—for three straight days.

Also of interest to those in the book fair biz wat that there were at least as many booths selling collector supplies as booths selling beer. Everything from little plastic boxes for collector cards to massive Mylar bags for protecting your cinema posters were available, either by the bag or the single item (if you had just bought a signed poster and didn’t know how to carry it safely when you bought your nachos. We have that problem at the Book Fair, too, though you have to leave the building to get the nachos.)

So it was a medley of the strange (that man who dressed as a package of Ramen noodles) and the familiar (“Can’t we stop shopping and eat? I’m starving.” “Well, that’s YOUR problem!”) I will continue to dream of one day filling a space as big as the Stephens Convention Center with a Bok Fair (AND, since I would still be walking from one end to the other twenty times a day, getting one of those Celebrity Carts they use to take the guest stars from place to place. “Come on, into the Blogmobile! There’s a customer who can’t find a price!”)

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