This was my first San Diego Comic Con. I had been told to expect a spectacle and that's certainly what it was. I had to take the trolley to the convention center many, many stops away in order to find parking. Even then, during peak hours the train was bursting with cosplayers. Here I am above signing books at the First Second booth with editor extraordinaire, Calista Brill. My amazing publicist Gina Gagliano is in the background.
During the night of the Eisner Awards I made my way to the Hilton Bayfront hotel. I got ushered to my table and then about 45 minutes before the ceremony food was served buffet style. The table centerpieces were action figures of Will Eisner's The Spirit. At the very end of the evening they were giving away more packaged versions of this toy so made sure to bring one home to my son.
I had this chance to catch up with friends from far and wide. So many friends nominated. Rina Ayuyang was up for Best Short story and attended the ceremony with her husband. I feel Rina and I both come from similar comics roots, both having been the only two artists published by the combined forces of Sparkplug Comics and Tugboat Press.
I sat at the First Second table with Mark Siegel, Calista, Gina, and nominees Jillian Tamaki, Mariko Tamaki, Gene Luen Yang and Gene's wife. My stomach was in knots as I sat and waited. I have to say I was a little underwhelmed by the speeches people were giving. I thought to myself, I better having something ready in case we actually win. I felt a little silly for writing a speech down. But, it could actually happen right.
When it was announced that The Zoo Box had won for Best Publication for Early Readers it really hit me hard. I somehow managed to head up to the podium and make a little speech. I remember looking into a sea of bright black that was the audience. All of the lights shining right on me made it feel as if I was talking to a screen or talking to the abyss. I think I kept my wits about me. I did however forget to mention Dylan Williams, whom I owe so much.
So, we won. It's a total trip! After I made my little speech they swept me off stage, took my picture, and did a backstage interview. I wonder where those photos and interviews all end up? Overall, this was the most mind-blowing thing I've been a part of. It feels truly amazing and super surreal.
I walked all around with my wife's and my Eisner. Thank you Gina for getting me a box to put them in.
I went through a number of facial expressions for this photo and this is the one Gene choose to post on Twitter. :) Really proud of that guy and proud to know him for the short time I have. Gene won for "Best Writer" up against the comics heavyweights. Raina Telgemeier won for "Best Writer/Artist" up against titans as well. Mariko and Jillian won for "Best Graphic Album New," which was no surprise to many. I met so many amazing people on this trip that I cannot possibly thank them all. Sorry, if only I had more time.
Here we are with our awards. Thank you to everyone who voted! Really it's because of you that we get to have this honor. Ariel's already disappointed that she wasn't able to make it for the event so I won't rub it in. One note about the awards is that they are sturdy. The globe does spin and they look pretty damn handsome, don't they? Now... How do I not let it all go to my head? We're both not quitting our day jobs as teachers anytime soon. I guess that's a start.