I attended the World Fantasy Convention for the first time last weekend, which was held in Saratoga, New York. I had a wonderful time, most of which I spent with my good friend, the writer and artist Matthew Dow Smith. Matt recently completed his work on the Supernatural Origins comic series, and the sixth and final issue should be hitting the stands just about now and you should buy it. Matt and I are hoping to do some comic book projects together soon, and the ideas were flying fast and furious between us.
Also flying fast and furious: the money out of my wallet in the dealers' room. Man, I love books, and this convention had all of the beautiful rare and out of print stuff right alongside the newest and noteworthiest releases--and the cool thing is that many of the authors and artists that created those works are right there at the convention.
Two of my major weaknesses are gently used paperbacks from the sixties and seventies and art books. The paperbacks are cool because you can usually get them on the cheap; I loaded up a number of great fantasy and horror paperbacks at the show (Fritz Leiber novels with the Jeffrey Jones covers!)and at a great local bookstore called The Lyrical Ballad. Not so economical are the art books, which unfortunately have the tendency to become Must Haves upon sight. The 2 volume Barry Windsor-Smith collection Opus was one such Must Have. I could have bought a lot o' paperbacks for what I paid for the set, but it is gorgeous beyond belief and what is money anyhow but a less attractive form of paper?
Buying books to get signed is always cool too, even though I am still prone to geeking up around people's work I admire. I totally geeked up when talking to Kelly Link, for example, who I think has one of the most unique and wonderful voices in fiction today, and also around Peter Straub, who consistently produces some of the best supernatural fiction ever written. I may be a professional writer, but I think I'll always be a fan first.
The panels were wonderful--I'm always amazed at how many story ideas I get from listening to creative people talk about subjects they are passionate about. Sometimes all it takes is an offhand comment to get the synapses firing.
I think they are firing now, in fact. Either that or I put too much sugar in my coffee again