coppervale (coppervale) wrote,

On Overnight Success, or Memories of Comicon Part I

It actually takes around twenty years, give or take. At least.

It's been interesting to watch the ripples caused by how well HERE, THERE BE DRAGONS and THE SEARCH FOR THE RED DRAGONS are doing, but never moreso than when booksellers, librarians, or readers refer to them (and me) as being an 'overnight success'.

But as the ripples widen, others who know a bit more of the background start tossing in pebbles of their own: those in the SF/F community who are aware of my MYTHWORLD novels in Germany, for example; which leads to those in the Comics community who know about my years producing STARCHILD comics; which inevitably comes full circle to where librarians who know DRAGONS write to ask if I'm related to the James Owen who's pictured in Jeff Smith's History of Self-Publishing Comics blogs.

What the Imaginarium Geographica books are consists of two things: 1) Lighting. In a bottle. It was the right idea and the right timing and the right editor and the right alignment of planets. It is also 2) the result of many years of hard work, that began a long while before I'd even thought of STARCHILD in the early 90's.

A lot of people know I was one of the principal players in the Self-Publishing movement of the 90's. What a lot of people don't know is that I actually started my tenure in comics at the tail-end of the PREVIOUS self-publishing boom in the 80's - the one that started with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And I did so as the youngest exhibitor they've ever had at the San Diego Comicon, which, on capacity days, looked like this:

Comicon itself was bigger than it had been at the old Cortez Hotel, but was minimal compared to now. But for me, it was Nirvana. Even if I didn't have a driver's license yet. There's a lot of 1986 nostalgia in the air due to the WATCHMEN movie, but for me, it was also the year my career started in earnest; the year I moved from behind the curtains to the stage. And if I wasn't exactly in the center of it, it wasn't for lack of effort. But I was there - and I was determined to get into that spotlight, even if it took a year.

Or twenty.

Next: The Comicon '86 story, with barnyard construction, U-Haul vans, Distributor meetings, and Presidential Suites.

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