Monday, October 18, 2010

Prism Grant Winner 2010!

Me and Zan!
The man who made my dreams come true!

I am now
an award winning author!

Praise be! Sing songs of exultation!

This weekend at the San Francisco Alternative Press Expo they announced me, little ole' me (!) as one of this years' recipients for Prism Comics annual Queer Press Grant!

But before we get to that, let's begin at the beginning, shall we?

Our hotel room! Matt's bed is clean, my bed is...
well, MY bed.

I registered for, and sold artwork at, my first ever comic book convention. I dragged Matthew with me all the way to California (he had never been) and we made a little vacation out of it. Friday we roamed around Pier 39, saw the sea lions (there were surprisingly fewer than before), sat in the glorious sunshine and had lunch and cocktails, then eventually made our way to the Cable Car Museum.

Next to the two-story, handcrafted carousel

We tried to get onto a cruise to Alcatraz but they were all sold out until Sunday (Sunday!). Let that be a lesson to those of you who want to go: plan ahead!

This was as close to Alcatraz as we ever got.

Then it was lunch in the hot sun with ice cold drinks. I had a Spiked Arnold Palmer (Mm-mm! Sweet tea vodka!) and Matt had something fruity and delicious (but with too much Malibu for his liking), don't worry, I finished the drink for him then we found our way walking to the Cable Car Museum.

"I'll pay for your drink, but I won't pay for waste."

So handsome. So happy to be traveling.

Now, I had thought the CCM would be some hole-in-the-wall public space full of dusty trolley trinkets. And it was! But it was also the magnificently still operational carriage house for the actual cable cars. The wheels were spinning noisily in the dust from a hundred years of constant motion. The heat bordered on unbearable and it smelled faintly of hot generators and bearing grease. I was sweating like a piglet.

The CCM machine house is right next door!
Smells like our garage but much, much older,
And with tools like look like torture devices!

Like Gilda Radner I base most of my fashion sense on what doesn't itch.
Also, on what makes me sweat the least.

Loving the hills and the epic views

AP was right, thought, the CCM was worth more than the price of admission (It's free!). From there we went to Haight Ashbury where I explained to a befuddled Matthew what "420" means, and along the way we a.) posed at every turn with the Golden Gate Bridge behind us and b.) nearly got run over by a Segway gang. YES, a Segway gang!

See? They roam in packs, people, beware!

420 Friendly, man!

Friday night was the APE conference exhibitor mixer & registration (Translation: FREE BEER!). The brochure said that the mixer would be in a comic book store called The Last Gasp but I was not prepared for the ...the ...the crazy wall to wall stuff I was confronted with.

a)pictures hang on the Dewey Decimal System,

b)Obama in a Santa Hat

c) A stuffed cat (?) with many silicone nipples

d) Church Pew (not seen)

The Lasp Gasp
was part office building, part storage facility, part apartment complex. Things, stuff (junk), hung from every wall and lined every surface. The bathrooms were cramped and crooked and questionable. The kitchen looked like an ancient furnace room, glimpsed furtively, at the end of a long hall.

Bruce Lee votes sucka'!

This was a catered affair and servers circled with fancy chutney and brie quesdillas and nibbles of all sorts that seemed out of place in this strange, dusty, creaky place. There was a food area set up in a hallway and a smiley-nice man pouring plastic glasses of wine and twisting the caps off bottles of beer that were floating in tubs of ice. Somewhere there was cake.

Naked lady comics and sex comics seemed evenly strewn about. the book selections were rad. Matt picked up Negative Affirmations and read out loud to me laughing and trying to keep a melancholy voice.

It was fun. In the living room there was a ceiling full of model airplanes that made me think of my own. There was a working piano, 2 pinball machines, 3 old dentist chairs and a myriad of other strange and disturbing stuff all over the place.

So that was Friday. We went out drinking and gallivanting Friday night but that's a story for another time.


APE 2010!
Saturday Morning!

We slept late (Translation: We were hungover) which made setting up my first table ever a bit more stressful than it needed to be. We met Nathan, my table buddy and got ready for the show to open.

11am: The bullhorn blows signaling the start of the day. Convention goers come pouring in. We are at the far, far, faaaar end of the hall so it takes a while for the people to make their way to us and most are just doing a once over to get their bearings. It's a slow first hour.

One of my table neighbors buys a $5 postcard from me and officially becomes my first legit sale ever! Hi, Luke! Thanks! I sell one book to a man who is all business. I can tell he's looking for talent and something catches his eye in the pages of Duck. "This is your first published work?" he asks me.

"First one ever," I say.

We chat for awhile and gives me a business card and walks away with the first copy of Duck ever sold. My knees feel a little bit wobbly.

I brought mini rubber duckies with me to hand out to people as they walk past my table. These are a big hit especially with nick-knack collectors. It seems almost everybody has somebody they can give a rubber duck to. I have to explain that there are NO ducks in my book and I write up a blurb to put on my table. It says things like:

Duck! An original graphic novel!
There are NO actual ducks in this book!


It's sort of On The Road meets The L-Word.


If you're in the market for friendly banter, this is the book for you!

I get really positive responses from complete strangers and everyone at the con seems really nice. There are a few folks who aren't interested in my work when they first come up to my table, but once they open DUCK they keep turning the pages. A few of these people seem genuinely impressed and fork over the money to take the book home.

Inside I am blushing. Outside my hands are shaking. I am signing books I have made for the first time in my life and it feels weird.

In the middle of the afternoon I realize I haven't eaten all day and I am famished. The adrenaline of actually being here and actually doing this has got my head spinning. I ask Matt to watch the booth and head to the kitchen, but on the way, as I am passing the Prism Comics booth I hear Justin Hall say he has to go moderate a panel and he'll be back in an hour. I realize he is talking about the Queer Comics panel, which is a big part of the Reason Why I Am Here and I turn right around and head into the the conference room.

The panel is excellent. I am shocked that I came so close to missing it.

There are about 7 or more guest speakers and the topic stays mostly on The Future of Comics and what role queer comics will play in that future. They discuss internet vs. print, nudity vs. pornography and the double standard ALL gay comics gets saddled with, which is to label anything that features gay characters as pornography regardless of content or age appropriate material.

The panel is ending and Justin Hall announces quickly that this years' recipient of the Prism Comics Queer Press Grant. "It's a dead tie," he said. "Third year in a row!"

Now, I had heard somewhere that when you win a grant, someone from the committee will contact you ahead of time to sort of give you a heads up. So, even though I was fully aware I had applied for this grant I had no expectation of winning it.

This year's winners are "Joe, Joe..." He looks down at the paper in front of him "Joe Hanna Tana Ford"

I swear, I nearly passed out.

In fact (they told me later) my face lit up, I shouted (squeaked) "That's me! I'm her! That's me!"

Justin looked up flushed (he's a very handsome man) "That's you?"

"It's me!" (I was excitedly pointing at myself and standing up. The microphone was a foot in front me and to the left) "THAT'S ME!" I boomed into it. My voice echoed around the hall and I could feel my face turn red.

"I'm at Table 645, come by and check it out!"

I still don't know where I got the guts to say that, but I'm glad I did.


After that everything is sort of a blur.

I met Justin and Zan and so many other people. I shook hands and smiled so much my cheeks started to hurt. I got back to my table bouncing up and down like a jackrabbit and told Matthew in one run-on sentence everything that had happened and he started crying.

He actually started crying.

A photographer came over who was so sweet and understanding (in roughly 9 out of 10 photos I am an excited blur of a girl). Zan took some video and asked me to speak about the process of applying. I had nothing of substance to say, really. Even now, with the weekend over I can't think of one cogent piece of advice to give to someone else who wants to apply for this grant.

Just, do it, man.

Do it!

After that my table was swamped. People were buying my books up like hot cakes. The guys from Prism Comics came over and asked me if I would like to put a stack of books at their big table and I gushed some more. My hands were shaking trying to sign everything. As an artist you are supposed to draw a little doodle on the title page along with your name and I was shaking so badly I couldn't do it. I couldn't think of one single thing to draw - it's just one mashed up miraculous blur.

7pm: The Bullhorn sounds to signal the close of the show. I have been asking people for constant updates on the Giants game which started at 4:30pm. Can you believe I am in San Fran and the Giants are in the playoffs and I will not get to watch ONE MINUTE of the game in some local dive bar?! It is an outrage!

(But the Giants win and I am very happy for my new adopted city)


SUNDAY begins much better.

First of all we have a sit down breakfast at Rocco's complete with mimosa's and a cute waitress.

I had gone to bed early while Matt went to the Isotope Lounge After Party in my stead. He met the amazingly awesome James Sime himself! Otherwise known to the comic book world as Isotope! The baddie from Robert Kirkman's Invincible series and also as a cameo of a dead body in Kirkman's The Walking Dead series.

Love the hair!
Sunday morning I see James' walking past my booth and I accost him. Lucky for me he's used to gushing fans and we have a longish chat about comics', Kirkman and the future of the industry (Inside I am a squealing fangirl).

Love the Zoot Suit!

Here I am pointing out where you can find the comic book version of Mister Sime himself:

5:30am. Looking a bit jet lagged I'd say...

And here he is in all his glory:

What a weekend.

I also met some fantastic artists. One of which is my new boyfriend Daniel Touchet. If I only liked boys, he would totally be my type. Alas, BEST FRIENDS for lyfe coming up!

You should go check out his work and buy his stuff.
He's absolutely adorable.

Also check out: Conduct Happiness! If you are in the market for hilariously awesome shirts and stuff for kids and toddlers BUY THEIR STUFF online! I mean come on "Conserve water, PEA on a tree." It's CLASSIC!

PEA on my duckie!

Go PEA go!


Anyway, it was an outstanding mind-blowing weekend.

I haven't even mentioned I got to meet one of my art heroes Erika Moen and one of my new faves Dylan Meconis. Go check out Family Man and DAR and support those two talented West Coast ladies.

I'd jabber on for awhile longer but I think I need to go find a couch and take a nap.

I'm pooped!

Peace out!

(As always, sorry about all the spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, but given the weekend I just had I think you'd better cut me some slack, haters. xoT)