I know: in this day and age, you’re supposed to post a report within 24 hours of an event’s end, or, better yet, blog live. Sorry, I’m just a slow guy.
My first Comic-Con was a blast! Among other things, I learned that it’s “Comic-Con,” not “ComiCon.” (º∇º;)
Seriously, it wildly surpassed my expectations. Then again, my expectations were of something like a nerd mosh-pit, packed with unwashed, socially-challenged geeks with an average BMI of well over 50. Happily, it was nothing like that. (On the other hand, I never went near the notorious Hall H.) And I’m happy to report that Moto Hagio also had a blast. We both can’t wait to go back, preferably sooner than later.
And I must apologize to everyone who proposed such great questions to pose to Hagio. We ended up scrapping the interview and going with a very different format. Hagio described her career and showed slides (Sorry to those who attended for the minor technical difficulties), and then she took questions from the audience, which were translated by my dear friend Mari Morimoto. The “Spotlight,” with maybe one hundred or so attendees, went very well, and judging from the laughter, I succeeded in conveying Hagio’s subtle jokes. Since this was my first Comic-Con, and only my fourth con of any kind, I didn’t have much to compare it to, but after the panel Mari said, “I’m so glad there were no stupid questions.” After attending a couple of other panels, I realized what she meant. I suppose Hagio attracts a more sophisticated audience.
The book, A Drunken Dream, is even more gorgeous than I had imagined. Fantagraphics’ designer, Adam Grano, really went all out on this one. (The lettering that appears brown in the image on Amazon is actually gold leaf.) I believe the 150 copies they brought to the con were sold out by the last day. And Hagio probably did more signing over four days than she has done in the past four years.
|Moto Hagio with Ray Bradbury|
For me, and even more so for Hagio, the most moving moment was a very private one, in which Hagio was introduced to the great Ray Bradbury in a quiet room in the convention center. Mr. Bradbury has difficulty hearing and speaking, but the two of them were able to communicate quite well without words. (No interpreter required.) Ms. Hagio had tears in her eyes at the end of the meeting. For her it was a dream come true. Someday I will have to translate her manga adaptation of Mr. Bradbury’s “R” Is for “Rocket”.
|Jo Chen and Moto Hagio|
Another “Wow” moment for me was meeting the amazing Jo Chen and learning that she is a huge fan of Hagio. My traveling companion is a big fan of Jo Chen, so we lined up to get head sketches at the Udon Comics booth. Jo opened my friend’s sketchbook, and the first thing she saw was an autographed sketch by Hagio. Jo said, “Oh my God! How did you get this!?” Jo did not realize that Hagio was also at Comic-Con. So at Hagio’s next signing that afternoon, who was first in line but Jo Chen! Jo speaks some Japanese, but asked me tell Hagio that every year she rereads her old copy of Hagio’s The Poe Clan, and every year she is just as moved as she was the first time she read it many years ago.
So my friend, an aspiring manga artist herself, meets Jo Chen and goes all fangirl.
Jo Chen meets Moto Hagio and goes all fangirl.
Moto Hagio meets Ray Bradbury and goes all fangirl.
All fangirls at heart, and that’s the way it should be. Once you lose that sense of magic and excitement you had as a kid, I think you lose the ability to inspire those same feelings in others.