The panel for Comic Book Tattoo was great. They had not just Tori Amos but 6 of the writers and artists who worked on the book, and most important of all, they kept it balanced. Too often when you have one high-profile guest, the panel ends up focusing entirely on that person. But everyone had a chance to talk about the process.
One of the things that Tori emphasized was that she’d wanted the artists to have complete freedom, because she’d been on too many projects where someone stepped in and said something like, “Did you think about the demographic?” Rantz Hoseley expanded on that, pointing out that many of the artists kept asking him (or, more precisely, Tori, through him) whether they could do things like do a story without word balloons. They were accustomed to that kind of limitation working on other projects. Ted McKeever mentioned a Superman story he turned in that got rejected because he drew the wrong number of belt loops. And Rantz took great pleasure in telling them to go for it, whatever it was.
At one point, Tori mentioned that when she read the stories, she didn’t hear the songs they were based on in her head — she heard new music, which she’s now working on. She and several of the artists talked about the cyclical nature of inspiration, with different kinds of arts all inspiring each other.
I was in the 5th row, off to the side, which was great — but I also had managed to get a slot for the signing this afternoon. I had to skip a bunch of stuff I would have liked to attend — Pushing Daisies, “Quick Draw,” Battlestar Galactica — but you know, I’m going to see those shows when they come back from hiatus. Who knows when I’ll get another chance to meet Tori Amos?
Update: I’ve posted more photos from the panel.
Between the end of the panel and the start of the signing, I wandered a bit, grabbed lunch, went back to Todd Nauck’s table to pick up the Impulse sketch (he was doing a sketch of Secret, and mentioned that he’d started Young Justice as a huge Impulse fan, then started to really like the other characters, and ended up with Wonder Girl as his favorite because he got to show so much character growth over the course of his time on the book.) I caught up with Katie in the line for Pushing Daisies — she got into both the Heroes and Lost panels — and then headed over to the line for the Tori Amos signing around 1:30.
This was the first time I’d been to one of the big autograph signings in the Sails pavilion. They do everything in multistage lines. For about half the first stage I just pulled out the book and read the first few stories. (I must track down a copy of “Here in my Head.”) Then I got to talking with the woman behind me, who had somehow managed a last-minute trip and gotten into just about everything she wanted to do. (Though she disappeared between stages, so I suspect she didn’t know she needed to get her badge signed to get into the signing, and thought she just needed to buy a copy of the book.) During the second stage, I ended up mostly talking with a man in front of me who had been in the comics industry during the late 1990s and left. He said this con, and the book, had inspired him to try to get back into comics.
I got up to the front of the line around 4:10. I’d been trying to think of what to say during my 30 seconds, and promptly forgot all of it. I don’t think I’ve ever been quite reduced to the level of a babbling fanboy as I was when I got to shake Tori Amos’ hand — twice — and try to say something about how I’d loved her music since college, and got this T-shirt at the first concert of hers I went to, and so on, and she just kept looking at me like she was expecting me to continue, and ohmigodi’mtalkingtotoriamos. I remember she asked me if I was local, and I said something about the LA/OC area, and I wanted to mention catching her show at the Grove last December but said something incoherent instead, and that’s honestly the only thing I can remember that she said to me, even though I know there were several more sentences.
I walked away from the signing thinking, “I’m done. I could leave this convention right now and go home, and I’d be perfectly happy.”
Update: I’ve posted more photos from the signing.