Edited by Sam Thielman
WHEN I WAS A CHILD, my mother and I used to take the D train to Herald Square and walk the block to the Hotel Pennsylvania on 7th Avenue, where the comics conventions were.
The building was as elegant as the interior was grimy. All my recollections of it are vague, but I seem to recall the convention area was poorly lit. None of that mattered to me at 8 to 13 years old, since a good convention was for me a giant, superbly stocked comic store. I don't recall there being much in the way of cosplay in the late 80s and early 90s. I was there to spend money on cheap back issues and my mother, who taught me to read with Bill Mantlo's run on Incredible Hulk, was there to enable me. Ma's tastes ran more toward potboiler mystery novels—every time Sue Grafton dropped a new Kinsey Millhone alphabetical, she copped—but she once heckled John Byrne.
Last week marked nine years she's been gone. It's because of her that I am a lifelong comics reader—for that matter, it's because of her that I am—and I wish she was still here with me for many reasons, most of all to meet her grandchildren. Today, I wish I could take her on the train to New York Comic Con this week, because I am going to be there as a comic creator for the first time. Chances are she would heckle me too, but unlike with Byrne she wouldn't go for the throat.
I'm not really a convention-goer. The only time I've been to the all-new-all-different New York Comic Con was in 2011, when I was on assignment for Pacific Standard. (Imagine being me and getting my gratis copy of the issue to see that my piece was illo'd by Norm Breyfogle! When I think of Batman, Breyfogle's Dark Knight is who I see in my mind's eye.) Developers are tearing down the Hotel Pennsylvania to build a new behemoth next to Madison Square Garden. But this isn't supposed to be a mournful reflection on what's lost. Unlike my youthful conventions, NYCC is at the Javits Center, as the scale of everything, to include the fun it offers, is much larger. (Or so I gather from social media over the past decade.) Last year, when WALLER VS. WILDSTORM was getting off the ground, I asked a friend of mine who's written comics what it's like to go to a convention as a creator instead of as a fan. He closed his eyes for a moment and a smile spread across his face. That answered my question before he said anything.
Awkwardly for purposes of this edition, I have been instructed not to say anything more about my convention appearance. But it's going to be simply incredible. If you're a NYCC person, I think you'll be interested in checking it out. As we get closer to the event—NYCC goes from Thursday the 6th to Sunday the 9th—I'll be able to say more, so follow @attackerman on Twitter and Instagram for updates, schedules and so forth. I won't be able to produce another edition of FOREVER WARS this week, as it's Erev Kol Nidre and I have a lot to do. When Yom Kippur ends I've got to write an acceptance speech for the American Book Awards on Sunday before the con. Frankly, my head isn't in journalism this week, it's in t'shuvah, parenting and comics, so I wouldn't inflict a half-baked edition on you even if I had time to write it. If I like my awards speech maybe I'll do that as an edition after Sunday.
Anyway! Come say hi if you'll be at NYCC as I'll be in an excellent mood and I want to meet you. If you see me crying a little, it's only because I'll be feeling the presence of the soul of my mother.
THIS IS GOING TO BE AN ABRUPT TRANSITION to incestuous Nazi failchildren, but my friend Connor Goldsmith and I have recorded the Fenris episode of his world-beating Cerebro podcast. It's the fifth in our series of political dialogues spinning out of discussions of X-Men characters. This one is by far the least appropriate—I mean, really and truly, this is in poor taste, it is episode 88 and we sure did run with that—but how better to wrap up the Days of Awe than by laughing at fascists? Andrea von Strucker was made into leather; meanwhile, the Jewish people are still here. Om Yisroel chai. G'mar hatimah tova and an easy fast for everyone fasting.