on September 9, 2012 at 10:28 PM
Hey guys, I’ve written this entry about three times and I just need to get it out there. There’s no way I can talk about PAX without making it sound like I’m buying my own hype, which is the exact opposite of what I want to express.
I I I me me my my my. There’s no way to talk about the weekend I had in Seattle without talking about me. That’s why I’ve avoided posting this; in school, they teach you to write essays objectively, and I guess I still feel like I should be writing through that lens. (Even when it’s appropriate for you to show up in your own essay, they force you to say “the author.” As if even the idea of you having written your essay is already the zenith of hubris.) The Kris character you often encounter is a persona I enjoy wearing; he has a lot in common with me, except that when he has to talk about himself, he makes no apologies. Here, without him, I get self-conscious and hesitate.
I don’t go to as many conventions as I used to. A lot of them feel the same, handle the same: you load a dozen fifty-pound boxes in by hand, you wonder why there’s no chair behind the booth, you find out you have to pay $75 extra for a place to sit. You hope your phone battery will last through the whole show, because an electrical drop is another $150 a day. You fight for the attention of an indifferent crowd, a lot of the time. Then you load out Sunday and kick yourself for having brought too much product, again.
PAX is not that show, by definition — first of all, it’s not a comic convention, of which there are many. That alone sets it apart. Cartoonists don’t get to put in for space at PAX, so the fact that I get to be there is a miracle I’m grateful for every day I’m behind that booth.
But it’s not just that it’s not a comic convention that sets it apart. PAX has such an amazing sense of community — I know I sound like a shill right now, but you have to experience it to feel it. In 2009 I studied up on PAX to act as its media ambassador, and I thought, “fine, that’s good, I like having a title.” But I read about it, and I saw the footage of it, and it got in there. It got under my skin.
It’s three years later, and at this point I only do conventions I like; ones that are good to me. So I hope this doesn’t read as a slight to other cons I favor. But I’m not a celebrity at other shows, like I get to be at PAX. I have a line there. I do well-attended panels there. And the audience knows what Scott and I do onstage and lets us do it, without trying to dress it up in the guise of a podcast or issues panel. It’s not apologized for; it’s expected. Demanded, even. It’s like everyone is dead set on pulling together and having the best convention possible. Everyone at this show knows what they are doing and where they fit. Everyone at PAX is performing at the top level.
PAX has spoiled me.
This past Prime was the best one yet. I did the Acquisitions Incorporated intro and spot animations (which should officially appear online soon), and it was so great to stand backstage and listen to the crowd laugh at the right parts. And we did the Scott and Kris Show Live twice, on Thursday and Sunday, and both were so well-received (largely in part to Liz). I got to see a lot of friends and make some new ones.
If you have to be left with any component of me or mine from this, then let it be my gratitude, my genuine, actual thankfulness at being able to continue to do this for a living. Both PAXes — and now, perhaps a third?! — figure heavily into whether or not I’ve had a good year.
2012 has been wonderful to me so far. See you at PAX East.