This weekend is Book Expo America in New York, which is the largest book publishing trade show in the country—authors, publishers, retailers, librarians, and anyone tangentially interested in those things (such as, according to the program guide, the Embassy of Oman?), are gathering at the Javits convention center to talk and breakfast and panelize and exchange free shit, and it’s not open to the public, which makes it kind of like Comic Con with fewer giant cardboard cutouts and less Swine Flu.
There’s quite a bit of graphic novel-related activity going on there, as rounded up by Calvin and Heidi at Publishers Weekly, and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund had a very lovely party last night, which I went to after covering the BEA keynote—a discussion between music/sports writer/novelist Chuck Klosterman and E-Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons, followed by a discussion between Klosterman and Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler. Both musicians have autobiographies coming out in October, which is why they were speaking at BEA, and the convention had the bright idea to rock the place up a bit, and it was all very entertaining, except for the part where convention attendees rushed the stage when Tyler came out as if they were freaking FOURTEEN YEARS OLD and wouldn’t sit down even though this was a BOOK CONVENTION DISCUSSION and not an arena show. It was embarrassing. But then Tyler talked about orgasms and the cosmos and how white people clap on the ones and the threes, and 85 percent of the idiots who had rushed the stage were thinking “what does he even mean by that,” so the karma all worked out in the end.
Anyway, after the CBDLF party, I ended up at dinner at an Irish bar/restaurant (lots of U2 on the jukebox, mates!) with a whole pile of comics folk, including Image marketing chief Joe Keatinge, the Beat’s Heidi MacDonald, Top Cow’s Filip Sablik, Marvel assistant editor Alejandro Arbona, Archaia’s Mark Smylie, Stephen Christy and Mel Caylo, Marvel Noir artist extraordinaire Dennis Calero and his wife Kristin Sorra, Entertainment Weekly’s Marc Bernardin, artist Nikki Cook, and others that were either sitting too far away or whose names I didn't catch accurately enough to put here in good conscience, many apologies. Mel apparently uploaded this photo and others here to CBR, right then and there, because of technology—you can’t really see them, but it does look like we were telling ghost stories or something, which is always an impression I’m happy to leave.