Legions of us (us-- you-- >gasp< -- THEM!) are packing now and will soon converge on the southern California town of San Diego… for the 40th Annual COMIC-CON INTERNATIONAL! (Next Wednesday, in fact!) 40 years! 1970 to 2009! >Whew!< And this will be my 19th time at this show in the last 20 years… and, man, has Comic-Con become the event of the year in that time! Today this convention is regularly covered on television and in magazines and draws creators and fans of all media… a far cry from the days when folks sat in hallways with their dog-eared collection of comics at their feet… just looking to trade for something they didn’t have—or hadn’t read! Now Hollywood and Gaming and media of every stripe make this their home-base/launching pad—reaching the folks they need to speak to directly/instantly. Some people grouse that the show isn’t about comics anymore… but this convention has been about comic art, film and science fiction from the start! And this kind of attention and respect for the form some of us work in-- and all of us enjoy-- IS exactly what we were looking for, wasn’t it? And while I’ve only been to 19 cons in San Diego I have been attending conventions around the world (England, Mexico, Australia) in the years since… and actually attended my first convention when I was 11 years old in New York City. My Mom took me to one of the early shows run by the legendary Phil Seuling in Manhattan in1969. What I liked about that convention then is what I like about going to San Diego now: I get to meet the people who do the creative work I like. Before comic conventions you couldn’t meet Picasso… or Hitchcock… or Groucho as a fan… but now, thanks to conventions like the one next week, we can meet the people we admire and respect. We can chat… and bond… and share what we all love! We have a place where we belong to each other… people can tell me what they like or dislike about the work I’m involved in… AND if I’m lucky I get the chance to say hey to the comic writers and artists I know and love (and hope to work with in the future)… as well as rubbing elbows with folks like the guys from MR. SHOW (not comic books—but comics)… Jane Wiedlin (hey, music ain’t comics… but it IS something I like! And DC Comics DID sport Go Go Checks for a period!) and maybe… just maybe … I will bump into Hayao Miyazaki! >Gasp! Again!< See you there… us and them, too!!