[Groop] Dessesbo's Con Report

Gary Grossmann garyg5678 at live.com
Mon Aug 3 16:47:12 PDT 2009

Hi Folks!  
This will be a pretty lame Con report, especially after the always marvelous con report by The Kunster.  Some stuff I’m putting in is info for folks who might come sometime who have never been there before.  
I’m going to start with a little pre-Con report.  The Long Suffering Mrs. G. and I decided to make a full vacation out of our trek to the Con this year.  We rented car and drove from Olympia, WA to Klamath Falls, OR on Saturday and then relaxed on Sunday.  It’s a beautiful area and if we had been staying more than a day and half we would have gone to Crater Lake (which we have seen before and is amazing.)  Then on Monday we drove to Solvang, CA, which is this touristy town that has kind of set itself up as a little piece of Holland.  (It was founded by a group of Dutch folks 100 years ago.)  It’s also the location of one of the California Missions.  The drive was a little longer than we planned because we were detoured around a forest fire in Northern California.  But we rested another day (and ate a lot of Dutch food!) and then drove to San Diego on Wednesday in time for Preview Night.  All in all, a very fun way to get to the Con.  (We didn’t drive back. We dropped off the rental car and flew home.  In a plane.)  
This year we stayed at a place in Mission Valley, which is quite a ways north of the convention center, but near a trolley stop.  Trying to find parking downtown is a prescription for a popped blood vessel or three, so we either walked or drove to the trolley to get into town.  They had an Event Special trolley running, but it still took half an hour or so to get in.  It was pretty convenient, lots of Con goers were out there, but it made it hard for us to get to the convention center in time to help Sergio set up his table, so next year we will stay some place downtown.   
A week after getting back from the Con everything is running together, so I’ll just tell you about stuff as I remember it, not in any particular order.  It was great seeing other Groopies!  The Kunster, Eric, Forrest, Roberto, Kaytee, Dougie, Adriel (aka Groosagi), George of course, and Magnus all the way from Sweden!  Magnus’s wife, who does not have a particular interest in comics, was with him, so I christened her The Long Suffering Mrs. L.  She is very sweet and also very understanding, just like someone else I know.  
As usual I spent most of my time behind Sergio’s table.  I never get tired of watching him draw and interact with folks and I really enjoy talking to all the different people while they stand in line and wait their turn to meet Sergio, and telling those who don’t know all about his work.  (Some folks only know him from MAD and some don’t even know that(!)) I also keep an eye on Sergio’s stuff, especially the two portfolios of original art he has on the table.  (Can’t you see the headline? “Crazed Groo Fan Tackles Would Be Thief!” Subtitle: “Thief in jail, fan held for observation” ).  But I digress.    
It’s also always great to see Scott Shaw!, whose table is always next to Sergio’s, and Stan Sakai, whose table is always about 3 miles from Sergio’s.  Tom Luth, who is always very nice to talk to, stopped by Sergio’s table for a bit as did Mark on occasion.  But this year seemed to be Gary Meets Many Cool Artists year.  I talked to Jerry Robinson about the origin of the Joker, Floyd Norman, an official Disney Legend, about the making of The Jungle Book and working for Disney, “Jeffy” Keane from family Circus, who is my age and has taken over the strip from his dad, Bil Keane.  I also spoke with Tom Richmond, who in my opinion is his generation’s Mort Drucker and a really cool guy.  And there were others whose names escape me at the moment but who had worked on things like designing some of the Muppets with Jin Henson.   I was really blown away.  
Meeting folks like this is one of the bennies of being an FOS (Friend of Sergio) and also a FOG (Friend of George) because George was and has been running around getting all sorts of artists to participate in his company’s promotion (which I will let him explain.) for which Scott Shaw! does most of the cartooning.  Actually, the initials FOG are very appropriate because from the middle of Thursday on I felt like I was in a fog to one degree or another.  
The Groo Panel was great.  Lots of good info and not a lot of stories I had already heard.  We will theoretically have a Groo every month for 20 months starting October.  4  Hogs of Hoarder, 4 Groo v. Conan, and 12 Friends and Foes.  Sergio also said that the reason the Groo Treasury is stalled, as well as the startup of the Groo Alphabet trades and Mighty Magnor is because he hasn’t had a chance to dig out the negatives from their various storage locations.  (George and I are fighting over which one of us tries to volunteer to help him.  Sergio is probably hoping we both lose!)   Also, Bart Simpson #50 will be ALL SERGIO.  And after that there will be a monthly Sergio contribution called “Maggie’s Crib.”  
The fate of the Groo Movie is in the hands of Sergio’s now most despised profession:  Lawyers!!!  Apparently after finally finding a studio that would give them complete creative control and a verbal agreement, that same studio’s lawyers wrote up a classic Hollywood definition of “profits” which translates in zero kopins for Sergio and Mark.  (E.g. The Star Trek franchise has never turned a profit.)  But at least it’s not completely hopeless.  Hopefully. Maybe.  I guess. (wimper wimper sniff sniff)  
Quick Draw was also great and Mark called upon our own Dougie McCoy to be a participating cartoonist!!  You can see a part of it on Mark’s website.  However, there were two parts of Quick Draw that I really like that were not done this year.  There was not a how-many-different-things-can-Sergio-incorporate-into-one-drawing segment and there was not a Sergio-draws-3-4-different-gags-from-one-word segment (e.g. Mark says “Fire” 4 times and you get a fireman gag, a caveman discovering fire gag, and two firing squad gags.)   Hopefully, there will be time to do one or both of those next year.  
There is not much more I can think to say. (“Thank goodness!”)   I’m sure I’m forgetting something or someone.  I’m a little bummed that I look so serious in my little background cameo in Sergio’s interview.  “Serious” is definitely not the word to describe me when I am at the Con.  But I didn’t even realize a camera was on.  I moved out of camera range on a number of other interviews.  The only time I can recall being on camera on purpose is years ago when Eric wanted me to explain why Larry & I missed the Groo Panel that year.  (It was my fault, of course, and had to do with a search for obscure Groo appearances.)  
OK, that’s it.  I told you it would be lame.  But at least it wasn’t three or four parts long like in the past.  Everyone needs to come next year!!  The revival of Groo will be in full swing!  So start saving your kopins now for GROO FEST 2010!!!!!!  
Take care all,
Gary G.  
PS  The Lithos will go out by Saturday.  The UPS store didn’t have enough tubes and everyone else charged too much.  
Get your vacation photos on your phone!
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