[Groop] Gary G.'s Con Report

Gary Grossmann garyg5678 at live.com
Tue Aug 3 11:58:06 PDT 2010

Hi Folks!
Well, this is my belated Con report.  Not nearly as interesting as Steve’s.  Anyone going to the Con should do exactly what Steve does:  Plan ahead, know what you really, really want to see and be aware of what events will require waiting in lines or rooms well in advance.  I was hoping to have pictures ready, but we’re having a few computer issues in that regard.  I’ll have those posted somewhere soon.  
We arrived on Monday and spent all day Tuesday at Balboa Park.  There is tons of interesting stuff to do there.  On Wednesday we got in the Con early and hooked up with fellow Groopie George Karalias, his daughters, Lindsey & Caroline, and Paul (President of Rochester Electronics) and George’s cousin, Demetra.  Rochester Electronics manufactures Original Manufacturer approved semiconductors.  George is its marketing director and to bring into focus the importance of OM approved parts, George created “Captain Rochester,” who fights the evil semiconductor counterfeiters and their cheap ass unreliable parts.  George has gotten dozens of top cartoonists, including Sergio, Jack Davis, Mort Drucker, and Al Jaffee, to do Captain Rochester art for a couple of card sets.  Scott Shaw!, whose table is always next to Sergio’s, has been working with George on the Captain Rochester cards and comic books and half of his table was taken over by the Captain Rochester promotion.  
Sergio was tied up in traffic and before he arrived I went over to the Marriott to be one of the many folks interviewed by the Morgan Spurlock team that is doing a documentary on the Con, or the people that go to the Con.  Everyone was very nice but it wasn’t really what I expected.  I had gotten the impression they would want to hear a couple of stories about the craziest things I’ve done in my never ending quest for Groo items and appearances, but they did not.  The Long Suffering Mrs. G. was also interviewed, which caught her off guard.  I thought she did better than I did.  If we don’t end up on the cutting room floor, we may be in the documentary for a few seconds (literally).  
After that the days kind of blur together.  In between helping Sergio at his table, which is always a blast, we wondered around the Con, especially in morning before things got real crowded.  There were life size models of the Na’vi from Avatar and one of those robot machines the soldiers from the movie ran around in.  There were also life size models of the Transformers and other gigantic sets and things.  It’s quite amazing how the big companies pull out all the stops on some of these displays. Your senses are really bombarded.  In contrast to the mega booths, there is Artists’ Alley, tucked away at the far end of the main floor, where some amazingly talented folks sit at tiny tables.  We went there to see Larry Marder and buy a little Bean cushion for our younger son, a long time Beanworld fan.   
On Thursday morning as we were helping Sergio set up, Morgan Spurlock and his crew showed up to interview Sergio.  He remembered us and The Long Suffering Mrs. G. asked if she could get a picture of him with me and Sergio.  He graciously said “sure” so that was pretty cool.  I saw the Kunster and Shawn (the Guy) and Kaytee a number of times but somehow I missed Eric!  Not seeing Eric at the Con is very strange.  Eric!  When were you there?  Did you just have a one-day pass?  How come? Adriel (aka Grusagi) was also there and it is always great to see him too.  Along with George, I think that was about it for Groopies.  Pretty thin this year.  We need more Groopies next year!     
The Groo panel was a little shorter this year because they were trying to improve the transition to the next panel.  I think the part I enjoyed the best was Sergio talking about how some of his co-contributors to MAD were surprised he wanted to do comics because they had had bad experiences (i.e. being treated like crap!) doing comics and considered it a step down.   
Quick Draw was great as always.  It is impossible for Quick Draw not to be great.  If you can only come to the Con for one day, come on the day of Quick Draw, which has been Saturday lately.  And as a bonus, the next panel has been the Cartoon Voice panel, which is also always fabulous.  The only problem with Quick Draw this year was that for the first time they did not have an area roped off in the front for special guests and Con luminaries (and which we Groopies, being neither, had nonetheless taken advantage of in the past.)   Hopefully, the roped off area will be back next year, but plan on getting there early anyway.  
Among the folks I met this year, Sergio introduced me to Grant Geissman who Sergio said is the best guitarist in the world.  (I Googled him up later and he is very, very good!)  But he is also a big fan of Sergio’s and pretty much the leading authority on all things MAD (I thought that was Mike Slaubaugh!) and has the most complete collection of MAD Magazine stuff in the world.  (I thought that was ME!).  He is a very nice guy and we discussed our respective obsessions for a bit.  He got a big kick out of the Groo List, which I had handy, of course.  And I gave him a 25th Anniversary Groop Membership Card and made him an honorary member of the Groop.  
Well, that’s about it.  We had a great, great time.  You always meet a bunch of neat folks waiting in line at Sergio’s table and it is always great to watch Sergio draw and interact with folks. (E.g. the couple from Italy who was very pleasantly surprised that he could speak to them in Italian.)  Next year my whole family is coming down and I hope it can be one of those years where a bunch of Groopies can make it.  So start saving your kopins, buy those passes as soon as they are available, and make those hotel/motel/hostel reservations early!  
Take care all,   Gary G. 
PS  Still working on the NCS Shirts 		 	   		  
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