Through the Mail Slot

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A couple-three more e-mails…
From BRIAN:

I was wondering what your policy on sketches and autographs at conventions was:
1) Do you charge for autographs, if so how much and after how many, and do you have a limit?
2) Do you charge for any type of sketch, and how much and for what do you charge for (e.g. head sketches, mini bust type sketches, full body sketches: what would you charge per different one)?
3) Last one being, would you sketch anything or do you want me to ask you to do something you know pretty well and is it better to ask you ahead of convention time or wait til I get there and ask?
That’s all I think that I am wondering, if you could get back to me that would be great cause I would like to know before Emerald City Comicon.
I’m pretty sure I’ve answered this before—this very e-mail, not just the general questions—but just in case:
1. I don’t charge for autographs. I don’t have a set limit, either, with the following two caveats: (a) if you have a big stack and there’s a line, I may say I’ll sign some of them but you’ll have to get back in line after that, because I don’t want to keep the people behind you waiting, and (b) if you bring an entire longbox full of my stuff I may say hey, let’s not be ridiculous. I’m willing to sign a lot of books, but let’s not try to have me sign my entire output.
2. I’m a writer, not an artist, so you don’t really want to get sketches from me. I occasionally do sketches, but they’re very bad, so I don’t charge for them. But I’d rather not do them at all and you wouldn’t be impressed by the results. Generally I do them for sad-looking children who don’t really get the idea that not everyone sitting on the other side of those tables can draw, but I fear I don’t make them very happy.
3. Even bad sketches have their limits. I can do a few crappy-looking head shots I have some practice at, but if I try to draw something other than those, it looks even worse.
Here’s one of my sketches:

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And that’s after years of practice, too. You really don’t want to pay me to draw.
From DIANE:
Have you checked this out on YouTube? Tim reviews your book Superman: Secret Identity. check it out!

Thanks, Diane. I’m crossing my fingers that the video will embed properly; I’ve never tried to do this before.
[Side-note to Tim: Glad you like the book, and happy to have made you cry. It’s actually ‘BYOO-sik’ and “IMM-uh-n’n,’ more or less. And yes, that was an ending in Shockrockets: We Have Ignition, though Stuart and I would like to follow up on it someday…]
From GEOFFREY:

Big fan of Astro City and was just enjoying your “breaking in” piece, and tried to read the 3-part interview when I got to a broken link for Part 1 (and 2, incidentally).
Probably an easy fix.
As for the breaking-in piece, it interested me because last year I embarked on an experiment in podcasting after a more-than-twenty-year attempt to achieve success in music.
And I think you’re right. It’s best to concern yourself with doing, with MAKING something, rather than planning or struggling to figure out the WAY IN.
Thanks for the heads-up on the broken links. It was indeed an easy fix, and they should work just fine now.
And I’ll take this opportunity to remind other readers that there’s more to this website than the Notes section—the Read section has a smattering of stories, previews, interviews and essays (not as many as I’d like, but hey, some), the Find section has information on upcoming appearances, the Shop section has links to my books on Amazon, and so forth. Feel free to browse around.
I’m glad you liked the “Breaking In” piece, Geoffrey. It’s gotten a lot of attention over the years, and I can only hope it’s been useful.

Hello, Columbus!

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In a feeble attempt at being efficient and practical, I’ve updated the Find section to note where I’ll be and when, during this weekend’s Mid-Ohio Con. Which I am attending. As a guest-type person.
You can click on the link to see that info (and more!), or heck, just read the MOC stuff here:

November 6-7, 2010

Mid-Ohio Con

Columbus, OH

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Panels: MOC Presents: Kurt Busiek, Sun 1pm

Signings: Hero Initiative Booth, Sat 1130am-1230pm

Otherwise: Most other times than the above, I’ll be at my table, booth 624. But I’ll wander around some, so if I’m not there at some point I’m sure I’ll be back soon. And I’ll be leaving a little early on Sunday to catch my flight home. See you there, I hope!

I wish I could say I’ll remember to do this more often, as conventions I’m attending approach, but I fear I would simply disappoint. So I’ll remind you that you can always find my upcoming appearances listed in the Find section.
If you’re in Columbus this weekend, stop by and say hi!

Robert E. Howard Panel goes BOOM!

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Whoops! Just to be complete, I’m posting to let people know about a change in San Diego panel plans.
Due to some sort of unforeseen circumstances, the Robert E. Howard panel on Saturday at 3:30 is no more. Crom ate it, or something. But I’ll still be there, at the same time and in the same room. And I’ll even be up there on the dais with Matt Gagnon of BOOM! Studios. But who else will be there and what we’ll be talking about has changed.
The panel is now:

• 3:30-4:30pm – Editing Comics the BOOM! Studios Way, Rm 24ABC
“BOOM! Studios Editor-in-Chief Mark Waid and BOOM! Managing Editor Matt Gagnon talk with Kurt Busiek and Daryl Gregory about putting together their upcoming BOOM! series Dracula: The Company Of Monsters. Don’t miss this in-depth look into the editing secrets of one of the comic book industry’s leading independent publishers. Join moderator Mark Waid (author of the Eisner Award-nominated Irredeemable, BOOM! Editor-in-Chief) and panelists Kurt Busiek (author of the Eisner Award-winner Astro City), Daryl Gregory (acclaimed sci-fi writer, author of The Devil’s Alphabet), and Matt Gagnon (BOOM! Managing Editor) as they discuss editing do’s and don’ts of today’s comic book industry.”

Tales of editors! Tales of vampires! And how to tell the difference between the two! Don’t miss it, if only to hear Mark Waid say, “Ah, the freelancers of the night, what beautiful comics they make!”
The rest of my panel/signing schedule can still be found here, or in the Find section.

Three Miles of Aisles

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So, Comicon International/San Diego is almost upon us!
I’ve updated my schedule in the “Find” section of this site, where I list conventions, store signing and the like, but just to be thorough, I figured I’d list my schedule here, too. Things may be subject to change—I just added another panel about half an hour ago, and who knows what else is coming?—but I’ll update this entry if things change.
So here’s what up with All Things Busiek at SDCC so far:
Wednesday, Preview Night:
• 7-8pm – signing at the DC booth.
Thursday:
• 11:30-12:30pm – Spotlight on Kurt Busiek, Rm 8

Here’s how SDCC describes it: “The Eisner Award–winning writer and Comic-Con special guest discusses his career—past, present, and future—in comics. With a résumé that includes Superman, Justice League/Avengers, Conan, and his own creator-owned projects Astro City and Arrowsmith, Kurt Busiek is one of comics most popular writers! Joining Kurt will be long-time friend and fellow comics creator Scott McCloud (Understanding Comics).”
In addition to having Scott moderate the panel, which means we’ll be talking about our roots back in junior high school, when we started figuring out how to make comics, we may have an appearance by Brent (Astro City, X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills) Anderson (or as I call him, “Brent (Somerset Holmes) Anderson”) and if things go like it looks like they’re going at present, a Very Special Announcement or two.

• 2:30-3:30pm – signing at the Hero Initiative booth
Friday:
• 2-3pm – signing at the DC booth
Saturday:
• 11-12pm, signing at the DC booth
• 3:30-4:30pm – Editing Comics the BOOM! Studios Way, Rm 24ABC

“BOOM! Studios Editor-in-Chief Mark Waid and BOOM! Managing Editor Matt Gagnon talk with Kurt Busiek and Daryl Gregory about putting together their upcoming BOOM! series Dracula: The Company Of Monsters. Don’t miss this in-depth look into the editing secrets of one of the comic book industry’s leading independent publishers. Join moderator Mark Waid (author of the Eisner Award-nominated Irredeemable, BOOM! Editor-in-Chief) and panelists Kurt Busiek (author of the Eisner Award-winner Astro City), Daryl Gregory (acclaimed sci-fi writer, author of The Devil’s Alphabet), and Matt Gagnon (BOOM! Managing Editor) as they discuss editing do’s and don’ts of today’s comic book industry.”

• 6:30-7:30 – WildStorm: Storm Front, Room 4

“What’s new in the WildStorm Universe? Vice President & General Manager Hank Kanalz and Senior Editor Ben Abernathy bring you up to speed with this inside look into DC’s wildest imprint. Joining Hank and Ben will be Adam Beechen (WildCats), Kurt Busiek (Astro City), Darick Robertson (Fringe: Tales From the Fringe), Tom Taylor (The Authority), Tim Seeley (WildCats), Adam Archer (Ratchet and Clank), Cruddie Torian (Gen13) and others.”

Sunday:
• 10-11am – Jack Kirby Tribute panel, Room 4

“It’s time once again to pay tribute to Jack ‘King’ Kirby, the prolific writer/artist who co-created some of the world’s most famous superheroes, including the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, Thor, Captain America, the New Gods, and many more. Kirby biographer and friend Mark Evanier (Kirby: King of Comics) hosts this annual Comic-Con tradition and is joined this year by writers Marv Wolfman (Tomb of Dracula, New Teen Titans), and Kurt Busiek (Astro City, JLA/Avengers) and other Kirby fanatics to discuss the King.”

• 1:30-2:30pm – signing at the DC booth
• 3-4:30 – Comics Pro/Fan Trivia Match, Room 4

“Len Wein (Microbots), Kurt Busiek (Kool-Aid Man), and Mark Waid (Batman Electric Talking Toothbrush) face off against fans Tom Galloway (former Google employee), David Oakes (college professor), and Michael Grabois (rocket scientist) in a match on significant pre-Crisis DC events in celebration of DC’s 75th anniversary. Peter David (Captain America’s War on Drugs) will moderate.”

On a more hate-filled note, it turns out that the intolerant chuckleheads of the Westboro Baptist Church, the people who like to picket the funerals of American soldiers killed in action and assure homosexuals that God hates them, are going to picket the San Diego Con this year. For 45 minutes, on Thursday afternoon.
Turn out they have a busy schedule of hate, going after the Dallas Holocaust Museum, the International Jewish Geneology Conference and more, but they’re having a sort of hate double-header on the 22nd—hating Al Gore at the Grand Hyatt from 12:15-1:00pm, then hustling down the street to the Convention Center to start hating us at 1:15pm. Although I think they’re being unrealistic to allow only 15 minutes to make it from one hate-spot to the other.
Oh, and after they’re done with us, the following week they’ll be off in Kansas City, hating Justin Bieber.
What their schedule says about us is, “Are you kidding?! If these people would spend even some of the energy that they spend on these comic books, reading the Bible, well no high hopes here. They have turned comic book characters into idols, and worship them they do! The destruction of this nation is imminent – so start calling on Batman and Superman now, see if they can pull you from the mess that you have created with all your silly idolatry.” It’s surprising how much some of that sounds like it could come out of the mouth of Lex Luthor, hm?
Anyway, I think the best way to hand them is to ignore them. What they want is publicity, and I suspect they’re going to find themselves drowned out by the very volume of SDCC—it’s easier to get press by being noxious and hateful at a family funeral than to try to stand out among 120,000 comics fans, including dozens of Darth Vaders, Slave Leias, Spider-Man and more.
But on Twitter last night, among the suggestions for counter-statements against the WBC’s rallying cry of “God Hates Fags,” this lovely response came up, coined by Lori Matsumoto and designed by Dane Ault:

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I think that strikes just the right tone, don’t you?