Well, I did end up making it to Phoenix Comicon this past Saturday. I'm still not feeling top of my game but I'm improving.
The whole thing was pretty overwhelming and uncomfortable but I managed to meet and get autographs from most of the creators I wanted: Mike and Laura Allred signed my X-Force #116 and commented proudly that it was the book that signaled an end of the Comics Code; I also got autographs from Ben Templesmith (Fell #1), Mike Mignola (the first Hellboy trade), Terry Moore (Echo #1), and John Layman (Chew #5). I brought a TMNT #50 in case I got a chance to meet Kevin Eastman, but he was one of the few creators who had a long line.
Really I think that's the best thing about Phoenix Comicon: so many creators, so few lines.
Case in point: the legendary Don Rosa.
The only piece of merchandise I wound up buying at the convention was a signed print of Uncle Scrooge diving into his money bin. I chatted with Mr. Rosa a bit and told him how much I appreciated his work and his recent Epilogue essay, where, among other things, he discussed how poorly he's been treated by Disney. Disney refused to allow the essay to be printed in The Don Rosa Collection; Rosa commented to me that that resulted in far more people reading it than would have if they had just printed it. I told him that there's a name for that on the Internet: the Streisand Effect.
Don Rosa is one of the most popular cartoonists in the world. In the few minutes I got to speak with him, I also found him to be a sharp, funny, genuinely nice man.
He's an inspiration -- and I think one of the things he should inspire people to do is to get mad. Mad that a man of his talent, a man who has made the Disney corporation millions, only ever got a page rate for the work he did.
Shame on Disney. And all my gratitude to Mr. Rosa. I'll be putting this print in a frame and keeping it forever -- and remembering that I put some money in the artist's pocket, which, sadly, he doesn't get when you buy a copy of The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck.