Interview with Jill Thompson - Part II

11 JUNE 2013

Two days ago I posted Part I of an interview with Jill Thompson that talked about the changes in San Diego Comic Con and the creator experience. In Part II, she talks about the lack of comic coverage in the media, how not to be a jackass to exhibitors and her future projects.

What other general changes have you noticed over the years? For instance, I've noticed a pronounced mainstreaming of comic literature on the floor - I think vendors tend to only bring material they're sure will sell, as opposed to the more offbeat, less commercial work that I used to love finding at the Con. Have you noticed any trends that you like/dislike?

Well, it would be nice to see actual comics creators in photos about comic con in the mainstream media. If I see one more picture of another actor in a superhero comic t shirt picked out by their publicist, I'm gonna scream! ;-) I never thought I'd see red carpet photos of actors at Comic Con in magazines like People. I think it's great that the Con gets the coverage, but it's not about comics or the medium in any way. The only time you see our community portrayed is in a photo to show some eccentric fanboy with his con swag bag asking a question at a panel with the cast of fill-in-the-blank TV show. Or, when someone does an interview with a Con attendee, they are not asked what comics they like but what movie stuff they saw, or exclusive give-a-way they got, or something like that… It would be nice if comics were included in the media coverage in an intelligent way.

What’s the worst behavior you’ve seen from fans?

Lately, the worst behavior is from con goers who are so accustomed to getting free stuff that they grab things off your table and you have to chase after them to let them know that it's actually your merchandise. Then they look at you like you're an asshole for charging for a tee shirt, or a book or something. That's a head shaker. 

My favorite exasperating moment of late is when someone is holding five bags full of stuff and clutching an autographed photo of a celebrity who you know has charged $25-$75 for their signature...and they ask you how much your book or original art costs, and then they tell you it costs too much and ask if you could give them a deal. 

Any advice on how people can be gracious in approaching their favorite artists?

Come on up! Say hi! Be friendly.  I know when I'm drawing, I have my head down. This doesn't mean I'm too busy to talk, it just means I can't draw without looking down at the paper, so please, come over and say hi! I would love to talk to you! You can watch me draw, you can listen to my stories, I just can't look up all the time. It's all good! If you want to buy something, ask me or my assistant. We are here to answer questions and get you what you'd like!  

What’s your best Comic Con memory or story?

Wow, too many of those to recount here. I've been going since I was a teenager, I've met so many of the artists and writers that I admired at SDCC. I became friends with them!  I went to Jack Kirby's 75th birthday party! I went from being a fan to being a professional comic creator! We did the trilogy tour with the Big Tree! I debuted the Scary Godmother animated special at SDCC! I've won Eisner awards and given acceptance speeches and worn shimmering gold dresses!!  I've met celebrities who I liked, that love comics as much as I do! I've filled a huge ballroom for my painting demonstrations. I filmed segments for the WWE! I wore the championship belt and walked around the Con floor! SDCC can be like being at a party with all of your relatives and distant relatives. And of course, you know the best stories are those that happen behind the scenes! ;-)

What are you working on now? Can you tell us anything about the future of Beasts of Burden?

I'm not sure what I can talk about. I've got three projects I've been juggling. Not the way I like to work, but, my lateness on one caused them all to pile up like a train car smashed into another ...but they all look terrific and I'm working hard to make them the best work I've done for each one! There will be more Beasts of Burden in your futures.

I've got a website that's moments away from going live. I'll also be launching a Kickstarter campaign for a Scary Godmother fashion doll. It's pretty awesome and I'm very excited! If you follow me on twitter @thejillthompson you'll know all the details for all of these things as they happen! I'm very post-y!

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