As I mentioned in the episode, this is the second iteration of this panel concept, the first of which you can hear here.
For show notes purposes I thought I’d talk a bit, as mentioned, about Alan Davis and getting him on the panel, etc, etc. This, mostly given my admiration/appreciation for his work. Which isn’t to say I don’t appreciate the work of the other panelists; I absolutely do – I wouldn’t have asked them to participate otherwise. But Alan was the one person on the panel who was making comics when I was a kid…heck, he’s the one person on the panel who was making comics before I was (as I approach the 20th anniversary of my first professional job in comics).
Putting together one of these panels I try to mix it up…different art styles, different approaches to stories and storytelling, different types of creators. So long as their work speaks to the overall thesis. I tend to like having cartoonists on, i.e. folks who both draw and write…or write with pictures. I also like to try to get at least one big/bigger “name”, someone recognizable to draw an audience.
I had someone in mind for that anchor position (Not Alan, as when I pitched the panel, he wasn’t yet announced as a guest.), and when the panel was approved, they declined my invite. I started pulling together the rest of the panel…mixing it up as best I could with folks whose work I knew, a great group…and every week I’d check the guest list, contemplating potential “anchors.” And then, there it was, on the new announcement list: Alan Davis.
Without repeating myself and what I said on the show, this was huge for me just as a fan. That he would be awesome for the panel didn’t hurt. I fired off an email, figuring the chances might be slim…I mean, for all I knew my email would end up in his junk folder…or the email address I found wasn’t valid anymore.
He totally wrote back within 48 hours saying “I’d be happy to participate as long as it doesn’t conflict with anything Rico Renzi has scheduled. If you haven’t already, could you please check in with Rico.”
I did, and there were no conflicts…it was on!
Though I refused to believe it until it was actually happening…there was nearly a month yet to go and a lot can happen in a month.
On day one of the convention, I went to all my panelists’ tables to introduce myself and thank them…except Alan always had a line, and he was doing sketches…so I couldn’t get to him.
But the next day, in the panel room, I introduced myself and asked him stuff about ClanDestine that wasn’t relevant to the panel…and he was gracious and soft spoken and I gotta say, it was so cool. I refrained from overdoing the gushing, but I couldn’t not tell him I was a fan, blah blah blah.
I think the panel went really well. Could I have just talked to Alan for the whole hour? Of COURSE I could have. And you might be saying, “then why not have him on as a STUFF SAID guest?” And that’d be a fair question. A part of me worries I’d do too much praising and not enough conversing…even after the panel, I think I hold almost too much reverence. I saw him and his wife and lunch and didn’t feel like I could just go over and join their conversation. I’m gonna say that’s on me more than anything else.
I did, however, the next day, give them a copy of PIX, Vol. 2, as I listed Alan in the “Thanks” (in each book so far I’ve listed three folks who influenced my work in with the rest of the acknowledgements – want to know the other five names? Pick up the books! #Salesmanship).
Did Alan look at the book at all (he was sketching so I gave it to his wife, who is also lovely)? Did he think, “this kid’s pretty good.”? I don’t know. Maybe he left it in his hotel room or gave it to someone as a gift…I hope he looked at it and thought good things. I’m not going to ask.
He did, after the panel, tell me I was fun, so I’ll take that…that, and the recording*, especially since I forgot to pack my Captain Britain trade, the one from which I reverse-engineered the female figures to better learn to draw women, to get signed…
*evidence of a much less dopey interaction than the one I had with him as a Marvel intern (a story relayed in one of the episodes with Brian “Smitty” Smith, if memory serves).)