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Saturday Morning at Comic-Con

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Carolyn Kelly
Photo by Bruce Guthrie

Change of plans: For the remainder of this convention, I will not be found much, if at all, sitting at Table I-8 in the hall. You will find my buddy Scott Shaw! there and I encourage you to stop by and visit and if you're a small kid, he'll draw you a mean Fred Flintstone or Fozzie Bear. But you will not find me seated alongside him. I tried that for a day or so and realized how much I don't like sitting behind a table at a convention. This is no reflection on anyone who savors the experience but as long as my Orthopedist will keep injecting my knee with Cortisone, you will not find me doing that for very long. I may write more about this after the con.

I spent yesterday in business-type meetings and doing interviews and moderating but one panel. I will make up for that today and tomorrow. But the one panel was a good one, a panel noting the 101st birthday of the great Walt Kelly, creator of (arguably) the greatest newspaper strip ever done, Pogo. Oh, if you thought it was Peanuts or Krazy Kat or Doonesbury or Marmaduke, I wouldn't argue. I might if you said Little Orphan Annie and I'd win. But I just think Pogo is great and so do a whole lotta folks who filled Room 8 yesterday to hear Leonard Maltin, Maggie Thompson, David Silverman (director of The Simpsons), Jeff Smith (that Bone guy), Willie Ito (who once did some ghosting on Pogo) and Carolyn Kelly speak glowingly of it. Carolyn is, of course, the daughter of Walt K. and she's also co-editor of the series of books from Fantagraphics that are reprinting every single Pogo newspaper strip in chronological order.

That's her above holding a mock-up of Volume 3, which is currently being printed for a November release. I dragged her co-editor Eric Reynolds up on stage to also talk a bit about it and we were all excited and happy and if you ever want to have a good time, just hang around with Walt Kelly fans. Better still, read Walt Kelly.

In the evening, many of us shlepped over to the Indigo Ballroom at the Hilton for what turned out to be the shortest Eisner Awards ceremony ever. By that, I mean it was actually over on the same date it started. I presented the Bill Finger Award to Robert Kanigher, Bill Mantlo and Jack Mendelsohn and that was nice. Also nice was that my co-presenter was Athena Finger, granddaughter of perhaps the most undercredited man in the history of comics. Athena is receiving a lot of love at this convention and great support for the campaign to get her late grandfather recognized as the co-creator of Batman. More on this in a future posting. I also accepted a Hall of Fame Award on behalf of Irwin Hasen, best known for the super-hero feature Wildcat (which he co-created with BILL FINGER) and for the newspaper strip, Dondi. Irwin couldn't be there because he's just too short.

Nice ceremony. Nice afterparty. My congrats to the winners, who all seemed to be deserving…which is not to say that all the nominees were not. I gotta go prep for four panels today, the first of which is Quick Draw! This one could be bloody because this time, they're playing for keeps. Later.