Thursday, October 15, 2009

It Draws Out The Crazies

At yesterday's signing of X-Factor winner Leona Lewis' new book, one fan got a little too enthusiastic. Identified only as Peter, the fan waited in line to get his book signed, handed his copy to Lewis, then cold cocked her, drawing blood and getting himself arrested. A few months ago, comic artist Alex Pardee was first entertained, then mortified, when a 7-foot-tall mohawked fan cut his own belly open to show Pardee just "how beautiful it could be". When stars of movies and television go out in public, there's a pretty strong sense of security keeping everybody in line, but book signings are often just a guy sitting at a table at the entrance of B Dalton in the mall. A while back I felt sorry for that guy; some local writer, at a card table, watching people walk by, hoping someone will stop and buy a copy of his little stack and ask him to sign it, or at least say they've read it and offer their compliments. Nobody was talking to him either time I passed — which might be a good thing, given the high possibility of violence that might occur in that interaction.

When there's a signing, or an autograph table at a con, or a CD launch party, the world gets turned on its head. Usually, J.K. Rowling is the one putting on the show for you, the lowly reader, but when she sits at the table, patiently waiting for each person to present themselves to her, she's the audience. Most people handle that switcheroo with an appropriate respect, but once in a while you get somebody who decides, "hey, she showed me what she can do and I liked it — now she's see if she likes what I can do." It's not limited to the crazies, though; Rob Lieield is, honestly, one of the crappiest illustrators ever, but you'd expect people to wait respectfully in line as reverent fans to meet him. Not so this guy, who waited in line in order to give Liefeld a gift of a "how to draw comics" book, in hopes that he'll hone his craft before trying to get real work in the industry. Violent, no, maybe a little funny, but insulting and rude for the most part.

In that transposition of presenter and audience, if only as far as realizing who's sitting and whose standing, people get crazy ideas in their heads that they've been given the opportunity to finally have their say. Sorry, that's not the truth: things are still imbalanced in the author's favor, you're there to partake in what the star is giving you. When you head down to SpaceCon 2009 to shake Nichelle Nichols' hand, you're still the audience, don't let the situation fool you — and be happy that the security is better at SpaceCon than down at Barnes and Noble; some crazy shit happens down there when authors and readers get together.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home