Have you begun to fill in your 2013 calendar yet? (Beautiful Balloons, CBG #1699, March 2013)

By Maggie Thompson

It’s never a bad time to evaluate the past and set goals for the future — but it’s most customary to do that, as we anticipate the year to come.

About five years ago, I was chatting about goals and plans with someone whose opinion I value — and Paul Levitz (yes) said, “If you intend to travel, do so as soon as possible.” Translation: The older we get, the more likely it is that our own limitations will get in the way.

With all that in mind, I’ve begun to look at 2013 with an eye toward a combination of airplane flights, hotel reservations, my deadlines, and — oh, yes — family events. I’m even trying to fit in achieving a number of goals. (Will I finally finish cataloging the occupants of my shelves devoted to books and DVDs?)


You never know what a comics event will bring! In 2011, Free Comic Book Day at Madison’s Westfield Comics involved meeting Brian Bull and his prize-winning TARDIS — and a Doctor Who celebration. Who knew?

I’m looking at a number of possibilities. They include:

• March 29-31 WonderCon in Anaheim, Calif. (Note: I’ve also had fun at Orlando’s MegaCon [March 15-17] in past years. And I’ve managed to miss both March shows recently. We shall see.)

July 17-21 Comic-Con International: San Diego You must be aware that this has been on my summer calendar for more than three decades. Every year, I come away with memories galore — and, of course, I come away with an incredible variety of additional treats. I never know what benefits a comics event will bring, and that goes triple for San Diego. (More on this later.)

August 9-12 Wizard World Chicago Comic Con in Rosemont, Ill. I missed it last year because of an unavoidable family commitment — and that was the first of this event (and the one that preceded it) that I’ve missed in those same three decades mentioned above. Fingers crossed for this year, folks! I always enjoy it!

And Tony Isabella and I have been talking about the Akron, Ohio, Comicon. It’s a small show scheduled for Nov. 9 at the University of Akron Quaker Station, but it sounds like fun.

Here’s a thought, especially with that Akron show in mind: If you have a small convention near you, just go! Something fun or memorable or entertaining or informative will occur. Small shows, for one thing, often offer opportunities to spend more in-person time with their guests. (For example, I hung out with Patrick Rothfuss at a small convention just before The Name of the Wind was officially released in 2007, so I was ahead of the curve when word of its excellence spread to other fantasy fans.)


It is time to become organized. This time for sure.

I’m in the midst of transferring information on my book collection from a (gak!) Quark file to an Excel list. 2013 would be a nice time to wrap up that endeavor.

But comics collections are even more complicated to inventory than are books. I don’t know how you maintain your inventory list, but (at a WonderCon years ago — see above) I was captivated by then-new comics-inventory software created by Pete Bickford. I continue the process of entering what I have so’s to locate what I need for CBG — and, for that matter, what I need for me. The Comicbase software even permits data entry by scanner — and generates labels for the plastic bags that protect my preciouses. (Gollum had just one precious; we have many, don’t we?)

There’s information on Comicbase about more than half a million comics issues — including many from other countries. The software enables you to manage what’s in your collection.

Some of us may even decide at last to insure what they own. Or sell some of it. In either case, software can assist the data statements necessary. (If you’re selling, pay attention to changes in Capital Gains Tax requirements. It’s always something, right?)


Things to do, things to do! First, of course, there’s my monthly Beautiful Balloons column. I’ll need to enter all those deadlines on my iPad.

Then, there’s an occasional blog entry on my own website — and I’d like to change “occasional” to “frequent.”

And I’ve taken on another monthly gig. (Yes, more on this later.)


A couple of years ago, daughter Valerie grabbed the chance to get together again with buddy Michael Davis, whom she hadn’t seen for more than a decade. What long-term friend might you see again at a comics event this year?

Will the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (now at The Ohio State University, 27 W. 17th Ave. Mall, Columbus, OH 43210 www.cartoons.osu.edu) have a specific celebratory event during the year? It “is now the largest and most comprehensive academic research facility documenting printed cartoon art,” and you can get an idea of its vast resources by checking the site. But that site also notes that the hoped-for completion of its Sullivant Hall facility is this coming autumn. Soooo — party?

Geppi’s Entertainment Museum (301 W. Camden St., Baltimore, MD 21201 www.geppismuseum.com) is “a journey through 250 years of American pop culture,” and I’ve never seen anything else quite like it. It offers a lovingly prepared, decade-by-decade tour through the history of escapist fare and entertainment icons. It provides a number of special events, and those for 2013 are in the planning stages as I write this. So — party?

Oh, and let’s all remember Free Comic Book Day! It’s on May 4 in 2013, and you can keep track via www.freecomicbookday.com.


And then, of course, there’s writing and talking about what’s what in our nerdly, geekly cool world.

We’re planning what’s ahead among many, many projects on our plates at F+W Media’s Comics Buyer’s Guide, both in print and online. And I’m delighted by a project from the Adams branch F+W. It’s an ongoing endeavor to make available a variety of out-of-print pop-culture fiction. If you’re on Facebook, check out the Prologue Books page for starters!

And, while you’re on Facebook, see what’s new on the Pop Culture Happy Hour page. (As we go to press, Paste Magazine listed PCHH as one of the 10 Best Entertainment Podcasts of 2012.)

Finally, while you’re online, take a look at www.comic-con.org/toucan. Pop-culture buffs of many varieties have become so familiar with San Diego’s Comic-Con that national magazines refer to it on their covers simply as Comic-Con, but the organizers refuse to sit on their laurels. Toucan, new for 2013, is “the official blog of Comic-Con International, WonderCon & APE [the Alternative Press Expo].” And in 2013 it’ll offer weekly updates from a variety of contributors.

Of which I’m one.

My column is scheduled to appear on the site on the first Tuesday of every month starting in January — and let me note that this is the sort of project that clearly demonstrates that Comic-Con’s focus has not left comic books. As you’ll see, when you visit the site.

Maggie Thompson makes plans — and then leaves her schedule open enough to accomodate opportunities. She was delighted, for example, when Comic-Con International: San Diego gave her the chance to meet Richard Kyle. That’s the very same chap who coined the term “graphic novel” so many years before. What are your plans for 2013? Maggie’s website is www.maggiethompson.com and she Tweets as ThompsonMaggie. Oh, and check out her Toucan blog at www.comic-con.org/toucan while you’re at it!

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