Posted by Bob Greenberger on April 3, 2012
There’s something fun about I-Con, the people, the sprawling campus, being able to hang in the Green Room and just chat with friends – new and old. As a result, I wind up doing whatever I can to help them get guests or promote the show or whatever.
Two weeks ago, Carl Fink, the vice-chair and comics track leader, told me I should have some notes prepared because I was to receive an award. Normally, I skip the banquet since I usually go out with friends. This time, they went out and I attended the banquet and received a nice plaque.
The John Pilkington Award is given in memory of one of their most dedicated and reliable staff members. If you needed something completed on-time, and in the best interests of the convention, John was the best choice. His enthusiastic energy and overall love for the convention has been, and always will be sorely missed.
The award is given annually to a guest of I-Con who has over the years been a significant part of our convention. The recipient is someone the senior staff feel has been long dedicated to the growth, and reputation of the convention.
Following in the steps of people like Peter David and Harlan Ellison was me. Pretty cool.
The rest of the con was fun. My first panel was Stump the Experts and the few people who attended drifted in to watch, not prepared to stump me and Glenn Hauman. So, Glenn, Peter, and I spent an hour chatting about everything under the sun and those in attendance had a nice time.
Following was How to Build a Superhero and we packed the room with me, Glenn, and freelance artist James Emmett walking the audience through the process. Glenn used for an example a person who could talk with computers and the computers could talk back. I seized on that and began pointing to people in the room and began asking questions. Before we knew it, there was Tele-Helen a.k.a. Helen, a 20 year old Asian New Yorker putting herself through college, where she studies agriculture, by working as a butcher. Now she finds, thanks to an experimental computer chip placed near her brain to regulate neural activity can now converse with technology.
From there, we explored the kinds of stories and drama she would get into and before you knew it, we had countries from around the world want to gain control of her and all she wants to do is be left alone, but where can you get away from all technology? It was a tremendously fun panel and the audience played along beautifully. I found myself walking around the room, using many of the techniques I have honed through student teaching.
Since Peter is exclusive to Marvel, I replaced him on the New 52 panel where Glenn, Rebecca Rozakis, Chuck Rozakis, Mark Mazz, and I dug into what was working, what wasn’t working and what it all means. The room was pretty uniform that overall it was creatively a train wreck but a commercial success.
I wound up missing the Military SF panel to catch my breath and chat with a few people about business then went to moderate the Media and Education panel which was held in a nice sized lecture hall that was filled with nearly four dozen people, many of whom were teachers and librarians. The seven of us were educators of one kind of another and the hour zipped by as we discussed the topic from many angles pretty much concluding that no matter the tech employed, you couldn’t hide bad pedagogy. A terrific conversation.
And then it was off to the banquet where I shared a table with Carl, Mark, Jay and others. I got my award, mumbled something about paying it forward from my days as a volunteer at the very first Creation con to helping I-Con over the last three decades. It was a very touching experience.
It also made for a very, very long day requiring me to be back in Fairfield for Sunday’s Century Club Brunch, where I played emcee before pretending to be prepared for my fantasy baseball auction.
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