The Great Comics Caper

As I said on Twitter, the two bad things about driving 3 hours to Wichita for the KLA annual conference is: 1) it’s a 3-hour drive, and 2) you end up in Wichita. The good things, though, are very good. I got to hang out with some of my library friends, I got to see my pal Bobbi Newman give an excellent presentation on transliteracy, and I got to be part of a panel discussion/presentation on comics and graphic novels with my friend Royce Kitts and Gene Ambaum and Bill Barnes, the two guys who do the online comic strip Unshelved.

If you read Unshelved, you’ll have the impression that Gene and Bill are very smart, very funny and very cool. In fact, they’re even smarter and funnier and cooler in person. I liked them immediately. They know more about the history of comics than I do (which, all modesty aside, is saying something), they’re quick and wickedly sarcastic. We all had a lot of fun on the panel. I’m just sorry I couldn’t stick around in Wichita (really) to see Hot Tub Time Machine with them.

The defining moment of the panel (and the conference, really) for me was while Bill was talking about the history of comics, Gene suddenly got a look of inspiration on his face and quickly scribbled something down in his notebook. He then slid the notebook over to me, grinned at me, and pointed to what he wrote: “I don’t believe a word he’s saying.” It was all I could do to not bust out laughing.