Ok, here’s my attempt at trying to make sense of, let alone come to terms with the unbelievable craziness known as the Brimpforum.
First off, I live on Long Island; it’s not exactly a picnic for me to get into the city after work. I left early at 3pm…to get to Mustang Harry’s by 6:45pm the latest. 4+ hours, one suspicious package on my train, multiple cabs flat out refusing to take us and driving off, lugging heavy bags through the rain, getting stuck in midtown rush hour traffic, and some possible crying out of frustration later, hey, we were late to our own meet-up. As we rushed into the restaurant, there were multiple groups of people asking for “Jon & Suzie” in front of us; which, wow, what a trip. We sprinted to the back only to be met with a giant horde of people trying to fit into the small space between the end of the bar and the beginning of the back room, also known as “the space in front of the kitchen,” and categorized in my head as “definitely not what the restaurant had led us to believe.” I was feeling terrible enough being late and that…that didn’t help. Something needed to be done, and quick, because I was afraid the giant mass of bodies would turn on us, unhappy at being misled; what kind of meet-up can be held while packed sardine-tight? So I grabbed a previously non-existent pair of balls and started bellowing.
Let’s make something clear here, folks, for anyone who doesn’t know me personally. I’m a shy person by nature; I always have been. Far more of an introvert than an extrovert. And taking charge of a situation that I was already uncomfortable in isn’t my proverbial cup of tea. So really, I have no idea what happened here; let’s call it the power of Brimping…cause I have no other explanation. I cupped my hands to my mouth and started shouting over the bar-noise. I handed out swag like a crazy person. I got in every single member of the poor wait-staff’s way. I completely imposed upon a lovely group of Brimpers that were eating at the closest table and commandeered their space to use for poster-signage. I threw any and all damn caution to the wind, took charge, didn’t look back, and got shit done without even being nervous about it. In retrospect, it’s a big, damn deal for me.
More and more people kept flooding in; at a certain point, zdarsky, who was there before we even arrived, migrated to the back of the group and a splinter-cell portion broke off from the mass in order to talk to Chip. kateordie arrived with some of her Valkyries and I pointed them in the direction of the back where Chip was. We began to clog up more and more of the walkway, spreading into the back room where families were sitting at tables trying to enjoy dinner. It was around that point that I became convinced that management was going to kick us out at any moment.
Fortunately, I was wrong. The party that had reserved the upstairs must’ve been a no-show and manager sought me out and asked if he could move us; I almost kissed him. The next thing I know I’m shouting at the Brimper troops like a commander giving the order to head into battle. I just thank God that they were able to move us or who knows what would’ve happened; turns out we took us the entire upper floor. Wasn’t this supposed to be a small meet-up? No?
People sat & ordered food or headed to the bar for a few drinks. We reassembled the poster signing table and I left my personal effects with numerous people throughout the night as I continued to act like an event coordinator, much to my own surprise. When mattfractionblog and kellysue arrived, it was evident from the reaction that broke out. At a certain point, I turned around and found Matt in a corner attempting to sign something on his knee with a line of people stretched out behind him. Chip had gotten lost downstairs trying to get the two of them water. Some lovely people cleared a table for Matt and that was where he happily spent the rest of the evening. Eventually, Chip found his way back upstairs and it became a table for two, where they both signed and posed and chatted all night long. Matt gave out hardcovers and Chip dispersed book plates to a lucky few. It was clear that they made everyone’s evenings just by being there. I even had one person come up to thank me, saying that they were unable to go to NYCC, that this, this meet-up turned party, WAS their con. I…I can’t even fathom that.
My head still can’t wrap itself around the fact that so many people showed up. It can’t fathom that people were so happy and excited to receive silly, little buttons and magnets and cards, and to meet other people who love this comic. My mind can’t come to terms with the fact that other well-known people in the industry came out to support it, for however long. The fabulously funny kateordie and her infamous Valkyries. The extraordinarily talented anniewu. The powerhouse of brilliance that is kierongillen, the man that made me adore comics the way I do now with his dry wit and poetic genius, made himself late for his own dinner appointment in order to drop by for 30 minutes: a fact that still makes me stupidly emotional. The utter BAMF and undeniable life-hero to many, including myself, that is kellysue; she was in no way, shape, or form obligated to accompany her husband, but she did so anyway and stayed far into the night, happily duckfacing for anyone who asked.
And then there’s mattfractionblog and zdarsky. And here’s where I start to tear up while writing this. I…I just have no words. No words for what this meant to us, to everyone in attendance, to me personally. We just wanted to hold a silly, little meet-up, meet some people, have a good time hopefully. Never in a million years did I think anyone would stop by, let alone spend the entire night. Matt was on board from the get-go, stating to all of Tumblr, and then to his newletter, his newsletter, that he was going. Chip, not invited to NYCC, flew in from Canada just for this…from CANADA. He spent a good portion of the night laughing at me whenever I’d exclaim that, pointing out that the flight’s only like an hour. Chip. You had to use a passport. And had no other reason to do so (beyond crashing all of Image’s plans at the con, heh). It’s a big, damn deal. Matt told stories all night and Chip, as far as I could tell, gave half the place a lap-dance. They didn’t turn it into a giant signing; they turned it into an intimate get-together. Having a good time and being excited to meet comic creators that you admire is one thing…but this…this was an anomaly. The outpouring of warmth, kindness, love, respect, candor, playfulness, and a myriad of other adjectives that my brain is failing to find as I tear up was unimaginable. It was truly, truly incredible. Both were amazing to everyone they sat down with. And both were beyond generous with us, staying long past when most had left just to spend personal time with Andrea & myself, who never stopped moving during the meet-up, when they definitely did not have to. There were stories and videos and pictures and condom lollipop balloons and laughter…so much laughter.
And now that I’m crying, let me just say: Matt…Chip…thank you. You have my eternal love and gratitude for an evening that I’ll never forget. I don’t know how you two are so damn amazing…but I’m grateful that you are and that I have a small part of that rampant, awe-inspiring brilliance, hilarity, and overwhelming kindness in my life. Thank you. A billion times over. Thank you.