I’m having a very surreal and emotionally scattered weekend. For one thing, as I write — although this will be in the past as you read this, because of scheduling and choices I’ve made that make sense in the moment but likely won’t when this appears — I’m in Chicago, because I’m working Star Wars Celebration for THR. It’s a strange show, because, well, it’s literally a strange show for someone used to covering comic book conventions: It’s five days all based around one property, as opposed to four or so for an entire medium and multiple other related media. It’s exhaustive, sure, but also exhausting and arguably too much.
There’s a thing that normally happens to me at a long-running convention, you see. By “long-running,” I really mean, “more than two days.” It’s traditionally been at its worst with San Diego every year, in large part because that runs Wednesday through Sunday and is entirely immersive; it takes over my life for those days and the outside world ceases to exist. Now, factor in the fact that Star Wars Celebration is that length, but only about one subject. It’s as if the rest of the world has ceased to exist.
And yet, at the same time, at the back of my head, I’m hyper vigilant in a background radiation-type way of the fact that this weekend has also been the weekend where Eisner Award judges are meeting and deciding the nominees for this year’s awards.
It’s not just that I was a judge last year and feel nostalgia for the surreal process of the entire thing — although that too, yes — but also, I submitted THR’s Heat Vision for the Comics Journalism category this year and ever since I did so, awkwardly and apologetically because I can’t get over my anti-ego that easily, I’ve been unable to wait patiently to find out if we’ve made it to the nominee list or not.
I’m fully prepared to not make it — not only because, hey, maybe we weren’t that good, but also because I’ve been a judge and I know how wacky the process is; not making it to the list isn’t necessarily a sign of anything other than the process itself. That said, I am unreasonably excited by the prospect of being able to call myself an Eisner nominee, if it happens. More even that potentially winning, I think, I just want to be nominated. I want that far more than I expected, before I submitted.
So this weekend, I’m feeling disconnected from the real world, running around surrounded by Stormtroopers to a constant soundtrack of John Williams music, and dealing with ambition and a desire to be recognized for my efforts, all at once.
It’s a disorienting experience.