Hey all!

I have never made a secret of the fact that Detroit Fanfare has long been one of my favorite conventions of the year. Not only is this always a good show for me financially (which must be considered whenever dedicating three days to a show), but, sentimentally, it has always held a place near and dear to my heart due to the great people who run it and the great friends I’ve made at there over the years.

So, for my fourth return to Detroit Fanfare, what was my favorite moment?

Was it being tabled between Eric Powell (creator of THE GOON, one of my all-time favorite comics) and my friend and frequent collaborator Seth Damoose all weekend?

Or getting to pilot my new WRITE OR WRONG presentation to a rapt Sunday audience for the first time?

How about getting to kick it with my publishers Tom Hutchinson (Big Dog Ink), Josh Blaylock (Devil’s Due), and Gary Reed (Transfuzion – which is now returning to its roots as Caliber Entertainment)?

Maybe seeing Dennis, Gary (again), Tony, Rich, Larry and all the rest of the Detroit Fanfare crew, as well as all my con friends too numerous to list here? (You all know how you are, right?)

Could it be my new friend Jenn (an amazing person who does a lot of good for a lot of people) introducing me to her equally amazing daughter Daniele, who professed to be my biggest fan ever – to the point where she claims to have a picture of me on her wall, teen idol magazine style? (And yes, you know damn well that got her a copy of every book I wrote on my table… and yes, it was a one-time only thing!)

These are but a few of many contenders, for sure, but in the end they all pale in comparison to… THIS:

2013 Detroit Fanfare

(Click the pic for an “enbiggened” version of the costume so you can see it — and her make-up job — in all it’s full glory!)

That, my friends, is podcaster and cosplayer extraordinaire Amber Love, who made a surprise (or at least last-minute) visit to Detroit Fanfare to come hang out at my table with me and, again to my surprise, cosplay to promote the release of the DIA DE LOS MUERTOS graphic novel from Image Comics/Shadowline that features a story written by me and illustrated by Riley Rossmo, a man who is one of my favorite artists currently working in comics.

Amber and I have been close for a very long time, and although we attended a few of the same cons together many years ago, never had a chance to talk face to face until the weekend of Detroit Fanfare.

Despite being cyber-friends and talking/chatting over the internet or on her amazingly wonderful podcast VODKA O’CLOCK countless times over the years (with her regularly getting me to talk about things I had no intention of ever talking about – as is her way), there was more than a little trepidation – on both our parts, I suspect – about meeting her in person. After all, it’s one thing to develop a relationship with someone online… but “real life” relationships can be a completely different thing, especially for overly-reclusive, introverted, writer-types like me.

Furthermore, I’ m used to running a table by myself, so the idea of tabling with someone – let alone someone I’d never met “in real life” – had me more than a little nervous about how the weekend would go.

As it ends-up, my fears proved to be completely unfounded.

I’m happy to say that the weekend went wonderfully and that Amber and I got along as seamlessly in-person as we have online for years. To say that I’m happy she made the decision to come to the show would be a gross understatement, and I’m already counting the days until Amber and I get to join forces at a con (and see each other) again… and hopefully it won’t take another seven years or so for that to happen!

In fact, at this point I know that won’t be the case, and this brings a smile to my scarf-covered face every time I think about it.

Next-up is a signing next weekend with my friends at Super-Fly Comics in Yellow Springs, Ohio. I hope to see some of you there!

Your friend in comics,
Dirk Manning