Monday, October 9, 2023

AAEC and an Old, New Friend

Alcatraz glimpsed through some cypress (?) trees. There may be more photogenic cities in the world, but none that I live within an hour's drive of.

Busy weekend. Friday I went into San Francisco for a couple of reasons, mainly a public reception at the Cartoon Art Museum kicking off the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists' 2023 conference. I gave a talk about A Fire Story at the AAEC's 2018 conference in Sacramento, and couldn't have been received more warmly then. Turns out that many of them remembered that talk, and me, and we renewed our acquaintances as if no time had passed. 

At the Sacramento conference, I'd found myself talking with a group when I suddenly realized everyone but me had won a Pulitzer Prize. As they said on Sesame Street, "One of these things is not like the others..." Well, that happened again on Friday, as I had good conversations with Pulitzer Prize winners Ann Telnaes, Matt Davies, Matt Wuerker, and especially Jack Ohman, who's working on a (secret?) project very near my heart that I know he and I will be talking about. Also had nice talks with Pulitzer finalist and Herblock Award winner Jen Sorensen, AAEC parliamentarian (!) Scott Burns and his sister, my friend Jonathan Lemon ("Rabbits Against Magic" and the new "Alley Oop") and comics greats Trina Robbins and Steve Leialoha. Met some nice cartoonists from Canada and New Zealand. And of course caught up with our hosts from CAM, Andrew Farago and Summerlea Kashar, many thanks to them!

Pulitzer Prize winner Jack Ohman, late of the Sacramento Bee and just signed as a cartoonist and columnist by the San Francisco Chronicle.

Celebrated comic book creators Steve Leialoha and the delightful Trina Robbins, plus the thumb of the New Zealand cartoonist who couldn't figure out how to not block my camera lens.

I have no idea how I fit all that between the hours of 6 and 8:30 p.m. Sorry if I forgot to mention someone, you were wonderful, too.

But my main reason for going at all was Mike Peterson. Mike is a comics fan and journalist who lives in New England. He's written the online column "Comic Strip of the Day" for years, except for a very brief stretch when I took it on while he recovered from surgery, and on Saturday he accepted an Ink Bottle Award from the AAEC on behalf of The Daily Cartoonist website, where he's one of two main writers. We've been very good friends for 20 years, ever since he was one of the first people to encourage me to continue my "Mom's Cancer" webcomic . . .  

. . . and until Friday, we'd never met in person.

Funny how that happens.

Finally, after 20 years, it's Mike Peterson and me!

First thing Mike said to me after we broke from our warm embrace: "You're taller than I expected." We could have talked all night but of course we didn't get that chance, since one or the other of us was frequently pulled into other conversations. Mike knew more cartoonists than I did, and they seemed to like him better, too. I hope we do get to have that all-night in-person talk soon.

Before the AAEC event, I met up with my daughter Laura, whose USS Hornet - Sea, Air and Space Museum set up a booth and jet cockpit on San Francisco's Marina Green for Fleet Week. The green was only a half-hour walk from CAM, so I hoofed it there and back to say "Hi" to her. That explains why I'm red-faced and sweaty in the photos; it was an unusually hot and clear day for the City and I got some sun!

Walking over a hill overlooking the decommissioned Fort Mason toward the Marina Green, which is the patch of grass at center left. The Golden Gate Bridge is in the background. Beautiful day.

Walking from the Marina Green toward CAM along the Bay. Ghirardelli Square is well marked; the white ship-shaped building is the Maritime Museum. Lots of folks took to the narrow strip of beach at center left to swim and sun. CAM is in the brick building to the left of the CVS.

Hornet CEO Mark Epperson, COO Laura Fies, and Director of Events and Outreach Russell Moore, with their cockpit in the background. I didn't take this photo but I stole it fair and squre.

The rest of the weekend was family stuff. All good but I won't bore you with that. Nothing as exciting as meeting a 20-year friend for the first time. Did not disappoint!

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