Best Convention Ever?

I just spent Saturday and Sunday at MondoCon 2015 in Austin, Texas. I was a guest there last year. I liked it so much that I agreed to be a guest again this year.

Man, was I surprised! As good as it was last year (and it was good), it dramatically surpassed itself this year, Big Time!

BTW, I think the quality of this year’s MondoCon experience was greatly better for BOTH artists and attendees.

People were camped out to get in on Friday (one person started the line on Thursday!). On Friday night I worked the line, introducing myself and greeting the art-loving folks who were determined to take advantage of Early Entry. To my amazement, I met fans from all over the world (Europe, Australia, Japan, etc.), many who had made the trip just meet me. I was humbled and honored.

The quality of the artists exhibiting at the show was the highest I’ve ever seen. Graphic design was at a new level there, with incredible poster art that reminded me of the Polish poster Renaissance. There was not one booth or table with work that made me ask, “Why in the heck is this guy here?” Every single artist was outstanding. In addition to the quality I was also impressed by the variety of styles exhibited.

The MondoCon volunteers were everywhere, helping attendees and guests alike. They were all smart, bright, knowledgeable and efficient. Whenever I had a panel, a convention volunteer would appear and escort me to where I needed to be…sometimes by car, even though the other convention building was just across the street.

The show had seven food trucks just outside the convention entrance, all serving fantastic food and drinks. As you may or may not know, the food truck movement began in Austin, Texas. Each morning the artist guests were given a sheet where they could choose an item from one of six food trucks. That item was delivered to their table or booth each day at lunch time.

I was flown out on my airline of choice, Southwest Airlines (free baggage). MondoCon pleasantly surprised me by springing for Southwest’s Early Bird boarding option, alleviating the stress I often have when I’m worried about the plane not having enough space for my roll-away bag in the overhead bins.

I appeared at the Masters of the Universe Q & A which took place after the screening of the MOTU documentary Toy Masters. That same afternoon I participated in a meaty podcast interview that greatly pleased both the audience, the interviewer and me.

I delivered my own illustrated lecture, William Stout Career Retrospective, on Sunday afternoon. The place was packed. Mondo was completely prepared audio-visual-wise, which is always a relief. I showed the audience lots of my art they had never seen and told some of my favorite stories. I got a huge round of applause at the end and, afterwards, lots of kudos throughout the day for my talk.

Although the entire event was well-planned and structured, the Mondo folk still allowed opportunities for more informal meetings and get-togethers. I met lots of great young artists and made some new friends. I won’t even go into the incredible parties that MondoCon hosted each night. I do have to mention that the fans who attended this event were of the highest caliber. It seemed that nearly every single one of them exhibited taste, intelligence and artistic and cultural sophistication — and were really nice folks, every single one of them.

Heavy Metal magazine was well represented and, by coincidence, they were selling their big hardcover anniversary book that included my Arzak collaboration with my friend Jean “Moebius” Giraud. I happily signed lots of those.

A movie theater was part of the event and there were screenings all day. Tickets to the screenings often included a rare limited edition silk screen print of a specially commissioned poster of the film. Fans could watch as Sam Wolfe Connelly painted a terrific mural during the show. There was lots of limited vinyl being exhibited and sold at MondoCon, too.

I sold loads of original art (thanks to my fans who asked me to bring originals prior to the show), prints and books — completely selling out of lots of what I brought.

There were only two downsides to the show for me. I tried like crazy to finish my White Zombie poster art for publication by Mondo (or at least, to preview at MondoCon), but I failed. I’ve still got about two more days to go on it. Also, my pal Bernie Wrightson was scheduled to appear but had to bail at the last minute, apparently for health reasons. I had been really looking forward to seeing Liz and Bernie.

The Mondo folks asked if I’d be a guest in 2016. My response?

“Are you kidding? In a heartbeat!”

See You There!

5 Responses to “Best Convention Ever?”

  1. Rick Catizone says:

    Sounds amazing, Bill. You make it come alive with your energetic descriptions.
    Glad you had such a great time, and did so well in the process!

  2. Jake says:

    I had a blast. I look forward to taking my daughter next year. Anytime I can say thank you to Bill for his work, and talk about Jurassic Park is a good day. Maybe next year they can get you to do Stout True Hollywood Stories presentation. We know you have some more great ones.

  3. Erin Tapken says:

    Thank you for this incredible write up about Mondo-Con! I’m so thrilled that you had a good time. Those folks at Mondo are hard-workers and it’s because they love what they do. Never more than at Mondo-Con does that become apparent.
    The changes they made this year, with the 2 venues, was so helpful! Everyone had room to breath and I think it made everyone more relaxed overall!

    I can’t wait to see you there again next year!

  4. Bryan Rose says:

    It was a pleasure meeting you, both in line beforehand, and while inside the con. It’s not often you get to talk with such a talented artist, while standing outside waiting to get into an event you’re attending. Looking forward to seeing you back again next year!

  5. Dave says:

    Thanks William! It was really great hanging out Friday night with you and Ferris. See ya next time!

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