- by Chris Marie Green
Last year I blogged about my first panel ever at San Diego Comic-Con. And now that I’m writing about my second annual panel, I think I don’t really need to include the barfy feeling one gets when she stands in the convention center hallway, realizing that the line she sees stretching from here to there is for the room in which the panel is to be located. I think we can skip over how the palms sweat, how the phrase “The-other-authors-are-so-much-bigger-and-cooler-than-I-am” pulses through the body in a neurotic parade.
Because I am a Con panel pro now.
I’d like to say that I was ultra comfortable with the panel’s subject, just as I was last year with “Things That Go Bump.” With “Bump,” I could sit up there and riff on things that scared me and inspired me to write urban fantasy (bad dreams about Nosferatu, In Search Of…). Soooo easy. However, this time, I signed on for “Bram Stoker: Was He the Joss Whedon of his Day?” Although the subject was up my alley, this called for a bit of expertise, but I was determined that this would be just as easy as last year.
You see, I had discovered that I would be on the panel with Dacre Stoker. Yes—you read that last name correctly. Bram’s great-grandnephew. He and his co-author, Ian Holt, have written an authorized sequel to DRACULA called THE UN-DEAD. Oh, and then there was the inclusion of Les Klinger, a Victorian scholar who wrote THE NEW ANNOTATED DRACULA (which means that he pretty much explains everything about DRACULA in his book). Tony Lee, who wrote the upcoming HARKER, would be well-versed in the topic, as well, I knew.
All right, I said to myself. No problem. I can just leave the Stoker/Dracula stuff to the other guys while I talk about the kind of vamps I’ve used in my own books, hah.
But then I found out that Steve Niles (30 DAYS OF NIGHT—eeeekk!), J.F. Lewis (STAKED), and Jeanne C. Stein (The Anna Strong Chronicles) would be there, too. They would probably know far more than I.
N-E-U-R-O-T-I-C. Tumbling stomach. Sweaty palms.
So I embarked upon some study. I re-read DRACULA. I jotted down every single musing that crossed my mind regarding parallels between Stoker and Whedon. Once again, I was back to college-like cramming, just like the English major I will always be.
When it came time for the panel, I talked briefly about Joss, so if anyone was there to hear about him, I accommodated them. All in all, we covered how DRACULA has affected vamp fiction through the years, and we touched on the evolution of female characters (from Mina Harker to urban fantasy heroines), why vamps are so attractive to audiences, and if every vampire story owed Dracula a mention in the text. The questions from the audience were keen, and I kind of forgot I was on the panel because I was so in to listening to everyone else. I was actually just getting relaxed when it came time to head for the signing area.
But, like last year, it was an experience I wouldn’t give up for anything. Thanks again to Mysterious Galaxy for having such a literary presence at the Con!
BTW, you can now find me on Twitter and Facebook, where I’ll be chatting up today’s release of my newest Vampire Babylon book, THE PATH OF RAZORS….