Friday, June 12, 2009

Reunion Reminiscences 2

Part Two: Party Planning

(click here to read chapter one)

One detail I forgot to mention in my first post, was that I not only attended the Marvel Reunion on June 6th, but I was also the principal organizer of the event.  

The idea of a reunion wasn’t my idea, but it was one that I instantly responded to when I heard about it.  I’m not sure how long people had been tossing around ideas for a reunion, but I first heard about it around February of this year. There were mentions of it on Facebook groups like “Friends of Old Marvel,” in December 2008.  At some point, I saw a link to a post on Bob Camp’s blogwhere he basically put out the call to see who was interested.

Early on, this idea became tied with another; friends of Mark Gruenwald (like Eliot Brown) expressed a desire to organize a tribute in Mark’s honor.  As dates and possible venues started to be discussed on Facebook, and Bob Camp’s blog, it became clear that it would be a combined Marvel Reunion / Mark Gruenwald Tribute.  Many of us who were following the threads became very excited by the idea.  

There was a problem, though.  While many people expressed opinions, there wasn’t anybody volunteering to take charge, make decisions and force the concept into reality.  Dates and venues would be suggested, but not decided on.  April seemed like a possibility, but it came and nothing concrete was happening.  Personally, I was becoming frustrated, and at first I wasn’t sure why.

It goes back to what I said in my first post; this would be my college reunion!  I wanted my college reunion!!!

So, after discussing it with my wife, on April 13th I sent a proposal out to the groups discussing the reunion / tribute.  I offered to help shepherd the planning process and set up a dedicated group to facilitate action.  It seemed silly, in a way.  Here I was, 3000 miles away from New York, and not half as well connected as the other people involved.   What could I do?  Well, at least I could set up the Facebook group to discuss things.

At first, I thought I’d just get the ball rolling and that someone on the East Coast would take over.  However, it soon became clear that I would have to head the project--if only to guide and focus the discussions so that actual decisions could be made.  The first order of business, after organizing an administrative body of about 16 volunteers, was to pick a date.  June 6th was chosen, coincidentally coinciding with the MoCCA show.  We thought the timing might work in our favor, if some people were coming in to the city anyway for that event (unfortunately, it also created some conflicts with some Marvel Alumni that had MoCCA obligations).

There were many bumps in the road, as we raced to plan the huge event, but finally a venue was chosen, a price agreed upon, and we sketched out a basic plan for the night’s programming. On April 24th, our group started to send out formal invitations by email, a mere 6 weeks before the big date.  This in itself was a difficult task.  In the week or so prior, we collected a list of people who were interested using Facebook as well as our personal address books, spreading the word as best we could.  We chose the venue based on a rough estimate of how many people committed to come, as well as by price.  I’m sure there were several people who were never found and invited, but I think we did a great job, considering.

Deciding who to invite was another issue.  Since this was to be a Tribute to Mark Gruenwald, the Marvel era of the 1980s and early 90s was chosen: The “Gru Era.”  This meant a lot of overlap of different groups of employees and freelancers, including a handful who still work at Marvel today (and a bunch of people who currently work at DC!).  There was potential for conflicts and bad blood, but we put out the call, awaited RSVPs, and hoped for the best.  In the end, five weeks later, I had collected admission for 152 people.  Not too shabby...

To be Continued

(click here for chapter three!)

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