Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Cool People: MegaGear

Fred and SarahThe author of this blog would like to apologize in advance for the following highly emotional and wholly inappropriate outburst. Thank you for your patience.

[Fanboy mode on]

Oh my gosh! I got to meet Fred Gallagher, the author and artist behind the webcomic MegaTokyo! I got to see his warehouse! He talked to me for a whole hour! I didn't even have to wait in line like at a convention. Woo Hoo!

[Fanboy mode off]

Once again, we apologize for any discomfort or inconvenience this childish outburst may have caused. We now return to our regularly scheduled blog post which will be shown in its entirety.

It's funny, but you never know who you are going to meet during the course of a normal day. I've been reading MegaTokyo for over a year now and only recently discovered that the creator of the webcomic was from the area. Of course, I could have walked past him on the street and wouldn't have known him from Adam, but it was kind of neat to know that someone whose art I enjoyed was a local.

So, this leads up to a couple of weeks ago, when I got a message from Cheryl O'Brien. She's the membership director for the Ann Arbor Area Chamber of Commerce. I volunteer for the Chamber as one of Cheryl's Ambassadors. She wanted to know if I was interested in tagging along to deliver a new member bag (it has a bunch of information about being a member and, of course, the plaque which you display proudly in your place of business). The name of the business? MegaGear.

MegaGear? Why does that sound familiar? I thunk for a few minutes and realized that MegaGear was the merchandising alter ego of MegaTokyo. For those who've been with me that long, you might remember that MT was on the list of comics that I recommended you check out a few months back.

So last Wednesday, I met Cheryl at the Chamber offices. We drove over to the MegaGear warehouse where I got to meet Fred Gallagher, the author and artist responsible for MegaTokyo, and his lovely wife and business partner, Sarah, the person who apparently keeps him sane and on track.

Both Fred and Sarah welcomed us warmly and made us feel right at home (or as much as they could in their warehouse). While Cheryl and Sarah took care of the whole "new member bag" thing (I knew there was some reason for this visit), Fred and I spent the next hour or so chatting about comics, science fiction, conventions and the vagaries of fans. In the course of our discussion, I felt that I was chatting with a kindred spirit. Ironically, he was at University of Michigan at about the same time I was (though in completely different disciplines -- his was architecture, mine was computer science).

I appreciated the opportunity to chat with Fred and to understand some of what he has to go through as a part of the creative process (when he first started the comic, it would take up to eight hours for him to complete a single four-panel page -- on top of his full-time work in an architectural firm!). Then there are also the challenges he faces being someone with a fan following. If it's all the same, I think I'll stick to being the faceless, nameless Webmaster. It seems like a heck of a lot less trouble.

If you'd like to meet Fred and Sarah, they are going to be at "Wizzyfest" at the Wizzywig shop in downtown Ann Arbor this Saturday, Mar 31, 2007. I'm sure they'd love it if you stopped in to say hello (and maybe picked up a book or two or all four). In the meantime, you can read all of the comics for free online (though I've found reading the books to be a completely different experience). If you do enjoy the dead tree versions of MT, be on the lookout for book number five coming out soon.

So, what cool people could you meet in the course of your everyday work?


Anonymous said...


You are too funny. I loved the entry. You're the coolest Ambassador. See you soon!

Unknown said...

Thanks, Kristen

The Ambassadors are a lot of fun, so it makes it pretty easy for me to take part. Of course, if they served more pizza at the meetings...

I'm just saying. ;-)