In certain very small ponds, I'm something of a big fish; that is to say, if you get the right handful of people into a room, I'd be considered a celebrity. Among the furry fandom in particular, I've got a pretty strong contingent of fans. :) Although I do still occasionally get e-mails from people who loved my work on Street Fighter or Mage.
It's an odd thing, being a celebrity, even one as microscopic as me; people I've never met or even heard of come stammering up to me at conventions, and say things like, "I, uh, I don't want to seem like too much of a fanboy or anything, but, er, hi, uh, I love Suburban Jungle and stuff. Gah, I'm sure I'm being obnoxious, I'll leave you alone now, sorry!" *zoom!*
To which I blink and say, "Um ... hi?"
Of course, I've been there myself; when I managed to pluck up the courage to call Mike Stackpole one time, the moment he answered the phone my tongue turned into a big fat shoe grafted to the inside of my mouth. I did manage to say, "I loved Mercenaries, Spies, and Private Eyes!" before I fled in terror. (His reaction: "Wow, somebody heard of that?")
Here on LJ, I occasionally look at my "friend of" list to discover a new handful of names on there of people that I have no clue who they are. *waves to all the people on his 'friend of' list that he has no clue who they are* I find myself curious as to why they have chosen to follow my ramblings ... do they read my comics? Are they friends of friends? Were they so glad to find somebody else on LJ who lists 'anime,' 'catastrophism,' 'dirk gently,' 'michelle yeoh,' and 'yog-sothothery' on their interests that they figured they'd better latch on while they could? Did they see some comment I made in anthroartassoc and just decide to see who I was?
The thing that always gets me is when people are surprised that I talk to them like a human being. When I get fan mail, for instance, I try to respond to it all, even if it's just something like "Thanks for the note, glad you like the strip!" With all the comics, artists, writers, and so on out there, to know that I made a big enough impression on somebody that I was worth writing to is a heck of a compliment, and deserves acknowledgement as such.
When I get from time to time a return note saying something like, "OMG you wrote back! This is SO COOOL!" or I hear a secondhand report that somebody was afraid to send me an e-mail ("But, but ... it's THE GNEECH!") I find myself blinking in amused befuddlement. I'm just this guy, y'know? The one that really boggled my mind was the anime catgirl at last year's Dragon*Con who had to work up the nerve to ask to me to pose for a photo with her, and then went "Squeee!" when I said, "Sure!" WTF? :D Talk about flattery! (At Dragon*Con! Y'know, where FAMOUS AUTHORS and MOVIE STARS are all over the place! In the words of Strong Bad, "Holy CRAP!")
Anyway, I don't know where I'm going with all this, it's just something that's been on my mind a bit this week. I guess it boils down to: I am very lucky that so many people get so much enjoyment out of my work. :) It means a lot to me.
FWIW, I'm also very lucky to have all those friends from when I was just a wannabe, too, and you know who you are. :)
So thanks to all of you! You rule!