On the last day, Dennis and I grabbed breakfast and it was the only full breakfast I had for the entire convention. I usually eat a larger breakfast or lunch but not both and it was always too much of a hassle to grab lunch so I figured go for the morning meal.
Stephanie and Jessica had gone to a party in Pacific Beach and undoubtedly wouldn’t be getting up until early afternoon so I left a message not to worry about trying to get to the convention that day since it was the last one. They had just been to Michigan a few weeks prior and both were planning trips in the next few months and I talk often with them on the phone so it wasn’t like I wouldn’t see or hear from them for awhile.
I stopped at the Image booth where Dirk Manning was working with Jim Valentino on the Shadowline division. To be honest, I was unfamiliar with the line for the most part, except of course, Dirk’s Nightmare World (which I had written the introduction for the third volume). Dirk, ever the promoter, extolled the great books and I ended up picking up Green Wake, Meta 4, and Fractured Fables. I met Tim Daniel, the writer of Enormous and that book looked cool but it was just too large to deal with.
I let Jim know that those books were the only ones I bought for the entire convention and complimented him on his line. I had worked with Jim previously when I took Disciples from Caliber and released it through him. I don’t think too often of Image as a former publisher but I did release the graphic novels of Saint Germaine, Red Diaries, Renfield, Dead-Killer, and the collection of the Deadworld reboot series which they released as a limited series, so that makes 10 releases from Image. Surprised me when I thought about it.
On my way out of the Image area, I stopped to talk with some ex-Michganders in Shane and Chris Houghton who do the popular Reed Gunther series. I made my way back to artist alley and on the way, I came across Kevin Eastman who was entertaining the crowd at his booth. He was a guest at last year’s Fanfare but I’ve known him for a long time and is one of the nicest guys in the business. Right as I was leaving, I came across Trevor Von Eeden. I’ve always liked Trevor’s art and wondered why he didn’t get more work. We had started on a series together but the publisher pulled it before we got past the first issue. I’d like to find a way to either resurrect that series or do something new with him.
I stopped at a publisher who released novels and as I was talking briefly with him, I mentioned that there was a Deadworld novel I was working on that was nearing completion. He gave me one of those “don’t call me, we’ll call you response” and I got the hint. However, as I left, an editor from another company had heard so I ended up going to his booth and we discussed the possibility. I don’t plan on really pushing anything until it’s completely done.
By that time, I had already checked out from the hotel but went over to drop off my purchases in luggage storage and Dennis did likewise. We decided that we had enough of the con so we ventured to some of the activities and setups outside of the convention hall, which there were quite a few. We went to the Cryptozoic store as they had a few artists that were working on the Deadworld card set as well but I knew their big signing session was on Saturday. Also checked out the Zombie Apocalypse store which was a preview of their storefront in Las Vegas and it was in the basement of the Haunted Hotel.
We grabbed a coffee and took a relaxing break for awhile. With our flight not leaving until around 10PM, we decided to grab dinner and so headed over to the Strip Tease where you cook your own steaks. I’d recommend it if you’re looking for a place to eat that’s a bit different. After dinner, we grabbed some gelato for desert and then headed back to the hotel to load up for the ride to the airport. Dennis had picked up a lot of stuff during the con so Tim, who lived in San Diego, took most of it and would box it up and send it to Dennis.
At the airport, we ran into some retailers and artists Scott Zambelli and Greg Horn. The flight itself was hot and uncomfortable, which is typical for airlines but made it back with the red-eye getting us home about 5:30 AM.
That’s it for the con report and it’s so much easier to direct people here who ask me about the convention and I hope it shows that even if you’re not set up at the con, you can stay incredibly busy.
My overall impression of the convention is that when people tell you how congested and “Hollywood” it is, yeah, you can understand that but you really have to be there to appreciate it. It seems now that you can almost go to the con and experience quite a bit of it without even stepping in the convention hall itself, although of course, that is the ultimate experience. There is a lot of stuff going on. And if you’re a person who likes going to clubs (I don’t), there’s a whole different aspect which I ignored.
I heard various reports from how people did at the convention. It’s always tough to figure out exactly how people do as you have some that are consistently complaining and others who will always paint a better picture than they actually did. For those, it seems as if they had a bad con, it’s a reflection on them. But after years of going to conventions, it just works out that sometimes you have a good con and sometimes you have a bad one. I’ve been to similar cons where I’m so busy, I’m exhausted at the end of the day and to cons where there is so little activity, I’m even more exhausted from the boredom. And it can change from year to year. My feeling is that if a con gets the people there who are buying and if they don’t buy your stuff, there are a lot of reasons why but don’t blame the con.
I don’t know if I would set up at Comic Con. It would mainly depend on what I had coming out at that time. I see some artists/vendors there who haven’t got anything new for the last couple of years and so I expect they would have little success.
Would I go back after this trip and having missed it for the last ten years? I dunno. I have the added incentive of my daughters living there and next year, could schedule the family to all go, so that skews my personal return. As a creator alone, it would all be dependent on the circumstances but it certainly wouldn’t be an automatic attendance on my part.