The first full day of the convention and I was already weary of fighting through the crowds of cosplayers taking pictures of each other, parents with strollers, and getting hit by those huge bags everyone had to carry their swag.
One of the tough things about going to the West Coast is being on EST. I tried to force myself to sleep longer but I was wide awake before 6:00. I grabbed a coffee and headed off towards the ocean and walked along the city’s shoreline for awhile. I didn’t feel like a full breakfast so grabbed some fruit at the local 7-11 and refueled with coffee.
At the con, I had an early signing at the IDW booth. I ventured into the center area near IDW for awhile before getting to the booth to start the signing. They didn’t have the four Deadworld books there (although I found they had one or two of them later) so I passed out free Deadworld bookmarks and signed those. Since the comic series I was promoting doesn’t come out for a couple of weeks, I had brought a preview of the first issue to show. Most of the people that came up seemed excited about the new series. It wasn’t terribly busy but judging from the others there, it seemed to be a matter of timing. Most people were still trying to navigate the con.
I sat next to Joe Jusko and talked with him quite a bit. He was showcasing his beautiful art book which was put together by Joe Pruett of Desperado and I was familiar with it as I was intertwined with Desperado in a way that is too complicated to go into here. On the other side of me was Sam Shearon, the artist on some IDW books. He did some great stuff and I had a short conversation with him. Joe Hill came in to replace him and I talked briefly with him, mesmerized by how much he looks like his dad….but I’m glad to see that he’s made a name for himself and didn’t rely on his father’s famous name.
Talked a bit with Dirk Wood and met Greg Goldstein, the President of IDW. Greg and I had talked on the phone and via emails but this was a chance to put a face with the voice. Also got to talk a little with Chris Ryall who I believe I met before years ago, but it still seemed new.
After the signing, I came across Dirk Manning at the Image booth, specifically Shadowline. He took a break and he and I walked around a bit. Even though Transfuzion is releasing his Write or Wrong book, we didn’t talk about it since he was brought to the con by Jim Valentino and Shadowline so we both felt it was inappropriate to discuss another publisher’s business on Jim’s dime.
I came across Becky Cloonan who was sitting next to Jill Thompson. I had worked with Becky on the Dracula adaptation for Penguin Books (the Puffin line for kids) but this was the first time meeting her. We had shared some 160 pages of comic story telling so it was good to meet her. She gave me an autographed copy of her new Dracula book which was a beautiful hardcover that she did color paintings for and also gave me some of her mini-comics. She’s already made a name for herself and I expect her to become even bigger in the industry. While there, Leslie Klinger came up and he was the author of the annotated Dracula and was familiar with the book that Becky and I had done as well as my Renfield graphic novel. We had a short Dracula love fest between us and I found out Leslie had also written some Sherlock Holmes book which were put out by IDW as was my Sherlock Holmes book, The Curious Cases of Sherlock Holmes.
I left the con and hopped on trolley to go to Old Town station. There, I was picked up by my second oldest daughter, Jessica, who lives in Ocean Beach. She had moved to San Diego about three years ago for grad school at San Diego State for speech pathology. Now she works in the school system and absolutely loves what she does and loves the city. She said she’s never leaving San Diego. Visited her home which is three or four houses from the ocean and then we walked around OB before grabbing lunch at a small patio restaurant. After that, Jessica and I went back to Old Town and caught the trolley back to the convention. She had never been to a comic convention and being a native now, was well aware of the impact of the Comic Con.
Since I had decided late to go to the show, it was impossible to get professional passes. I got in with IDW and I secured one additional badge for my daughters but couldn’t get two. So, I would be left to do the unthinkable…let them share badges which was expressly forbidden and exceedingly so by the convention organizers. That was a policy I didn’t really understand. I mean, if they had trouble selling the passes, I get that but there is such a demand that if one pass could be used by four different people each day, that would still keep the same amount of people on the floor but would provide four customers instead of just the one. Mike Richardson and I discussed this and when he told me how much it cost for Dark Horse to set up, I can see why he would want the four customers. I don’t know, the policy seemed petty to me and I think all of the vendors would applaud the relaxation on that. Yes, I get that they’re trying to curtail scalping but if the initial sales are controlled, then scalping becomes a simple matter of supply and demand and leaves a lot more people happy rather than disappointed. I’ll grant that there could be some logic behind the restriction that I’m missing but it’s not apparent to me. However, later managed to get an additional badge.
Jessica and I walked around the convention and visited with Dave Dorman, Bill Pulkovski, and others. At Bill’s table, Jay Fosgitt was there before he had to run to the different signing areas. Ran into Bruce Gerlach and the Minor Brothers (Matt, Kevin, and Jake). They were showing some sample art as well as a project and it really looked good. It sounded like they got some promising leads to follow up on. Lots of Detroit connection artists at the con, it seems.
Ran into Mike and Laura Allred and Mike had some nice things to say about his early days at Caliber. It was before the Eisners were announced so I didn’t know that Laura had won one for Best Colorist, so congrats, Laura. It was about 20 years ago at San Diego that I had first met Mike and Laura which makes me feel incredibly old sometimes.
After a few hours of looking around, we stopped at Breygent to pick up some Deadworld t-shirts. Jessica had some friends coming to the con on Sunday and they wanted to wear the t-shirts at the con.
We headed back to OB as my oldest daughter, Stephanie, was coming in from Los Angeles where she lives. She’s a market consultant but took Friday off to come in early. While waiting, I dozed off on the couch, the time shift catching up to me. After Stephanie arrived, we walked around OB again and grabbed dinner at a Mexican restaurant. It was getting late after dinner so the girls drove me back to the Omni hotel and dropped me off. They hooked up with some friends and ended up spending the night at one of their friends’ house who has a condo next to the ballpark. Later, discussed the aspect of renting the condo out for next year as he is usually gone for the summer. That would be interesting.
I decided to force myself to stay up later with the hope I’d sleep longer in the morning. I figured I’d check out Trickster and started heading there when I got a call from Dennis who also just got back to the hotel, so I returned and we had drinks at the hotel. Ran into David Mack as he was coming in and even though I don’t do many conventions, it seems everyone I go to, David’s there. I’m beginning to wonder if he his whole life is traveling.
Dennis had a good eye to spotting celebrities and had already had pictures taken with Mark Hamill and Colin Farrell and managed to snag one with Sir Ian McKellan. It seemed a lot of celebs were staying at the Omni and with the Hard Rock across from us with limos lining the street; it was interesting to watch the autograph hounds transverse back and forth. Most of the celebs were ones I was unfamiliar with and that’s more of a sign of lacking awareness on some popular shows nowadays. I wouldn’t be able to recognize anyone from Twilight, True Blood, and other popular shows.
I managed to make it through the first full day but of course, that was helped out by spending quite a bit of time away from the con. I’d apply the same strategy on the next day.