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CHANGE O’ PLANS

The originally planned Pipeline Previews style column is being pushed back to Friday now, so that I might chronicle Sunday at Comic-Con International: San Diego in a more timely fashion. Come back next Tuesday for the Pipeline Photo Parade from con.

Chicago comes up right after that, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, the following is what I wrote on Sunday night for this column.

SAN DIEGO ON A SUNDAY NIGHT

It’s 8:30-ish. I’m sitting at the terminal for my flight home. Glorious San Diego airport. Glorious Continental Airlines. I loathe Continental now. It’s official. No other airline has been plagued with so many thunderstorms in the history of air travel. Of this, I am sure.

My 9:30 flight has been delayed to 10:10.

I have a betting pool going on what the next announced delay will be. They are confident that the inbound flight will be landing at 9:30 and that they’ll be able to make up the time on the flight to Newark. We’ll arrive at virtually the same time.

Right. And Galactus may not crave a new planet on which to dine.

Geek.

Let’s look back at the day at the convention, instead.

The first thing I did was listen to Newsarama’s Matt Brady’s brilliant idea. He had the smarts to take the back way to the convention. Instead of going straight down the main road, you can walk through the Seaport Village and marina behind it. The water is calm, the breeze is cool, and the atmosphere doesn’t stink. There is no fanboy funk there. On a nice sunny morning, it’s a refreshing walk.

I did the same in reverse at the end of the day, settling down with a Diet Coke, a book of Bill Plympton’s magazine cartoons, and an empty park bench facing out over the water. In the distance, you could watch the kites flying in the park and the boats and jet skis speeding through the water. Kids played around the fountain a few feet away, and everyone just had a good time. Sure, it’s a tourist trap, but it is a pleasant one.

Inbetween those two walks is mostly a blur. I skipped all panels and stayed out on the con floor, taking a break or two for some sun and fresh air, as well as a delicious Mrs. Field’s chocolate chip cookie. After walking around for a couple of hours on the fourth day of a con, you don’t mind paying $2.50 for one of those.

I didn’t get to see the whole convention this year. I’m sure of that. I surely didn’t get to say good-bye to everyone I wanted to. Heck, I never got to say hello to everyone. (Paging Tyler Page: I am sorry, sorry, sorry I didn’t catch you at your booth today.)

The crowd was huge. This was the biggest Sunday crowd I’ve ever seen, rivaling the Saturday crowd at times. The dealer’s room was overloaded and choked late in the day. Everyone wants to make a deal or make a last minute purchase with the leftover money. The aisles got really tight very fast.

The FLIGHT crew had a small booth jam packed with cool sketch books and comics. Enrico Casarosa (ADVENTURES OF MIA) was kind enough to add his art to my sketchbook, too, while I purchased his sketchcrawl book.

Picked up a new Usagi Yojimbo sketchbook from Stan Sakai.

Stopped by the Alias Comics booth and had to buy OZF5, just for one panel in the book showing Dorothy wielding a mega-gun, much to the shock of the Lion and the Robot. Mike Miller is pushing his lineup as being perfect for all ages. The vast array of titles should, indeed, appeal to a broad cross-section of families. Hopefully, the early shipping problems can be overcome in the long run of this company. I saw the TED NOODLEMAN book finally in print there, though I had to hold off since I had pre-ordered it at home.

Found Chris Giarrusso in Artist’s Alley, and bought two sketches from him, of Nightcrawler and Thor. They were too cute to pass up. Did I mention his medium of choice? Crayon. Very very cool.

I managed not to buy any art, though I was sorely tempted by more SMAX art from Zander Cannon (he’ll be in Chicago), Michael Lark’s GOTHAM CENTRAL (very nice, but not necessary), and Steve Epting’s CAPTAIN AMERICA (too rich by just a smidgen for my blood). In the end, I didn’t want to weigh myself down on the flight. For that reason, I also skipped the ART OF SILVER book. It’s beautiful, but a heavy and large sized doorstopper.

Sergio Aragones had some original GROO pages on sale at his booth, but the $400 price tag was too rich for my blood. I’m sure he could get that from someone, though, so I don’t hold it against him.

I noticed at the end of the day that Fiona Avery had a booth, but it was inexplicably stuffed away in the corner near aisle 200 or so, amidst a flurry of Japanese importers, animation dealers, novelty t-shirt sellers, and various tchachke merchants.

The convention floor was very cold today. They really cranked up those new air conditioning units, leading the p.a. system lady to make an early proclamation that huddling for warmth is not allowed in the hallways as it could block traffic. No, I’m not kidding. I thought it was kind of cool. Everyone had a moment of shock that the usual stock messages were overruled, but then most had a good laugh over it. This is the same voice that just yesterday asked all people toting around wheeled carts to take them off the con floor “now” lest security come to get them and embarrass them in front of all their friends.

The rest of the day was spent paging parents of wayward children. It’s amazing how many kids got lost on “Kids Day” at the con. I’m beginning to think that child leashes aren’t such bad things now.

The Disney Comics booth had a sign promoting a graphic novel based on the ALIAS television show. Last we all heard, Rob Liefeld had scored those rights a couple of years ago, but nothing ever came of it. Disney promised a booth signing by the creative team on Saturday, but I missed it. Original pages of art for the book were on display in the booth, though. They certainly looked like Jennifer Garner without being slavishly photoreferenced. This is a mystery that needs solving. If I had to guess, I’d say this was originally done overseas and the American license to reprint those was just picked up. We’ll see.

The biggest disappointment of the convention, aside from the people I missed, was in never finding a convention book laying around. With a press pass, you don’t get the full convention book, bag, etc. You get a panel schedule and map of the place, and that’s about it. In previous years, I’ve managed to scrounge up a con book laying around the floor of a departing panel, or piled up in front of a full garbage can. This year, I managed neither. To eBay I will have to go. . .

They’re sticking to their story about my flight leaving at 10:10 tonight. I must be particularly tired, because I’m not fighting them anymore. I think I actually believe them now. They still have an hour to start acting like themselves, though.

There is, however, a kid screaming up a storm in the terminal here. I’m sure he’ll be sitting right behind me or next to me on the flight. Oh, my.

Final pedometer tally for Sunday: 9609 steps, 4.24 miles, 463 calories burnt. Those numbers are highly suspect. I took a ton of itty bitty shuffle steps to get through the crowded parts of the con. While I may have taken more than 9000 steps, I surely didn’t get past 4 miles. Not walking to a far away place for dinner also saved me from bulking up those numbers. This is good, since both my knees and feet were hurting by the end of the day.

Side note: I forgot to take my pedometer off when I went through security. Didn’t realize it until much later. It didn’t set off any alarms, though. I now know that the belt clip gadget is all plastic.

I’m glad the con’s over. In the past, the entire trip was an adrenaline rush to be gleefully enjoyed. Nowadays, it’s starting to feel more like a marathon. I’m going to enjoy the next couple of days off, when I can just sit at home, veg out, and rest. I’m sure I’ll be cranky as hell at work on Wednesday. (You guys have been warned!)

I’m falling asleep just waiting for my plane to arrive, let alone take off. Hopefully, this will bode well for a quick nap-filled flight home.

The previously promised Pipeline Previews column will be up on Friday. Stop back here next Tuesday for my personal Pipeline Photo Parade.

OK, this is me back on Monday now. Some updates: The flight finally took off around 10:30, landing only 35 minutes or so later than initially scheduled. The screaming baby kept up the good crying work through most of the flight a few rows behind me, but that didn’t stop me from sleeping through most of it. The biggest delay was in waiting for my baggage at the airport. It took twenty minutes to a half hour for them to get it out, and then they moved to a different carousel than originally labeled. Go fig.

I love San Diego and I can’t wait to get back, but I could surely do without the flights to and from. Next year, I’ll take a couple of extra weeks off and just drive it.

Yes, I’m kidding.

I think.

Two last things: Funniest blog entry of the week. Best review of the week.

See you back here on Friday.

Check the Pipeline message board for updates on the Pipeline Comic Book Podcast. You can subscribe to the podcast through iTunes now, too! You can still hear last week’s podcast through the MP3 file.

Don’t forget about the VandS DVD podcast.

Various and Sundry continues its link dumps, and all political discussions are at VandS Politics.

You can e-mail me your comments on this column, or post them for all the world to see and respond to over on the Pipeline Message Board.

More than 600 columns are archived here at CBR and you can get to them from the Pipeline Archive page. They’re sorted chronologically. The first 100 columns or so are also still available at the Original Pipeline page.

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