So, there I was in the Marvel booth, talking with P.R. guy Bill Rosemann, Chris Claremont, Bobbie Chase, Joe Quesada, and Olav Beemer. And I say to them –
Wait. Back up a minute.
I’m sitting at lunch with Frank Cho and Erik Larsen and conversation turns to –
I walked out of the hotel and excused myself around Peter David. He was –
Nope. Screw it. What fun is San Diego, though, if you can’t namedrop?!?
I know I’m going to get in some amount of trouble for this, so let me defuse it off the top. I don’t come across three time zones to hit the dealer’s room. The back issues that you can find in San Diego, I can find in the greater NY area (or on eBay) with a little bit of effort.
I come to San Diego to meet new people, see friends I only see at such conventions, and to soak it all in. Along the way, I discover new things, make new friends, meet other pro’s and have a blast. I sometimes mock refer to it as “schmoozing,” but I really do like talking to these people, however briefly. They’re the people whose work I enjoy, and whose talent I admire. I’d be a fool to come all the way out here and ignore them to go find the last missing Smurf from my collection of PVC action figures from 1983. (I’m not joking – I saw one dealer for those this weekend.) Sometimes, it’s just a quick handshake, and autograph, and a few words. Other times, yes, it’s longer conversations, stories being exchanged, and more. But that’s all the fun. I didn’t come out here to suddenly get shy. (Granted, there was once or twice this weekend when I got overly hyper. Hope I didn’t come off as a complete geek then.)
In the end, there’s one result:
Four days of hard convention going will do that to you. The nasty side affects of the convention start kicking in now. I can feel the cold coming up. I can feel the dry scratchiness in the back of my throat. It all comes from being within close proximity to forty thousand people over the course of four days. It comes from shaking hands too numerous to mention without a healthy dose of antibacterial soap inbetween. It comes from a diet so irregular and so awful that I fear publishing it in case my doctor chances across this page. (You’d be amazed how nourishing a pretzel can be for dinner, or a combo breakfast/lunch. And M&M’s do the trick at any time.)
I can hear the creaking in the knees when I get up from chairs now, the product of three days spent prowling a con floor, with rarely a chance to sit. (I’ve eliminated Friday from the equation because I attended panels all day.)
I can say, however, that I don’t think I left many stones unturned. I did get to do just about everything I wanted to do or that I set out to do from the start. I did finally meet my European letterhacking counterpart, Olav Beemer. I did get to meet Joe Quesada, who is a Pipeline fan. I did get to do lunch with Erik Larsen again, buy art from Mike McKone (and lots of it), try new things, meet new people, see old friends, attend interesting panels.
Most of all, I took advantage of more of the night life opportunities. Last year, I didn’t do much after the con. With the exception of the night out to the Eisners, it tended to be dinner, hanging out in the hotel, and going to bed at a good and respectable hour. This year, I went out more. I hit the bars, went to some of the parties, saw some more of the surrounding area and marina, and stayed up late here at the provisional CBR San Diego headquarters writing this column. (I really hope you’re all enjoying this fan-on-the-floor perspective. I’m writing in a bit of a vacuum. I won’t see any of your e-mails or reactions to these columns until late Monday night, at the earliest. So write in now!)
Now it’s all catching up to me. I’m sure it’s a mental thing. If this con had another day in it, I’d be all energetic and ready to take on one more day. As it stands right now, though, I left the con floor feeling satisfied with how things turned out here. Now my main concern/worry is to find a way to get all of this stuff back home. This many comics can’t possibly fit in my luggage. The funny thing is, I didn’t buy a single comic book from the dealer’s room this year. Not a friggin’ one. The one time I tried to get one, no dealer had a copy. Go figure. Every comic I bought came directly from the creator’s table, where I got him/her to sign it and have a little chat about it. It’s great to see the level of enthusiasm and interest there still is in this industry. Yes, there are a lot of cynical creators (::cough::evandorkin::cough::), but they obviously do the stuff they do for the love and not the money. Yes, even the comics that blatantly stink are being done by people who like doing them. That’s always encouraging.
The con floor was relatively quiet today. While I didn’t expect the crush of fans that Saturday brings, I did think there would be more. As it stands, I think Friday might have been a busier day.
I only attended one panel today, and that was the Sequential Tart panel. It was a nice hour, filled with females in red shirts with neat nametags. I’m sure there will be a fuller write-up on their web site once it gets updated at the beginning of August. Suffice it to say, it ended up most like a motivational hour, explaining to people how the site got started, the problems it’s had, the successes it’s had, and what’s ahead in the future. The future calls for getting outside attention for the site and for comics, in general, by leveraging their all-female status. And good for them for that. I won’t complain. It was good to place some names to faces.
The comics professionals versus the internet fans panel did happen at the last minute, but some last-minute changes of plans of my own kept me from attending. I’m really sorry about that. I wish I had made it.
Now for the fun part – packing the comics. I’ve got plenty to stick into two pieces of luggage. I’m going to be lugging a lot of carry-on.
In the meantime, enjoy the look at TELLOS in Tuesday’s column, and I’ll be back here on Friday with some more Pipeline enjoyment. I hope you enjoyed this daily look at San Diego. There’s much more to be spoken about. We’ll go over it in the coming weeks.