PREAMBLE: THE FLIGHT OUT
Good news: No plane horror stories this year. The direct flight to San Diego from Newark was uneventful. Once again, I think better than half of the people on the plane were headed towards the convention. I stuck my nose in another Greg Rucka novel and came up for air about 230 pages later.
Ran into Pipeline message board regular John Claus at baggage. Waited for baggage near Bob Schreck. Waited for a taxi behind Don Rosa. This is why San Diego is so cool. Everywhere you turn, it's someone you know or recognize.
LET THE CON BEGIN. . .
Just a word of warning for what will no doubt become a disjointed con report: I'm writing this at 3:00 a.m. East Coast Time as I acclimate to the new time zone. I'm pretty well spent already.
Interesting preview night tonight.
Rumor has it that there are somewhere between 65,000 and 80,000 4-day passes sold to the con. The lines outside the con hall for PREVIEW NIGHT would bear that out. The con was so busy tonight that you'd think it was Friday. Saturday could well be very ugly. I'm just glad I'm not registering on Saturday. That line could be two hours in previous years. This year, it's going to be monstrous.
Registration was an epic struggle. Waited in line for about 15 minutes. While waiting in line, I met Selena Parker, a self-described "Producer/Actress/Cover Model/Writer." That's what her business card says, at least. I promised a namecheck, and there you have it. Ah, the love of a comics diarist...
They couldn't find my name tag at the registration desk. So I went to the next person at the desk who checked the computer and found my name listed. I went back to the guy with all the name tags sorted in alphabetical order. Sure enough, my name was filed under 'B'. "De Blieck." File under "B." Makes perfect sense.
Then we stood in line and waited for them to let the assembled throngs into the convention hall. This is funny because the con started at 5:30 and they didn't let us in until closer to 6 while others were already wandering the con floor. Needless to say, the natives were getting restless. I waited in line with Rob Worley and Steve Gerding. Rob tried the old trick where you bend down to tie your shoes and they let you in. It didn't work. So I bent down to get out my camera from my bag -- and THEN they let us in. The trick works, but it's all in the timing.
They also need to get rid of these alligator clips on the back of the nametags. They're useless and they fall off fairly quickly. They handed out necklace-type holders to some people, but weren't doing so on the Press/Media line. I'm not complaining, though, because we did get the con book this year with our bag of goodies. Whoo-hoo!
Ran around the floor in a couple of giant circles, just to get the lay of the land and see who was around. Talked to Michael Ring at Dark Horse on their upcoming projects and how life had been since last we talked in San Diego 2002. Found Beau Smith at the IDW booth, and had a nice conversation there. While standing around there, also ran into Randy Lander and Don MacPherson, as well as Matt Brady. It was a big comics web pow wow. But it reminded us that for a brief little while, nobody was left "minding the store" for a few hours on the web.
Blind item of the night: Two comic book companies were taken unaware by the fact that each had plans to announce a comic by the same big name other-media star. Who will announce first? Who has the better book? Just what the heck is going on? We'll see how this plays out over the weekend.
Larry Young introduced me to Richard Starkings, who I got to talk lettering with. I only brought one book with me this year to get signed and it was Comicraft's lettering book. Of course, I left the book in the hotel room, not expecting to run into Starkings on the first night.
Lar, being the gentleman ambassador of comics, also introduced me to William Harms. Harms did ABEL, a great graphic novel about World War Two internment and the affects it had on one small town. It would be a great book for high school American history class. It brings the subject to life, but it can be a bit heavy if you're just looking for a light read.
Caught up with Mark Englert while waiting in line for a water. ($2.50 for a bottle. It's bad, but when you're that parched from talking to everyone and being in the con center, you take what you can get.) He's working on CAPES with Robert Kirkman, which will be three issues at the least from Image Comics. I've known Mark for years through SAVAGE DRAGON fandom. I've seen the full issue already, and it's remarkably strong stuff. The art is the perfect match for the story, which is a superhero comedy. He's doing full art plus coloring, and it looks great. It quotes Kirby and Larsen and a few others. It's not going to break new ground in the world of sequential art, but it doesn't need to. Sometimes being the right match is good enough.
The con ended at 8:30, and after a quick stop by Christian Gossett and the RED STAR gang, we exited the floor before being tossed bodily out by the EVENT security staff.
Stopped at Ralph's grocery store for a late night run. OK, it was only 11 p.m. San Diego time, but I'm still functioning at East Coast time until tomorrow. CBR Exec. Producer Jonah used his preferred customer card number thingy for the three of us who were buying stuff, and even leant it out to the next guy in line: Oni honcho, Jamie S. Rich. I picked up a bag of the best pretzels in the world, Rold Gold's, and a 12 pack of Diet Sunkist sodas. Hopefully, the caffeine in those cans will get me through the late nights to come.
And THIS is the kind of sterling prose you clicked on the Pipeline link on the front page to read, isn't it?
I think it's time for bed. I'll be back tomorrow with an update on Thursday at the con. I'll be part of a 5:30 panel on web reviewing, which ought to be fun/scary/interesting/disheartening. Take your pick. Look for the quick synopsis here tomorrow. Pipeline will be updated all weekend long.