We're staying at a hotel that's nine really long blocks away from the convention center. The hotel is really nice. It's the kind of hotel with bathrobes hanging on the bathroom door. There's even a kitchenette in here complete with pots and pans that will never get used because, hey, who has time to cook?
On the other hand, there's no vending machine on the floor (I guess that would be tacky at a "spa and resort" such as this one), and the elevator just broke. Since our reservation is on the 7th floor, that meant we got to walk up seven flights of stairs to get to our room after walking 9 blocks to get to the hotel.
I'm getting more exercise than I think I ever needed.
My doctor, I am sure, would disagree.
CCI: SAN DIEGO DAY ONE
The first day of the con was a surprisingly busy one. I didn't get everything done that I wanted to. That would be wrong. This is a four day marathon. These things must be spread out a bit.
(I'm still looking for Paul Mounts. If anyone knows where he is, please e-mail me soon and let me know.)
I finally met Michel Gagne of Gagne International. You probably know him best as the guy who did those books of Insanely Twisted Rabbits, which I've reviewed here in the past, along with his ZED series. He's got a beautiful new hardcover book out now called A SEARCH FOR MEANING: THE STORY OF REX. It's an insanely cute storybook about a little fox looking for the meaning of life. It's a quick read, but really fun. Gagne's books are half art book and half comic story. This one is no exception. It's an incredibly simple story with an incredibly simple point. It's the way Gagne goes about telling it that is utterly charming and imaginative. As a sequential artist, he also finds good ways to combine the lettering and pictures in the book. Literally, at one point, he has the character climbing over the lettering. It's a fun read.
If you're looking for something slightly more straightforward, I'd suggest the newly-released ZED collection, with ZED #1-4 inside of it. There are both hardcover and softcover editions of it available at the convention. The HC is only $19, which is an amazing price for a book with such high production values.
Mike Kunkel's booth is a buzz of merchandising activity, from t-shirts to lithographs to a beautiful new mini-bust with both the bear and the kid. A reprint of the first issue is available now with a spiffy new cover. The selection of t-shirts has also expanded, by both color and design.
(With the closing of the Warner Bros. Studio Stores, I need a new source for t-shirts. There are some nice laid-back t-shirt designs out there, thankfully. Heck, I even bought a Khepri.com t-shirt, because it was a green color I don't have any other t-shirts in.)
The Image booth was giving away stacks of Erik Larsen's latest book, the SAVAGE DRAGON COMPENDIUM. It has 64 full color pages of pictures and text to bring any reader up to speed on what has happened in the series' first 100 issues. It's a pretty amazing feat. I was excited when the first page I opened to was for the Freak Force entry, one of my sentimental favorite series of all time.
For only $3, it's a great deal for both long-time Dragon fans in need of a reminding as well as newbies who are curious as to what all this madness is about.
The new Dragon bust sculpture is also out and it looks great. I'm trying hard not to buy it, because I'd just end up having to pay extra to ship it home. I think I've already reached the point now where I can't fit everything in my existing luggage and one allowed carry-on for the trip back.
Steve Troop has a nice new spaceship console design to his little corner of the Keenspot booth and Mayberry Melonpool. It looks great. It's got blinking lights and everything. ;-) I have a picture of it that I'll include in a future Pipeline column once I get home.
Met up with Tom Beland, who I haven't seen in a couple of years, since the Small Press Expo of 2000. The third issue of his TRUE STORY, SWEAR TO GOD is out now. It's a great issue, and one that I laughed out loud while reading. The wedding scenes are a riot. His table is situated against the back wall closer to the dealer's section than the small press people, really. His faithful fiancee Lilly was with him, as well.
Oh, and I picked up a TRUE STORY t-shirt while I was at it, too.
The place is busier than ever before. I fear what Saturday might bring. As it was, I ended up skipping the Devin Grayson panel on characterization that I wanted to attend. We got there five minutes late and the room was already packed and people starting to line the walls. It didn't help that it was in the smallest panel room in the building, off in a far corner. Just weird.
Instead, we took in the X-MEN panel, which was the source of some amusement and some minor newsbits that probably aren't even news. (I'm too tired to remember whether this is old news or not.) Frank Cho is doing a MAX mini-series starring Sheena The She-Devil, and Peter Milligan and Darwyn Cooke are doing a Wolverine/Doop book.
A lot of comics are showing up for sale on the con floor this weekend that I can't buy. They're here early, and I pre-ordered them. It's so tempting to forget it and pick up books like THREE FINGERS and SPARKS, but I'm holding strong.
So far. Three days to go, though. Wish me luck.