Every year there’s this EVENT in a beautiful southern California city that is attended by, if not millions, the hundreds of thousands. It’s called Comic-Con International (con = convention, if you’re not hip), but it used to be called San Diego Comic Con. Just about every publisher is there, some you might not even know. But the “comic” in Comic-Con is deceptive. The floor is truly more of a media convention, more like a television/cable convention, but because the event (40 years old now) used to bring in fans of comics and, as luck would have it, in 1976 or so, they debuted some footage of a little movie called Star Wars. Since then, there has been a growing, but tenuous, relationship that has…you know when there are twins in the womb, but one consumes the other? If there’s a word for that, that’s what SDCC has become. Chuck Rozanski, the founder of Mile High Comics (which has the greatest origin story ever thanks to the Edgar Church collection), is even contemplating never setting up again (for different reasons, but it’s telling). Slowly but surely, the comics are being pushed out. I even suggested to anyone who would listen that the Eisners should start giving out awards for movies and TV shows now.
I don’t think Will would approve of what the convention has become.
But let’s make this about me, not the show. Because I’ll be honest…I had a great time. It’s been seven years since I attended, but yeah, the last one was a rough one. I was severely depressed, and I got tired of wearing my “convention face.” This year, I was sad (my wife and daughter couldn’t come so I had to Skype them every day), but I really enjoyed myself. It should be noted that my right hand, Nick Purpura, wasn’t with me and while it was a different experience not having him with me, I didn’t let it get to me too much.
WEDNESDAY - Even though we had a new couch delivered to the house at the EXACT moment I had to leave for the airport, I still got there in plenty of time. Met with Adam Garcia, one of my roommates for the weekend, at the gate and saw Dan Slott, John Cassaday and John Romita Jr were also on my flight. At that point, I figured, “Well, nothing’s gonna happen to this flight. One writes Spider-Man, one draws Superman and the other draws a Star Wars comic (which I didn’t know yet). God ain’t letting this plane go down.” Got to watch WINTER SOLDIER again, and I’m still convinced it’s the best superhero movie yet (maybe even best spy film). Landed. Got to the hotel (the Hilton Bayfront, which wasn’t there seven years ago). Dropped off our stuff and headed to dinner at Don Chido, a Mexican place on Fifth Street. AMAZING tacos! Great local brews! Highly recommended! Went back to the hotel, saw Jamal (Igle) and Alex (Irvine) and we all just started talking about comics and movies and passed out early.
THURSDAY - Got breakfast at Cine Cafe (which, due to the time difference with the East Coast, was more like lunch…I did my best to keep a lot of my routines the same). So I got a chicken salad sandwich and a huge bottle of water. Almost got sick, so I pitched the second half of the sandwich. Met with Kevin Freeman, president of Action Lab Entertainment, got my badge. Entered the show. Went to the booth, signed a couple of prints and announced Stray’s new home at ALE. The rest of the day was a bit of a blur and that’s because I’ve still not figured out proper convention foot care and footwear. I tried arch inserts, insoles…nothing really worked. My feet hurt a ton and there were points, I’m sure, when people looking at me would have thought I was drunk or on something because I was literally falling forward on flat feet and looked like some kind of mix between Foster Brooks and Red Skelton (there are some references for you). So, I hit the hotel twice in the day, during the show, if only to rest my feet. Also, to Skype with my family. The day ended early, with me, tired feet and all, pumping up my air mattress and falling asleep on it instead of hitting any of the parties.
FRIDAY - My sole purpose for going to San Diego happened on this day. I was approached by (REDACTED) from (CENSORED)'s new production company (NOT TELLING) (new being a relative term since they’ve been putting out content slowly for a few years). Anyway, (REDACTED) was very interested in Stray, so we talked about the first mini series, the future of the book and some of the ways we could interpret the book for (UH UH MISS JACKSON). It’s not like I expected to sign a contract right there, but (REDACTED) was very positive and really wants to see where the book goes. I think, based on his/her reaction, we might have a hit on our hands with the comic. And I offered to write the (GUESSY GUESS). After that, it was really a day filled with signing prints, seeing friends, getting dinner and going to the infamous Hyatt bar and heading back by 1am.
SATURDAY - The day was a blur because my mind was on the time. My flight was at 8:55. The Action Lab panel let out at 7. I had to get to the airport from the convention center on the busiest day of the convention. So my brain was filled with math equations and checking the time and just trying to keep my head on straight. And then I had to go to a store signing at a local comic shop (BoomShop of Comics) with rayanthonyheight. We had a blast. Got back to the hotel room after, packed my bag, left it at the concierge desk and got to the panel with plenty of time. The panel went great. They announced the book and we got a few audible reactions (seanizaakse you’ll be happy to hear) and we got out with about 5 minutes lead time. Got held up…if you can believe it…signing prints we gave away at the panel. It was a nice feeling. Left the show saying good bye to only Dave Dwonch. Got to the hotel lobby, got my bag and…got in line for a cab. The wait was short until we got to my cab (which I shared with the nice woman behind me who works for Hasbro…and she paid for the cab!). And then the ride took forever. We got to the airport around 10 after 8. I made it by the skin of my teeth. Red eye back home took less time than it did to come (gotta love that jetstream) and I got home, kissed my wife and hit the sack.
So, here’s where I thank everyone that made my Comic Con a fun one. Ray Anthony Height, Jeremy Dale, James Wright, Emily Martin, Kelly Dale, Jamal Igle, Adam Garcia, Alex Irvine, deantrippe, calebmonroe, jkparkin, Bill Murphy and the Fresh Monkey Fiction gang, kharyrandolph, Kevin Freeman, Bryan Seaton, Shannon Eric Denton, Mark Chiarello, Ron Richards, Ken and Troy from Boomshop of Comics and everyone that came to meet Ray and me, Darren Passarello, Kassee Whiting, THAT taco truck, Jane from Hasbro, Michael Kingston, Scott Rogers, Mike Siglain, and everyone that talked to me about Stray. Lots of people I missed (sorry!), lots of people I just met (Ken and Eboni), and a lot of others in between. Thank you all.
And thank you especially to Michelle and Sadie for letting me get away for a few days.
See you next year? Maybe?