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Comic Con After Action Report

Originally, I’d hoped to give daily write-ups of the show … but I was having too much fun. I stayed out too late and had to get up and back to the show the next morning before parking became impossible. (The advantages of living 40 miles north of San Diego are not having to get a hotel room and being able to sleep in my own bed … the biggest disadvantage is how difficult it is to find a parking spot after about 11AM.)

Now I guess I’ll just do a quick overview of the action. If you want to see the photos I took during the show, you can head over to the album I posted on Facebook.

DAY 1
I spent a lot of Thursday bumping into and catching up with various friends and acquaintances. It was surprising how, in a crowd of 125,000 people, I kept seeing folks I know. I spent a good deal of time looking at the booths of artists selling prints (mostly these are people who work in the animation industry and post their personal work on their websites, only coming out to sell merch at shows like Comic Con). Really, it was a very unfocused day for me. I didn’t buy much and I mostly wandered where other folks wanted to go, which was fine with me.

I had dinner with my friend Rob, who is a really terrific movie critic (you should check out his reviews), then met ups with my friends Cindi (from Epic Level Entertainment) to attend a party for the upcoming Expendables movie. We got there just in time to see (actually, because of the crowd we mostly just heard) Sylvester Stalone get inducted into the Action Hero Hall of Fame. The place was noisy, crowded, and the line at the bar was ridiculous, so we left pretty quickly and moved on to meet our friend James (the creator of Xombie) for drinks. Somewhere along the way, I twinged a nerve in my leg and so walking became a rather painful experience (something that usually happens at Comic Con … but generally not until Saturday).

We rounded the evening out by going to see the AfterCon Artshow, a fundraiser gallery exhibit to support the Shel Dorf New Talent Encouragement Fund. This was the first time I’ve ever had a piece hanging in a gallery show, and it was pretty exciting. All the pieces were donated and had a bid sheet for a silent auction. In the end, I don’t know if anyone ever did bid on mine or what it might have sold for. But whatever it was, I’m glad to have been able to give SOMETHING to such a good cause.

DAY 2
The jangled nerve was still sending occasional jolts of pain down my leg, but less frequently, so I decided to head right back into the fray on Friday. That was the day that Hyrum was going to the con and walking the show floor with him is always a good time. We started by visiting our personal favorite artists … Gary Gianni for Hyrum, and Stan Sakai for me. As it turned out, the two had booths directly next to one another, so that was easily accomplished. Then we went to the NCSoft booth where Jeff Grubb was doing a signing for his new Guild Wars novel, Ghosts of Ascalon … and I even scored a free autographed copy!

We wandered through the “Hollywood” section, stopping to marvel at the Tron Legacy booth and other massive edifices to upcoming movies … then got into the comics area. It’s a shame, really, that the crowds thin out when you go there. It seems that at Comic Con, actual comics are becoming a secondary draw. We poked around the DC booth, where I marveled at some figurines of anime-inspired interpretations of their venerable characters. Then we stopped by the Marvel booth, where they had a full-scale version of the Throne of Odin from the upcoming Thor movie (though we didn’t stand in line to actually sit in it). Then we went to the Dark Horse booth to get some Hellboy paraphernalia. Of course, all of this was peppered with occasional requests by me to sit down for a while. My leg was better, but also still demanded rest more frequently than I’d otherwise have needed. We finished by poking around at a display of Stan Winston’s work, including several sets of armor from the recent Iron Man movies, then we went off for dinner.

On the way, though, we got pulled in by a Clash of the Titans carnival, where Hyrum climbed the “Mt. Olympus” rock climbing tower. He didn’t make it quite to the top, but he gave a very good accounting of himself, and I think Zeus was a little scared there for a moment or two.

Dinner was a large-ish affair with old friends, and despite the Fox Grill’s fair being only lackluster, we all had a marvelous time. When that was done, nearly everyone wanted to go out drinking. I was the main hold-out though. Between my still aching leg, the 45-minute drive home, and having to get up early to be back again in the morning, I just wanted to go home and collapse in bed … which I did.

DAY 3
Saturday used to be the busiest day of Comic Con. But since they started selling out the tickets, EVERY day is crazy crowded. Still, there’s something special about Saturday. You see the most costumes and buying seems to be at a fever pitch all around the show. I joined in that frenzy, making a few more purchases (though I stayed within my budget … just barely). The big purchase for the day was the newly-released Flight, vol. 7, which I got with signatures and sketches from four of the authors. I also bought the collected F-Chords comic, and was pleased to hear from the author, Kris Straub, that it may be making a comeback.

The big surprise of the day came while I was helping out at my friend Jamie’s booth. He was paired up with the cast of The Guild and had given all of his booth volunteers time off to go attend their big panel. It was pretty quiet while I was there (apparently ALL of the “Guildies” were at the panel, too), but just before I was ready to head out, around the corner came Ed Robertson, lead singer for Barenaked Ladies. The band was at the show to take part in the Big Bang Theory panel (and because many of them are really big geeks … like us). I called out hi to him and was really kind of staggered that he instantly recognized me. I’ve only met him a couple of times, and the last one was at least 5 years ago. We chatted for a bit and he told me BNL was playing a concert that night. When I asked if the show was sold out, he offered me two tickets … on him. (I really cannot say enough about what a genuinely nice guy he is.) So suddenly my Saturday evening plans changed from dinner and hanging out with my con attendee friends to going to see one of my favorite bands. From great to greater, really.

DAY 4
There was no Day 4 … well … not for me. Between sore feet, having gone through my allotted spending cash, having seen everything I really wanted to, and just being plum worn out, I decided to take Sunday off and just stay home.

So I did.

The end.

P.S. Man, I can’t wait for NEXT year!

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