Wednesday, July 25, 2007

San Diego Comic-Con Day 0: Let the Funstivities Begin!

I maintain my bullish position that if you must go to the San Diego Comic-Con, i highly recommend going as an exhibitor: not only do you get to go in early on Wednesday's "Preview Night" to set up your booth, you also don't have to wait in line to enter the big hall! It is sort of the "Get Out of Jail Free" card of comics conventions to have that orange exhibitor tag and breeze past the convention center's crack security teams hours before the general public can get into the show. Resist doing your Nelson Muntz "Ha, ha!" impression, however, because you're there to work. I arrived in the early afternoon and immediately dove into the job at hand, unpacking boxes of fine W. W. Norton and affiliates books and spreading them out on the table in attractive and appealing stacks. (John and Miss Jenn helped a little.) There were posters to be hung and price stickers to be applied and old friends from the Fantagraphics booth to say "hi hi hi" to, so aside from popping up my head every few minutes to check that Jane Wiedlin was not skipping down the aisles, i was a very industrious and helpful little stuffed bull and definitely earned my pay (all the saltwater taffy I can eat!) in helping get the booth into shape. Stacking up Will Eisner books can be tricky...

...but I take immense satisfaction in a job well done and esthetically pleasing. Here I am inspecting my handiwork hooftiwork:
...and then it was time for a brief sit to rest my hooves:

Before you know it is is six PM and time for the con to open for the special "preview night!" But it's still fantastically busy with many many people who have bought four day passes able to make their first excited runs through the show. It's only my second Comic-Con, so I still very much enjoy watching the happy people: unlike some of the other industry trade shows I've attended like BEA, this is a general public consumer show, and the enthusiasm and love these fans have for the comics, films, games, toys, videos and other fantastic media is infectious and raucous. We do a fairly solid business selling books in the first few hours, far busier than last year on Wednesday night. I think I brought a better variety of books than last year and there's a lot of interest in our Will Eisner Library, New Press's Dr. Seuss Goes to War, the Tim Burton's Corpse Bride movie book, and many other titles. I wish I'd brought maybe six or eight additional titles to really fill up the table, but they're nicely spaced and attractively displayed. I may have button eyes, but they are good at stacking up books in attractive ways, if I do blow my little stuffed horn! Our pals at Fantagraphics are even busier, and this is only Preview Night! What will it be like on Saturday?

But Comic-Con isn't all about spending money. (Altho' I did bring my little Hello Kitty change purse to get myself souvenirs!) One of my biggest delight about the show is talking to and seeing a large variety of folks, either industry professionals or just plain good friends of yours little stuffed truly and my puppet-town cow-blog. I spotted quickdraw master Sergio Aragones sprinting down the aisle. My goodness, that man's mustache really is impressive! Speaking of men with impressive hair, Eddie Campbell is once again holding court across the aisle at Top Shelf, and he comes over to hang out with the good folks at Fanta for a while. I had a very lovely chat with Phillip Ginder, a good friend of my blog and my Flickr photos. He said his wife wanted to knit me a sweater! If I were not black and white all over, I might blush at such a lovely sight. I spotted animator Craig McCracken peekin' at our Newmarket movie books but I did not harass him with my Spice Girls/Powerpuff Girls theory. I spotted one of my favorite Legion of Super-Heroes artists, Jeffrey Moy. I got a little fanbull gushy when I had a great extended chat about Will Eisner and other greats of the industry with Danny Fingeroth, who has worked on some of my favorite Marvel Comics in the eighties and nineties and now publishes the amazing Write Now! magazine for TwoMorrows (whose booth I surely must pop by this week).

I didn't spot many costumed attendees at the Con tonight (tomorrow they will be out in full force, and of course even more on Saturday, the busiest day of the show), but keep your eyes open and you might just spy Davy Jones. No, not the Monkee (I believe he was busy tonight at Marcia's prom) but old Calamari-Face himself from Pirates of the Caribbean:

I'll tell you this about Davy Jones: guy smells great. Like a Red Lobster. Man, was I hungry for fried shrimp after he passed by! The only thing disappointing about his appearance at the Con was that he was not accompanied by Keira Knightley.

Speaking of subjects of my affection, WiedlinWatch '07 continues! I'm pretty sure I spotted the lovely Miss Jane several times. When I was in line at Starbuck's for a venti mocha frauppucino (mmmmm), I was standing behind a convention attendee in full Wookiee costume. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have blinked twice but I was almost certain I could hear her humming "Rush Hour" in her fuzzy suit. She was a little short for a stormtrooper Wookiee, too. But by the time I worked up the nerve to say "'Zat you, Ms. Wiedlin?" she had grabbed her chai tea and was sprinting off across the convention floor. Later as I was climbing up on some books to get a better view of the convention goers I could have sworn I saw her cute spiky-haired head bobbing through the crowd, and I do believe I spied her down the aisle hanging out around the DC booth in a Black Canary costume. And later on I'm almost certain I saw her zipping down the aisles on a Segway. That Jane, she certainly does get around, and it looks like she must be having a ball. But oh, Jane, please slow down next time and say 'hi hi hi' to this little stuffed Wiedlin fan! I will show you our fine books and explain to you 99 Ways how I really, really love you.

Warren Ellis has reported on his Twitterfeed that apparently someone died at Comic-Con! Oh dear! I sure hope it wasn't you, dear reader. Please take it gentle and easy and enjoy the show: it's a big, big one and there's lots to see. You can follow my progress and celeb sightings throughout the day by tuning into my Twitterfeed. Yes, it's a busy show but I still will have time to tell you if I spot Laurell K. Hamilton or Darwyn Cooke. (I know which one I'd rather meet!) But if I do run into Jane Wiedlin, you're just going to have to wait. I'll be busy telling her just how meeting her is making me Feeling Like Flying.


Michael said...

Glad to see you remember from last year that Preview night is Day 0... :)

Is your Jane Wiedlin obsession a new thing or did I miss something?

Make sure you go to Ralph's for some lunch food before the con, otherwise you're stuck with convention food.

Hey, if you get a Legion pin from the DC booth, I'll be sure to put it on my Legion Omnicom update page. It'll be a lock to draw tens of visitors to your site! :)

Dorian said...

Oh dear. I've been predicting that at least one comic-con news article would end up including the phrase "arrested for stalking Jane Wiedlin." It better not be about you, Bully!

Phillip said...

Here's that link, Bully! This Pedro Thing is rarely updated, but there are some sorta interesting things if you look around. It was great to see you at Comic-Con!

Bob Andelman said...

You might enjoy this interview with former Spider-Man comics group editor Danny Fingeroth. Fingeroth is also the editor of "Disguised as Clark Kent" and "Superman on the Couch," and is editor of "Write Now! magazine.