Saturday, July 22, 2006

Comic-Con Extra: "Mommy, why is Kitty Pryde taking off her uniform?"

Spotted at the end of the day Saturday as we were driving from the Comic-Con to In-N-Out Burger: the adult entertainment club "Pure Platinum," with inflated letter balloons on the front spelling out "COMIC CON" and a sign reading: "Welcome Comic-Con!":
Pure Platinum

Q: So how exactly are they planning to appeal to comics fans?:
Your host: Wolverine!

A: The exotic show is hosted by Wolverine.

Hmmm, I guess that finally explains this outfit of Kitty Pryde's:
How can she even be over eighteen yet?

By the way, John told me to make certain you know we were jus' passin' by.

Other Comic-Con entries: TuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdayExtra #2 (Eisner)Sunday

Comic-Con Day, oh, four million and three

Greetings from the most heavily-populated section of land in the United States right now: the convention floor of the 2006 San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday, the traditional major-traffic day feared and respected by all right-thinking peoples.

Again, I bring you not news from around and about the Con but of the ever-revolving parade of characters and celebrities passing by booth #1417, the base of operations for your little stuffed truly this Con. You can see the first sign that it was gonna be a busy day as early as 6:10 AM this morning: the first floor of the Convention Center's parking garage was full up and we descended to the level below that, which was completely filled by 6:30 AM. Exhibitors were lucky enough to be able to enter the air-conditioned lobby; general attendees were left outside in the creeping-towards 90 degree heat to sizzle like soft-boiled eggs inside their fragile Stormtrooper shells. But even though the show didn't open until 10 AM for general attendees, it was the smart ones who were already there early in the morning—following a daring outside excursion for provisions around 11:20 AM, fabulous Fantagraphics friend Eric Reynolds reported that the line to enter the hall stretched across the front of the convention center...all around the side...and across the rear of the center. Later reports put the estimate at a four hour wait to get into the show, and I hope all of you who were patient enough to wait stayed cool and calm and were eventually able to get in.

As yesterday, the show hall started out with the AC cranked up, but once you filter many thousands of people into even that battleship-sized hall, the temperature's gonna rise, and it got balmy and warm (though never sweltering). That didn't stop the influx of fanboys, fangirls, fankids and one or two fandogs from having a dandy time. It was so busy in the Norton booth that the time pretty much flew by—despite opening an hour earlier than yesterday, Saturday seemed like a much shorter and swifter day.

I'll keep the rest of this entry brief so's I can have some last anecdotes to wrap up tomorrow (and also because sleep is calling with the sweet, sweet voice of Morpheus singing just like the Righteous Brothers), but here's today's line-up of spotted Con celebrities: a galaxy of stars both out of and in costume:

Encounters and sightings: Phil Foglio eagerly and cheerfully unloading copies of his books at the Studio Foglio booth...William Stout stopped by the Norton booth and allowed me to gush like a fanbull about how much I love his dinosaur work and especially his Firesign Theatre album covers...Gilbert Hernandez immediately understanding the concept of how Norton reps get Fantagraphics books into bookstores (and jokily suggesting maybe passing the reps a few twenties might get the books stacked higher)...Brill Building blogger extraordinaire and Publishers Weekly writer Ian Brill explained to me an article on he's working on...Barnes & Noble's crack book buyer, fellow Brooklynite, and friend-o'-Bully Jim Killen stopped to shoot the breeze...unparalled comic historian R. C. Harvey examining Norton's Bill Mauldin and Will Eisner books...superdesigner Chip Kidd spotted chatting in the aisles with Tony Millionaire (who was later showing off clips from his amazing-looking Maakies pilot for Cartoon Network's Adult Swim)...Peter David and bowling-champion daughter Ariel strolling the aisles, Peter looking as if he were slightly limping (hope it's nothing more serious than Con blisters, Peter!)...and a good friend and serious fanboy in his own right, John Cunningham, DC's VP-Marketing, bounded enthusiastically in the booth to gossip and give me some dandy DC swag including a gorgeous 52 poster autographed by Grant Morrison. Thanks, J.C.! sputter...those are real people, Bully! Tell us about the characters and cosplayers you saw today! But of course! A Bluntman and Chronic so authentic it mighta been Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes...The Prisoner's "Number Six," who gracefully deflected my question about why he resigned from the department...Spaceballs' Dark Helmet...Death and kid sister Delirium...Mighty Mouse...Poison Ivy...the usual brigade of stormtroopers and Jedi...and my personal favorite of the day, Boxer-Shorts Batman. From the waist up clad in a black modeled bodysuit straight out of the Michael Keaton films. From the waist and yellow Batman boxer shorts, sandals and black socks.

A wee bit of purchasing early this morning to start off my Christmas shopping (I have been told I'm a wise little stuffed bull to start holiday shopping so early. Let's just say Aunt Lorrie is in for the treat of her life!), but of course I had to spend my dimes on a Con t-shirt from the Peanuts store; a souvenir to remember my busy and exciting weekend:
I am just a blockhead.

If you're here, don't forget to pick up something special for yourself to keep those Con memories alive. I suggest a t-shirt. Or a lightsaber. Or a life-sized 3D model of Boba Fett.

Tomorrow the Con comes to an end, and as busy as it's been and as much work as I've had to do, I've been having the time of my life. And, to get you to come back to read my final report, here's a teaser: I will share with you the most heartening, encouraging sign for the power and strength of the comics industry that I overheard. G'night, Bully fans!

Other Comic-Con entries: TuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridayExtra #1 (Wolverine)Extra #2 (Eisner)Sunday

Friday, July 21, 2006

Comic-Con Day 3: More stars than there are in Louis B. Mayer's movies

Note: Boistrous Bully-booster Michael correctly points out that today, Friday, is more accurately Day Two of Comic-Con, and that I should have counted Preview Night as Day Zero. In my defense, 1) I blame society, 2) Hey, I worked all day setting up the booth on Wednesday...I consider that a full day! And 5) 3) I thought 'bout correcting the errors but I realized that'd affect my incoming links because the numbers are in the post titles. Chalk it up to experience, thanks for the correction, and next year my numbering will be a little more bull-liveable!

You know how in each successive Star Wars film George Lucas crammed more and more people into the background of every scene? That's just like Comic-Con: the more it goes on, the busier it gets. I don't want to draw any specific other comparisons between Star Wars and Comic-Con except that the stormtrooper population gets denser every time we come back to the show. Seriously, it was this busy

Greetings once again from the San Diego Convention Center, folks—it's Friday, it's steamy-hot outside and icy-cold in the Con. Really cold: even the Lara Crofts were wearing fluffy cardigan sweaters today. That's a nice change from most convention centers I've done shows in, where the temperature increases a degree for every thousand people who step across the threshold. The crowds poured in, the climate stayed cool, and once again I had a busy and fun day. Despite the amazing rush of people, there's never any log-jams of traffic; the show aisles seem wider and clearer than at BookExpo and there is never a time when there aren't at least twenty people in the Norton and Fantagraphics aisle. John dragged me out of my comfy soft bed again this morning at five-thirty so we could be at the Convention Center parking lot by six-thirty—his paranoia about getting a parking space is cutting into my valuable sleepy dream time and seriously beginning to cheese me off. Stop it, John! But we made up for it by scoring another excellent parking spot poised right at the exit (excellent for making a fast departure in the evening) and walked across Harbor Place to have a spicy and lovely Mexican breakfast before heading back to the Convention Center, full of energy, anticipation, and beans.

Still firmly on duty in the Norton booth today, but the usual assortment of comics celebrity sightings made it a perfect place to experience the Con: Kurt Busiek dropped by the booth to look over Norton's books; I got a chance to compliment him on his excellent automobile-themed Hawaiian shirt as well as fanbullishly telling him how much I enjoy his comics writing. Top Shelf gets good value for money bringing their authors to Comic-Con, because just like Andy Renton yesterday, Eddie Campbell was working the booth, front and center, happily wrapping up my copy of his new book The Fate of the Artist and accepting my thanks for his great work on From Hell and Bacchus with a friendly and cheerful grin. He also has quite possibly the best hair in the business, maybe apart from Jim Steranko. All-around nice guy and uber-news-blogger Tom Spurgeon darted into the Fantagraphics booth to say hi very quickly before dashing off again to do seventeen or eighteen panel discussions, and Denis Kitchen dropped by to whisper a confirmation in my little stuffed ear of that big movie rumor we've all been buzzing about. Rian Hughes, master of design and typography passed through, and the Fantagraphics autographing area continued with more hits than a top forty radio station: Dan Clowes, Linda Medley, Los Bros. Hernandez, Roger Langridge, R. Kikuo Johnson, Kevin Huizenga and many, many more showed up to sign and inscribe books for fans.

But by far my favorite celebrity sighting was the cheerful boisterous guy who lunged dramatically into the Norton booth, tossed a copy of the Agreeable Comics sampler into my fuzzy lap and then shook my hoof with grace and aplomb: yes, folks, it's the ebullient BeaucoupKevin himself, Kevin Church, full of glee and gossip and bringing the world of my little oatmeal cookie-flavored blog together with his massive media powerhouse. Don't believe he's really here at the Con? He can prove it.

This little stuffed bull LOVES Der Faust!!So if you're here at the Con, don't run (because they'll yell at you over the intercom), but stroll swiftly and with intent and purpose, to booth 1531, grab Kevin by the lapels, plop down your eight bits, ten dimes, or that crumpled dollar bill the soda machine wouldn't take to buy a copy of the Agreeable Comics sampler, and walk away a happier and more joyful soul than you were with that filthy lucre weighing you down. I hereby declare Agreeable Comics the most fun comic of the Con, and I'd be saying that even if he hadn't grabbed my nose ring and threatened to toss me to the heavily-eyeshadowed goths if I didn't like it.

The colorful parade of costumed attendees continued today as well: add to my character-spotting list Dr. Strange, Anakin Skywalker, Indiana Jones and Marion Ravenwood, Metal Bikini Leia and Bare-Midriffed Amidala walking arm-in-arm down the aisles in some sort of vaguely disturbing mother/daughter skin-barin' outing, and the compellingly clanky yet prehistoric Caveman Robot. Zatanna posed near the DC booth early this morning, and a little light bulb popped on over my little stuffed head: Ah ha! I now see the attraction of fishnets. Green Arrow, Willy Wonka, Spider-Man and Santa crossed paths. Thorn was accompanied by an elaborate Fone Bone, and Shaun of the Dead looked on as an Adam West-style Batman strolled purposefully down the aisle. I saw two beautifully creepy (or is that creepily beautiful?) Corpse Brides at different times, but synchronicity rules later in the main aisle when two different crimson-leather-clad movie-style Jean Grays faced off against each other (with compliments for each other's costume work rather than Phoenix-fire). An amazing quartet of Ghostbusters posed with kids and let them hold the spectral container units. Around mid-day it hit me: it was a real-life Neopolis from Alan Moore and Gene Ha's Top Ten comic—if you're good at your pop culture you can spot 'em all. Seeing them interact in one universe is like the biggest team-up comic of all, and it's happening right before your little button eyes, a universe where the Imperial forces are always on the move:
Imperial battle stations!

...where Catwoman's fightin' back and Blue Beetle's happy just to still be alive:
The best defense is a purr-fect offense.

...where nobody's a little short...or be a Stormtrooper:
Apparently the Emperor is an equal-opportunity employer

...where Ulala and Holly Golightly can swap alien dance-move tips:
Live from the Con, it's Space Channel Five!

...where the Imperial troops are still on the move:
Hurry up! Lord Vader needs his pizza!

...where Superman's never too busy to strike a pose:
Vogue, Kal-El! ...and neither is Aquaman! (If only Tegan could have been here to see!)
Hey, where's Johnny Drama?

Okay, before I sign off for the night and head for bed to dream of Zombie Businessman Roommate, scroll back up and take a peek one more time at that first photo in this post, the one of the crowded con. Pretty busy, huh? Pretty darn crowded and hectic Comic-Con, ya think?

Well, folks, tomorrow is Saturday, the busiest day of the Con. In other words: You ain't seen nuthin' yet.

Other Comic-Con entries: TuesdayWednesdayThursdaySaturdayExtra #1 (Wolverine)Extra #2 (Eisner)Sunday

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Comic-Con Day 2: Stand in one place and the world parades before you

You native San Diegans (San Diegites? San Diegoarati?) are pretty darn lucky living in the Pacific Time Zone, because that makes it a heck of a lot easier to get up at the crack of dawn (seriously! The sun wasn't even warm yet!) and hit the misty Harbor Drive, all in an attempt to score an early parking space at Comic-Con. I'm sure glad John didn't let me drive (I asked him as usual. As usual, he told me "No, Bully. You're too short. Your hooves don't even dangle off the front seat. And stop changing the radio station.") because I kept dozing off all the way over to the Convention Center and dreaming of comics and cards and action figures and Ewoks. You might look at me asconce and scold "Bully, shame on you! You're still on Brooklyn time—it should feel like 9:30 in the morning to you. That should be plenty of time for you to feel awake." To which I can only say: you know nothing of my Brooklyn sleep habits, which generally involve sleeping until noon or so, rolling out of bed into a delicious and comfortable bowl of cold cereal, and then watching Cartoon Network most of the afternoon.

Where was I?

Oh yes. Comic-Con.

In any case, it's a lot easier to park at Comic-Con at six-thirty in the morning that later, I'll tell you that. So we were on the floor of the show hours in advance, which gave us plenty of time to set up and arrange lovely Norton books for display on this, the first full day of the Con:
Prettier than a bookstore!

And to help dust and arrange the fantastic Fantagraphics books:
May contain peanuts.

But then I went exploring, seeing the sights as best I could hours before the show opened. Not too many people were about and merchandise was stowed away, but hey, there's still plenty of fun stuff to see behind the scenes. For example, this jolly banner for one of my favorite comics publishers:
Bite my shiny convention ass!

I want all these toys on display at the DC Direct mega-booth. And then I will interchange their clothes, and that will make me giggle and giggle:
But I hope there is not a Dr. Light toy.

Nintendo has a nifty futuristic kiosk where you can test-drive the new Nintendo DS Lite! Cool fun! If only I had opposible thumbs.
Princess Daisy? Are you in there?

From left to right: Snoopy, Imperial Snowtroopers, and Wonder Woman. It's like some sort of Crisis on Fanboy Earths:
When costumes collide!

Skidloads and skidloads of molded plastic fun waiting to be unpacked at the Hasbro booth:
I'll have the one on the bottom, please. Spoon!
Spoon! Golly.:
What ARE they doing?

Of course Comic-Con is a great place to catch up with your best friends:
Na na na na na na na na. Batman.

And make some new ones:
I'd sooner she kiss me than a wookiee.

"The Mach Five is the most complex and ingenious car ever built; a tribute to my father's imagination, genius and technical skills!"
Go Speed Racer. Etc.

Do you dare walk into the jaws of the Snakes on a Plane exhibit? I didn't!:
There are motherloving snakes on the motherloving plane.

One of my favorite booth designs of the show: the bright and vibrant black-and-white Peanuts booth:
Happiness is a warm stuffed bull.

We end our impromptu early morning trip around Comic-Con by checking out the gigantic ass of Pikachu:

And then, as quickly as it began, our wonderful exploration of the Comic-Con comes to an end and like the clams returning to the clam flow, we return to the Norton booth and prepare for a day of greeting the eager attendees of the show.

As I explained yesterday, I'm pretty much locked to the booth all day long, lugging books back and forth and trying not to get underfoot of all the guests, so just like the pre-heliocentric Earth, I stand still at the center and the world of Comic-Con revolves around me. It's a busy day: not as hectic as I had expected (I guess that day comes on Saturday, when it is truly every little stuffed bull for himself), but the pace never stopped and the flow of foot traffic was speedy and constant. BEA exhibitors would kill for this sort of attendee flow: never-ending people in and out of the booth, up and down the aisles, cheerful and excited. That's the best part of Comic-Con for me so far: the boundless energy and enthusiasm attendees have, the wonderful grins on their faces, the fulfillment when they see a book they wanted, the delight at seeing costumed fellow attendees. In short, Comic-Con makes you smile. Most everyone seems to be having a good time, even those of us who are working the thing, and it makes the long hours fly by pretty quickly. One very concrete difference between the professional crowd of a BEA and this happy fan crowd of Comic-Con is the entrance method. Although the doors are scheduled to open at ten AM, intercom announcements calling to us from the heavens of the San Diego Convention Center reminded us that until all booths were in compliance with safety regulations—boxes out of aisles and lines for products dismissed (it's not fair to start lines until the regular attendees can get in!), then the doors would not be opened. They finally popped open around 10:10 and whooosh! Like a rush the crowds poured into the aisles. I simply can't imagine that happening at BEA—there would be a mass revolt and someone, probably Avin Domnitz, would be burned in effigy. Comic-Con seems to have rules both stricter and yet more acceptable to the general attendees than any other trade show I've attended. It's very interesting to see and experience the differences.

I'm kept busy throughout the day hopping up to help guests out with Norton and Fantagraphics books. We've made some sales to enthusiastic fans today: people are digging the Eisners especially, and there's a lot of love for Bill Mauldin's Up Front and the Dr. Seuss book. The most handled book in the Norton booth by far is Newmarket's The Art of X-Men: The Last Stand, cooed over by fanboy and fangirl alike. It's a good time to be publishing stuff like this and the fans are enjoying the wide variety.

As busy as I am, there's still plenty of time to people-watch as the crowds move through the aisle, and I'm having a ball watching the world go by. Famous creator sightings of the day: Jim Steranko manned his booth all day within site of the Norton booth. He's a petite but powerful man who could probably break my back in three places if I had a spine instead of just fluff, and the crowds were lining up to meet and talk with him. I had a lovely chat with Phil Yeh about merchandising (both authorized and unauthorized) of his delightful dinosaurs. I took my jingling change purse across the aisle to Top Shelf to buy that Owly plush that caught my little button eye yesterday, and who should be selling it to me but Owly creator Andy Runton himself, who did a beautiful sketch and gorgeous calligraphic inscription in the book I bought, in addition to being just about the pleasantest guy to chat with. One of my favorite artists, Shawn McManus, dropped by the Norton booth and admired the Eisner books, and while I didn't get a chance to speak personally to Matt Groening, he was a pleasant and cheerful personality to the fans who approached him as he departed from window-shopping in the Fantagraphics booth. Class act, Mister G.

Even more fun are the costumed con attendees, many of whom have put a lot of hard work and skill into their costumes. Spotted from my vantage point: A really authentic Hugh Jackman-style Wolverine accompanied by a slinky and elegant Black Cat (I didn't know they hung out together, but maybe they were having a team-up). Several Lara Crofts were squeezed into tight-tight shorts and tiny tops. A whole cadre of Stormtroopers of all designs and sizes. Incredibly impressive fan-coistumed Blue Beetle and Catwoman spent some time in Jim Balent and Holly Golightly's Broadsword Comics booth across from ours, and cheerfully posed for photos with young and old. I spotted a totally authentic-looking Harry Potter, a gaggle of geishas, many amazingly impressive-looking goths, dozens of anime and manga characters I didn't recognize but which had costumes so detailed they've got a great career ahead of them in Hollywood. Ninjas flitted by in the shadows constantly. Boba Fett hugged small children. The joy and pride of costumed attendees is infectious. You may giggle at folks attending in costume, but they're having the times of their lives attracting attention for an afternoon and showing off their skill, creativity, and sheer chutzpah in wearing an elegant costume. I wish now I had finished my Ewok costume!

Which brings me to my favorite costumed character of the day: a concept brilliant and outrageous, unique and fully-formed: The Elvis Trooper:
Smuggling cheeseburgers for the Empire.

For this stormtrooper, TK-421 stands for Takin' Kare of Business.

So, in the end, it was a work day. But it was, even more important, a lot of fun. And that's what I love most about comics, and Comic-Con: you walk out of there with a smile on your face. Would all the world's gatherings be the same.

See ya back tomorrow at the Con!

Other Comic-Con entries: TuesdayWednesdayFridaySaturdayExtra #1 (Wolverine)Extra #2 (Eisner)Sunday

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Comic-Con Day 1: It's like BookExpo on the Super-Soldier Formula

Hi hi hi from San Diego, Comic-Con attendees and those who are green with jealousy because they can't come to the really big show! It's quite late at night and I have an early morning but I wanted to let y'all know what went on in my very first day of my very first Comic-Con ever.

Well, first of all, I was signed to an exclusive creator contract at Image...

Hah! I kid. That didn't happen. (Sniff.) But what did happen was John drove me down beautiful Harbor Drive (past the exciting piratey-looking Maritime Museum which I will hop up and down until we get to go visit there on Monday) and right to the Convention Center. We've been warned that for best results in getting a parking space, speed at eighty-eight miles an hour down Harbor Drive, until you go back in time to before the Convention Center was built, and park then. Or, for those of you who do not have a flux capacitor, try to arrive as early as possible, and then revise that estimate and arrive an hour earlier than that. We got there at 1 PM and the main Convention Center parking was already full; luckily a block or so south there's a mighty new parking garage at the corner of Harbor and Eighth, looming over the Convention Center like the Death Star but with more driving ramps. Plenty of parking there, but John, who is paranoid about all things parking related, told me I'd have to get up early so we can get in well before the crowds tomorrow. I suggested perhaps we just camp out in the Norton booth all night. He looked disappointed that he hadn't thought of that. I guess it's a good thing neither one of us brought out sleeping bags.

I'm sure you're going to read a lot of blogs from my good comics blogsophere pals about attending the show as a guest and zipping merrily from panel discussion to Q&A session, skipping happily from booth to booth, buying wonderful souvenirs that put the treasures of Ali Baba to shame, and just generally using more shoe leather in a weekend than Forrest Gump did in the 1980s. My blog is gonna be a little different: it's a working show for me and I'm mainly tied to the W. W. Norton booth (#1714 for those of you who are comin' by to shake my hoof), so this will be a view from the floor blog. In other words, The Working Bull's Comic-Con.

In addition, since it's my first Comic-Con, it's all new to me, but it's got that delicious nougaty deja-vu feeling of standing in a booth in a convention center talking about books. It's very much like BookExpo America (BEA) on the surface, and yet dig deep and you hit an entirely different vein of rich caramel and crunchy cookie. I've been attending BEAs for Norton all my life (I am six! It's a very good age to be) and John has been doing them since the early years of the Industrial Revolution, but this was entirely a new and different experience for us. BEA is not a selling show: books are either just displayed or given away for free. Comic-Con? If it's there, it's probably for sale. BEA: populated by bookstore owners, managers, and employees, publishers, authors and agents—restricted to the professionals of the trade. Comic-Con: everybody in the universe can come in: it's a public consumer show. It's therefore a larger, busier, and in many ways, more fun and exuberant show. I've only been through the slightly busy Preview Night, which I'm told is a mere shadow of the tsunami-forces of crowds that will hit the floor tomorrow, but there was a lot of grins on faces and excitement and energy: the energy of fandom and love of the medium. I think this show will be a lot of work. But looking at the faces of young and old, I also think it will be a lot of fun.

Not that I didn't do a lot of work today. The booth was quite empty and bare when I got there:

Generic sign ahoy!

But we soon had that fixed just by hanging a few colorful posters. Say, Miss Ingsu sure designed some beautiful Will Eisner paperback jackets, didn't she?:

Posters are fun!

Whoa doggie! There sure are a lot of boxes to unpack. Let me go get my child's safety-tip box cutter:

And it isn't even Boxing Day!

Norton books look great on display, but like sad little orphans, they would like to be on your bookshelf even more. So c'mon by and buy some, won't you?:

Adopt a book from the Book Orphanarium!

Today, it's quiet, but tomorrow, one zillion people will invade the Convention Center, only some of which will be in Stormtrooper costumes. For now, I'm enjoying a brief respite: this is the calm before the storm. The quiet before the crowds. The last time you'll be able to see the carpet:

My last chance to catch a breath

Finally, a handful of brief observations about Day 1 of the Never-Ending Con:

Department of You Need to Use Comic-Con to Increase Your Knowledge of the Genre: overheard from a pair of men looking at Norton's Will Eisner books: "Who's this guy?"

Cool industry folks I've spotted today: Brent Anderson, Ryan Sook, Kyle Baker, Jim Balent, and the always vibrant Holly Golightly, whose booth is immediately opposite Norton's and who cheerfully wandered over to chat with a friendly "Hi neighbor!"

I don't have much pocket money but I must buy one of these: the Owly plush toy from Top Shelf.

I'm not allowed to buy this but it is one mightily impressive looking boxed set: Lost Girls by Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie, also at Top Shelf. Seriously, an absolutely gorgeous production of book production. Even if you don't buy one, wander by the Top Shelf booth (#1721) and gape in awe at it. If you're young or easily startled like I am, however, don't open it up. Oh my goodness! Miss Dorothy! What are you up to?

Costumed characters spotted so far: Snoopy, Captain Jack Sparrow (in the parking garage elevator, no less!), and my personal favorite: a toddler in a handmade Superman costume and her baby sister in a Powerpuff Girls Bubbles outfit. So cute you would scream with glee! Well, I did, at least. Aiiiiiyiiiii!

One thing BEA does better than Comic-Con: name badges. Tiny, tiny type on the Comic-Con badges makes it almost impossible to glance at someone and tell who they are. BEA badges feature sixty point type: that would be a big help to those of us with black button eyes, Comic-Con!

One thing Comic-Con does better than BEA: Better and more comprehensive signage all around the show and especially hanging over the aisles. The Washington DC Convention Center should take a clue from San Diego.

Favorite intercom announcement: "There is no running in the aisles of the Convention Center. That means you, guy with the green and white cap!"

Most handled and looked-at books on the Norton table: Lots of interest in Bill Mauldin's Up Front and Dr. Seuss Goes to War.

Books I have sold so far tally: one copy of Will Eisner's The Plot and one copy of Dr. Seuss Goes to War. That's not enough to pay for our plane ticket back home! But everyone says tomorrow is the big day. I can't hardly wait, and neither should you. Go to bed now and get up early to get a good parking space! Go ahead! Do it!

Other Comic-Con entries: TuesdayThursdayFridaySaturdayExtra #1 (Wolverine)Extra #2 (Eisner)Sunday

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Comic-Con Day 0: Oh, shut up

I'm here in San Diego, the city by the bay, the city that never stops...wait a minute, I've just heard that's the wrong city. Never mind, coz I actually am in San Diego, and it is warm and balmy and beautiful with a touch of Mexican food. Comic-Con starts tomorrow, and I've made my list and checked it twice to be certain I've got all my books, supplies, magic markers, and chips and snacks so I don't have to stand in the mile-long food line at the San Diego Convention Center to get some stale pizza and orange Hi-C.

Set-up starts tomorrow, so I'm having a relaxing evening at Humphrey's Half-Moon Inn on Shelter Island, which is as lush and tropical as Walt Disney World's Polynesian Resort without that squawking duck bothering you when you're trying to relax by the pool. I've been watching the evening news just now. Two things have me scratching my little stuffed head. One: the 6 PM San Diego evening news is nothing like the motion picture industry has led me to believe it would be. Two: I have just seen one of the most appalling examples of bad reporting I've ever seen on local news (and I come from New York City!).

A puff piece on the Comic-Con just ran and started out with these words (not exactly verbatim, but pretty close):
Kids can't buy colored stapled comic books anymore, but their parents can buy expensive book collections of comics...
Uh. Do some research. Just because you don't see them on a spinner rack in a drug store doesn't mean comics don't exist anymore.

Yeah, I know. As far as travesties in news reporting this is lightweight. But it burns ya up, doesn't it, when someone grins out of the TV screen at you and says something that is a complete and utter lie.

Unless, of course, it's this guy:

See ya tomorrow at the Con!

Other Comic-Con entries: WednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdayExtra #1 (Wolverine)Extra #2 (Eisner)Sunday

Morbo is coming!

Morbo is coming! And he will destroy your puny planet, human and bovine vermin! Destroy! Destroy! Morbo demands...

Ahhhh, no, he's not really coming. Never mind.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Doom reluctantly suggests another reason Ben Grimm is not entirely a malodorous gargoyle fit to be ground under the heel of Doom.

Doom is a man of his word, and his word is bond; none may suggest otherwise. Still, it galls Doom to remember that when he agreed to fulfill the so-called "blogging' duties of the tiny bovine, Doom negelected to remember that one of the features of this weblog is the so-called..."Ben Grimm Totally Rocks."

This subject is anathema to Doom, yet his honor demands he continue. Erm. Benjamin J. Grimm is...Benjamin Grimm has...he is...


A mighty but impudent opponent, Benjamin Grimm is...


Benjamin Grimm is a...


Arrrrrrgh! What manner of torture do you force upon me, accursed bull? Doom can not and shall not speak the words he gave his guarantee to speak! You have bested Doom at his own game, bovine! Well-played..Doom admires your cunning and subtlety! An admirable opponent is a rare thing these days.

This match you may have won, bull, but this Doom swears: there shall be another day and another battle, and you shall find Doom more than ready for you! Doom shall destroy you, Bull! Destroy you! I SHALL DESTROY YOU, LITTLE STUFFED BULL!

Was that okay, Mister Grimm?

Heh! That wuz fantastic, little guy. Old Doomsie shot off outta here faster than Matchhead after he found out J-Lo's bedroom curtains wuz open. Whadda maroon! Ya done good, little bull.

Awwwww, shucks, thanks, Mister Grimm. T'weren't nuthin'. And...ahem?

Oh yeah! Sorry Bully, I fergot. Here's your lollypop.

Golly, thanks, Mister Grimm!! Slurp...slurp...slurp...slurp...

Careful there, short stuff! Yer slurpin' all over the place.

Well, why not, Mister Grimm! After's slobberin' time!

(Laughter, fade to black, cue Three Stooges end title sting theme)

A reminder from Doom that you would be best to commit to memory if you value your pitiful existence

Attention curs! Doom commands you to remember that the tiny bovine will be attending the San Diego Comic-Con and will be making his base of operations in booth 1714, from which he will be able to spy upon Jim Balent and his pneumatic heroines across the aisle. Doom gently suggests that should you know what is to be advantageous for you, you re-read the bull's post on this so-called convention, a gathering of the most vile scum in the universe. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.

Doom also suggests that you are a fool should you overlook Tom Spurgeon's Guide to the Comic-Con, thirty-eight pages of wisdom so arcane and useful it might itself have come from the pen of Doctor Doom himself. Miss it at your peril, impudent dogs!

Doom himself will be in attendance at this event and it will serve you well to remember these edicts: Do not approach Doom. Do not speak to Doom until commanded to. Do not touch Doom. Do not look directly at Doom. And most important, Doom requires your slabbed copy of Fantastic Four Annual #2 to complete his collection of comics in which he utterly defeats the wretched Fantastic Four. If you are in possession of this comic, it would be best to fall before Doom on bended knee and offer it to him as the price for your pitiful life, then count yourself lucky that is all Doom takes from you.

As usual, Doom will not be attending the costume party unless there are entrants dressed at the Fantastic Four, in which case I shall show up to destroy them. Destroy them, you hear! Richards cos-player, I shall destroy you!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Ten of a Kind: Doom Triumphant

Comics Shall Bow Down Before Doom!
Attention, lackeys! Doom is informed by the tiny bovine that Sundays are "Ten of a Kind" Day, and while Doom would normally honor this committment by publicly displaying the shackled, helpless bodies of the Fantastic Four, Captain America, Spider-Man, Luke Cage, the Silver Surfer, the traitorous dog Hauptmann, and that whelp who calls herself "Squirrel Girl," he has given his word that he shall in fact display ten comics covers on a single theme. That theme is hereby declared as "Doom Triumphant!" Each of these covers display my mighty hand in besting those inferior to me! And to prove that Doom is not bound by the limits of ordinary man or bull, there shall be not ten, but eleven covers displayed for you to cower in fear at the power of Doom!

Let us begin!

“What if?” ”What if”? What matter of effrontery is this that postulates Doom is not a hero to his native land in this and every other universe? Mark my words, the base microbes behind this so called “funny book” shall be hunted down and made to pay for the gall of daring to insult Doom! Quake in fear, Don Glut and Fred Kida! Ink your last, Dave Simons, for your time on this Earth is soon at an end! Carl Gafford, you shall taste the vengeance of Victor von Doom and rue the day you colored this insult with anything other than your own blood! Tom Orzechowski, you shall live as an example to those who come after you that Doom can be both ruthless and merciful. But most of all I shall destroy Richards! Richards! I shall destroy you! Destroy you!

(Bah! More Ten of a Kind here.)