Friday, July 27, 2007

San Diego Comic-Con Day 2: Right now, get down/Right now, people getttin' busy

Day Two dawns bright and early and I am peering out of the window of the Radisson Harbour View (the harbor's there, but waaaaaay in the distance) looking forward to the bright new morning! What better reason to wake up than to zip down to Comic-Con and re-start the festivities? I am sure those of you who are not morning persons or have already come to loathe SDCC are now cursing my name. I can tell because my ears are burning.

Fantagraphics booth

It's an incredibly busy day: Friday day tickets are sold out so we're at full capacity here, but unlike BookExpo America at the Javits Center in New York this past June, the AC is cranked up to "Hoth" and it's pleasant to work and move about. "Here they come!" shouts someone down the aisle, and while my natural impulse is to cry back "Walkin' down the street, get the funniest looks from everyone they meet!" it's actually the cry to arms for dealers and exhibitors to batten down the hatches: the con attendees are on the floor.

The next several hours are a gay, mad, blur. It's a good thing: when you're working continuously, chatting with people, selling and restocking books from the table, time flies even though it's a long day. At times both the Norton and Fantagraphics booth are so packed they resemble a cattle stockade, but I handily avoid any scary connections by simply popping up to greet new guests with a cheery "Hi hi hi! I'm Bully!" as they wander in the booth.

Jane WiedlinMiss Jenn and I are a great team and together we manage to sell a lot of titles. We run out of stock on Will Eisner's The Contract with God Trilogy hardcover (the paperbacks and other Eisner books are still available), and we're down to three copies of Dr. Seuss Goes to War and only a handful of Killed Cartoons and Big Bento Box. Less books to pack up at the end of the show, always a plus! Down in the comic book region of the show floor, it's never as busy as down east with the big media stuff: Star Wars Land, or the big Heroes booth that has cheerleaders running in and out of it every minute on the minute. I do believe I spot Miss Jane Wiedlin in a cheerleader uniform. Or is that merely wishful thinking? I'm also pretty sure I saw her on the escalator heading up while I was moving downwards; she was sipping on a strawberry smoothie and reading her con program. That certainly had to be Jane I saw testing out a replica broadsword in one of the armory out, Jane! I do believe I also spotted Jane stopping a big guy from throttling a convention attendee in purple makeup and a yellow Sinestro uniform, which only goes to show: in the wild west of life, Jane Wiedlin is the Sheriff of these here parts. I shall keep my eyes wide open for Miss Jane as WiedlinWatch '07 continues, and with all the Wiedlin-sightings I've been thinking I'm seeing, there's no doubt in my mind that I'll get a moment alone with the Divine Miss J before the show opens. Fuzzy nose-kisses are certain to ensue, so stay tuned.

"Uh huh, Bully," I hear you all saying as you roll your eyes heavenward. "Sure, you saw Jane Wiedlin. Who else did you see today?" Well! I'm very glad you asked. Today was not only the day I met the Three Troopers (not to be confused with the Three Tenors, although startling enough these guys did have amazing singing voices):
I'm not the bull you're looking for well as the very special limited edition show exclusive Orange Juliustrooper, as refreshing as he is deadly:
Orange Juliustrooper

...but I also spotted their illustrious boss, the big D.V. himself, who took time to kindly strike a pose:
Darth strikes a pose. Vogue!

Mind you, all this terrorizing of the universe is thirsty work. Luckily even Sith Lords seem to enjoy a cold frosty lemonade:
Even Sith Lords enjoy a cold lemonade

Although this little stuffed bull prefers to brave a longer line is search of more caffeinated beverage refreshment. Mmmm, frappuccinos!
Waiting for frappuccinos

An important lesson I learned today at the Con: never get into a staring contest with Batman:
Never enter a staring contest with Batman

My pal Kal (aka Superman) prefers things a little less confrontational, so together we cooperate and stare into the distance:
I wish I could fly like Superman

In the afternoon, Miss Jenn kindly and expertly minds the booth and winds up selling a large stack of varied books in my absence. Hmmm, maybe I should keep my ugly mug out of the place more often! I do have a delightful time attending my first-ever panel at a SDCC, the wonderfully celebratory Will Eisner tribute panel. L-R: Deborah Del Prete and Michael Uslan (producers of the upcoming Spirit movie), Denis Kitchen (Will's agent and publisher at Kitchen Sink), Ann Eisner (Will's wife, with whom I had a very lovely chat earlier in the Norton booth), and Darwyn Cooke (The Spirit comic book, at least through issue #12.)
Will Eisner tribute panel

Many fun and fond anecdotes and memories of Will were told, including several "The dirtiest look Will ever gave me" stories, some hints and teases of the upcoming Spirit movie (plus news that there will be a Spirit animated series), an update on the comic book (there's no replacement team chosen after Darwyn leaves, but Gail Simone, Michael Golden and Jeff Smith are among those who will work on the second twice-yearly "anthology" issue, out this Christmas). Denis Kitchen very kindly mentioned the word Norton is doing reissuing Will's work, and everyone had a splendid time. I must go to more panels now; this was lots of fun!

Soon after I returned to the Norton booth I was delighted to see that Newsrama star Tom Bondurant had returned to talk today, and this time he brought two of his Newsarama colleagues, Carla Hewitt and JK Parkin. We had a dandy of a time discussing comics new and old, the blogosphere, introducing kids to comics, and the various merits of Silver St. Cloud and Gwen Stacy. Carla gave me a big hug too, which made me go all moo-shy inside. Golly, Miss Carla!:
Carla Hewitt from Newsarama give me a big hug

I must say that the delight of my day was meeting two of my very favorite comics creators, Colleen Coover and Paul Tobin over in the Oni Press booth. They created Banana Sunday, my "most fun comic of 2005" award-winning ultra-favorite, and I hope I was not too giggly and silly in expressing how wonderful I thought their work was. Colleen has in the past given me quite a nice namecheck and link in the past on her own LiveJournal, so to my surprise and giddiness she was as chuffed to meet me as I was her!
Colleen Coover and me!

As John explained to them, I'm not 'lowed to read Small Favors (I think girls kiss and do up each other's hair in that...y'know, mushy stuff), but Banana Sunday is indeed one of my very favorite recent comics, and I bought the trade paperback edition to go on my bookshelf of the comics I love to read again and again:
Banana Sunday, A Most Fun Comic

I got both Paul and Colleen to sign it for me. Colleen was lovely and kind enough not only to inscribe it for me for but to draw a sketch. Who did she draw? Well, see for yourself whose handsome mug she penned into my book:
Colleen Coover drew ME when she autographed my copy of Banana Sunday!

Thank you so very, very much, Paul and Colleen! Truly, meeting you meant a lot to me.

Then, Miss Jenn and John and I went to In-n-Out Burger! Yum!:
A double-double and fries, animal style

Oh, stop looking at me like that. You know I'm just stuffed with beans and fluff, so it's hardly cannibalism.

So now, full of fries and giddiness, I'm drifting off to sleep. And remember, tomorrow's Saturday, the busiest day of the in the words of Dr. Daniel Westin, you ain't seen nothin' yet!


Anonymous said...

Warmth, wit, and more wodehouse than you can shake a stick at? Bully, you totally rule, and your Con coverage has been a delight. Thanks for your very generous (in all senses of the word) glimpses of the goings-on in san diego, and may your dream of meeting jane come true!

Jeremy Rizza said...

Loved the "staring contest" pictures, but I'm a bit worried about your pal Kal. Dude's looking gaunt. It's the Manorexic of Steel! Or maybe he's just holding his breath (which, given the legendary Comic-Con Aroma, is probably a good idea).

Anonymous said...


In-N-Out burger: alone, almost worth making the trip to California.

Anyway, Bully, just wanted to echo Cinephile: this has been great, fun coverage, and for someone like me who couldn't make it out to the con this year it's been a blast to read. Thank you!