Comic-Con, Day 2

Here’s part 2 of my Comic-Con sojourn.

I decide to take it easy and get up late on Friday. I don’t have to be to the convention hall until 11:30 AM for the panel I’m on about young adult fiction. I leave the hotel about 10:30 AM and grab some breakfast. Then I check out the line for the shuttle bus to the con, which is dozens of people deep. After waiting for 15 minutes for a bus that’s supposed to show up every eight minutes, I figure it’s time to try something else.

I head for a cab, but the cabbie waves me off and zooms away. It’s only 13 blocks, so I figure I’ll hoof it. About three blocks into the walk, I manage to flag down another cab. We get within three blocks of the convention center when we get caught in the huge snarl of traffic that’s already swallowed countless shuttle buses. I give it five minutes in the back of the cab before I give up and walk the rest of the way.

I get to my seminar with five minutes to spare. Maryelizabeth Hart (who I saw at the Conan party the previous night, along with her husband Jeff Mariotte) moderates the panel. A great cast of authors joins us, including Shane Berryhill, Tim Eldred, Tony Diterlizzi, Holly Black, Anne Ursu, and special, surprise guest Ahmet Zappa. We have a great time, and spotting some of the team from Wizards of the Coast in the audience I plug them mercilessly.

Afterward, I meet the ladies from Wizards, which includes Stacy Whitman, Sarah Haines, and Stacy Longstreet. We decide that dinner that night is a great idea. In the internet age, I’ve never met most of my editors or even talked with them on the phone, and it seems clear that getting to know the Wizards team better is a solid notion.

I rush off to the autograph session to sign some books. Since I’m an order of magnitude or more less famous and established as a novelist than some of the others, this becomes an exercise in watching them sign books. Still, I have fun chatting with Tim and Tony (who I end up in the middle of) between scratchings, and I have a great time with those kind souls who do come up to chat with me on purpose. At the end of the session, I buy a book from each of my co-panelists and have them sign them for my kids.

That ends around 1 PM, and my next meeting isn’t until 2, with Tom and Nils from Hidden Entertainment, so I wander the hall for a while and get dazed. I bump into Jim Pinto, formerly of AEG, and we catch up for a bit. We comment on how odd it is that we would spot each other in a crowd of 125,000 or more people. Even stranger, this happens to me more than once.

At 2 PM, I meet with Nils and Tom at the Dark Horse Comics booth. We chat about the computer games they’re working on and some possible ways I can help them.

As the meeting wraps up, I realize I can still catch the Legacy of the Force panel at 2:30 PM. I get there just before it starts, and I watch my pal Troy Denning chat about the new Legacy series of Star Wars novels. He’s writing three of the nine, sharing duties with another gaming-industry refugee and friend Aaron Allston and my fellow IAMTW member Karen Traviss.

After the seminar, I chat with Troy and then head back to the floor for my meeting with Conan PropertiesFred Malmberg and Thommy Wojciechowski. We talk about upcoming projects, and they show me a book of stills from the upcoming Mutant Chronicles movie. I’m even more jazzed about the project than before.

We keep going until Troy’s autograph session ends, at which point I call him to let him know I’m still with Fred. Troy joins us a few minutes later so he can catch up with Fred. While they’re old friends, they haven’t seen each other in years.

As they start to chat, I excuse myself and head over to the Hasbro booth to meet Robbie Robbins of IDW. In the kind of incestuous way of small industries, IDW just lettered a R.E.V.s comic for me, and I’m writing The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Manga, Illustrated; Fantasy Creatures for them. He invites me to join his crew for dinner, but I beg off, as I’m supposed to be hanging with the Wizards team.

I hit the Wizards booth to coordinate dinner plans and realize they won’t be ready until 8 PM. The IDW dinner starts at 6:30, so I phone Robbie for the dinner’s location (Lou & Mickey’s, right across the street from the convention center). I hustle over there and grab a couple drinks with them while they eat. It’s a great group of people, and I get to meet my excellent, new editor, Justin Eisenger, too.

About a quarter to eight, I excuse myself and head over the Marriott to meet the Wizards team. This includes the people from before, plus Ginger Ahn, Henry Stern, and a couple other folks who sat at the other end of the table from me. We eat at Morton’s and have a fantastic time. For some reason, I always seem to hit it off with the people from Wizards, no matter who they are. It’s just a great group of people.

After a long and fun dinner, as we all meander away from the restaurant, I get a call from Jesse Scoble, formerly of Guardians of Order (he edited The Authority RPG, of which I wrote a chapter) and now with NCSoft. I arrange to meet him in the Gaslamp Quarter, along with Tom and Nils. I can barely hear Nils’s directions to the club they’re at, so I end up having him shout us into the place until we’re standing 10 feet from him. Of course, I had to call his Swedish cell phone number to pull this off, despite the fact we’re no more than a dozen blocks apart at any point. Technology rocks.

Jesse, Nils, Tom, and I chat and drink until I start to get too tired to continue. I head out of the club and cannot find a cab. Instead, I end up walking home the entire way, which is a fine way to clear my head of all the drink. I arrive sober, tired, and ready to sleep.

Before that, though, I bump into Mike Lee and Janet Young on the street near the Hyatt. They invite me to breakfast the next day. It turns out to be a half hour later than another breakfast I have scheduled, but that’s enough for me to think I can make them both—if I can get up that early. I’m nothing if not ambitious though.

Next, the last day at Comic-Con, for me.