Comic-Con, Day 3 and Out

The final installment in the saga of my Comic-Con adventure. (I know, I just got back from Gen Con, and I haven’t written much about that yet. I have to finish this last bit first.)

Although I get to the hotel late, I arrange for a wakeup call just four hours later, as I now have two breakfast meetings. I struggle out of bed, get cleaned up, and cab it over to the Hyatt. This time, it’s early enough that the driver can get me all the way there.

I run into Jeff Mariotte in the lobby, and we head for the restaurant to meet our fellow IAMTW members for breakfast. We run into John Nee there, and catch up for a bit. (John ran WildStorm as Jim Lee’s VP back when I co-created the WildStorms CCG for him, and Jeff headed up marketing there at the time.)

The others start showing up, and we adjourn to a table. David Siedman (of Claypool Comics), John Helfers, and Marv Wolfman join us. I sip a cup of coffee as we chat, and I realize how lucky I am to be in such company. Sadly, before too long I have to excuse myself to leave for a second breakfast appointment.

I hoof it into the Gaslamp Quarter to a little eatery where I meet Mike Lee and Janet Young for breakfast. I scarf down some sausage and eggs with them and Jim McCann (of Marvel), CJ Hurtt, and an artist whose name slips my mind. We have a great time, and I end up chatting with Mike, Janet, and Jim all the way back to the Marvel booth.

I wander around the exhibit hall for a few minutes, then head up to my next panel, “Getting Published in the Games Industry.” It’s tucked away in a corner, and I’m the last one there. I join the others on stage and get things started, introducing Jamie Chambers (of Margaret Weis Productions), Phil Lacefield (of Paizo), Lee Hammock (freelance game designer), Tony Parker (freelance artist), Jeff Tidball (of Atlas Games), Seth Johnson (of WizKids), Christopher Appel (freelance artist), and fellow Alliterates member Stan! (of Upper Deck).

After the panel, Jon Lewis—co-author of The Revenge of the Shadow King—gives me a copy of his book. It centers around a game that a group of kids in small-town Minnesota play—until they find the cards describe a world that’s all too real. Good stuff.

I wander around the exhibit floor for a few minutes, then head off for the CBS/Paramount booth for my interview with Anthony Zuiker, the creator of CSI, at 1 PM. This is the second in my series of celebrity gamer interviews for Games Quarterly Magazine. Anthony makes for a great subject, telling of how he created over 500 games for himself and his brother when they were kids. His first published game—CSI: Senses—will debut this fall, from SBG, and my interview should appear around the same time.

I meander through the hall again after that, until my signing at the Wizards of the Coast booth at 3 PM. Only a few people show up, but I have a great time talking with them and chatting with the Wizards crew again.

After the signing, I poke around in the part of the hall and find some of the book publishers exhibiting there. I shake a few hands and drop off a few cards, promising myself I’ll follow up soon after I get back.

At 4:30, I make my way upstairs again to meet with Judy Hansen (of Kitchen & Hansen Literary Agency). Judy works with me on the Age of Conan novels for Ace Books, but we’ve never met in person. We fall in together like old friends—both being from Wisconsin helps—and stroll back down to the floor together, where she introduces me to some of the editors she knows. She’s a helpful and wonderful lady, and I hope we get to work together on more projects soon.

Afterward, I race around the hall, picking up all sorts of comics, hoping to fill in some of the gaps from the past few months. I’ve just been too busy to get into a comics store, much less read the things, but I plan to make up for lost time.

At 6:45, I find myself back at the Wizards booth, where I’m supposed to meet some friends for dinner. I find another fellow Alliterate, Dave Gross—who I’ve never met before—and his lovely wife Dr. Lindy Smith. After a quick call, we discover that we need to be someplace else, so I say my goodbyes to the Wizards crew and head out for the lobby of the Marriott. There, we bump into Stan!, who’s going to join us, plus James Farr and his wonderful wife Amber, and my longtime friend Liz Fulda (of the Sphinx Group) and the incredible artist John Galati.

Eventually Cindi Rice (one of my favorite people in the world) and her producing partner John Frank Rosenblum (who’s also fantastic) join us. They tell us we’re eating at a great joint in the Gaslamp Quarter, and that we’re late. Fortunately, some of the others to be with us join us then, including Dean Haglund and Gigi Edgely.

In a rush, we trot off to the restaurant. There, we meet Mark Smylie (of Artesia fame) and Matt Wilson and Sherry Yeary (of Privateer Press). I sit between Gigi and Amber and across from Matt, Sherry, and Mark. We have a great time, but I sadly must cut it short. I have to wolf down my meal as soon as it arrives, then head out to be able to make my plane, the red eye back to O’Hare.

After not even 55 hours in San Diego, I say my goodbyes, grab a cab back to the hotel, pick up my bags, and snag the shuttle to the airport. The trip goes smoothly, and I arrive home safe, sound, but exhausted the next day.

Whew! Next up, the Gen Con 2006 report.