I’m trying to catch up with everything, so I’m going back to July for my Comic-Con 2007 report. I had a great time at the show, although I only attended for two and a half days and only made the decision to go a few weeks before the show began. This meant I had no scheduled events, but I still packed as much into those few days as I could.
Wednesday, July 25
I get up early and drive down to O’Hare for my flight to San Diego. For some reason, the airline bumped me off a flight that connected through LA, but now I’m flying direct, so no complaints.
In the terminal, I meet Max Collins for the first time. Besides being a cracker-jack writer, Max is the president of the IAMTW, which is scheduled to give out its first Scribe Awards on Sunday at the show. I’m up for the award for Best Young Adult Tie-In, but Max doesn’t tip his hand at all, and I don’t pry at it either.
On the plane, I wind up sitting next to a pretty, young lady who breaks out some X-Men graphic novels to start reading. We wind up in a long conversation, and it turns out that she’s Michelle Favaloro, the brand manager for Marvel toys at Hasbro.
Once in San Diego, I grab a cab for the Horton Grand Hotel. A block of rooms opened up at the previously sold-out hotel about a month before the show, and I snagged one, figuring that such good luck meant I really should go the show after all. It’s only a few blocks from the convention center, and it once housed Wyatt Earp for the seven years he lived in town.
At the hotel, it seems that con services screwed up my reservation. Instead of a double room with two beds, I have a room for one bed. Since I’ll have two other people in my room that night, I’m not happy. My roommate is Hal Mangold, one of our ex-employees and now production manager at Green Ronin. Also, Shane Hensley, my old partner at Pinnacle, has a couple last-minute meetings at the show, and he’s asked to crash on the floor tonight. The irony of having Shane sleep on Hal’s floor tickles Hal endlessly.
I treat the manager who informs me of this problem nicely but firmly. After a bit of grumbling and head scratching, and they come up with a solution. There are single people who have reserved rooms with two beds. They swap my room for one of those, and everyone’s happy.
The hotel is beautiful, although I don’t care too much for the Victorian frills. Still, it has a wonderful bar out of which rises a fantastic oak staircase rescued and restored from the hotel’s original decor.
After I settle in, I hoof it to the convention center and grab my badge, which is relatively painless. Since badges are free for pros, I always register for one, even if I’m not sure if I’ll make it or not. Plus I grab one for a guest, which often comes in handy.
Afterward, I meet up with Christian Johnson and two of his friends. We grab a beer at an Irish pub and wait for Shane. Then we grab dinner at a grill-your-own steak joint called the Strip Club. The food is great, despite the fact I have to cook my own. I’m from Wisconsin, which means I’ve been grilling since I could handle a pair of tongs.
From there, we head off to preview night at the show. It’s supposed to only be available to those who bought three-day or four-day badges, but outside the hall the staff is handing out admission stickers to anyone who wanders by. Once inside, I immediately bump into Brian Yu and Tadd Callies from Mattel. While I’m caught up in that conversation, the others wander off to wander the well-packed hall.
Hal, whose flight was delayed, finally reaches the hall, and we meet up and wander around for a bit. The catch-phrase for the night is, “Wow, if Wednesday night is this packed, Saturday will be insane!”
The hall closes at 9 PM, and Shane and Hal and I rendezvous outside. I arrange to meet up with Pat Linden from Playmates, and his lovely wife. We wind up in another Irish bar, and those who haven’t eaten yet eat while Shane and I drink with them.
Around 11 PM, we go our separate ways. Shane needs sleep, and I have a meeting with John Nee of DC Comics. Hal comes along, and we find John at the bar at the Hilton patio, holding court with many friends. We hang out for an hour or two, then Hal and I wander off. We grab a couple beers at yet another bar and catch up for a bit. After last call, we head back to the room.