Back from Comic-Con

I had a wonderful if too-brief time at Comic-Con. I flew out of Milwaukee early on the morning of July 23 and arrived too early to check into my room at the Horton Grand or to get my badge for the show. I wandered around a bit, caught some lunch, then got into the room.

I worked for a couple hours on my laptop and then headed over to the show. I ran into Aaron Allston and Jeff Carlisle on the way in and chatted for a bit, along with Andrew Bates for a whle. Then we went our separate ways as we surfed the wave into the insanity of the show.

Inside, I stopped by the Boom! Studios booth to meet my editor Ian Brill in person. He’s as gracious in person as he is over e-mail, and we hit it off well. I also picked up a copy of the Josh Medors benefit comic (available both in cheaper and more expensive versions) from managing editor Matt Gagnon.

I also stopped by the IDW booth to say to many friends, including Ted Adams, Justin Eisinger, and Clifford Meth. I also ran into Jeff Mariotte and Maryelizabeth Hart and their son David, who I sadly never saw again during the show.

I marched around the floor and saw as much of it as I could in three hours. I had a possible business meeting that might sweep me up to LA the next morning, and I knew this might be my only chance to see any of the show, so I made as much of it as I could.

When the show closed down, I made my way back to my room and caught up on a bit more work. After that, I wandered around looking for trouble and could not find much. Most of the exhibitors were, of course, exhausted. While they’d only worked the floor for three hours, they’d spent the rest of the day setting their booths up, so many of them wanted nothing more than an early night.

It being Wednesday night, many other people hadn’t shown up yet. Lots of creatives only come down for the weekend. However, I’d found out that my side trip to LA had been nixed for Thursday but might still happen Friday, so I had another full day to kill at the show.

I walked over to Dick’s Last Resort, grabbing a gelato at Gelateria Frizzante on the way. There I spotted Clifford Meth, who sat drinking with Mike Pascale, who drew a fantastic picture of the Hulk on the table-paper as we talked. We caught up over several beers before calling it a night.

The next morning, I got up and grabbed some breakfast, then went back up to the room to work. The Horton is a quirky, Victorian place in which Wyatt Earp and his wife lived for the five years they spent in town. It may not be as luxurious as the Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt, etc., but it has tons more character, as you’d expect from a place originally built before indoor plumbing became all the rage.

In my room, the centerpiece was the bed. It featured an intricate wooden box, decorated with Asian paintings, that enclosed it on three sides, plus the bottom and the top. Also, if the bed top had been any taller, I would have needed a stepladder to climb in. It was a fun place to sleep.

While I was working, I found out that my meeting in LA was on. I hopped online to cancel my original flight home from San Diego and arrange for a new one out of LA instead.

I wandered down to the convention center about noon and found Aaron and Christi Williams (of Nodwick fame) wandering around the Dark Horse booth. We nipped out for a bite to eat at a fish & chips restaurant across the street. I really like them both, but we don’t often find a good time to chat during a gaming convention. At something like Comic-Con, though, we can sometimes manage it.

After lunch, we went back to the con. I roamed about a bit more and had a business meeting with a small publisher with wonderful ambitions. Hopefully I’ll get to tell you a lot more about that soon.

Then I stopped by the Boom! Studios booth again so I could pester them about their latest announcement: their license to produce comics based on Pixar’s films. I introduced myself to the line’s editor (and fellow Cheesehead) Paul Morrissey and noted how much I’d love to be able to write a comic I’d actually permit my kids to read. Paul welcomed me to pitch him some ideas, and so I certainly will.

I bumped into Henry Mobley over at the WizKids booth, and then Joe Hauck, who’s in charge of that division of Topps. He let me know that he’d recently arranged to be let go as of August 1, when most management functions of WizKids would be merged into Topps’ main offices back east. He’s happy with it, though, as his wife’s due with a baby later that month, and this plan should give him plenty of time to help out with that before starting the job hunt again.

I stopped by the Random House booth and chatted for a bit with Keith Clayton, my editor on the Mutant Chronicles novelization. It seems the film has been leaked onto the internet, and the demand for it has been incredible. Let’s hope the same holds true for my book.

Just as the show ended, I finally managed to run into Wil Wheaton, who I’d been looking for all day. I’d interviewed him for Games Quarterly Magazine a long while back, and between that and our admiration for our mutual friend John Kovalic, we’d hit it off. We didn’t have long to chat, but he handed me a copy of his latest book, The Happiest Days of Our Lives, and autographed it for me, which made a wonderful cap to the show.

Once the show closed down, things got crazier. I trotted back to my room and dropped off the stuff I’d picked up. Then I raced over to SXY, a Greek fusion restaurant, to dine with Fred Malmberg and Jay Zetterberg of Paradox Entertainment, Christian Petersen and John Grams of Fantasy Flight Games, Erling Ellingsen of FunCom, Jon Levin of Creative Artists Associates, and Judy Hansen of the Hansen Literary Agency.

After an excellent dinner, I walked over to the Boom! Studios Drink-Up to see if I could catch up with some friends from (and formerly from) White Wolf. I missed them, but I did run into much of the Boom! crew again, including Ian and Paul, plus Joe Abraham and Mark Waid. I also chatted a bit with the ever-entertaining John Rogers and finally got to meet Bill Cunningham.

Later I finally made it to the IDW party. I hung out there until 1 AM or so and then zig-zagged back to my room.

The next morning, my wake-up call failed to ring. But my ride up to LA called at just after 6 AM to tell me he’d be there in 15 minutes. I raced through a quick shower, shave, and pack and finished up just as he called again to say he’d arrived.

We drove up to LA and chatted along the way. After the meeting, he drove me to LAX to grab my new flight home. I got back just before midnight, then headed out of town again less than 12 hours later for parts unknown.

(Yes, I know I’m being mysterious about some of the details in all this. With any luck, I’ll be able to tell you more sometime soon!)