Did I say regular service would resume on Monday? Are you sure? Triple totally sure? Well, you're wrong. <cackle> Throwing this together and up now because the rest of the weekend belongs to the garden and wading through email. I'd rather not be on the computer more than necessary.
With the exception of being bounced off the guardrail by a semi-truck which then fled the scene while heading home on I-5 (I am fine, my car is not) my week at Comic-Con International: San Diego was a blast!
Had a fantabulous time again dragging the Occasionally Disobedient Guest *** around show. I also made a Soul Connection with Cat, she who is made of sparkly fabulousness. If I could take him, I'd beat up her boyfriend and whisk her away. Lucky for him I'm a wuss.
Here are a few random bits of things I learned/saw/experienced at Geek Vegas this time out.
- If by chance you find yourself drinking with Simon Bisley, YOU WILL LOSE. At the same time you will have the most fascinating listening session involving his thoughts on men, women, Viking gods, Zulu warriors, masculinity, the universality of humankind, people who are blind and fake, flint, the misuse of religion, international race relations and the doom that awaits us all in the end. Though you will fail to get him to eat something, he won't drink all of your cider as you feared he would, instead politely taking only one symbolic sip.
- People who love you do things like call to tell you they're across the street from the convention center with a bottle of rum and pizza and you can come over at any time once the exhibit floor closes.
- Neil Gaiman can sign autographs while running. Not 'while walking briskly ' or while 'moving at a rapid pace', but while flat out running. On the one hand, you feel the urge to turn around and backhand him upside the head for doing so. But on the other, goddamn that was impressive.
- Once you spot the Wonder Woman/Flash bondage poster hanging above the DC booth, it will become the ONLY poster you can see among all the huge posters in their booth. You will point it out to your friends. Everyone will laugh hysterically. Later, you will see your friends pointing it out to their friends. It will get to the point where you will say to friends on the cell "I'll meet you under the poster" and EVERYONE knows what this means.
- One thing I like about my volunteer duties is how it gives me the opportunity to be the wingman, introducing Person X to Celebrity Person Y so they can have a moment with each other. Sometimes Person X is also what I consider to be a celebrity, which makes the whole situation funny (to me, anyway). This year I got to be wingman for lots of sets, all of them unrelated to my official guest duties. Some of these Persons X I will mock until the end of their days about it. Typing, perhaps I should rephrase. This has little to do with my volunteer duties. It's probably more a function of my personality.
- Whichever of the CCI bosses had the idea to recruit Navy personnel to be among the Elite redshirts? I LOVE YOU.
- Autograph hounds are completely unaware of just how much Team Morrison does to make what they want - access to and autographs from celebs - possible. There should be a rule that when anyone goes to the information desk in the Autograph Area to complain, the FIRST THING out of the complainer's mouth MUST be Thank You. Team Morrison invented a way to do ticket draws that was beautiful in its simplicity and execution. I am not only in awe, but deeply grateful. (My idea was to show up with tickets, throw them into the crowd and let god sort it out. While that might have been highly amusing to me, it probably would have caused problems with our liability insurance and the fire marshal. Totally don't want to piss off the fire marshal.)
- People who love you understand when you answer the cell with I cannot talk right now and hang up on them before they have a chance to say anything. When one of those persons turns out to have been The Official Mom of BGF Central? Oy. The guilt.
- Rich Watson is a complete and total trooper and we black comics geeks are lucky to have him. (The white geeks are also lucky, though I'm unsure if they realize that as yet.)
- It's fun to scream at Michael Davis across the lobby asking how he managed to find a white man to put on his Black Panel this year yet once again failed to find a single black woman, and watch the reactions of all of the people who have no idea that we know each other, and that he's a good sport. (Later Davis said that white man got a standing ovation at the panel because he created Blade.) Here would also be a good place to provide a tip to all of the comics pr-bloggers/journalists/whatever they're calling themselves these days out there - ask Michael Davis *why* he created the Black Panel years ago. Far as I can tell none of you have ever done that, despite it being an obvious question, and apparently none of your editors know either, otherwise one of you would have told you to ask him this basic question. You will get a good story, and you will inform your readers of big picture stuff it will behoove them to know. Update! (many days and emails later because this is easier than responding to individual emails): For clarity, a Hollywood development executive is not the same thing as a creator. Every single one of the men on the 2007 versions of this panel is/has been an artist or writer, and this time another musician was included. I am not devaluing the skill set it takes to be a development executive in an industry where, to borrow a phrase, they eat their wounded. I am pointing out that once again this mainstream-heavy panel about "exciting new comics and animation projects" included no black woman creator. If it's a matter of popularity, as some have suggested, all I can say is if you were going to put Stormbringer's numbers up against Spike's, I have no idea who would come out in the lead. That's not the point. I would guess that if you put WuTang's career numbers up against the combined numbers of every single person who was on that panel, WuTang would come out ahead. Still not the point.
- It is tragic that this year's Eisner ceremony, the most entertaining one that I can remember in 10 years of attending show, was also the lightest attended ever. I blame the Hollywood People and their 300 event for thousands next door in the baseball stadium. If those people are going to do something like that again, they should do it on a Saturday to help empty the exhibit floor.
- Speaking of the Eisners, check out that Chris Ware purse! Thanks, Jackie!
- Continuing with the Eisners... I now know that the Jonathan Ross who gave an outstanding performance at the ceremony is the same Jonathan Ross they were talking about over on deadbro a few weeks ago. Since I live in America and don't have cable I'd never heard of him. I now want to know everything there is to know about that man, and I want dvds. They say he's like Letterman over there, times three. Based on the snippets provided on deadbro, he's also Aware of the race thing, which I think we all know by now is a topic of particular interest to me. At show he also demonstrated his knowledge of Los Bros without needing an explainer first! Clearly the man has taste. He's also working on a Ditko documentary. All praise to my all-region dvd player.
- What takes the edge off of neither of the strike teams being able to locate Max Brooks (and one of them not even TRYING because it would have meant risking not being able to get back into Hall Hell)? Standing outside the center sharing a cig and chat with GEORGE FUCKIN' ROMERO!!! Then showing all of your friends The Hand That Shook The Hand Of George Fuckin' Romero, in addition to The Upper Body That Hugged George Fuckin' Romero. And everybody going ooooooo aaaaahhhhh.
- People who love you will take you out for sushi at the end of show, enduring your Temperament when you're exhausted, starving and WANT FOOD RIGHT NOW, and forgive what came before your Temperament was eased by the arrival of delicious sushi.
I am in possession of the most awesome thing ever in the history of CCI, an item that forced me to use the trick of biting the inside of my cheek in order not to burst into tears and also had me flinging multiple full body hugs onto a man I do not know well enough to be smothering with full body hugs. But I have to get hold of a camera to show it off properly and I want that one to have its own post. So, on to other personal loot purchased or claimed as swag this year:
- New Lark Pien books! "Loose Ends," which is a Long Tail Kitty sketchbook, and "Brave Mr. Elephanter," which is about a guy with a huge head.
- Two collections of strips from the Surf City Times, purchased from Mary Fleener herself! I didn't even know she was at show until I wandered past her booth while on walkabout Sunday afternoon. She's going to come back in 2008, plenty of time to add her to the budget. My walls need original Mary Fleener art.
- Got both the sketchbooks I wanted and the One Black Kid print. Knight even drew a little sheep on it for me. He draws the most adorable sheep.
- From Fanta, the new "I Killed Adolph Hitler" Jason book and a flier about the upcoming collection of Mauldin strips. *squee* I forgot to ask what's up with the Comics As Art book, though. Also, I didn't realize until show was over that the new book by the Los Bros Who Is Gilbert was on sale at show. I am an idiot. Happily, I am also 20/20, so I'll get it later for a slight discount.
- From Top Shelf, the Renee French "Micrographica" and the Jeffrey Brown "Every Girl is the End of the World for Me." I have a like/hate relationship with the work of Jeffrey Brown. French drew a Creepy Thing along with her autograph. She also has gorgeous hair. I couldn't stop staring at her hair.
- From First Second (though purchased at the Top Shelf booth), a hardback of the "Black Diamond Detective Agency." This was combined with going O My God when introduced to Callum Campbell, who was a shortie last time I saw him. He's taller than his Dad now! And so polite! And such a cutie! I want to set him up with all my young cousins.
- From Samuel Hiti, a gorgeous, mostly silent book called "El Largo Tren Oscuro," within which he drew a zombie head as autograph. This was a random find from Sunday's walkabout.
- From Vincent Stall, a lovely, silent book called "Robot Investigator," another random find.
- From Scholastic, a copy of Shaun Tan's "The Arrival," which they were giving away for free!! I first learned of this book via the blog of Eddie Campbell a few months ago. Since it was free, this probably counts as swag.
- From that retailer specializing in Cthulhu stuff, an Alumni/Miskatonic University license plate holder. Considering what happened on the way home, good thing I just got the one. (No link because I don't know the name of this retailer, though I've seen the booth for years.)
- From Exhibit A Press, the Supernatural Law companion book and a female-fit Mavis T-shirt created by Graphitti Design. Which means that Graphitti Design has finally broken down and created a female-fit shirt. Which means the "Mage: Love Charm" shirt had damned well better be next on deck. I have been bitching about the failure of everyone involved to make that particular Mage shirt available in female-fit for years and years and years.
- From Top Shelf, another Owly shirt, also female fit. Now I have two!
- Update! (a few days later, after I finished unpacking and found a forgotten book in the shoe luggage) From Top Shelf, even though they don't publish this book, the new DeeVee anthology. This is a good anthology but it hardly ever comes out anymore.
- From a bag another worker bee handed to me as I was flying into Hall Hell on an errand, a Slusho shirt, an Iron Man shirt and a Star Trek shirt. I kept the Slusho shirt and gave the other ones away because I'm not on the list of people who care about the upcoming Iron Man & Star Trek films. There was also other stuff in the bag, but since I didn't care about those properties either I gave it all away and don't remember what it was. This counts as swag because it was free.
Things I still don't know the answer to even after being around it all week:
- IS IT A CTHULHU MOVIE OR NOT??? I mean, really. Even though I could only keep half and eye on the Cloverfield section of the Paramount presentation because I was busy, I saw enough of it from backstage to know that this ESSENTIAL question remained unanswered. Talking to friends and random civilians afterwards, the general sense was the Cloverfield section of the Paramount presentation sucked in comparison to everything else on their docket. In part this is because the trailer has been out for a few weeks, yet that's what they showed, and in part because Abrams provided no concrete info about the project. On top of that, the poster is unacceptably cliche. (On the other hand, folks were talking about this movie all week long, so they got the buzz, once again proving what the hell do I know.) People were saying it's a giant monster movie. Okay, fine. But you know that our dread lord Cthulhu is a giant monster, right? So saying it's a giant monster movie not really a helpful answer. Since by default All Cthulhu Movies Suck, some of us really need to know now if this is a Cthulhu movie so we can figure out whether or not we can start ignoring every single thing related to this property from now on. A generic giant monster movie I'm willing to give a chance. A remake of The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, which is my backup suspicion, I'm willing to chance. But a Cthuhlu movie? I'd rather not waste my time, thank you very much. To date nobody has managed to pull off a decent Lovecraft film adaptation. I don't see any reason to believe the guy behind Lost would be the exception.
- What was the name of the guy who did the fantabulous piece of Beowulf chalk art across the street from the center? I talked to him briefly twice during the week yet forgot to ask his name.
I think the only downside of the whole show this year was the Martha dolls and the pink R2D2 dolls being long sold out by the time I had time to go down to the floor on Sunday and snag one. Happily, I'm sure Meltdown can get one for me. The only other bummer was never being able to find the AdHouse Books booth, where word was they had a James Jean book I was previously unaware of, and what sounded like an interesting book about war.
One of my personal highlights was a little blonde child desperate to win a ticket to my Occasionally Disobedient Guest's autograph session *finally* getting one after all of us worker bees raised our hands to the heavens and commanded the Universe to let her get a magic ticket. It was weird that she pulled one right when we commanded she did, but I was so happy for her I let that pass. She absolutely beamed.
*** My job at show is to keep the guest on schedule; get the guest through to the end of the show alive; be more paranoid than the guest is; do the dance on the fine line between saying "no" to the fans and giving the fans what they want; and bossing the guest around in order to keep him/her on schedule and alive at the end. This is not hard, but it can be tricky, particularly when you are wranging a guest who truly cares about his/her fans and wants to give them as much access as possible.
I'm using his/her because in my experience at show all guests who Give follow this pattern. They will Give at the expense of themselves: in-demand guests will Give until they fall over. Their definition of "as much access as possible" does not include my caveat of "and within reason." So part of the job is trying to pull the guest back a little bit so that they do not fall over or get exploited. Success varies. When it comes down to it you go with what the guest wants, keep 911 on the speed dial and chastise him/her later.
This conversation is slightly reconstructed. I can't remember what day it happened...it was probably on Thurs or Friday, his heavier-schedule days.
Me: Next time I will throw you to the wolves. I will leave you alone and let them tear you to shreds with their love.
The Disobedient: I gave you the two greatest days of your life.
Me: <realizes has lost this argument, and every single one like it likely to occur during the week>
The Disobedient: <probably knew going into it he'd win, flashes Seriously Evil Grin>
The Disobedient: <keeps grinning>
Me: <realizes no one will believe the part about the Seriously Evil Grin> DAMMIT!
For those who are arriving late and don't want to scroll through that long index of Transformers posts, the reason I was an extra in that movie is because Neil made it happen for no other reason than he could (as far as I can tell). Yes, he is that nice. People like that exist in Hollywood. Who knew?