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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ye Olde Con 2010: The Photo Parade

Aww yes, due to birthin' babies and what not, I haven't been to San Diego in 4 years, when I escorted Tatsumi in 2006. Perhaps, I may be considered lucky, but despite all the craziness and sometimes utterly depressing fall of humanity-esque atmosphere that is witnessed, I like San Diego. I like comics. I like seeing friends. I like meeting new ones. I like meeting our fans. I like meeting the artists. I like the panels. I like the Eisners. I like the people who put on San Diego. While the floor did seem emptier than usual on Saturday and it would be great for the convention to figure out way to not sell every single pass six months beforehand, and perhaps stagger some releases of badges so that the casual fan of comics or someone who reads the press the convention generates, has at least a chance in hell to attend, we made our {modest} goal and enjoyed our time. So let's get going.


So CCI has this program that is you arrive during your check in time and meet your stock, they waive the fee Freeman charges for getting stock to your booth, a considerable amount, and one of the unsung reasons that makes the staff of Comicon AWESOME. Booking my flight for 4 PM on Monday, and having my check in time at 12 PM on Tuesday I thought I was in the clear, but leave it to Delta to have me do an Amazing Race style chase from Montreal to Detroit to San Diego to sign in with 6 minutes to spare.


So, yes this our skid of books. Unexciting, but so satisfying to see it after months of prep.


The convention hall is kind of great before a show. It reminds me of the doozers from Fraggle Rock. Here's Chris Staros, the first friendly face I recognized. (Not counting Kevin Eastman)


So with apologies to Adrian, we retired our Optic Nerve posters and opted to print these snazzy booth posters designed by Jessica and Rebecca, who were the best booth mates I could ask for.


This year was almost all ladies at the D+Q booth. What does this mean? Well, mostly no pee jars, Ditko or Kirby talk. All the way to the right of this photo is Mimi Pond, whose memoir we announced that we are publishing during the convention. It is called Over Easy and will be a massive 400-600 page book.


Who's this? It's Tom Neeley, perhaps the one booth neighbor that we had something in common with. He shared a booth with Sparkplug and my new favorite convention friend Dylan Williams. HE IS THE NICEST. So nice I didn't get a photo.


Now everyone knows just HOW MUCH Chip Kidd likes comics. He may have been the first person to be by our table on Wednesday night. It is always fun to see Chip.


Eisner nominated Brendan Burford and Sunday Comics Pete Maresca, who strangely was not on our comics reprint panel that I had on Saturday. If you attended this panel, you would have witnessed a debate between Gary Groth and Craig Yoe over whether people read introductions to reprint series. Guess who said yes, guess who said no. Classic, what comicons are made of.


Jeffrey Brown came over to say hi. And yes, there is money in cat comics.


And that's it for preview night, as soon as the whistle blew, Peter Birkemoe of the world famous Beguiling and I were back at the hotel with fellow pals Jordan Crane, Johnny Ryan and Tom Spurgeon.


I was lucky enough to be in the same hotel as the Spurge! (Classic publicist move, I know, all you can do is learn from me people.)


This is Jordan shocked that Tom has figured out a way to make money off the web.


OK back to the con. This is the man behind the SDCC curtain Gary Sassaman. He is a great guy, and here he is with John Stanley fan Carla Speed McNeil.


I told Gary how it was my goal to meet everyone I have worked with over the past ten years (YUP DID I MENTION 2010 IS MY TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF BEING IN COMICS?) in the flesh. He made sure I met floor manager Justin Dutta above, as well as Fae Desmond, who graciously took time out of her busy Thursday to chat with me for a second. Comicon may be, oh you know, a tad insane. But it is a well oiled machine that works very well and very smoothly. And it is due to these fine people who work all year long to make sure it happens. And yes, I can assure you that if Fae Desmond is talking to me on Thursday of Comicon and Justin takes time to stop by my booth. COMIC-CON LIKES COMICS. And, no, I did not ask them if they will stay in San Diego.


Well, lookeehere. It's the finest Jameses from the Green State of Vermont.


Do you know not know who this is? It is Tyler, my favorite and #1 San Diego customer.


Yes, this is an inside joke. An inside the booth joke. We will make it every year and it will never get old. To us.


Fans quickly lined up to see Jillian and Gabrielle. The first person in line was a sweet woman named Sonette who bought all of our new books and attended all of our panels.


Vanessa signing and talking to Levon Jihanian. Levon overheard that we were $50 from our goal on Sunday and bought $50 worth of books. Whatta sweetie!


I don't really know who this is, other than he is Wilson buying WILSON. Kind of love that. Hope he likes it.


How do you surprise the man who has done everything? Give him a shiny trophy. James receiving his Inkpot.


It is NOT a San Diego, without seeing a Los Bros. Here is Gilbert who I worked with a long time ago during my DC days on his amazing graphic novel Grip--a modern masterpiece! {But really, what Los Bros is not a masterpiece?}


Speaking of DC, I caught up with two former coworkers. My "besty" from the days of 1700 Broadway was Will Dennis (the tight panted Andy Travis of Vertigo) and...


Paul Levitz! He stopped by and we had a great chat about what you can get done when not working 60 hours a week.


This is Jillian Tamaki who wowed everyone at her first Comicon and her husband Sam, who luckily for us, really enjoyed the show, so hopefully she'll be back someday (with a new graphic novel perhaps!)


Jillian was a special guest which means she had a spotlight panel. She presented a great slideshow on her career of illustration and comics, and then conversed with our favorite friend in publishing Eric Nakamura of Giant Robot. They both did a great job, as evident here in its Publishers Weekly write up.


Matt Groening came by booth to show his annual support and bought all of our new books. Perhaps this was the year of celebrities? Melissa Auf De Maur came by on Wednesday night and beelined for our artbook The Selves. (Also spotted Alia Shawkat and Matthew Gray Gubler--you know who they are!) And of course, there were the Eisners.


Ok folks, this show has changed and then it hasn't changed at all. But man did they lay on the celebrities. The whole cast of Scott Pilgrim was there. And here are my grainy paparazzi shots to prove it.


James and Jillian had the unenviable task of presenting awards after the cast did. They soldiered through.


And then who was next? Only WILSON fan Thomas Jane. Alas, I was not lucky enough to be able to embrace Mr. Jane for Tatsumi's first big win of the night for Best Graphic Novel- Asian, nor lucky to have the presenter after me, Sergio Aragones. My presenter was Chris Claremont, who let's be honest, even though he was reading the international category took no time to learn how to say the names and then awarded the trophy to "A Different Life" This may fall in the "things that do not change" category.


This shot is for Adrian. It's an honor just to be nominated.


And what's this? Tom Spurgeon RIGHTFULLY won in the best comics criticism category. His coverage of the industry is daily, thorough, engaging and fair reporting, so it shouldn't come as a surprise, but this is comics, so it does. "things that change" category.


but I shan't complain the evening was great, and I stayed around after this win to hang out with my buddies Tom Spurgeon and Eric Reynolds, when lo and behold, Tatsumi won his second trophy, for Best Reality Based Graphic Novel. I was really floored and couldn't believe it. Tatsumi won the Tezuka Award last year and now this. It was touching and sweet to accept the awards on behalf of Tatsumi knowing just how humble and gracious he would be to hear the news. We sent him this picture the next day! It was the first time a Japanese title had won two awards. Maybe the first time for any international book?


After the awards I stumbled upon Bill Morrison catching up with Gary Groth.


And then I pretty much stalked Carol Tyler.


As did my coworkers. She was the highlight of the show for us. She told us the story of her awesome gold dress. Talking about dresses? things that change category.


I have two new secrets about San Diego. I found a LOVELY restaurant that sat 12 of us at 8 PM on Saturday night with ease. Yes! This is Gabrielle and Vanessa listening to Tom Spurgeon.


This is Woody White, Mimi's son. He has the coolest Mom ever. And coolest Dad, go look it up. This kid is going to be famous.


Second secret--And a new bar with cheap beer that was completely empty on Saturday night. Gabrielle and Tony. Tony is "on" as always.


This bar's jukebox not only had the Cramps and the Buzzcocks but Destiny's Child and Madonna. Be still my beating heart! This is "everyone-is-wishing-he-was-their-convention-boyfriend-Brian Ralph", doing his best Fonzie.


No, this photo is not a mistake, this is it folks, this is what we had left over at ye olde con 2010. One Box! Sent off on it's lonely little way back to our NJ warehouse. Again, unexciting, but so fulfilling.

What's this, you ask, AN ENTIRE LONG ENGROSSING blog post about San Diego and no *funny* costume shots? Well, I'll leave the cosplay report to Jessica but I leave you with this. I'm impressed with myself that I was able to get my camera to do video (that's Tom's deal) and, yes, that is me audibly groaning in the middle. I call this shot "Mrs. Kevin Eastman getting sexy with R2D2" Tom told me the official term of what is going on in this video, but I can't bring myself to repeat it.

R2D2 D-based from Tom Devlin on Vimeo.


Until 2011!

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