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Friday, July 20, 2012

SDCC 2012 Madness!

Well, I don't know exactly how to start this. Today is my last day at D+Q and this is my last blog post about my last SDCC, which is a little bittersweet. As much as I maybe complain about everything all of the time, it's hard not to go through these photos and feel very fortunate to have gotten to work with so many incredible people over the years and get sad and a little overwhelmed at leaving.

First off, I would like to say how wonderful it was to see our beloved friend and colleague Dylan Williams honoured in the SDCC program and Eisners memorial. We all miss him terribly, and it was somewhat comforting to see the industry that he was so involved in and loved so much recognize him, even if we could never do his life/career justice. These shows are not the same without him.


This was editorial and marketing manager Julia Pohl-Miranda's first Comic Con, and the funny book fates made sure that things weren't too easy for her. For instance, due to some delays, we ended up being in transit for 22 hours, which was extremely taxing, as you can see. (PLEASE DON'T SHOW THE ACCOUNTANT THIS BLOG POST!)


Meanwhile, somewhere in San Diego (well, uh, the convention center), Kate Beaton's entourage of burly men help Tom and Peg load in a palette of her calendars. Looks like someone's been reading her "sexy batman" strips, AM I RIGHT?

(Because that guy is wearing a Batman shirt and he is muscular.)

(Er, that is what the Batman logo looks like, right?)


SDCC is amazing. It's completely overwhelming and filled with every kind of element of pop culture you could ever imagine or want or even not want. However, after years of getting five days worth of pizza stains on our cargo shorts, we've come to realize that part of the key to "not going insane" is eating lots of salad, exercising a little bit and dressing well, hence Tom's decision to start wearing bow ties. Bow ties that, of course, only the Beguiling's Peter Birkemoe knows how to tie because secretly the rest of us are all dirtbags.


Indulge me, please, it's my last day! I'm proud of my banners and our beautiful booth! This photo is also an important record of what high spirits everyone is in at the beginning of the con. Don't worry, past selves; they are about to be crushed.


According to his booth, convention staple/son of well-known Albertan politician Bob The Angry Flower wasn't there this year...


or was he?


Requisite photo of Peter Birkemoe eating yogurt outside of the booth. This reminds me of a new game I came up with for conventions where one stands just outside of the booth and eats a banana as fast as one can while making unblinking eye contact with Tom Devlin. He loves it.


Martin and Greg Wong were indispensable in our unending quest for better Mexican food. It's always a pleasure to see these guys; they are very funny.


Natalia, Gilbert, and Carol Hernandez! How amazing is it to get to spend time with comic book royalty at these things? I'd met Gilbert a few times before but this was the first opportunity I'd had to meet Natalia and Carol, and they were so wonderful! We had a long discussion about relating to Kristen Bell's sloth video, and I was completely impressed by the fact that Natalia seems to know so much more about everything happening at the show than the rest of us put together. What an amazing family those Hernandezes are.


Old pal Scrappers and Camper in the best Captain America costume I've come in contact with.


Oh, you know, just getting to meet MARGARET ATWOOD. SAY WHAAA??


Panel discussion between Lynn Johnston and Kate Beaton, moderated by Heidi MacDonald. I didn't have the pleasure of watching this, but apparently it was INCREDIBLE and Kate and Lynn were both hilarious and informative. Lynn Johnston!!


Heidi, Lynn, Kate, and Julia. No jokes about a nice photo!


Peggy Burns and Archie CEO/office obsession Nancy Silberkleit.


The Onion AV's Noel Murray! We've all been working with Noel for a long time but this was our first opportunity to meet him. It was also his first Comic Con, about which he wrote a wonderful blog post that Peggy mentioned the other day. I had the great pleasure of having a brief conversation with Noel at dinner on Thursday, and I can confirm that he is as thoughtful and articulate in person as he is online.


All right, you've convinced me that maybe I was too quick to judge cosplay.


Meredith Gran, Kate Beaton, Gilbert Hernandez! Somehow I always take the worst photos of those Pizza Island gals and for this I apologize. Meredith seems like fun; I wish I'd had more of chance to talk to her.


Alas, I was too busy surreptitiously taking photos of TOM ARNOLD. This dinner, where we ate next to Tom Arnold, Seth Green, and Dax Sheppard, gave us false hopes for what the weekend would hold in celebrity spottings/represented the only celeb spottings. Great photography skills, though, non?


What's that? We found a weird backdrop that I think is misspelling the word "monkey" inexplicably? Photo op! Gilbert Hernandez, Julia, Thomas Gabison of Actes Sud, and Brecht Evens. Also, did you know that Julia is always happy and upbeat?


Don't worry, though, the rest of us are sour as ever.


Natalia and Carol! I can't get enough of them!


Tom "The Smartest Man in Comics" Spurgeon* moderates a panel about having your books in bookstores. What? I don't know. Anyway, what a roster! Kate Beaton, Alison Bechdel, Brecht Evens, Babymouse's Jennifer and Matthew Holm, Nate Powell, Jason Shiga.

*His nickname for himself

(kidding!)


Kate's crowd at her spotlight. Standing room only! Laughter like Julia had never heard before in her life! Aquaman cosplay! All you could ever want.


Kate's line for her signing in the official SDCC signing area. You can't see it, but she was totally next to the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld, who, despite my many offers, refused to kiss me. Apparently "but you're washed up!" isn't a line that works, FYI.


Kate! Consummate professional, smart, composed, hilarious, and very kind to her fans–it's always such a thrill to get to do these things with her and see her navigate being pulled in a million directions so gracefully.


Sexy Pikachu counts were down this year by my estimate, but Kate's version more than makes up for it.


One of Tom's outfits. I wasn't there when this was taken, but I will set the scene of what is going on here, if you'd like.

(6:00 am)

Tom: Peggy! Take a photo of my outfit for the blog/our personal facebooks. The people need to know.

Peggy: Can you please leave me alone? I am trying to tally yesterday's sales.

(Multiply this conversation X a long time until Peggy is annoyed enough that she takes photo)


Have you ever seen a more Kochalka pic? This was the same face he made when he bum rushed the stage at the Eisners two awards after he'd won.


Matt Groening waited in line to get an incredible inscription from Brecht in his brand new book, The Making Of. I know you can't tell in this picture, but Tom is mouthing "Be cool, man!" to me. But I refuse! You'll note that the Wongs are still hanging around the booth.


Brecht's drawing for Matt. Brecht's signings are something to behold and I recommend that you get a book signed if he's ever anywhere near you. Seriously, they are amazing.


Captain America himself, Ed Brubaker!


Julia, Tom, Fantagraphics' Eric Reynolds, and Jacq Cohen talk about our respective upcoming lists. Amusingly, Comic Book Resources posted about this panel the other day but MIXED UP THE COMPANIES. Phew! That provided like a day's worth of laughs in the office. Look, things aren't always thrilling around here, OK?


Comics Reporter for the win!


Isn't Spurgeon the best?


What? When you write for the D+Q blog you can put whatever you want up here. As long as I'm around, Imma fill it with handsome men. Deal.


Peggy accepts Shigeru Mizuki's Eisner for Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths.


Don't they look nice together


Why does my Eisner look different than the others?


Awful.


Chris Butcher moderates a Canadian comics panel discussion between me, Kate, Doug Savage, and Calum Johnston. Kate, Doug, Calum, and Chris were all very funny and informative. And I stayed for the whole thing, so that's got to count for something, right?


JONATHAN ROSS!!!! He is always a highlight of the Eisners/the show in general! What a delight. We had a quick chat about George R.R. Martin and breasts and, yes, I can confirm that people are just funnier across the pond.


A Tom Spurgeon interview with Brecht Evens, wherein both of them are completely articulate, thoughtful, funny, and engaging. As if you would expect anything else.


Alison Bechdel buys Kate Beaton's calendars and then waits in line to get them signed. NO SPECIAL TREATMENT HERE.


Just kidding!! We were all so thrilled to get to meet/see Alison. Definitely an SDCC highlight.


So here's a thing that happens at Comic Con.


Look, it doesn't matter how much you think Eric is just being friendly, DO NOT LOOK AT HIM, lest Johnny Ryan see you do it and get jealous. Nice of Johnny to take him out of the home for the day, though.


Tom "negging" Martin Wong. (Shhh, everyone, I think it's working!)


Nice of James Kochalka and my beloved Janice Headley of Fantagraphics to take me out of the home for the day.


OK everyone, get your acts together! (Tom Spurgeon, Fanta's Mike Baehr, Whit Spurgeon)


Fine. I give up. (Fantagraphics! Counter Clockwise: Jacq Cohen, Jen Vaughn, Zack Carlson, Steve Weissman, Johnny Ryan, Eric Reynolds)


Kate does an impromptu signing while I buzz around her asking again and again if she wants a chair. This gal is always working.


The Europeans manage to get "take down" badges so they can stay at Comic Con an extra few hours. Similar to a fellow who Peggy met at Ralph's this year who said the trick to staying at Burning Man an extra few hours was to grab a trash bag and walk around carrying trash. To re-state that, the trick to staying at BURNING MAN, a two-week-long festival, an extra two hours, is to carry around a thirty pound bag of trash.


All right, yeah, San Diego is actually kind of fun sometimes...


until you get chased out for shooting corks all over the place...

Of course we want to thank Jackie, Gary, Justin, and all of the other wonderful CCI employees who make this show run so smoothly and take such amazing care of us. And I particularly want to thank Chris, Peggy, Tom, Tracy, Julia, Ann, all of my previous colleagues, our amazing cartoonists, and my other friends in the industry for making the last six years of my life so enriching and fulfilling. I LOVE YOU ALL.

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