Seanan was able to get my Cat's Claw signed by Amber Benson and my Zombie Haiku signed by Ryan Mecum since she was on panels with them, so I make sure they go in the right suitcase. I decide that I will not even bother to take my Clash of the stupid Titans bag home with me, but I will take the Psych bag that Seanan gave me. I have so many bags! Including a giant-ass Iron Man 2 bag I got at the Marvel booth. Grocery shopping will never be the same again.
Seanan and I both get a text message from Rae. She has passes into the Supernatural panel. Oooh, tempting. But it conflicts with the one panel I want to see. Seanan declines as well and tells her to give them to Tanya Huff, the author.
Amy cleverly uses the scale in the gym to test the weight of her luggage. My luggage feels really heavy, as it is full of books and stuff, but it should be okay. We go down to check out, leaving the room in as nice a state as we can manage.
Tara and I must prove we met each other! The guy behind us can't believe we're taking a picture.
Tara has invited us to join her for breakfast with Paul Cornell, but he pushes the time back from 10 to 10:30, and I want to make sure I get into my panel at 12:00, so I have to decline. It will be an energy bar today!
I hit the floor and head straight to the Kidrobot booth to see what is up with the DJ Lance Dunny I am supposed to get for Jon. I can buy it now, so I do, but the signing is from 12 to 2! Rats! That directly conflicts with, like, the only things on my schedule! Well, I will try, Jon. I will try.
I meet up with Dahlia, who is continuing her up-and-down traversal of the exhibit hall. She's almost finished! I give her her Freakshow comic. She only has two bucks on her, but I can get the other two later, or not at all, whatevs. We pass through the publishing section and snag ourselves free copies of A Game of Thrones! I just miss the last His Majesty's Dragon, which I was also eyeing. I already have Perdido Street Station.
I text lodessa about my score. She hopes I will read it soon.
Having made it across the floor, Dahlia is off to Ballroom 20 to try to get into the Sons of Anarchy/
And, well, I am done with the floor. I have nothing more I want to see, want to buy. I just want to sit. So I head up to 24ABC.
I walk into a panel on children's literature. I don't know any of the authors: Jimmy Gownley, Sina Grace, Matt Holm, Adam Rex, David Steinberg, Greg Van Eekhout, and Jennifer Holm. But they are very entertaining, and I am writing their names down here so I remember to check them out sometime maybe.
For instance, the moderator has a lightning round where she just asks each author to name his favorite color. Ha, what?
One guy responds to people asking him if he's okay with writing children's books by looking at his shelf of Harry Potter books and saying, "Um, yeah."
The moderators asks what the difference is when they write kids' books versus their adult books. The authors mostly say they don't change their approach much, which is neat. Although they try to use less bad language. One author says that some teachers or parents or maybe an editor took offense at his use of the word "spunky."
"...Uh, I don't think that word means what you think it means," he says.
Then, when the moderator has another lightning round where she asks each author to describe himself in an adverb, the first person says, "Spunky." Heh. Then, realizing she said adverb, he amends to "Spunkily." The other authors think she must have meant adjective. Oops. And she's a copy editor!
I move to the very front for the next panel, which is what I am here for! For, lo, Christopher Pike will be right in front me! Some girls behind me are also big Pike fans. We geek out about Pike, and this guy next to me asks the girl behind me if she'll do a video interview since she's a Pike fan. She declines. Why doesn't he ask me? I am totally a camerawhore.
The authors begin to arrive. Moderator Cindy Pon. Emily Drake, Nancy Holder, D.J. MacHale, James Owen, Kathy Reichs, Neal Shusterman, Michael Spradlin. And...and?
I hear one of the authors confirm my fears, as Pike's placard is removed.
He didn't show up.
GODDAMN YOU RECLUSIVE AUTHOR.
The one person I wanted to see today, and he didn't show up!
I decide to stay anyway, since I don't really have anything better to do. I look at the program guide to see if there are any other panels I could go to. Nothing right now, but oh! There's a Matt Fraction panel at 2:00! I should try to go to that. I will not try too hard, but I will try. Bill Hader is moderating!
The panel is pretty entertaining. I've found that author panels tend to be fun. They have interesting things to say, and they often play off each other since they're not usually all in the same room like this.
Kathy Reichs, the author of the Temperance Brennan series that Bones is based on, announces that she's giving away free copies of her new YA book, Virals, which stars Temperance Brennan's niece. Hm! I had no reason to go to the signing afterward after Pike was a no-show, but hm. I text lodessa and ask her if she's interested, being a fan of both Bones and YA. She hasn't read the Bones books, but she and sophia_helix are both interested. Free books are good!
So I go to the Autograph Area, where there is a small line. I get behind a couple girls with Pike books in their hands. Uh-oh. I tell them Pike didn't show. They thank me for telling them but decide to stay in line.
In the line, I meet some Middleman fans, and we reminisce about the panel last year. One woman says she still hasn't gotten the finale comic, and I tell her that the Viper booth probably has it, but I'm not sure. I decide against being a total douche and calling Javi right in front of them, but I text him to ask if they have it. His reply comes too late, as the line has moved and I can't find the woman now.
The free copies of Virals Kathy Reichs is giving out are actually ARCs, which is either cooler or not as cool, depending on your preference. I tell her I am getting the book for friends of mine who are fans of Bones and YA fiction, and she signs it to lodessa. And then I jet!
Even when I am in a hurry, I have to stop to take pictures of costumes I really like.
I've never seen a Clark Kent costume before! Clever. (Later, I will see another one, but he will not be accompanied by a cute Supergirl.)
I run down to the Kidrobot booth to try to get the DJ Lance Dunny signed, but, alas, they have closed the line! And I see that the person signing is DJ Lance himself, oooh. I thought the signing was with the person who designed the toy or something, and I did not realize Jon was such a toy geek that he would care about that.
He is very orange.
I am still going to try for the Matt Fraction panel. On my way, I encounter a strange sight.
I do not take a flyer for whatever the hell he is promoting because that's just creepy, dude.
I find the line for 7AB and start walking to the end of it, but...wait, that's Matt Fraction. He's just standing around, chatting with folks in line. I call Strega, but there's no answer. I call Angelo, and there's no answer, but I can leave a message. I can tell him that I am standing just a few feet from Matt Fraction. Originally, I wanted to get one of my Fraction fans on the line and hand him the phone, but as I watch him interact with his fans and thank them for waiting in line for his panel, I decide that would be ass-y of me. So I go to the back of the line.
And as we're being let in, I see a girl holding a sweet Chew poster. That is signed.
"They're here?!?!" I exclaim. HOW DID I NOT KNOW THIS.
They're at the Image booth, just chillin', she says. Also, they won the Eisner last night. And they were almost out of the limited-edition poster. And it looked like they were going to leave soon.
Oh man. I consider leaving immediately to catch them, but if they already left, then I will have missed this panel for nothing, so I stay my ground.
The Fraction panel sounded particularly interesting because he was supposed to perform a spoken-word piece called "The Batman Dreams of Hieronymous Machines," which he did at W00tstock 2.0. I don't really know what it will be like, but it is essentially a PowerPoint presentation. A hilarious PowerPoint presentation. Hilarious...and poignant. He takes us through the history of his love of comics and how it relates to his life.
For instance, he tells us that the first Marvel comic he wrote was the Punisher. "He has guns and he punishes things," Matt says of him. And in the first issue, he shoots Stilt-Man in the taint. Yes, he actually says "taint." Later, he found the first comic he ever read. And who was on the cover? Fucking Stilt-Man.
He takes us back to an old Batman comic that stuck with him, in which a villain blows up a hospital. He shows us the two-page spread of Batman arriving at the scene. "Is the damage to the hospital extensive?" asks Batman.
Fraction points to the drawing of the hospital, which is completely intact except for some fire coming out one of the windows. "No. World's Greatest Detective, ladies and gentlemen." His commentary is hilarious, but then this scene is relevant because it makes him think of his mother, who was hospitalized for terrible seizures. Grand mal seizures. He didn't know what they were exactly when he was a kid, but he knew it wasn't a good sign when they were literally "big bad seizures."
His mother had a brain injury. So he decided to give Tony Stark a brain injury, which led to some beautiful cover images. That were turned into T-shirts available at Hot Topic. "If you would like to commemorate my mother's traumatic brain injury with me."
Also, in a weird continuation of a theme, there is a random picture of Bruce Lee.
You know what, here, just watch the fucking thing. This post is short as shit compared to the rest of them; you have the time, and this is worth it. The final image will make you look at Venn diagrams in a whole new way.
Then Bill Hader joins him! They are buddies and stuff, and they are very funny together.
Matt says that coming to cons and meeting fans and signing stuff is "quite literally the least [he] can do," which is a sentiment that of course endears him to me. He can't stand the writers who bitch about doing cons. He gets to climb out of bed when he wants and "go to work" in his pajamas if he wants. You can't sign fifty comics for that?
Bill Hader is a hoot. A bunch of people in Jedi robes head toward the back of the room, and he cries, "Sith emergency! Sith emergency!" Then they take seats in the back, and he quells our fears; there is no Sith emergency.
I kind of want to leave to go see the Chew guys, but Matt and Bill are too funny, and I also don't want to get made fun of.
He's so dreamy!
Amusingly, the Indian scientist from the Bendis panel is here as well, and he asks Matt Fraction the same question about researching science things. This time, he tells him to use some line full of science-y terms like "catalyst" and "polypeptide" or whatever, as the guys back at the lab will love it. Or maybe he told Bendis that.
A girl in the front row leaves, and someone moves up to take her place. "How does it feel to be where HATE sat?" asks Bill.
Somebody else wants his Comic-Con experience to be complete, so he asks Bill to do an Italian interview of Matt. He obliges.
As soon as the Fraction panel is over, I dash down to the floor and make a beeline for Image, looking for the Chew booth. Ah, there is. Wait, Rob Guillory is black? I did not know this. He is being interviewed by some guy with an iPhone. So I wait...and wait...and wait...and he talks to a fellow artist about the TV series in development. They're fighting to keep the lead Asian, and they've already vetoed some white guy that he won't name. I comment that one of the great things about the comic is that it has an Asian lead character. He says that John's white, but he's married to an Asian woman, and he's black, but he's married to a white woman, so they've got a lot of diversity all up in here.
In between other conversations, I ask him about these cool shirts that I did not know existed. They are only $15, but they're out of small and medium. And those sweet posters are all spoken for, sadly.
"Sorry, man," says Rob, once people who aren't me stop talking to him so I can actually talk to him. I tell him I'm so happy he's here, since I love Chew a lot. In fact, I just mentioned it to Gabriel Bá when I asked about his art influences. "You asked Gabriel?" he says, pronouncing it the American way like me. "What'd he say?" I tell him. Rob says he's influenced a lot by animation, especially old cartoons.
I see John Layman arrive and start packing things up. "John, don't leave!" I say. And then that first guy asks to interview him, so I lose him again. But then he comes back and starts packing, and I tell him that I love Chew and I'm so happy he's here, and so on. "I'm listening," he says, as he continues packing, so I don't think he's ignoring me. I tell him that the comic makes me laugh out loud a lot and congratule them on the Eisner, and I basically gush and gush because I love Chew a lot, like I said.
I did not bring my trades with me, but the first trade is only ten dollars, so I am considering just buying it to get it signed and give my copy to someone else. "It's up to you, man," says Rob. It is! And I do it! Signing achieved! And then, of course, a picture.
(Two people ask me where I got my Scott Pilgrim shirt, if they can buy it at the Oni Press booth. They cannot! My shirt is too cool for you! And they don't sell it anymore! Thanks, brother!)
Since I am at Image, I go over to David Mack's booth and tell him I met the Chew guys. He hasn't read the comic, but he should. Rupa is showing off some paintings Mack did of her that appear in Reflections. Pretty!
I am calling it quits. "Look me up on Facebook," says Rupa. I tell her I don't know her last name. She says to check Mack's page. (I will do so, and it will not be there. But I will Google, and the answer will be revealed.)
I wander around for a bit, checking out the Atom.com booth and taking a Legend of Neil poster for myself and a couple The House That Drips Blood on Alex posters in case Conan wants them.
It's 4:00. I am done an hour early. I text Erin (mutinousmuse) to see if she's free, but T-Mobile appears to be overwhelmed, as there seem to be delays in my texts. Grr. So I find a place in the lobby to sit and continue writing notes, as I am way behind.
Obligatory Stormtrooper shot.
Unfortunately, I don't get to say goodbye to Rae or Dahlia.
Erin is able to pick me up around 5, and I leave the convention center to find a better spot to be picked up. On the way, I see an interesting protest.
That's not Michael Cera.
Erin picks me up at 5th and J, and we head to Pokez for Mexican food. The salsa is very spicy, and there's an intriguing "You don't want to order this" combo on the menu, so it seems decent. I order a combo with a chile relleno, enchiladas, and a tostada. The tostada is more like a salad with a tostada underneath it. The chile relleno is not as good as the frozen one from Trader Joe's. It is so bland. Same goes for the enchiladas, the beans, and rice. This is the blandest Mexican food I have ever eaten.
Erin hilariously notes that the larb was too salty, and this was not salty enough, so now there's balance. Oh, Erin. I have such terrible food experiences with you. Great ones too! But also terrible.
She drops me off at the airport. We don't encounter the ridiculous traffic I was afraid of. We hug. Until next year, or sooner!
At the airport, it is easy to tell who is leaving from Comic-Con. We have geeky bags and geeky shirts and geeky purchases. And we are probably falling asleep on the plane because holy shit, are we tired.
And so ends another Comic-Con. It was not as epically epic overall as last year since last year was my first time doing everything, and I was meeting so many famous people and running into them randomly and stuff, and I spent a lot more time with my friends. But this year had its fair share of awesomeness (even though it was largely concentrated in Wednesday and Thursday).
I wonder what next year will bring.