2019 San Diego Con: SUNDAY

As usual, my Sunday report will be shorter than the others. The day began when I looked out my hotel room window and saw that the Dole pineapple boat had arrived overnight, and was busy unloading many trailer-loads of pineapples, and probably some bananas. Their dock is just beyond the hotel.

I hadn’t done much signing at the Con this year because I didn’t have a table or home base where people could find me, but a few folks contacted me before the Con and asked if we could meet somewhere. I combined two of those Sunday morning in my hotel lobby, and was happy to sign a copy of SANDMAN #1 and a page of original art from SANDMAN #8.

There I was also happy to meet artist Rafael Albuquerque. We had recently worked together on a Neil Gaiman project for Dark Horse, an adaptation of Neil’s story A STUDY IN EMERALD. Rafael’s art was a delight to work on.

Inside the Con, I attended a panel celebrating the life of writer/artist Batton Lash, who passed in January. I didn’t know Batton well, but I enjoyed talking to him when we met at these cons. The stories told by his wife Jackie Estrada and friends were a nice mix of funny, heartwarming and enlightening about the man and his work.

Back in Artists Alley, I talked to Peter Kuper, who encourages us to stay MAD. Peter is the current artist of the feature “Spy Vs. Spy,” and he told me he is not convinced the magazine is dead. I hope he’s right.

Next I attended a panel about the Con’s recent past and probable future with panelists Kurt Busiek, Gene Ha, Eddie Campbell, Kevin Smith and others. Everyone had a few good Con stories, but I think Kevin’s was the best, about the time his Hall H panel was right after a Star Wars panel where the audience was invited to leave the room and walk to the bandstand in the park behind the Con Center for a live concert of Star Wars music. This left Kevin facing a nearly empty room.

Though my focus at this show is usually on comics and comics creators, I also love science fiction, and I enjoyed this panel about time travel with SF authors Larry Niven, Greg Bear and David Brin, all of whom were entertaining, even if they didn’t provide us with personal time machines. But, as David pointed out, we’re all time travelers. We do it one moment at a time all our lives.

My favorite costume on Sunday was this one. Even though it’s made of light-weight materials, there’s so much of it I’m sure it was a heavy load to carry, but quite impressive.

Here’s an interesting marketing gimmick: mystery boxes selling for $30, guaranteed to hold merchandise worth at least $50. People were buying them.

There are many finely-crafted and very expensive statues on display at the Con. I’m not a big fan of statues, but I do like the “Lord of the Rings” ones by Weta Workshop like this one of Frodo and Gandalf…

…and this one of Galadriel. They are something I wouldn’t have room for even if I could afford them, but I do like to see them.

Abrams editor Charles Kochman is always fun to talk to. This year he was a Con guest and presented with an Inkpot Award, something he was very surprised and pleased about. Welcome to the club, Charlie!

Somehow I missed seeing my friend Gary Gianni until Sunday afternoon. He was admittedly a little burned out and manic, but happily selling his books, including a new deluxe hardcover from Flesk, the “Art of Gary Gianni for George R.R. Martin’s Seven Kingdoms.” I can’t think of a better artist for the world of Game of Thrones.

I talked to my old workmate Anthony Tollin, seen here with color guides he did for DC back in the day, and behind him are some of the many pulp novels in book form he’s published. Tony recently completed publication of all the novels featuring “The Shadow,” his favorite character, over 300 of them.

After packing up my things as much as I could, I headed across the pedestrian bridge over Harbor Drive and the rail lines into the Gaslamp District for my last event of the show, a traditional dinner with friends that’s been going on since the 1990s.

Here’s a photo from after that dinner organized by Anina Bennett and Heidi MacDonald. It was a fun and relaxing way to wind down from the show, as always.

Hope you’ve enjoyed these reports, even though they’re a little late. I’m back home now catching up with things and adjusting to jet lag. I’ll be resuming the usual blog reviews and such soon.

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