I wasn’t able to do reports from the Con this year because my laptop wasn’t working right, so I put a lot of photos on Facebook with brief notes. I’ll be using many of those here with more words as I recap my time at the Con. I was up at 3:30 AM Thursday morning, and on the road to the Philadelphia airport by 4:30. I got to my gate in plenty of time to have an egg sandwich for breakfast. I was in the new Terminal B, which has very different waiting rooms for flights. In the center are high counters with stools, and each seat faces an iPad-like information and entertainment device. I didn’t try one.
It was a long non-stop flight, and eventually we were descending over San Diego’s downtown. The convention center can just be seen, the white sails in the back below the water.
In the airport I stopped briefly to admire an aircraft from another age, “The Spirit of St. Louis,” the plane in which Lindbergh made the first solo crossing of the Atlantic Ocean.
Outside, I got a cab. I had heard that Harbor Drive, the road in front of the Con Center, was closed for the event, so I just told him to drop me as close as he could. That was in front of the Marriott, just west of the Con Center. The sidewalk was packed solid and not moving as people waited to get inside, but I began using my knowledge to get where I needed to go. Pulling my roller bag and carrying my DC under-seat bag, I went around the crowd and down the parking ramp behind it, then up the stairs along the side of the Con Center to the lobby. Despite not having a badge, I got in by telling security I was heading for Pro Registration. I went up the escalator to the third level, where Registration is under the Sails. Then I found the Pro Registration Help Desk, where I soon got my badge (much quicker than last time). Walking through the upper level, not yet crowded, I went down the escalator at the other end of the Con Center, and from there, my hotel was only a short walk. I had landed at about 10:30 Pacific Time, and I was back in the con by noon.
The first familiar face I saw inside was special guest, writer Marv Wolfman. Marv had a fall not long ago, but is recovering well, “about 80%,” he told me. He and his wife, Noel said he’s doing okay, just being extra careful when getting around. Marv continues to be a busy writer for DC and elsewhere.
From there I went to the new combined DC/Warner Bros. booth in the corner behind Artists Alley. I found this disappointing. Unlike the previous DC booth in the center of the Exhibition Hall, this one is completely focused on TV and movies. Empty character costumes were on display, which don’t interest me, and promo films for the shows, likewise. There was a small TV studio where creators or actors were being made up for interviews. Todd McFarland, of all people, was doing a signing (he has a toy deal with WB). Other than him, there were no comics creators in evidence when I was there, and no sign of any DC employees that I knew. I never went back to the booth.
Further toward the center of the Exhibit Hall I found writer/artist Mark Wheatley and enjoyed talking to him. His previous project, “Doctor Cthulittle,” was there, and a new one, “Songs of Giants,” was selling very well, and Mark sold out of copies he brought to the show by Sunday. The latter is illustrated poems by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard and H.P. Lovecraft. He said the response has been surprisingly strong. Mark also said he probably won’t be at this show after this year, it’s getting too expensive, a theme I heard from others.
While I was talking to Mark, ace comics news reporter of The Beat, Heidi MacDonald stopped by in her whirlwind tour of the booths, collecting info. Mark noticed her lobster pants, and warned her to stay away from melted butter.
Richard Starkings was at his booth promoting new books he wrote for Comixology, including ASK FOR MERCY. Richard has moved from L.A. to Chattanooga, TN, and seems very happy there. Comicraft, the lettering studio he started with John Roshell, is still going well, as is his font-selling business. A little later I attended a panel Richard did about lettering, and enjoyed it and his insights. As I was leaving, I ran into artist/letterer Stan Sakai in the back of the room. “So, you want to learn how to letter,” he joked. “I’m always learning, ” I replied.
It was only late afternoon, but my extra-long day, due to the three-hour time change, had me exhausted, and I started heading back to my room. On the way, under the Sails, I saw this great costume of Beaker from The Muppets, the best one of the day.
I was too tired to go out for dinner or any partying, and got room service. As the sun set in San Diego, I turned in early, hoping for a fresh start on Friday.