Up early for my travel day to San Diego. My flight left on time from Philadelphia with me on it, only two snafus along the way. The airport had closed the regular entrance to their Long Term Parking lot for repaving, so I had to wend my way back around through the airport, following poorly placed signs, to enter from the other side, where I usually exit. Glad I left extra time. Then, in security, I realized I’d forgotten to put my toiletry liquids in the required clear plastic bag (it’s sitting at home), so had to pull out and leave behind my mouthwash and shampoo. Annoying, but I’ll buy more in SD. The flight had a sobering feature: our plane was carrying (in cargo) the remains of a fallen soldier from the Iraq war (I think), and an impressively-uniformed honor guard was present to put him on the plane. They rode with us, and in Dallas we waited while they removed him to a special armed services carrier. No one seemed to mind the slight delay.
After waiting for my connection I flew on to SD and touched down at quarter to three, having gained three hours of time change. At my hotel, in the Gaslamp district, my room wasn’t ready yet (no surprise), so I checked my bags and headed down to the show with my camera. I got my badge with no wait (one advantage of coming late), and spent an hour and a half walking around inside.
One of the first things that struck me was that Bud Plant, a favorite shopping spot, had cut his booth size in half. Proof positive that the recession is affecting the comics and art book world! Hard to tell from this pic, but the two entrance banners are usually twice as far apart as here. I picked up a copy of the new graphic novel ASTERIOS POLYP by David Mazzucchelli, which I’d been hearing a lot of good things about, and will eventually review here, also the new hardcover edition of Neil Gaiman’s recent two-issue Batman story, which I might get from DC at some point, but I wanted to read it here. Somehow they missed sending me the first issue with my DC comps, so I haven’t read any of it yet.
At the DC booth I took this not-great picture of Amy Reeder Hadley, artist for MADAME XANADU, doing a sketch for someone, and said hello to a few DC friends before wandering on.
At his booth, artist Sergio Aragonés was already busy doing a Groo sketch for a fan. And those are my best photos from this brief walk-around, I should have lots more over the next three days.
I headed back to my hotel, after stopping at Ralph’s supermarket to replace my missing toiletries and was finally able to check in and get cleaned up before dinner.
This evening that dinner was sponsored by the DC Marketing Department, and held in a private room at Lou & Mickey’s restaurant, across from the con center. Attending were a number of the creative staff from the FABLES books (why I was there) and about 20 of DC’s best bookstore buyers, from big places like Borders to smaller ones like Book Soup, as well as a few book publisher reps. The idea was to push the FABLES trade paperbacks, and especially the new Fables novel, PETER & MAX. Above, some of the marketing staff talk to buyers, with Bob Wayne at far right, the only one whose name I’m sure of.
At right, editor Shelly Bond talks to sellers. Paul Levitz was also there, made a short speech, and spent time talking to everyone. The dinner was excellent, by the way, and the room impressive. The tables were set up in a square with a space in the middle, so Bill Willingham and I decided it was a scene from The Knights of the Square Table.
Afterwards we signed books for everyone. Shelly took this nice picture of the FABLES gang present: Matthew Sturges, Bill Willingham, Steve Leialoha, Mark Buckingham and me. You’ll probably be seeing a lot more of them on this blog, as I have more events to attend with them.
The dinner ended around 9 PM. I had been invited to another event at the Hyatt, and started heading that way, when a wave of tired overcame me. Including the time change, and except for two brief naps on the plane, I’d been up for 20 hours straight, and I decided to call it a night and head back to my hotel and bed.