A bit deceiving that title, as I’m beginning with Saturday evening. After a good rest at my hotel I decided to get out and explore the other side of the train and trolley tracks. Here I’m waiting at the busy corner near my hotel to cross wide Harbor Drive.
There’s a walking path and a fairly narrow strip of park over there, and it’s lined with themed interactive exhibits, promoting various shows and movies. On this one you climb the tower and jump into a huge inflated bag. There were, of course, lines for the activities. There were also food and merchandise vendors, giving a street fair vibe, and restaurants with music blaring and path-side wine bars.
Looking back toward the convention center. I was getting hungry, and looked around for a place to eat, settling on the Japanese restaurant Nobu. I’d eaten there two years ago on DC’s tab for a company meal, and knew it was expensive, but I also knew all the cheaper places would be packed, and decided to splurge. The sushi was excellent, and as pricey as I expected. A glass of saké helped ease the pain.
After dinner I headed over the the Hyatt’s Ballroom D to see a documentary on the steampunk movement called “Vintage Tomorrows.” It had been recommended by Anina Bennett, she and Paul Guinan are in it, and were involved in the production. It’s an excellent documentary, which I enjoyed, and they also gave out copies of the book it’s based on, seen above, which I will read at some point. I’m not a fan of steampunk really, but I do like some of the themes and visuals of it, and this is a good exploration of the genre.
After that I headed back to my room for some photo editing and reading and called it a night. No partying this time.
As I left for the con Sunday morning, Shaun the Sheep was outside waiting for a ride. There are lots of cartoon characters I don’t know, but Ellen and I have been watching some of Shaun’s clay animation shorts recently, and enjoying them. Wearing costumes like this is a thankless task, hope this person was being paid well for it.
Over at the con I spent several hours exploring areas I hadn’t seen yet, or revisiting vendors for a second look. Here’s a gigantic painting with Star Wars elements in a Middle Eastern carpet style that was impressive, but I’m afraid I failed to get the name of the artist.
Want kimonos or other Asian costumes? Here they are.
How about weird contact lenses for your fantasy/horror film or to freak out your friends? This vendor has them.
I had passed the booth of legendary Filipino artist Alex Niño several times, and his head was always down over his work, so I couldn’t get a better picture, but he’s still a remarkable artist, and has been for decades.
The traditional overhead view of a small part of the con floor from the windows on the mezzanine level, looking toward the DC Comics booth at upper right.
This year the DC booth was always crowded and congested as people gathered around the many comics-related TV show costumes on display in the center of the space. I walked through a few times, and saw a few folks I know, but it wasn’t as easy as in past years to find anyone.
I did have a good chat with Mike Carlin, a long-time work associate and friend of this blog. Mike is now involved with the animated shows put out by Warner Bros based on DC characters, and loves his job. Great to see him doing well.
Here’s something from the Heritage Auction booth that I loved seeing, one of Murphy Anderson’s most popular STRANGE ADVENTURES covers featuring the Atomic Knights aboard their giant dalmations. I particularly enjoyed seeing Ira Schnapp’s original cover lettering pasted on it. And that reminds me to mention that I had a chat with Arlen Schumer on Sunday, and we agreed to put aside past disagreements and keep in touch, in the joint appreciation and promotion of the work of Ira Schnapp, which we both love.
I was getting hungry again, and decided to go outside for another ramble, this time on the harbor side of the convention center. I emerged from the end near Hall H, the largest room in the con center, and one I’ve never been inside. It’s where all the movie and TV studios put on their presentations and previews, with cast member appearances, and people line up for days to see them. Not the way I’d want to spend my con, but to each his own.
There’s a larger park at this end of the convention center, and behind it, where lots more promotional displays and activities can be found, each with a line, of course. I stopped first at the frozen yogurt place in the Bayside Hilton, then went on to explore.
In the harbor itself, just beyond the Hilton, a Dole ship from Equador was unloading containers of what I’d guess are pineapples and/or bananas, which is probably one reason why the fruit here is so fresh and good.
And an entire carnival full of games and rides promoting the Adult Swim TV cartoon shows.
I was still hungry, so I strolled along the harbor promenade back toward the rear of the con center, past more activities.
As I neared the con center I spotted what looked like two food trucks in a corner I’d never explored, and next to what looked like an elevator to the mezzanine level. This looked promising!
Sure enough, it was Mexican and American food truck food, with hardly any line. How could I never have known about this? The owner, taking orders, told someone this was his regular spot all year.
I got a fish burrito, then took the elevator and found a good spot in the shade outside to enjoy it. Delicious! And better than most of the food on offer inside. Not expensive, either, as you’d expect. Something to remember.
Back inside the con, I ran into Andrew Carl, and congratulated him on the two Eisner wins for LITTLE NEMO: DREAM ANOTHER DREAM. He seems to be in happy shock about it.
Speaking of the Eisners, I was happy to be able to congratulate Stan Sakai on his third Eisner for best lettering. It couldn’t go to a nicer man, and one whose work is stellar.
In Artist’s Alley I enjoyed talking to Zander Cannon, who wanted to point out his Lucky Cat, and the KAIJUMAX series he’s currently working on. I’m looking forward to reading them.
I said hello to Bob Layton, who I haven’t seen since the 1980s.
I enjoyed chatting with color artist supreme Laura Martin and her husband Randy. Laura and I keep up with each other on Facebook.
And I finally had a chance to talk to Len Wein after a brief hello on Wednesday night. Len is looking good and feeling about 90% recovered from his heart surgery a few months back, he told me, and he’s looking forward to writing two new books for DC: METAL MEN and SWAMP THING, the latter with artist Kelley Jones. Len and Kelley’s two Swamp Thing issues for the CONVERGENCE crossover event were a big hit with many fans, including me, and I’ll enjoy reading both books.
It was about 3:30 PM, and I decided I was Comic-Conned out. I left the convention center for the final time and headed back to my room to work on this last con report. This evening I’ll have dinner with friends again, and head home tomorrow morning. Hopefully the traveling will go smoother than when getting here, and I’ll be back to work on Tuesday, while trying to readjust to New Jersey time. I have SANDMAN OVERTURE pages waiting…