I’m abloggin’ from sunny San Diego (actually, mooney SD, since it’s 10pm here, and 1am back in North Carolina, whose time zone I’m still on). After a remarkably uneventful flight on Monday, I spent Tuesday setting our booth up with the able assistance of Modern Masters editor Eric Nolen-Weathington. Yeah, Comicon doesn’t actually open until Wednesday night, but it’s gotten so huge that if you try to get everything moved in on Wednesday, you’ll never get through the lines of other exhibitors making use of the loading docks, elevators, parking decks, etc. So we end up having to travel on Monday, spend all day Tuesday setting up, and then kill time until the 5:30 pm opening on Wednesday (which we did nicely by taking our kids to the San Diego Zoo; special thanks to Scott Shaw! for the free zoo tickets he supplied us with, compliments of his late father who used to be head of security there).
Wednesday night is what Comicon calls “Preview Night”, which was originally meant to be a short, 3-hour chance for the press to show up and get their news stories in the pipeline early, to bring in the big crowds for the weekend. Since the con is already sold out of 4-day passes (which got you into the Preview Night as a bonus), they’re offering 3-day passes for the first time (which don’t include Saturday, but also get you into Preview Night). I guess all the people that are missing out on Saturday decided to make up for it, cause Preview Night was slammed to the walls with people, in the kind of crowd I’ve never seen that early in the week during my 14 years attending the con. It’s time for Comicon to just bite the bullet and go to a full 5-day show, IMHO. They hardly need “Preview Night” to get the big crowds coming in anymore.
Today (Thursday) was very, very busy, and filled with so many great moments that my head is still swimming trying to take it all in. After our poor 2-year old daughter was up all night barfing all over our hotel room, I headed over this AM after only a couple of hours of sleep, to get ready for the TwoMorrows Panel. It was moderately attended, but it was a lively crowd that genuinely seemed to enjoy our Powerpoint presentation of new and upcoming offerings, and business at our booth was steady, and at times ridiculously hectic. My buddy Kevin Shaw showed up with his usual batch of junk food sustenance for Eric, Tom “The Comics Savant” Stewart, and Rand Hoppe to keep our blood sugar at the requisite high levels. (I never have figured out why Kevin takes it upon himself to bring us stuff to eat, but I’m not knocking it; he knows my weakness for chocolate, and always drops off something that does the trick. Thanks, KS!) Somehow, a cooler full of ice and soft drinks also ended up under our table; we’ve got guardian angels looking out for us every year, it seems.
One of the best parts of Comicon for me is the level of Kirby Krackle that permeates that giant convention center. It all seems to gravitate toward our booth each year, and I finally think I figured out why. As I lay awake at 3:30 Tuesday AM (which is like 6:30 AM back home, so I was wide awake), I thought back to my one, brief meeting with Jack Kirby. In flashing back to 1991, I tried to remember just where, in relation to the snack bar, the booth was where I got to shake The King’s hand, and tell him how influential he’d been to me. I’ve got to dig out my program book from 1991 to make sure, but I’m 99% convinced that the booth we’re in now, is the same space Kirby was in that year! Just one in a long string of really weird coincidences that’ve taken place in my 13 years of editing the Jack Kirby Collector.
Anyway, we always find amazing Kirby art at Comicon, and no exceptions this year. We found the pencil drawing Jack did for Paul and Linda McCartney in the early 1970s, when they met at a “Wings” concert in Los Angeles (the art features Magneto levitating Paul and Linda and a couple of band members). It’s just an amazing piece of art, and Rand Hoppe brought his 11″ x 17″ format scanner, and got scans of that and several other rare and unseen Kirby pieces for the Jack Kirby Museum (www.kirbymuseum.org), thanks to the generosity of Mike Thibodeaux and a host of other art dealers. Can’t wait to see what makes its way to our booth over the next three days. (And a big thanks to David Schwartz for an extra special piece of art that came my way; you know what I’m talking about, David, and I can’t thank you enough.)
My strangest occurrence so far this year? Well, we had our printer ship boxes of our new releases to our hotel. When I picked them up upon our arrival, and got them to our booth and started opening them, the one that was supposed to contain some of our copies of BACK ISSUE #23, instead contained two bed comforters, and a note from the (as I found out today) head of housekeeping at our hotel, saying they’d been washed 120 times. The hotel confirmed that these were their comforters and they’d asked someone to ship them somewhere. What I (and the hotel manager) can’t seem to figure out is, why someone opened up one of our magazine boxes after they arrived, took our mags out, put two comforters in, sealed the box back up, and left it there for us to pick up when we arrived? And more importantly, where are my friggin’ magazines?!? (I suspect they were shipped off to whoever was supposed to get those comforters, but the hotel’s being kinda tight-lipped about it.) More as things develop, but we’re having (at the hotel’s expense) more copies of Back Issue #23 shipped here for Saturday delivery, and I think we’ve got enough copies here to last till the new ones arrive.
We had well-attended signings today at our booth with Michael Golden and Charles Vess, and Roy Thomas arrived late in the day, to get ready for his slate of panels and TwoMorrows signings over the next three days. So I’ll sign off now, and get some rest; looking forward to seeing George Khoury host the Image Founders Panel tomorrow; should be something the whole place’ll be buzzing about.