Tuesday, July 29, 2008

San Diego Comic Con Reflections, Part One

Hmmm, I want to put this all in a coherent narrative, but I'm still zonked from my trip.

OK, here goes. Friday at the Con.

I guess I would start by saying that I'm neurotic about flying on airplanes in a way that would make Tony Shalhoub's "Monk" look zen. I'm pretty good at hiding this, and I really don't discuss it with many people because it's kinda embarrassing. So when Marvel inquired if I was going to be going to San Diego, the first thing I did was try to figure out how to get there by train. Then I went and got the plane tickets. I'm looking forward to the day we can just shoot our atoms through tubes.

Riding in a JetBlue plane is like riding inside a Macbook. Everything is white and curved and efficient, with a faint whiff of "green" enviro-friendly ethic thrown in. So if you're as neurotic as me about flying, JetBlue is a pretty good call. Just strap on your seatbelt, buy a little bottle of Kingfish merlot, and watch basic cable programming for six hours. Of course, the day I traveled the story about the explosion on that Qantas plane was all over the news, complete with amateur footage of the people within the craft going apeshit and the oxygen masks dropping down. More Kingfish, please.

By one of those twists of fate I ran into inker Michael Bair on the plane. I worked with Bair on Identity Crisis and Hawkman. He is, in my opinion, one of the great inkers, and an excellent artist overall. We chatted and he gave me some advice on freelancing: "save your money." He said it was really important to save your money and have a cushion. Since I'm about to go back to freelance internet marketing & promotions -- as well as freelance comic book writing -- I took the advice to heart.

But also, I was looking for some sign that the flight was going to be okay and I had nothing to worry about. It reminds me of this scene at the end of the Spalding Gray movie "Gray's Anatomy" where he sees Richard Nixon at the eye doctor. He spends the entire movie talking about how stressed out and worried he was about his upcoming eye surgery, to the point where he was attending sweat lodges and consulting faith healers who pull sausages out of people's abdomens. But when he finally sees Richard Nixon in the waiting room before his surgery, he interprets it like a sign from God that everything was going to be okay. What I'm trying to say is, Michael Bair was like my Richard Nixon.

I met up with my friend Tiffany at the airport and we headed to the Gaslamp district, where we were staying at the Grand Horton Hotel. The Grand Horton is awesome. I hate those hotels that are full of ugly abstract paintings and pastels, like something out of a Florida retirement home. The Grand Horton looked nothing like that. It was all Victorian with plaster cherubs and lace. Yes, it had a little bit of the look of a turn-of-the-century brothel. I peeked into one room, there was this guy in a bear suit kneeling in front of this other dude, I didn't know what was going on. In another room, I accidentally got locked in and it started snowing. But I don't think any of that really happened. I think it was the Kingfish.

Actually, the rumor was that the Grand Horton might have been actually haunted. One woman who was staying on our floor said that she heard strange murmurings at night. I was disappointed. If I was going to stay in an allegedly haunted hotel, I thought for sure I'd see some ghost action. Closest I came to action was bumping my head on the fold-out mirror doors in front of the TV set. And my BF was staying in a separate room with his buds. Boys room, girls room. Just like camp.

Which was fine, because both me and the BF were incredibly busy -- he had already been there for two days, and I had to get through everything I needed to within two-and-a-half days total. By Sunday, me and Sweetie were utterly exhausted. His pupils looked like two specks in a sea of tiredness. I was so drained and cranky that if I saw one more dude trying to be Heath Ledger I was going to start bawling. I was seriously going to cry my fucking eyes out. Not because I didn't have a fabulous time at the Con. Not because I didn't feel dazzling and wonderful after my book announcement. But because the San Diego Comic Con is a massive, biblically-sized human carwash.

SDCC was the church of pop-culture -- and being in the middle of it, especially with the added layer of being so involved in the industry itself, was like participating in some huge religious experience. Dude, it was intense.

Somewhere in the middle of it all, I bought a Tribble. It uncannily resembled the cute and cuddly creatures from the classic Star Trek episode. It had a electronic device in the middle of it that allowed it to shiver and chirp in reaction to movement. I wondered what the airport screeners would think of my Tribble. I wondered what my cat would think. Okay, actually I just bought it so I could videotape my cat walking up to it and jumping on the ceiling after accidentally activating it.

The Tribble had the same color fur as my dearly departed cat Buffy. Looked just like her, too, except for not having limbs, a tail, or a head. Purred like her too. Shed like her too.

I don't remember much of Friday night except for going to Dr. Sketchy's and ordering an Original Sin ale. Tiffany was drawing away at the combination burlesque show/life-drawing class. Then somehow we ended up at the Hyatt's restaurant bar. This is a common occurrence at San Diego Comic Con. Drinks were bought, deals were made. The future of the comic book industry was set.

Onto Saturday.


  1. Anonymous1:49 PM

    Running into the guy in the bear suit isn't so bad. It could have been the elevator full of blood.

  2. I think getting plastered at the Hyatt is officially my favorite part of Comic-con. And they are gods, GODS, for serving coffee