As the sun comes up over Charlotte I’m left wondering how I could have better spent my time at Comic Con and why I didn’t try to get a flight that didn’t have a four hour layover in Charlotte. My trip to San Diego, which was a whirlwind 36 hours of the world’s biggest annual comic book/movie/video game crossover come to life, was over before it even started. Upon setting foot in the convention center I was instantly in Oz territory. The stuff of fantasy was literally just walking around, posing for photos and pushing it’s latest product, and all I could do was stare, jaw slung slack like the first-comer rube I was. It was too much to take in. It was the greatest two days of aimless meandering I’ve ever had.
Though I have more than a few regrets about how poorly I budgeted my time, I couldn’t dream of calling the trip a let down. After all, I wasn’t just there to take in all the pulpy goodness. I was there to work. And work I did. While I shuffled like the brainless horde from AMC’s upcoming The Walking Dead (which believe me, had an awesome booth I’m now realizing I didn’t get a picture of!) I handed out some early copies of My Best Friend is a Wookiee. Convention goers, I found, seemed a bit hesitant about receiving freebies when you aren’t standing behind a table. On the other hand they were all super nice and seemed really excited about the book when I was signing copies on Saturday morning. All but a handful of the books we had went in about a half hour. As I signed books I flip flopped between personalizing the book lamely “Joe, Enjoy the book!” or just signing it. In some cases I would have fun with it, like when a woman asked me to sign one for her nine year old daughter: “Maddie, don’t read after page 71!” Also I’d confess to being lame at signing books which would get a sympathy chuckle. Later on that afternoon I had my copy of Kraken signed by China Mieville* who personalized it with some reference to something in the book. Why didn’t I think of that? Why didn’t I write “Hey Maddie, don’t tell the class when you pee your pants!” or “Hey Steve, never tell the girl you’re about to have sex with that you’re a virgin, she knows!” All that said, my first ever book signing was at Comic Con. That shit’s going on my tombstone.
I also managed to pass the book rather easily into some unsuspecting celebrity hands in the hopes that maybe they’ll actually read it and do something glamorous like talk about it on twitter. The most immediate results, however, came when I gave one to Morgan Spurlock. Morgan was filming a documentary about Comic Con. I wrote a book about loving Star Wars. Right place + right time = I got interviewed the next day for the film. I don’t know when it comes out, but I’ll sure as shit keep you posted.
The famous folks seemed, for the most part, nice enough about me forcing my work on them. Brian Posehn chuckled when, no joke, I pretty much shoved the book into his hands via reach around because I panicked and didn’t stop to offer it to him like a not-crazy person. Kevin Rubio, who directed the fan film TROOPS and wrote a really awesome endorsement for the book, showed me around the con a bit and introduced me to a couple of the writers for The Clone Wars. One of them asked me if I had a copy of the book, which I gave him and as I signed it I embarrassingly admitted to my Clone Wars bashing in the first few pages, but confessed that I fell in love with the show pretty quick. He didn’t punch me in the face, so that was awesome. He was actually pretty nice about it.
So aside from book stuff, which ended up consuming much more of my time than I had originally expected, I did get out to see a few things. Like The Venture Bros. panel, which outside of the teaser clip shed little light on the next half of season 4. It was however awesome to watch its creators and principle voice cast riff off one another. Jackson Publick aside, they all sounded like their characters and holy shit, Patrick Warburton actually drives a ’69 Charger. To be honest, this panel was the only thing I would have been heartbroken about missing. Green Lantern and Scott Pilgrim stuff would have been cool, but I wasn’t even in town for any of it (though I heard that some people got to see a screening for Scott Pilgrim? Lucky bastards).There was also a sweet arcade done up to look like Flynn’s from Tron–complete with a secret backroom a la the trailer for Tron Legacy that was made up to look like some swanky, digital world bar. I also attended the Eisner Awards. Had my mother known I was attending the Oscars of the comic book world in cut-offs she probably would have had a stroke. Oh well. I made up for it by being filmed for a documentary in the same dirty cut-offs.
So was the Con everything I wanted? Yes, and much more, I just didn’t get to see all of what I would have liked. I would have liked to wait in line for 40 minutes to have my picture taken next to a dummy who had blown is brains out with a 12 gauge in the Walking Dead booth, or been locked up in a Wyland-Yutani cryosleep chamber and watched clips from the upcoming Blu-Ray edition of Alien, but considering how short my visit and my purpose was, I’d say it was all a big hit. Maybe next year I’ll try t get out there for the whole thing. In the meantime, I still have Star Wars Celebration in August and Wizard World New England in October to look forward to!
*China Mieville totally remembers when I bumped into him at Nick’s on Broadway in Providence a few months ago! OMG!