The San Diego File: Wednesday and Thursday

Saddle up, Bucks and Broncos! It’s time to hear about my trip to the lovely city of San Diego!

A quick disclaimer: A lot of the weekend is fuzzy just because so much happened. I’ll try to include it all, though.

WEDNESDAY (aka Marry Me!)

I had to finish up packing Wednesday morning. I couldn’t help but notice that Greta, Shawna’s German Shepard, doesn’t freak out when I’m packing like she does when Shawna’s packing. I plan to remedy this before Chicago. Oh, you will mourn me, Greta. Oh yes, you will.

Danny picks me up and drives me to the airport. On the way, he tells me to feel free to charge a few meals to the Frequency Press account. This will end up being my saving grace come Friday night.

The Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is the world’s greatest airport. Why? Because of the food selection. Instead of McDonald’s and Pizza Hut, we have The Salt Lick (barbecue), Matt’s Famous El Rancho (tex-mex), and Schlotski’s (a local deli that went big). Kudos to Austin for giving the local places preferential treatment. I grabbed a turkey and bacon club from Schlotski’s and wolfed it down, then went to wait for my flight. A few minutes later, Randy Lander and Tess Bodley, my good friends and roomies for the weekend, arrive. We bullshit a bit, and I take pictures to help document our journey.

Tess doesn’t like having her picture taken…

…but Randy does!

Anyhoo, we board the plain and spend our next two flights (and the layover), quoting our favorite movies and TV shows in true geek fashion. “Marry Me” from Arrested Developement becomes a weekend staple.

A quick note: Randy told a very interesting story about Shirley Manson from Garbage. Apparently, she’s a big fan of golden showers. Makes you wonder what “I’m Only Happy When it Rains” is about, huh?

We arrive in San Diego and shag ass to our hotel. We’re staying at the Holiday Inn on the Bay, which is notable, if for nothing else, for being across the street from Anthony’s Fish Grotto. Randy and I will eat at two meals at Anthony’s by the time we’re done with our weekend, and each will kick sehr ass.

Next up is heading to the convention center to pick up our pro badges. Now, I had been very excited about being considered a “pro” this year, but I’m seriously thinking about just registering as an attendee next year. Why? Because it took Randy and I almost three hours to get our badges! And the line wasn’t really that long, maybe two hundred people. The problem is that they were printing badges and putting together guest packets as you got to the registration desk. Talk about bad planning!

Yay! We have our badges! Now, what are we gonna do? You guessed it, bitches! We’re heading to Anthony’s! I had a lovely dinner of blackened catfish, while Randy wolfed down some shellfish. I don’t know why Randy fears real fish. He just does.

Anyway, back to the convention center and the wonderful joy that is Preview Night. Randy, Tess, and I hit the center full throttle (Randy, being the industry’s foremost reviewer, had agreed to introduce me to everybody. He’s a good guy to know). It took us a long while to get our shit together on the floor. It’s just fuggin huge! We eventually made our way past the Star Wars booth (which featured a life-sized Lego Chewbacca and a smaller Lego space battle), and hit the comics section of the floor.

Randy and I headed over to the Oni Press booth, where Randy introduced me to editor James Lucas Jones. James accepted a To the Last Man pitch with much graciousness. Randy also introduced me to Ross Ritchie, publisher of Boom! Studios, and we agreed to meet on Thursday to discuss To the Last Man. Other stops that night included the Adhouse Books booth and It’s a Chick Thing Productions, where we found out about a burlesque show at The Honeybee Hive on Thursday night. I also made a swing by the Gettosake booth, hoping to hand off a Cold packet to Jeremy Love (he wasn’t there, and I never did get a packet to him), and the AiT/PlanetLar booth, where I asked Larry when I could pitch to him the next morning.

My last notable stop on Preview Night was Tony Moore’s booth in the Image pavilion. I pseudo-know Tony, mostly because he’s dating Kara Fairfield, who I briefly hung out with nine years ago. Anyway, Tony has since helped me out with a few pep talks and some assorted advice. He’s also my favorite artist at the moment, barely edging out Rob G and Frank Quitely. Well, I hung out and talked to Kara and Tony for a bit. Kara threw some assorted schwag my way (most of it was paid for), and I bought a sketch off of Tony. When he asked me what I wanted, my mind blanked, and I threw out the first two words that popped into my cranium.

Redneck Zombie.

Hey there, delicious. You from ’round here?

We ended up staying until the hall closed, then we went home and crashed. Tess was feeling ill, so we didn’t go with our original plan of finding a bar to hit.

THURSDAY (aka. Shake ’em, Leia!)

We hit the convention hall at opening on Thursday. Little did we know that that meant we got to wait in a long-ass line to be let in. We’re pro’s, bitch! Let us through already!

Thursday is when things start to blur for me. I met up with Ben Dale, the artist on To the Last Man, and we hit a few pitches together. Larry Young treated us well, and Ross Ritchie ended up pitching the book to Adam Fortier at Speakeasy Comics for us!

A fun aside: As I was waiting to talk to Larry, there was an artist showing him his portfolio. It was mostly book covers.

“This all you do?” Larry asks.

“Mostly,” the guy says.

“Well, we already have somebody for that.”

This wouldn’t have been funny had I not pictured Larry lunging across the table, grabbing the guy by the neck and yelling “It’s Brian-fucking-Wood! Don’t you know who Brian-fucking-Wood is?”

Ah, you guys don’t know either.

Most of the rest of the day was spent wandering the floor, shopping and taking pictures. Pictures of what? Well, how about the booth for the upcoming, live-action Transformers movie?

And people wondering around in costume.

Some of the best picture taking was to be had at the Diamond Direct booth. There they had a ton of Buffy and Angel exclusives, such as the Angel puppet from the Smile Time episode.

And on the other side I found none other than Glory herself, Clare Kramer signing autographs.

Now, despite the facial expression above, ya gotta believe me when I tell you Clare was looking pretty damn good. Maybe you’d have to see how tight her pants were. I would have gotten a closer photo taken with her, but it would have cost me ten bucks. Then again, she would have also signed this picture for me.

Now, there is a tragedy to this, which is that Mercedes McNab was going to be signing on Sunday. I have a huge, strange crush on Mercedes. She’s number three on my “celebrities I can cheat on Shawna with” list. I wasn’t gonna be in town on Sunday, so I really missed my chance there. Oh, well. Life goes on.

Sorry, Mercedes. We’ll always have DVD.

The only panel I attended on Thursday was the Veronica Mars panel. Now, I’ve never watched Veronica Mars, but Randy and Tess are big fans, and I really wanted to get off my feet. They opened the panel with a clip show that really made me want to check this series out. Another surprise occurred when they brought out new series regular Charisma Carpenter. I took some pics of Charisma (Cordelia from Buffy), but they came out very poorly, so here’s one I lifted off the net.

I’m supposed to be sexy, so why the fuck am I wearing this hat?

The panel was fun as hell, and after the show, we walked to the Rock Bottom Brewery (after Randy got us lost). We were met by Raphael Navarro and Kevin (or was that Jeff) Altieri, and good time were had by all. I even snatched a pic of Tess!

Raphael, Tess, and Kevin/Jeff’s hands.

The night ended with the Burlesque show, which had a mildly geek theme to it. The first girl out was dressed as Princess Leia, and she was pretty good. Too bad the rest of the dancers were pretty subpar. Highlight of the evening was comedian Doug Benson, who skewered George Lucas in hilarious fashion. Spotted Planetary and Astonishing X-Men artist John Cassaday in the audience, but that’s about it. Met up with Randy’s friend Joe, who used to make his living working on porn movies, and spent a long time listening to funny porn stories.

Returned to hotel and crashed.

That’s it for Wednesday and Thursday. Be back tomorrow!