The San Diego Comic-Con was pretty amazing. My first year going as the guy behind the table—which really changes your view of it, I learned. I crashed with friends in San Diego for a few days, and then Crown put me up in a hotel by the con for part of it.
So here are a few of the random high points, as I remember them. And a couple pictures of random folks/things, too, just so you’ll keep scrolling down.
Wednesday – I came down a day early so there’d be no stress, so I woke up in San Diego. My friends and I headed over to the convention hall around four to pick up our badges. Then we killed time at the Spaghetti Factory bar until the doors opened. I make my first attempt at a Webarella doll for my niece, but on preview night it turns out they’re only selling to people with regular badges—no pros or vendors. Curse my professional status! I drown my sorrows in model robots. Check out Robot4Less—they’re cool.
Stopped by the Random House aisle and the Crown Publishing booth, where I finally met my editor and publicists face to face. Chatted a bit. Pre-signed a few books. Then went back home with my friends to watch Sharknado.
Thursday—The first full day of Comic-Con, and I had free reign for most of it. I wandered a lot. Made another run for Webarella, but they’d sold out of their day’s allotment in under an hour. Doubly frustrating when you saw all the folks walking around with shopping bags full of the dolls.
Checked out lots of booths. Had lunch with Rick Marson, creator of ZOMS and Katie Cord of Evil Girlfriend Media. Later in the day I met Bill Barnes who draws the Unshelved comic strip (they did a fun Ex-Heroesreview in comic-strip form a few months back).
That night was the Random House party. There’s an embarassing story about me changing for the party in my friends’ car, but it won’t be told here. Met Peter David, George R.R. Martin, and also fellow Crown authors Scott Sigler (Pandemic) and Peter Stenson (Fiend). I also got free drinks served to me by a woman dressed as Daenerys Targaryen (the bar was doing a Game of Thrones theme for Comic Con) while pictures of my book covers (and several other people’s) flashed up on screens around the bar.
Friday – I got to check into my room at the Hyatt. There are definite perks to being a big press author. It was also nice to have a place to dump things. And then I got to go find that Webarella had sold out again. Saw a jackass offering to sell them at 400% markup right there at the con.
I did a panel with a few other authors, then a signing where I met a few folks. Talked briefly with Max Brooks (World War Z) at the Crown booth. Then I moderated a panel with several costume illustrators (who worked on some amazing stuff). After I dropped off some stuff in my room, it was up to the Top of the Hyatt for drinks with friends while we watched the sunset. And then down to Seaport Village for dinner with all the Crown folks, including Scott and Peter. Much smaller than the previous night’s party, and we end up talking about books, publishing, and similar things. Which led us back to the Top of the Hyatt for more drinks (drinking, you may notice, was a recurring theme). One of the publicists came up with the idea of trading badges so I could get into the hall before it opens and finally get the Webarella doll.
It was very nice to just take an elevator back to the room after all that, kick off my shoes, and scribble a few story notes on my legal pad.
Saturday – My last attempt to get Webarella met in failure. Con security finally decided to stop other vendors from lining up before the doors open , but they only did a half assed job at it so vendors just lurked in the area. And then doors opened and Mattel announced they’d changed their criteria, too—no selling to vendors (so my badge is now preventing me from getting the doll). I slink back to the Crown booth, broken and defeated.
After meeting a few more folks and signing a few more books, I head over to Nerd HQ for lunch and to hang out “off campus” for a while. Met up with a few folks, had a great turkey sandwich ( I was ready to gripe about the price, but this thing was huge), and missed one die-hard fan (you know who you are) by about ten feet. Then it was a race back to the Crown booth for my first official signing there. Met lots of people. Signed lots of Ex books (I think close to sixty or seventy in a two-hour period) and even a few copies of 14.
Finished up the day having drinks with my agent and editor, talking about future projects. Then ended up having more drinks at the Top of the Hyatt until… way too late. Again, thank God the hotel room was right there.
Sunday—One last visit to the Robot4Less booth and then I was back to Crown. After listening to me grumble every time we ran into each other, Katie from Evil Girlfriend came through with some extra Monster High swag for my niece. I met a bunch of folks, signed another few dozen books, and the con closed. Final estimates said over 200 books signed, and both Crown and the nearby Mysterious Galaxy booth both pretty much sold out. I helped pack up a bit, said my goodbyes to everyone, and then wandered to an undisclosed location downtown, where I was picked up by a man in a dark car…
I was so exhausted that when I got back to my friend’s house I collapsed almost immediately on the couch. A few of us tried to hang out for a bit, but four days of very little sleep and too much going on finally caught up with me.
Monday –I watched a few countdowns on the Chiller channel with my friend Marc while we talked about geeky stuff, ate lunch, and then I drove home to Los Angeles. There was, thankfully, much less traffic than there was heading down
And now I can’t wait until next year…