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Comic Con 2008: Making Friends

Wow.

Where to start in bringing you a con report for Comic Con International? I can't break it down chronologically because there's just too much, and my memory is already merging the events into one. So, I decided to break it down among themes. Today: People I Met.

For me, one of the highlights of Comic Con 2008 was the chance to meet Ed Ryzowski. That's him to the right. You guys know Ed as the guy who does the coloring of this strip (as well as his own strip, Geek Tragedy). It was a tremendous moment for me, meeting Ed. I got a chance to look him in the eye and tell him what I've been sending in e-mail form for months. He has brought a wonderful depth to Evil Inc since he started doing colors, and I can't thank him enough for the effort he puts into his work.

We at the Halfpixel booth also got a chance to meet Kris Straub's intern, Magnolia Porter, who is also a talented cartoonist in her own right. Besides being an absolutely charming presence at our table, Magnolia also pitched in and handled practical matters when we were otherwise detained -- like during our two panels. Magnolia's good people, and Halfpixel was very lucky indeed to have her there.

Although he's not an intern, Scott Kurtz has a friend in the San Diego area named Mike who helps the Kurtzes with their booth there. Mike's retired from the Air Force, and we had a chance to talk to him while we were having a fabulous dinner at Molly's at the Marriot. Mike had great stories and is a genuinely nice guy. It was cool to meet him. I think we may have made him a convert to Evil Inc.

I also met Randall Munroe, the creator of xkcd. If you listen to the Webcomics Weekly podcast, you know that we've gotten quite a few laughs out of the fact that my wife doesn't read my comic, but she reads xkcd. I shared this with Randall, and he got a pretty good laugh out of it, too. I felt a little awkward, meeting him. I don't personally follow his stuff, and you're never supposed to admit that in webcomics circles. I shouldn't even type it here -- except for the fact that now that I met him, I've started checking in on his site regularly. But I did admit it (he doesn't read Evil Inc, either, so we're even). And once we got that out of the way, I had one of the most friendliest chats of the week. The guy's an articulate, quick-witted, friendly person. I'm so glad I got the chance to get to know him.

At the same time, I was also talking to Jeph Jacques, creator of Questionable Content, and his girlfriend. She told us Jeph actually decorates his tattoos for Christmas -- which, I think, is pretty darned dedicated. Next year, I wanna see blinking lights, though.

And the reason we were down there meeting Jeph and Randall, was this guy: David Malki. Malki sat out the first half of the conversation, completing and uploading the next day's comic. Dedication, hombres. He showed me his latest book on Sunday. The guy went all out. Sharp color printing... glossy pages... it's truly a keeper.

You want a Malki story? Try this one. So it's Friday evening and we've done our second Webcomics panel. (More on that later.) We were having a great time and went over. By forty-five minutes. We were supposed to end at 7 p.m. ... when the exhibition hall closes. So, by the time we run down to the main floor, the security guards have everything locked down tight as a drum. All of our originals had been sitting out -- our money... our laptops...

Now, Magnolia was watching the table, but this was her very first comic convention ... and it's a little overwhelming. She was doing an admirable job of figuring out how to close a booth for the night. And then along comes Malki. He sees what's going on and he jumps in and helps Magnolia close down the booth. The two of them take our valuables safely out, and wait for us to return. Magnolia was hanging with us all week, but Malki has other things going on. He had palms to press and colleagues to impress. But he stayed there with Magnolia until we came running down. Thank goodness for Magnolia and Malki!

(See, Dave, it's not so hard to get me to use that exclamation point behind your surname. Just do us a solid favor. And come at the end of a sentence.)

I was very lucky to be in attendance on The Night. (More on that later.) If you've been reading Comic Con reports, you know exactly what I mean. If not, stay tuned. There was an obvious highlight to The Night, but, for me, there was another: getting to meet Chris Hastings. You guys know Chris from his tremendous comic, Dr. McNinja. I've crossed paths with Chris at previous conventions, but never had a chance to talk much. Well, in the afterglow of The Night, there was Dave Kellett, myself and Hastings, sitting on a leather couch, enjoying the remaining moments of the evening. Chris is a fantastic guy. We laughed into the night. Sorry. We laughed into The Night.

But best of all, I got to meet so many readers! You guys are so awesome! So many people came up to share positive thoughts about both my comics and the How To Make Webcomics book. A lot of people were asking about the Memo storyline. And a tremendous number of people simply thanked me and the other authors for writing HTMW. It sounds flakey, but your kind words and smiles will carry me through hours of work, alone in my studio. To everyone who came out to say hi... to everyone who bought Evil Inc merchandise... to everyone who followed it at home via Twitter... to everyone who send encouraging e-mails...

You guys ROCK!