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COMICON 2008 ... in which I was there and saw things and it was awesome

Here we go, the Comicon Report. Lets see if I can wrap this up in under three million words.

(Me at the SLG booth, beside me is Karl Krumpholtz, who does the SLG book Byron. Picture taken by my roommate [info]crzydemona.)

So from the start, I turned out to be obnoxiously lucky with transportation. The shuttle to the airport for my flight out was fifteen minutes early, and luckily so was I, so I didn't miss it (thank God. Otherwise I would've missed my flight). I was making two connections, one in Montreal and one in Chicago before skipping on to San Diego, and before loading for the Chicago to San Diego flight, scoured the passengers for nerd-looking ones possibly on their way to the con. My seatmate, oh fortune of fortunes, turned out to be this guy, a producer from Ottawa (heeyy, Canadian bingo!) who was going to the very same hotel I was. He was at the convention for his movie Jack Brooks, Monster Slayer, which had a booth and everything. I offered to split the cab with him, but he waved me off and paid for the whole thing! People with expense accounts are marvellous... anyway, I comped him a copy of my book, so hopefully he'll enjoy it. What good luck, though. Of all the people to sit next too ... I was planning to take the bus to the hotel, and was really damn happy I didn't have to deal with that.

Anyway, the night was various meetings and catching ups with my roommates ([info]karine, [info]crzydemona, [info]kythera and [info]cinsangel and gawking at our weird-ass bathroom door (frosted glass? I can see through that!), and then we all tried to sleep. The jetlag ... okay, I didn't think it would affect me as much as it did, but I was wide awake at five AM San Diego time (nine AM Halifax time) and couldn't go back to sleep, so got in line for my professional badge at something like 7 in the morning. I think I was the fourth person in line.

Badge getting was smooth, but things started to go a bit pear-shaped once I got into the convention building. I'd never been there before, and security people kept directing me places where I didn't want to go ... I asked five different red-shirts (security guys) "Where are the comic book publishers?" and nobody knew! By the time I actually got on the exhibitor floor I was feeling a little sniffly. I hate being lost. Fortunately I found the SLG booth easily once in the exhibitor hall and started meeting the SLG folk. It's always fun meeting people you only know through email in person (well, okay, most of the time it's fun, sometimes it's HORRIBLY AWKWARD), and I really enjoyed meeting Dan and Jennifer for the first time, as well as various other employees whose names I horribly mixed up throughout the four days. Jennifer is tiny and gorgeous and Dan is much less grumpy than I thought he would be. I had a great time talking to both of them.

The day passed in a bit of a blur. The signings I had went well. I had the occasional lull, but it felt like they were well attended, and I think SLG sold a lot of books. I met a few online readers, and quite a few people requested sketches of my online comic characters.

In the afternoon I went to the Steve Purcell panel, which was awesome and hilarious. He's so funny and great, and I sat in the second row with a big stupid smile on my face. I grew up watching the Sam and Max cartoon, playing the original Lucasarts game and reading the comic strips printed in the Lucasarts magazine, so it was a total 'meeting of your heroes' moment. Later, of course, as the picture in the post below shows, I tentatively approached him at his artists' alley table and told him how much I loved his work. He signed a couple of books for me (I'll show you my sketch later), and after hesitating for a moment I squeaked "Do you accept gifts?" and gave him a copy of Zombies Calling. He was very gracious, accepted it, and asked me to sign it. It was very cool.

At some point during the day I snuck down to the First Second booth and met a few people there. They are all awesome and are completely the new hotness. I was pretty nervous about meeting anyone associated with that publisher, but everyone was shockingly nice. And in the evening I met up with my agent (yes, I have an agent now. Weird, huh?) and her business partner and got to know them a bit too. I was pretty nervous about meeting them too (really, when am I not nervous?), because you kind of hope to work for people with whom you see eye to eye, and I wasn't sure what to expect, but everything went wonderfully and we all got along really well. So fears eased! Life was good.

Friday was a blur of business stuff. I wasn't actually expecting to get much out of the convention in the way of business, but it turned out to be a really good thing that I'd gone, and hopefully even better things will come out of it. Funny how originally this was supposed to be a 'just for fun' trip, and it turned into something decidedly better. (But what could be better than fun? Oh, we'll see, I suppose.) I did some shopping in the afternoon and some wandering. There's just so much to look at.

For me the best part of the convention was wandering around and meeting artists and publishers and people who were into comics. I really enjoyed that aspect. I didn't really go to many panels (just the Steve Purcell one), through I tried to get into a few (I was turned away from Jennifer's "How Not To Get into Comics" panel, and the MST3K panel, and the Pushing Daisies panel (boo!)), but I don't feel like I missed that much. I think next year I will make more of an effort to get into comics-related panels, though. I missed a couple that sounded really interesting because I was either standing in line for something I didn't get into or was signing at the SLG booth.

Saturday and Sunday were pretty much the same: more signings (again, well attended I felt), standing in line a couple times, guarding Karine's table, then collapsing on the hotel bed at the end of the day. Most nights I was in bed by 11 and woke up at five AM THANK YOU JET LAG. Arg. On Sunday I did get to go to a lovely breakfast with a lot of New York based cartoonists (Raina Telgemeier, Dave Roman, John Green, Marion Vitus, Alison Wigus, Gina Gagliano of First Second ... ummmm... other people with whom I was introduced and whose names I promptly forgot) and got to talk with them about comics and publishing and it was all terribly wonderful. Siiiiigh. I wish I had more comic friends to hang out with .... O WELL. I love my friends anyway.

People I bumped into:
Hope Larson, who was standing in front of me at a food kiosk line. I kept looking at the back of her head, thinking 'man, that sure looks like Hope' and then noticed the tattoo and of course it was her. She was kind enough to give me a copy (hardback!) of her new book Chiggers, which I've read twice already. It was lovely and sort of ... I don't know, gives me hope for the place of women cartoonists in publishing, or something. Anyway, great to see her again.

Scott McCloud, while harassing Dave and Raina at the Comic Bakery booth. Me: "Should I call you Sir or Mr. McCloud?" Him: "Um ... no." Anyway, It was really nice to meet a legend and chat with him a bit. I gave him a copy of Zombies Calling ... WHICH WAS NOT FOR HIM! I'd drawn in a copy for one of the SLG guys, and because he was a young man I thought he'd appreciate a drawing of Sonnet laying a kiss on Joss's cheek ... and I gave that copy to Scott accidentally! Oops. Anyway, here's hoping he likes a little faux-lesbianism. And doesn't mind a book dedicated "to Matt."

Nick Abadzi and his wife, at the First Second booth (before he won his Eisner for best teen book). They were both wonderful and happy to talk to me about comics, and had great English accents (Nick said they lived in London). While talking a bit with his wife, this girl dressed as "Pikachu" walked by ... wearing nothing but a yellow top, pikachu ears, and tiny little red undies with yellow thigh-high socks. Nick's wife exclaimed "That girl's walking around in her knickers!" Me: *ded from awesome*

The Comic Foundry people, whose magazine I really like and who I stumbled on in the small press area. Me: "I have a preview of my new book from SLG, I can run and fetch you a copy-" Tim Leong: "Oh no, there will be no fetching!" Later I came back with a preview copy, but they'd already wrangled one. Seemed like nice folks, too bad they lost the Eisners. They had a big sign that said "EISNER LOSER 2008." Haha.

More things happened throughout the course of the convention, of course, but I will tell those stories WITH PICTURES!


The convention at night, taken out the window of the taxi after landing on Wednesday night.

The lobby of my hotel, the Hard Rock Hotel. It was nuts. I saw Seth Rogan going in once ... maybe he was staying there. It seemed to be popular with the celebs, but I didn't see any beyond him.

These pictures were all taken from the DC Comics "green room" and show well how nuts the con was.

The escalator on Thursday morning. I was trying to find out where SLG was and was upset no one was able to properly direct me ... oh well, I made it there eventually.

Two of my roommates, Cindy and Jen, as Dr. Horrible and Captain Hammer, and me being terrified at being caught between them! Oh noes I am totally going to be the ded girlfriend!!1111

SLG had two posters up for my next book with them, The War at Ellsmere (more on that later). They were kind of mesmerizing. I had quite a few people come up and ask me about them.

The Second poster was behind the SLG signing table, where I did much of my sitting and signing.

SLG had the Zombies Calling posters return. There were two of them.

The view from opposite the SLG table where I signed. The DC booth, obviously.

Me with Dan Vado. I had one with me and Jennifer as well, but for some reason that one didn't turn out ... it wasn't my camera, so unfortunately some pictures came out really blurry.

Me making a face while I get my Shuster Award from Kevin Boyd. That thing is heavy and can totally kill people! It's now hung beside my drawing desk, to remind me that people like my work, when I am feeling down. <3

The Monarch, from The Venture Brothers, menacing some kids at the SLG booth. haha.

This is a moose-sized Balrog, which you can buy for $3000 and mount on your living room wall. Dear lord ... I'm depressed to think there's actually demand for this.

Stan Lee, who I saw at the Marriott after breakfast on Friday morning. His handlers were shooing people away, but I stole this picture. HAH.

The Sci Fi Channel booth ... thing? I have no idea what the hell this thing was.

Stan Saki. I didn't talk to him; I'd used up all my courage-juice on Steve Purcell. But Stan Saki is so cool, and I love his books. I should've talked to him and just told him that ...

Some stormtroopers that stopped by Karine's table. Lots of good stormtroomer costumes at the con.

Breakfast at the Marriott on Friday. There just happened to be quite a few Rebel Pilots there, so I had to get a picture with them. Only at Comicon!

While travelling around with my agent and her business partner on Friday we dropped by the First Second booth, and Chris Butcher and Ray Fawkes were there. I'd met both of them in Toronto at Christmas, so it was great to catch up at bit and talk about comics. They're both awesome. Ray has a new book out with Cameron Stewart (who I also met briefly; I LOOOOOOVE his artwork) called The Apocalipstix, which was a blast to read. Chris took this picture.

My agent is awesome, but she fails at picture taking! ;) She took this one with Chris in it. Damn, I AM SO SHORT. Chris could pick me up with one hand!

Me with Priscillie, who came dressed as someone from The Dresden Files, which I have not read/seen. The costume was pretty badass, though. I dig coloured dreads.

Me with Scott McCloud in the small press area. Weirdly ... am I the only one who thinks we kinda look ... similar? Weird!

This is the monster from Patrick White's movie, Jack Brooks, Monster Slayer. It was pretty damn gruesome and awesome.

The sketch Steve Purcell drew in my book. Cool, no?

HOME AT LAST. My cat curls up with my Shuster Award.

I know I forgot tons ... and also I want to do a separate post for all the stuff I bought/was given (some of which was BRILLIANT), and provide proper links so people can buy copies of their own.

But for the moment, THAT IS MY REPORT! I had such a good time. Thank you so much to the readers who stopped by the booth to buy a book or say hi, and thanks to all the creators who took a moment to talk to me, I really appreciated it. I hope to see you all next year!