San Diego Comic-Con 2004 – Sunday

And on the final day, they were tired.

This was the last day of the convention, and like years past, we were beat. Still, there was more to see, and we hadn’t dissected the final section of the dealer booths yet. When we arrived in the morning, I went to turn the camera on, and there was no juice. Well, no big deal, we’d taken a lot of pictures already, and there were books to be found.

But then I rounded a corner and saw a small line. I wondered who they were lining up for. And then I saw him. The pimpest of all those who have ever pimped. Billy Dee Williams was his name. But we’ll always know him as the suave smooth Lando Calrissian. I powered up the camera for one last shot. It turned on. The security guard sternly warned me, “no flash.” No problem, I don’t want to waste the battery power. And the gods smiled upon us, and the camera eeked out one last image of the man of cloud city, seated next to, not insignificantly, the director of the best Star Wars movie, Irvin Kershner.

We did some time over in indie alley over on the red carpet, and looked around. It’s hard to guess what you should buy over there. If you’re not familiar with work, you’ve got this creator staring at you, and you know he wants you to buy it, but that doesn’t mean I’ll like it. They tell you to look through it, but you can’t really get anything from that peruse, because they’re staring right at you. Then you eventually decide you’re not going to buy, and you have to do the gracious exit, and look back at their sad face. I hate it, but it has to be done, because you just can’t buy everything, and on the con floor, if it doesn’t immediately grab me, I’m gone.

We wandered over to the Strangers in Paradise table, which was Terry Moore-less, but talked to the woman left running the booth, named Terry. We briefly spoke with her, and the sales of the SiP merchandise had been brisk, and we’re all glad for that. Then we spent a good 20 minutes going through the original art. Most of it was too rich for us, but there are plans for the future. That’s a book I need to own a piece of some day.

Then it was off to the AIT/PlanetLar table, where I always find some good comics. I finally decided to pick up Steven Grant’s Badlands, based solely on the political cover and his intelligently written thoughtful columns over at CBR (whose pictures aren’t as funny as ours). Then I grabbed Tom Beland’s True Story Swear to God: 100 Stories. Tom himself happened to be there, and I asked him to sign the book, and then he took off in a sketching haze, complete with pencils, inks and even lettering. The result was fantastic, and I was blown away by how cool the guy was to do that, as the AIT guys swapped jokes about a jewish Thor. It was one of those times when you get lucky and get something a lot better than what you’d hoped for. Beland’s work is simple, and real and excellent, and his outlook is such a positive one compared to mine, that I find it very refreshing to read. Check out his first True Stories book, Chances Are, as well as his regular issues.

Skip to Eric Shanower’s table, where I finally picked up the 1st Age of Bronze trade, A Thousand Ships, about ancient Greece, and Eric drew a very nice sketch in there as he finished up a story about a fight that broke out a panel between an irate fan and Colleen Doran. I haven’t read it yet, but I’m really looking forward to it.

On the way away from Eric’s booth, I passed Oni Press, and while there wasn’t a lot there which I wanted, and didn’t own, I noticed Greg Rucka, loudly coughing his face off in what looked like a painful attack. He was sitting all on his own, no line, no fans, and I was mortified that he wasn’t mobbed by fans, because he’s simply one of the most talented writers out there right now. Queen and Country should outsell just about any comic there is, and Greg Rucka should be treated like present day comics royalty. Then again, maybe he doesn’t like to be crowded. Either way, I hope your cough cleared up.

Then it was over the Top Shelf area, where I met with the publisher, Brett for a moment, and he gave me a copy of Yurkovich’s Less Than Heroes. The accolades on the back cover promise a good read, and the design of the book is clean and beautiful. Look for a full review in the near future. Lindsay picked up some books that looked like good autobiography comics from Jeffrey Brown, Clumsy, Unlikely, and a mini comic called Be a Man. So far, they’re getting good marks, and I’m hoping for some Alex Robinson-like goodness in the future.

Then it was one more trip around for, I don’t know what. That’s right, aimless wandering, with the thought that some comic must be out there which I need, and at a good price. Finally, I decided to take the plunge and start the Sandman collection. I’d read them all, but Lindsay hadn’t, and I don’t own them, so I bought the first 2 trades, against my better fiscal judgement.

Just after signing that last credit card slip, the energy just went out of both of us. We decided to leave the floor around 2:30 that afternoon, not to return. We went up to the 5th Quarter to get some burgers and delicious wings (which were not as good as we remembered them). We hit the road and sat in traffic for about 3 hours, compared to the usual 2 it takes to get from San Diego to Los Angeles. I can’t help but wonder if it was all the geeks, closet nerd, sci-fi nuts and Klingons who brought traffic to a halt. 100,000 people going home must have some sort of effect.

It was a great time. It was exhausting, draining, hot, sticky, sweaty, smell, and slippery, and I can’t wait for next year. I can’t wait to have everyone with me who normally goes. I can’t wait to buy more comics, and see more people. I can’t wait to go back to the steak place and Ghirardhelli, and I won’t ever miss a comic-con again if I can help it. And next time dammit, next time, they will appreciate Rucka.


  1. That’s a funny sketch.

    San Diego… it’s a fun time, but damn can it be pricey. My wallet is glad I didn’t go this year.

  2. Let’s not talk about the money. Next year, I’m hoping to “save up” before we go.

  3. i was watching best week ever on VH1 and they went to the con. it was cool they showed some of the stuff you took pictures of. like storm trooper elvis ect.

  4. Yeah, I saw that too. It was funny. I miss the Con.

  5. next year i’m in. no if, ands, or buts.

    i have peeps there now, so game on. doing recon and such…

    i liked rogue… damnit ron