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bart   Monday, 8/13/2007 8:21 AM
Older rants
June 1, 2020   Trip to the Grand Canyon (last year),
Code Talker
Mar 21, 2020   The World Famous San Diego ComicFest
and the testament to dorkness that is my cubicle
and my sad, sad little doodles
Mar 8, 2020   A return to Potterland,
Meg & Dia's Christmas album, December Darling,
some other random stuff
Feb 21, 2020   Agorafabulous!,
Emeli's amazing creations
Nov 27, 2019   David Savakerrva Volume 1
The cubicle of nerdishness
Oct 28, 2019   Art Matters, Neil Gaiman
Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, Eric Idle
Alternate Routes, Tim Powers
Disneyland - Galaxy's Edge
Oct 4, 2019   Meg & Dia, HappySad tour San Diego 09/18/19
September 21. 2019   David Bowie - Scary Monsters,
More Adventures in Leasing,
More cubicle fun,
A new doodle
September 10. 2019   The Cranberries - In The End,
The Cranberries - Something Else,
Icicle Works, Icicle Works (vinyl),
Dia Frampton, Red,
Juliana Hatfield, Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton John,
The Lemonheads, The Lemonheads,
Green Day, Insomniac ,
Flight of the Conchords, Flight of the Conchords Live in London
August 28, 2019   Heir of Ra (Maciek Sasinowski,
The Catalyst Series (JK Franks): Downward Cycle, Kingdom of Sorrow, Ghost Country
May 11, 2019   Goodbye, little friend
Nov 30, 2018   Fire of Our Fathers,
a Science Fiction Book Club rant
Nov 24, 2018   The Dinosaur Lords,
Dragon Teeth
Nov 20, 2018   My cubicle revisited, really-old ComicCon stuff, Emeli's Art, More Disney Adventures, The Zoo and Safari Park
September 9, 2018   Perimeter - an eBook thriller
September 3, 2018   Take Back the Sky Starcraft Evolution
August 11, 2018   Idaho Dunes Awesome soda Ethanol-free gas an awesome Bald Guy card Our rough dig Harry Potter Interlude story
July 21, 2018   The Cup in the Shadows (The Forbidden Powers Book 1)
June 24, 2018   Jake, Lucid Dreamer
June 13, 2018   Troll-stalking
May 23, 2018   Another badbartopia email spoofer, A sunny-day Disney adventure, Raymond E Feist book signing
May 15, 2018   A rainy-day Disneyland trip The Bassoon King
Apr 28, 2018   Down and Out in Purgatory
Apr 13, 2018   Operation Hail Storm
Mar 4, 2018   American Exodus
Jan 22, 2018   Christmas, Didn't Get Frazzled, The Sea People, The Rooster Bar, Last Burial Night, Doctor Who and the Krikkit Men
Dec 15, 2017   Mistrial, City of Death and Disneyland
Nov 14, 2017   Grace Vanderwaal - Just the Beginning
Nov 11, 2017   Tim Powers Signing at Mysterious Galaxy for Down and Out in Purgatory
November 4, 2017   Return to Disneyland, Halloween at the office, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, The Long Cosmos Maximus One year After War Dogs, Killing Titan Daddy, Stop Talking
October 29, 2017   Bruce Campbell Signing, Hail to the Chin, Further Confessions of a B Movie Actor
October 20, 2017   Meg & Dia, Imagine Dragons in concert, 2 Years 8 months and 28 Nights
October 17, 2017   All Apologies
October 16, 2017   Thrawn
Septempber 7, 2017   The Rage of Dragons, The Lincoln Myth
August 10, 2017   The Molly Ringwalds, Dia Frampton Musical awesomeness, Beauty and the Feast
July 28, 2017   The IT Sweatshop revisited, How to Talk to Girls at Parties, American Gods and The Magicians, Rogue One, Camino Island
July 24, 2017   CRV glovebox difficulties, San Diego Comic Con rant
July 11, 2017   Beauty and the Beast at the Lyceum, Earthweeds, Sons of Neptune Book 1, Aftermath, Empire's End, If Chin's Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor
June 30, 2017   Eastwood: No Direction Home book 2
June 23, 2017   Excellent Adventures on the PCH (part 4/4) - The PCH family vacation tale concludes, my new record, record player, and Emeli's site is live!
Jun 14, 2017   A noteworthy eBook mention before I return to my vacation ranting - No Direction Home
June 9, 2017   Excellent Adventures on the PCH (part 3/4) - The PCH family vacation tale concludes...almost. More pictures of spooky old houses, trees, rocks, and other things that nobody cares about! Plus, Goonies stuff
June 2, 2017   Excellent Adventures on the PCH (part 2/4) - The PCH family vacation tale continues... And more pictures of trees and other things that nobody cares about!
May 31, 2017   Excellent Adventures on the PCH (part 1/4) - Way more detail than anyone wants about our vacation up the coast of California and Oregon. And lots of pictures of trees!
Apr 26, 2017   Resurrection America, Pizza Studio art, AmandaLynn, Emeli art, and Disney art, and Gifted
Apr 14, 2017   My San Fransisco OSI PI adventure & "Thanks for the Money: How to Use My Life Story to Become the Best Joel McHale You Can Be"
Apr 12, 2017   Neil Gaiman speaks, Norse Mythology, American Gods comic adaptation, The Magicians TV series, and Dirk Gently on TV
Feb 2, 2017   A trip to the ever-less-magical land of Disney, The Prince of Outcasts, the Whistler, and a brief mention of The Magicians.
Jan 21, 2017   An update to my nerd wall at work, Found out about Richard Thompson (Cul De Sac) being gone, A list of all the stuff (or most, anyway) I've given up to new homes, A review of Dave! and Warp, and a couple of new doodles.
Dec 23, 2016   My final visit to Potterland and a couple of doodles
Dec 11, 2016   Books and related comics, and free/cheap stuff. Not taco Bell Material, President Me, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, The Hedge Knight (comic), The Sworn Sword (comic) Ooma, Ringplus, Amazon prime and other money-saving stuff.
Dec 4, 2016   I'm sharing my sad doodles with the world again. They're not very good, but I'll bet they're better than your scribbles!
Nov 12, 2016   Yet another trip to The Wonderful World of Harry Potter!
Nov 7, 2016   Blathering on about a few of the books I've read recently - Spire, The Check, and Dangercide, Pirate Detective
Oct 7, 2016   Yet another Visit to Harry Potterland. Oh, and my lease-mileage calculator.
July 25, 2016   Another Visit to Harry Potterland, a new car, a new shirt, a new dog, and a whole lot of the same old complaining
May 17, 2016   Email spoofers, Phishing emails, and scammers galore!
Apr 30, 2016   Winter's Edge and a Management zombie attack
Apr 23, 2016   Harry Potter land re-visited
Apr 9, 2016   Xenia...again
Apr 2, 2016   Sing Street, Batman vs Superman, Craigslist griping
Mar 1, 2016   The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hollywood preview, fun at work, Xenia's new song, A Vanishing Glow, Our Fair Eden, Race Wars, The Force Awakens
Jan 27, 2016   Text Wars, Books I've read... Yup, that's pretty much it
Jul 30, 2015   Xenia Martinez news Still selling stuff on eBay, Hyperbole and a Half (the book), The Path Between the Seas, Trigger Warning, In Fifty years We'll all Be Chicks
Mar 17, 2015   Selling my treasures on eBay, Hyperbole and a Half, the Long Mars, Gray Mountain, Anathem, The Golden Princess, The Given Sacrifice
Mar 12, 2015   You'll be sorely missed, Sir Terry
Jan 21, 2015   More BBC 4 radio dramatizations by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett: The Amazing Maurice, Guards! Guards!, Neverwhere, Night Watch, Small Gods, Wyrd Sisters
Jan 10, 2015   JabberWocky, Neil Gaiman style!
Dec 24, 2014   The Good Omens BBC treatment
Aug 03, 2014   Every hobby has to end eventually, right?
Oct 8, 2013   Warning: Extreme Geekness ahead!
Oct 1, 2013   The Bloody Crown of iGoogle
Aug 26, 2013   Headphones at work
Aug 22, 2013   The guvmint is gonna getcha
June 25, 2013   Dweebs vs Big Bang vs IT Crowd
Jul 3, 2012   Xenia Martinez & Dia Frampton concert
Feb 24, 2012   Reading...just not much
The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Being an idiot with Lev Grossman
Jan 7, 2012   If it ain't broke...
Aug 22, 2011   non-ComicCon report 2011
A Thousand Splendid Suns
An Act of Self Defense
May 5, 2011   On Stranger Tides
On Stranger Tides
March 2, 2011   I'm a gigantic slacker...
Wild Guns
Lord of Ultima
Metin 2
Lord of the Rings Online
Dec 15, 2010   Bring out your dead!
Aug 17, 2010   San DiegoComicCon 2010
August 11, 2010   I'm not dead yet...
May 3, 2010   Hero Comics
Liberty Comics
Dr Horrible
Neil Gaiman & Sam Keith in Batman
The Guild, Felicia Day
April 27, 2010   Mean Gene Wilder! Grrr!!!
April 24, 2010   If it's not one Jihad, it's another...
April 20, 2010   The Satanic Verses
March 15, 2010   Unseen Academicals
Feblueberry 8, 2010   The un-reading shelf (from most of 2009)
Feblueberry 2, 2010   Emily the Strange, the Lost Days...a novel
Nov 25, 2009   Happy Halloween, Mom!
Nov 18, 2009   Summer Vacation in Idaho
Aug 20, 2009   San Diego ComicCon 2009
Aug 12, 2009   I'm a big, fat slacker
June 05, 2009   The networks are helping me cut back on my TV viewing
June 04, 2009   Mandy Moore's Amanda Leigh,
Chris Isaak's Mr Lucky
My name is Bruce?
and Emmy Rossum? Where am I going with this?
May 21, 2009   Randy would have really liked Fanboys...sigh
May 3, 2009   The Spring reading shelf
Apr 21, 2009   Holidays On Ice (a little late for Christmas)
Apr 18, 2009   Leviticus Cross and other Hector Sevilla comic book stuff
Apr 16, 2009   The fantastically amazing and banal Badbartopia RSS Feed
Mar 31, 2009   Neil Gaiman's Blueberry Girl
Mar 30, 2009   My Amazon mis-order turns out to be not so annoying as previously expected...
(AKA the Dr Horrible soundtrack)
Mar 23, 2009   Stephan Pastis & Richard Thompson have me looking forward to the 2009 SD ComicCon
Mar 19, 2009   Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog,
The Guild
Mar 08, 2009   The Wonderful Wizard of Oz comic adaptation,
Neil Gaiman's Sandman: The Dream Hunters
Mar 04, 2009   Little Brother
Mar 1, 2009   Pete & Pickles
Feb 11, 2009   She & Him
Pushing Daisies
Jan 26, 2009   The Scourge of God,
When You are Engulfed in Flames
Jan 14, 2009   On the Road = hippy nonsense
Jan 12, 2009   One-by-one, my fish have met their maker
Dec 26, 2008   My Azeroth-avoidance continues
Dec 23, 2008   Nothing to see...move along
Dec 15, 2008   New scribbles
Dec 10, 2008   The Oct-Nov-Dec reading shelf
Dec 1, 2008   Shalimar the Clown
the economic impact of the events in Mumbai
Nov 21, 2008   Star Wars: Allegiance
Nov 20, 2008   Daredevil Black Widow: Abattoir
Nov 17, 2008   Travel Team
Nov 16, 2008   A new comic adaptation of The Wizard of Oz
Nov 14, 2008   Berke's Books:
The Last Basselope
Edward Fudwupper Fibbed Big
Mars Needs Moms
Opus: 25 years
Nov 13, 2008   Return to Azeroth?
Nov 12, 2008   Goodbye, Opus
Oct 29, 2008   Halloween costumes of 2008
Project Superpowers
Oct 23, 2008   The Graveyard Book
Oct 16, 2008   Nation
Oct 10, 2008   The Joy of Programming
My foray into Ajax
Oct 9, 2008   My Saturn Scare
Opus ends
Terry Pratchett's condition
Oct 3, 2008   The Hitchhiker's Guide, Book Eoin Colfer?
Oct 2, 2008   Media master - music online
Sony builds a "better" camera
Sept 24, 2008   The September reading shelf
Sept 17, 2008   Still missing Randall
The Fish tank...again
The Graveyard Book
Sept 15, 2008 usual
The Sasquatch Dumpling Gang
Sept 9, 2008   The dearth of Opus strips
yes, I meant to say "dearth"
Sept 8, 2008   A new monitor goes bad...but it all ends happily
Sept 3, 2008   A Boy and His Dog,
Richard Corben,
H.P. Lovecraft's Haunt of Horror
Sept 2, 2008   A slightly newish look
(aka "why I will never be a graphic designer")
Aug 11, 2008   Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in all its incarnations Mike Kunkel's re-imagining of Shazam
July 29, 2008   San Diego Comiccon 2008
July 24, 2008   Neil Gaiman
July 17, 2008   Chris Isaak!
June 30, 2008   The Woman Who Wouldn't
Legends II
Mouse Guard Fall 1152
the Jetta's latest round of repairs
fishtank overpopulation
June 10, 2008   The Reading Shelf
Fish tank jungle
Attack of the bees
June 3, 2008   Missing Randall
May 9, 2008   My French Whore
Apr 28, 2008   Fish tank fatality
Flight of the Conchords
The Dangerous Alphabet
Mar 5, 2008   Gene Wilder book signing at Borders
new fish tank
Jan 11, 2008   The Jetta Strikes back!
The Plucker
The Anubis Gates
National Treasure II
Nov 8, 2007   San Diego on Fire,
A clean break from WoW,
UCSD Extension Java I graduation (kinda)
Making Money
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Oct 2, 2007   Back to school, Java class at UCSD
AT&T's Uverse
new sketches
Blockbuster movie pass
August 28, 2007   Mandy Moore concert!
Aug 19, 2007   ComicCon 2007 - Neil Gaiman, Iron Man and all the usual suspects
May 22, 2007   World of Spamcraft (and other spamalicious topics), forum fun...gus, the woes of being a contractor and PIRATES!!
Apr 5, 2007   I'm a conservative - bite me!
Timbaland? Dumb!
Marie Antoinette - snaggle teeth and teasing glimpes. Sweet!
John Q - a lesson about fatherhood or a liberal-propoganda film?
Mar 30, 2007   Things that make me grumpy-er,
employed again at last,
Finn and assorted other ramblings
Feb 8, 2007   The search for employment continues..and the unemployment benefits are NOT pouring in!
Jan, 22, 2007   Freed from the bondage of employment, a very brief review of a few books and films
Dec 17, 2006   Sad excuses, The Innocent Man, 1776, THe Man in High Castle, Absolute Sandman, Wintersmith, garage sale treasures: Ghost in the Machine
Aug 20, 2006   Writers of the Future XXII/Tim Powers, more movie reivews
July 20, 2006   San Diego ComicCon 2006
July 15, 2006   Superman Returns, inconsiderate morons, Peewee's Playhouse returns, my plea for more pirate movies
July 8, 2006   Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Wild Animal Park critters, site remodeling
Jun 27, 2006   The good, the bad and the mediocre (a bunch of movie reviews in the new forum).
June 15, 2006   Because of Romek - A Holocaust Survivor's Memoir
May 21, 2006   The DaVinci Code, Aeon Flux, Everything You Want
May 12, 2006   World of Warcrack, the Office, Coraline, my apologies...
Jan 24, 2006   Christmas Vacation 2006, Syriana, Traveling Pants, Wish You Were Here
Dec 19, 2005   Festive Neighbors, the death of Olivia, Media Misinformation surrounding Brent Wilkes/ADCS, Make Love the bruce campbell way
Nov 15, 2005   Microsoft Technet 2005 launch party, Lexmark printer problem, a bad, bad day, changing dentists.
Oct 22, 2005   Thud!, Anansi Boys, Where's my cow
Oct 18, 2005   Terry Pratchet Thud! signing, Neil Gaiman Anansi Boys signing
Oct 15, 2005   A very, very late Comiccon 2005 report.
Jun 23, 2005   The black hole of Warcraft, The Years of Rice and Salt, After the Sunset, Madagascar, Mr and Mrs Smith, Taxi.
Jun 3, 2005   All is quiet on the PM Front, War of the Worlds (the novel), Kingdom of Heaven, Sahara, Star Wars Episode III, Flight of the Phoenix
May 9, 2005   The program managers strike again, More of my horrendous sketches, Spanglish, A Lot Like Love, Elektra, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (the film)
Apr 9, 2005   Stuck in Corporate Hell, a few of my recent sketches, Miss Congeniality 2, Collateral
Mar 21, 2005   Revenge of the Jetta (car problems), a Newegg purchase, a few new drawings, more Opus
Feb 13, 2005   The Mail mystery solved, more of my crappy sketches, A few new photos of the girls, bill-bert (introducing the new Project Manager), sweet phone skills, Opus, Dungeons and Dragons, In Good Company
Jan 27, 2005   Mystery mail, new photos of my beautiful kids, some new sketches, an Episode 3 spoiler, Opus, Going Postal, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Ubik, Remember the Titans, Lemony Snicket`s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Dodgeball
Jan 7, 2005   Christmas 2004, Update to the site, Elf & King Arthur revisited, National Treasure, Opus, Blade Runner
Dec 18, 2004   A new Stephanie sketch, another Target web page goof, the SD Union Tribune confirms Greg Bear`s research for Vitals, Miramar VW proves my dealer service assertions wrong, neighborhood Christmas fun, Opus
Nov 24, 2004   More of my mediocre drawings, nw russian mail-order coins, Star Wars toys, a big green spider comes to visit, Opus, Dies the Fire, Digital fortress, The Incredibles, Twisted, Van Helsing
Nov 03, 2004   Some thoughts regarding the 2004 election, rants about the environment, a memory rebate update, new computer issues, Opus, The Lone Drow, Deception Point, Roswell season 2 on DVD
Oct 12, 2004   An interesting quiz, mal-in rebates, a parrot joke, my new computer, thoughts on frame removal, web logs, Opus, Vitals, Star Wars trilogy on DVD, Ladykillers
Sep 23, 2004   My "Heath" sketch for Mark Oakley, an update on my a PNY rebate check, the fictitious AWNA Act, Browser Issues with the site, Opus/Pickles, The DaVinci Code, Garden State (Natalie Portman), Man on Fire
Sep 11, 2004   A new drawing: "Stephanie", redneck wisdom, my salary to hourly reclassification, funny video: news from iraq, an update on my mail-in pny rebate, a new rebate through Costco, Ella Enchanted, Highlander Endgame, Princess of Thieves, The Whole Ten Yards
Aug 27, 2004   Fun with my VW Warranty, Opus, Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix, The Land of SokMunster, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Wedding, Napoleon Dynamite, Hidalgo, Chasing Liberty, Out of Time
Jul 23, 2004   San Diego ComicCon 2004, the family summer vacation, Bruce Campbell, Opus, Nanny Ogg`s Cookbook, Angels & Demons, Folk of the fringe, Bourne Supremacy, i robot, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, Cody Banks 2, Hellboy
Jul 19, 2004   *** PNY Rebate fun, IE Patch, Linux and socialism, liberal scum, Opus, BIM, timeline, master and commander, tad hamilton, stuck on you,cold mountain, 50 first dates, the terminal, spiderman 2, king arthur, a hat full of sky, the thousand orcs, meditations on middle earth
Jun 20, 2004   Memorial day pictures, Duplex, Mark Oakley/Heroes, Wild Animal Park Dinosaurs, B-52s concertman, Say After Tomorrow, Big Fish, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Eragon, A Hat Full of Sky, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
May 08, 2004   Pat Tillman, LOTR Toys, 13 Going on 30, Mean Girls, Tolkien Miscellany, Last Juror, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Pork Tornado
Apr 06, 2004   Roswell season 1 DVD and a some other mindless drivel
Feb 19, 2004   Highlander site contest results, new downloads, princess gallery updates, lord of the rings toys, harry potter, underworld. lost in translation, the hunted, a tolkien miscellany...
Feb 09, 2004   Murder at 1600, Radio, Cheaper by the Dozen, King Arthur, Spiderman 2, Van Helsing, Harry Potter, Tolkien Miscellany, Mark Oakley, massive snow in Idaho...
Jan 28, 2004   Swat, Uptown Girls, Somethings Gotta Give, Along Came Polly, Seabiscuit, Ashley Judd Marathon, Van Helsing, Harry Potter, Science Fiction Bok Club, Nanny Ogg`s Cookbook, RA Salvatore, Mythology (Alex Ross), Fastner & Larson, Best page in the universe, etc, etc...
Jan 07, 2004   Clint`s rules, X-Men 2, Holes, Pirates, Two Towers, Freaky Friday (Haley Hudson), new drawings, Thieves` World, Playskool Star Wars, new Interest section
Jan 02, 2004   nothing all that interesting...
Dec 21, 2003   Nemo, Highlander page, Christmas vacation 2003, star wars kid
Dec 12, 2003   E.T. (Erika Eleniak), new drawings, Opus, Santa Claus 2 (Elizabeth Mitchell), Legolas toy/pics, How to Deal (Mandy Moore), Myth update, Last Samurai
Nov 27, 2003   Another Fine Myth, Elf
Nov 22, 2003   Dude, Where`s Bill & Ted
Nov 18, 2003   Not much to say
Nov 15, 2003   Disneyland, Astronaut`s Wife, Dumer and Dumber-er, Monstrous Regiment
Nov 10, 2003   Terry Pratchett, Matrix Revolutions
110103   School of Rock, Terry Pratchett signing, Darth Vader MBNA bust, San Diego fires
Aug 17, 2003   Johnny English, San Diego Comic-Con
Jun 17, 2003   Assorted ramblings
May 28, 2003   Not much to say
May 24, 2003   Almost nothing of note
May 17, 2003   Matrix Reloaded, Pirates
Mar 23, 2003   The Police, Pirates, Lord of the Rings grievances part II
Mar 16, 2003   Lord of the Rings grievances part 1
Super auld stuff   A big list of old submissions with boat loads of broken links

Comiccon 2007

It's been a couple of weeks since the 2007 ComicCon, and I'm just now getting around to writing about it. It's sad, I know. Even more sad is how long and monotonous this recap will inevitably be, so find a comfy chair (a comfy chair!!) and set aside a big block of time...

I ended up having two full days of Con fun this year, thanks to the beneficence of my new friend, Tyler. I had planned to wait until the last minute (as I always do) to buy tickets for Saturday, when I heard that Saturday had already sold out.

Wait...what? Sold out? How could that be?

Apparently, the powers-that-be who run the Con decided to cut down on the over-crowding (I'm not sure if it worked - it still seemed awfully crowded on Saturday), so they placed a much lower limit on the number of tickets available for Saturday. And having no vacation with my current employer (I think I've already complained about this a time or two, so let me just repeat my new mantra: "contracting jobs suck!"), I was seriously bummed that I would have to forego a day's pay to attend the convention, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do...

I went to the ComicCon web site and bought a ticket for Friday and then, after complaining about this very turn of events elsewhere online, received a message from a guy named Tyler who I had seen around, but didn't really know very well. Do you realize that nearly every comic book publisher has an online forum of readers discussing anything and everything? Abacus and Dynamite are a couple that I pop into occasionally. Anyway, his message asked if I needed passes to the Con and I figured he meant for days other than Saturday, so I told him that I wished I had heard from him earlier. But, as it turned out, he also had passes for Saturday and was willing to share.

So, to make a painfully long story even longer, I was able to go to the Con on both Friday and Saturday, thanks to Tyler. And it was a whole new experience, as I will explain shortly...


I actually did something I never do this year: I compiled a list from the online Con program of events and checked for panels that I wanted to see (knowing I had a second day to wander the massive show floor) as well as locating the booths of the artists & creators I most hoped to talk to.

I was somewhat disappointed to not see many of the names I had hoped to see on the exhibitor list: Mark Oakley (he never comes anymore, so it wasn't really a surprise), Ryan Woodward (that's two years in a row he's missed), Summertime books (it's Ryan's company and even though he was AWOL last year, there were a few others - Courtney Huddleston and Mike Garcia - there), Mike Kunkel (he was actually wandering the floor and I ran into him at Bobby Rubio's booth, but he wasn't exhibiting), the great Mark Schultz (who actually DID turn out to be there, he just wan't listed by name), Justine Joli (yeah, she's not really a "comic book" industry person, but she definitely adds something to the Con-experience), Dynamite Comics (I actually knew they weren't going to be there, but I still hoped they'd show up anyway - probably a third of the comics on my current reading list are Dynamite books) and Abacus comics (a new company formed from the ashes of Alias comics - the publisher of the wonderful Lullaby series).

And there was even one surprise: Joe Linsner. He has been absent from the San Diego Con for several years now (he goes to all the east coast cons, but stopped coming to San Diego because of the trouble and expense, I think). He's not the same hungry Joe he was in the cons on the 90's (he's definitely not going hungry - the dude has packed on a lot of weight), but he's still somewhat approachable. I remember getting him and Joe Monks to sign my old Cry for Dawn Con-exclusive books back in the day...good times.

So I had a list of exhibitors to see, a Neil Gaiman panel I didn't want to miss and even an autograph session with Jane Wiedlin that I thought would be fun. I was ready.

My first stop of the day was actually just outside of the Convention center: the Blood Mobile (to be drained of a couple gallons of blood - give or take). I missed last year's opportunity to be leeched because they weren't open all four days of the Con, but this year they were there all day, every day so I had no problem getting in. I was leeched, drank some juice and made off with my bag of comics and an unpainted Buffy action figure (exclusive "T1" unpainted "Lessons" Dawn action figure. Limited to 250 pieces - mine was #19).

Sufficiently re-juiced, I was off to the show floor to visit the booths I had noted in the program. Sadly, knowing the "addresses" of the booths, autograph areas, etc isn't really very helpful unless you're looking for one of the standard-numbered booths. And even then, it can mean a trek of a quarter mile to get there. Unfortunately, several of the stops I had "scheduled" were in the non-standard-numbered locations, so I sought out the booths I could easily find first and then wandered around in hopes of finding the others (this is the first time I can remember that I haven't combed the entire show floor, criss-crossing every single row).

First stop (inside the Con): Bobby Rubio (Alcatraz High).
I met Bobby at the con a couple of years ago after hearing from Dirty Dan that his friend from High School had created a comic book and would be at the Con. Bobby's book, Alcatraz High is self-published, so you've never seen it on the shelves of your local comic book store, but you can buy it from him at the Con or get it from his web site. The first three issues are such high quality stuff that it's surprising they're self-published. Bobby has worked for Disney, Nickelodeon, and is currently employed by Pixar - so the guy knows what he's doing. And it shows in the books. Unfortunately, I think the demands of the job have been a little high for the past couple of years because he hasn't been able to publish another issue to rival the first three. He did an issue #3.5 last year and an issue #0 this year, but these books - while still well-illustrated, are smaller and printed on less high quality materials. Regardless, it was great to see and talk to Bobby again. One last thing about Bobby - he will sketch a character in any book you buy from him, which seems to be more and more rare with comic artists these days (the "free" part, especially).

Next stop: Konsequential Studios.
I met Laurie, Kandrix and Jess at 2005's Con (Laurie and Kandrix were married last year) and have looked forward to seeing them again and picking up their latest books each year since then. Their books are also self-published (a comic series called A Monk's Tale). The art is very nice black and white tonal work and their books are all produced with high-quality cardstock covers and heavy paper on the interior pages - there's none of that flimsy crap you get from DC/Marvel here. Jess hasn't been to the Con the last two years due to demands with her schooling (Laurie explained that she has now finished school and will be...doing something else). Laurie is the heart and soul of Konsequential. She's also willing to do a sketch for you, if asked. And her sketches are really super cute. One last thing about A Monk's Tale: The trilogy (7 issues plus an issue #0) is finally complete, so they're going to be soliciting their book through Diamond. A Monk's Tale, previously only available online or at the Con, will be coming to a comic shop near you!

After talking to Laurie and Kandrix for a while, I didn't really have any other booths I was dying to get to (I did have many more listed, but figured I'd get to them eventually) and I went looking for back issues to comics I had missed throughout the year (there are always a few) while I waited for the Neil Gaiman panel to start. I found a few issues I was missing and even found a few issues for books that I thought were dead: Wonderland, Red Star and Arhena Voltaire. The Artist of Wonderland, Sonny Liew, even signed and doodled on the three issues I picked up. Very cool.

With the scheduled start of Neil's panel quickly approaching, I went to see if I could find Jane Wiedlin on my way. I was sure that I knew where she was supposed to be, but I could find no sign of her. So, head hung low with dejection, I headed to Hall 6 to see the Spotlight on Neil Gaiman panel.

I did see Olivia Munn and her co-host (Kevin...something) from Attack of the Show signing autographs. Man, you wouldn't believe how long that line was! I considered waiting in it for about two seconds and then just took a few photos of Olivia from the periphery of the signing.

Hall 6 was big. Real big. But, as big as it was and even ten minutes early, the room was packed. So I looked for a semi-close seat, but ended up sitting very near the back of what appeared to be a 2,000 seat venue. At least I wasn't one of the many who stood along the walls. Luckily, there was a huge video screen and a camera on Neil at all times, so I was able to see him well enough.

Neil was just as brilliant as everyone expected him to be (I heard him speak at the signing for Anansi Boys, so I wasn't surprised by his performance). He had been, apparently, expecting an agenda of topics to speak on or an interview, so he had come completely unprepared, but that didn't stop him from talking for over an hour. He was witty, intelligent, and told stories in person as well as he does in any of his books. Mainly, he spoke about Coraline, Beowulf, Death and a few other movie projects that aren't exactly going anywhere, but he didn't limit his comments to movies. He told stories and talked about his family and was...just Neil.

One of his stories was related to a nickname he picked up from Alan Moore: Scary Trousers. The story came up because a company called Never Wear had a booth selling two Neil t-shirts (an Anansi Boys shirt and the Scary Trousers tee). I thought the Scary Trousers story was great and the graphic on the tee captures Neil so well that I picked one up after right the panel. Unfortunately, it was only a size large (the biggest size available) and, despite the assurances of the girl who sold it to me, has managed to become a bit tighter than I'd like it to be.

After the panel, I returned to the show floor and sought out the other companies on my list. I found, quite by accident, Mark Schultz and picked up Volume 2 of his sketchbook series (beautiful), found Joe Linsner and picked up a hardcover of his latest pinup book (which he did a little drawing inside of) and a couple of smaller con-exclusive sketchbooks. I visited the Star Wars area, the Pirates display, and many other bright and colorful exhibits.

At some point in the afternoon, I met up with my new friend Tyler (I don't really remember exactly when this happened). We made fun of the costumed attendees, talked about the ever-evolving nature of the Con and just stood around like two old guys...standing around. I also saw a couple of my neighbors with their kids, which was a bit odd. Speaking to anyone other than the small-press folks who I've forced myself up every year feels a little strange. It just goes against my anti-social nature.

Finally, around 6:00, I called it a day.


I had decided to make Saturday a panel day, so I highlighted those that looked the most entertaining...and then failed to go to any of them.

Well, almost any of them. I did get to see Neil again (very briefly) as he spoke about the film version of Coraline and the special viewing to be held later that night in a theater downtown. I didn't go, so I missed out on another signing opportunity (apparently even Maddy was signing this time).

One of the missed opportunities was the Heroes panel. It was impossibly crowded and closed early, so I missed out on that one. There was supposed to have been a sneak preview of the next seasons premiere, but...I missed it. sigh

I ended up staying with Tyler and a few of his other friends in the massive (three times the size of the room Neil had spoken in on Friday) hall I was in, so I saw several movie panels for upcoming releases. Some good, some bad.

The first, for Balls of Fury, was one of the good panels. Not only does the film look hilarious, the panel members were joking non-stop. Lo Pan (Big Trouble in Little China) is in the film and was a late appearance on the panel. Hilarity ensued. I hadn't planned to see this film before the Con, but I just might now.

Then there were the mind numbing panels (with a few bright spots here and there) for "less-than-memorable horror movie" and "generic post-apocalyptic action flick" 9and possibly others that I've already forgotten). Liv Tyler was on the horror movie panel and spoke Elvish at one point, but the film itself was...unremarkable. A later panel for the upcoming Incredible Hulk movie also co-stars Liv, but Ed Norton managed to drag that panel into the ground with every rambling response (plus there was no movie footage to share yet, so it was...dry).

Disney had a couple of interesting panels: Narnia 2 (Prince Caspian) and Pixar's Wall*E. There was a lot of exclusive footage for both shown (accompanied by men in black on the lookout for hidden recorders) and some interesting revelations about the continuing Narnia series (one was that Disney plans to release a new film every summer for the next five years). Wall*E looks especially good, but I'm sure I'll see both.

The highlight (judging by the capacity crowd) was the Iron Man panel with Gwynnth Paltrow and Robert Downey Jr. There had open seats everywhere all day long...until this panel was scheduled to begin. There was also a line outside the door to get in (many, I was told, did not get in). I had my doubts about Robert Downey Jr. playing Iron man, but after seeing the exclusive comiccon clip (not my recording - I just linked to somebody else's youtube upload), I'm sold. This movie should be every bit as good as Batman Returns. Or it might just be another Superman Returns (is that what it was called? I forget). Who knows? I suspect it will be awesome, though.

And that was it for panels. It was around 5:00 by now, so I scurried off to the show floor for a few more quick photos and booth-checks.

Here are all the photos I snapped (and a bunch of photos I snaked from, and anywhere else with Con photos I recognized).

Now that I've got that out of the way, maybe I'll get around to mentioning some of the books I've picked up (some of which have even been read - Harry Potter was well worth reading), movies I've seen (mostly DVDs, but The Bourne Ultimatum was awesome) and any other madcap fun I can remember from the past several weeks...

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