Glad that’s over

Hotel del CoronadoWhat’s the cut-off date for post-Comic-Con recap blog posts, anyway? 12 hours? A day? Can I get an extension for having to spend a whole day driving back from San Diego, then the next day flying back to Georgia, then the next day sleeping? Plus another extension for having nothing particularly interesting to say except complaints?

The Hotel del Coronado
is pretty… pretty lousy! Boom! But really, it’s a neat-looking place, but the service is a drag. It took about 30 minutes to check in and be told that our reservation for two beds got us a room with one bed, so I got to spend several hundred dollars to sleep on an AeroBed. I was having a hard enough time convincing myself it was okay to spend way way out of my price range for the once-in-a-lifetime historic-hotel thing, but with the waits and prices they just kept making it worse.

On the plus side, though: I got to walk out on the beach every night and feel the tide dragging the sand out from under my feet, something I haven’t done since I was little and spent summer vacations at Myrtle Beach. I’d recommend visitors to San Diego check the place out, but not actually stay there, even if you can afford it. And if you’re going for Comic-Con, book your hotel well in advance! By the time we booked in April, the del Coronado was actually one of the cheapest places we could find!

The show was so incomprehensibly crowded, and the lines so long, and me so lazy, that I only managed to see one: the Futurama panel, with the entire cast and the executive producers. They did a dramatic reading of the free comic book given out at the panel, which was basically an extended joke about Planet Express’ cancellation by the “Box Network” and being saved by the “Carton Network.” (Get it?!?) But it was worth it for Maurice LaMarche’s reading everything as Calculon. Which then turned into an extended (and really funny) voice-off competition between LaMarche, Billy West, and John DiMaggio.

Celebrity Sightings
As I already mentioned, I passed by Craig McCracken and Nick Frost, and caught a glimpse of Kristen Bell signing photos at some booth. (She’s really tiny, and from what I could see, just as astoundingly beautiful in person as she is on the TV box).

Edited to mention: Rain got to go to a panel with the women of Battlestar Galactica, and Ron Moore, so she wins. Front row, too.

Failed Social Interactions With Artists
I saw Shawn McManus in the autograph area, and I intended to tell him I’ve been a big fan of his stuff since his Dr. Fate series with J.M. DeMatteis, one of my favorite-ever comic series. But I didn’t have anything for him to sign, and it’s kind of awkward just to go up and say “I’m a big fan.” (I know that from experience). I headed out to the ATM to get some cash to buy one of his prints, but by the time I got back he’d already closed up the booth.

I did bring my hardbound Art of Hellboy book to get signed by Mike Mignola, and then failed to do it. The only signing opportunity was a big, crowded event at the Dark Horse booth (at least when I passed by). Instead I got another of his small convention prints, like I did at the last Wonder Con. I predict I’ll eventually have enough of them to wallpaper my house, or at least roll around in.

Also in the failure category: my copy of DC: New Frontier by Darwyn Cooke remains unsigned. The DC booth was nuts. Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham of Fables were there for a signing, but of course I forgot to bring my copies of those books.

Failed Booth Appearances
I was tentatively scheduled to be at the Telltale booth to sign copies of the Sam & Max games (and I suppose Curse of Monkey Island, if anyone had brought their copy), but completely failed to make it. The scary part is that I can’t even remember why — I was either still dealing with traffic and parking, or finding something to eat, or wandering naked and confused through the exhibition hall. The entire weekend was a confused blur, so by about 5pm on Friday I was just passively asking people around me what to do next. I’ll try to make it up to my legions of fans at the next Wonder Con.

Successful Purchasing Experiences
I felt like kind of a douche for badgering Steve Purcell to sell me one of his few remaining Sam & Max prints, but dammit, I’ve wanted one for a long time. There’s one hanging in the Telltale offices that I’ve contemplated stealing ever since the first time I visited, a couple of years ago.

Apart from that, I got a copy of Flight Volume 4, an always-beautiful compilation of indie comic artists’ stories with a common theme. They had a great system set up where they’d pass the book along to all the artists at the booth and it would eventually work its way back. So even though I didn’t actually talk to any of the artists, I still got a personalized copy. I’m a fan of Vera Brosgol‘s work on her website and the previous Flight volumes, so I was glad to see she’s got a story in this collection. And I didn’t realize until later that my friend Graham has a story in it, although he wasn’t there; I’ll have to see if he can sign it at APE or something.

And I got two copies of the Tek Jansen comic, signed by the artist. I just hadn’t realized he was the artist when I was paying for them, and was a little surprised and felt somewhat foolish when he took a pen and wrote his name on the cover of each. “What the heck are you do– oh.” Whoops.

Sam's Hideous Junkto Steve Purcell for winning the Eisner award for Best Digital Comic, for the Sam & Max story on Telltale’s site. (You can see a recreation of the award ceremony from the Pope on Telltale’s blog).

It’s reassuring to see that the internet is still working, and you’ll see embittered complaints about a funny, hand-painted original comic presented for free, complete with anonymous criticisms and allegations of ignorance on the part of the judges. Call me biased (or, since this is the internet, I guess call me bias) but I say any comic with a panel about Sam’s hideous junk deserves to win every award the show offers.

Interstate 5
I’ve heard rumors off and on that they’re planning to build a bullet train between San Francisco and Los Angeles. I would welcome such a creation. If it proves unfeasible, I suggest they spend the money on an alternate technology: a Spy Hunter style button that I can press to take the minivan driving at 55 mph in front of me and send it careening into the median with a fiery explosion.

What in the hell is so hard to understand, people? You drive on the right, you pass on the left. If you’re not actively engaged in the pursuit of overtaking another vehicle, by which I mean you’ll pass it within the next 10 minutes, you get the hell over in the right lane. There’s no excuse to be driving 60 mph in the fast lane of a highway with a 70 mph speed limit. Has the world gone mad?

I’m pretty sure that I’m not going to another Comic Con. Good to see once, but I’m perfectly happy with the more awkward but also more earnest Wonder Con from now on. But if I do ever have to go south of San Jose again, I’m flying.