I've been attending Comic-Con since 2002, and for whatever reason this year was definitely off. A few people I’ve talked to reported similar feelings. Maybe it’s plateaued? Maybe it’s going down hill? I don’t know, but of all the years I’ve attended since 2002, it was definitely one of the worst ones. That being said, a few highlights did happen, including one incredible experience outside of the convention that blew my mind, and reminded me that the universe can be pretty crazy when it comes to coincidences.
Amanda was already at the convention center late Wednesday, and had her cosplays all lined-up for the first three days, but I didn't actually head down to San Diego until Thursday night. The next morning Amanda had her Cortana outfit ready to go, and we hit-up some photographers for some photoshoots at both the convention and nearby. Afterwards I had the latest batch of w00t Stout at the Stone Brewing Tap Room at Petco Park, and as usual, it was beyond delicious. A favorite staple of mine since the Tap Room opened many years ago.
Later that night we attended the Sideshow Collectibles party, and amongst all the chaos ran into multiple Academy Award winner Rick Baker talking about how he had to create 500 different ape masks for Tim Burton's THE PLANET OF THE APES remake. He's a great story teller, and a approachable gentleman. I briefly met him years ago when I was helping run the Silver Scream Film & Comic Festival, where he was a special guest of honor for the 35th anniversary of AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON. Later that evening we chatted with photographer extraordinaire Pat Loika and the always lovely Amanda Lynne. The party was great, with a food buffet and three open bars. Bourbon & Cokes were my poison of choice. We were about to attend the Gentle Giant party after, but we were too tired, and Amanda's most ambitious cosplay to date required us to get a decent night's sleep.
Saturday morning Amanda spent hours getting her Ame-Comi Duela Dent outfit prepared. It was this convention that we realized there is two types of cosplay outfits: ones for studio shoots only, and ones for conventions. Duela Dent was definitely for a studio shoot. It stayed in one piece for a few hours with a few adjustments here and there, but towards the middle of the afternoon it was becoming too much for all our emergency patch-up supplies to handle. She made it through Harelypalooza, a shoot with James Rulison, then finally she had enough. We Ubered back to Coronado for a quick change and a bite to eat, then returned to check out the DC Universe event across the street at the convention center.
While Amanda waited in line for a few hours to smash things to pieces in Harley's Chaos Room, I headed back into the convention to say 'hi' to Ed Luce and pick up a new WUVABLE OAF t-shirt, and Keenan Marshall Keller & Tom Neely and purchased the limited edition HENRY & GLENN FOREVER Omnibus and a few pins. Lovely guys all around. Exhausted and broken, we returned to Coronado and went to sleep early.
Sunday was definitely the crappiest day of the convention, but we did get to see Jordan Grout and his lovely wife Hadley, and shortly afterwards we ran into my friend Ihimu Ukpo, who had with him his copy of MORSELS OF DELIGHT and had me sign it. I was so surprised and delighted, and thank him for making my convention. I had originally applied for a Professional badge this year, but MORSELS hadn't been published yet and I only had my eBooks to show for it. Hopefully next year will more successful in that endeavor, especially with plans to have THE PATCH released by then.
We had scored VIP passes to the Laika LIVE experience in the Gaslamp district, but were turned away by security after being told the VIP wristbands weren't valid. Despite a Laika worker handing them out to us that very morning, we were told we weren't allowed in. The experience definitely left a bad taste in our mouths, and kind of deflated our sails for any upcoming Laika movies. And this is coming from two huge fans. Needless to say, we were upset and decided to go get some lunch.
That's where the craziness of the universe comes in. Amanda and I walk uptown to Sushi Deli 2 to grab some lunch. We’re seated in the back of the restaurant, and there’s an open table next to us. A short while later, a guy with red curly hair and an orange Volcom shirt sits next to us and orders a beer, and starts reading his Deadpool trade paperback. Amanda and I are talking about the con, chitchatting and the like, and the guy at the other table sees my Stone w00tstout t-shirt and asks which brewery produces it. I tell him Stone, and we start having a small conversation of where we grew-up, what year we both graduated (both of us 2005), and when I mention I attended Coronado High School, he starts throwing names at me. Every punk rocker, misfit, skater, technical theater nerd, indie kid, and stoner this guy is mentioning, I knew from high school and even attended shows with back in the day. And yet our paths never crossed at any parties or concerts at SOMA, Che Café, or The Scene! We must have missed each other like two ships passing in the night.
I’m so blown away by all this, and even Amanda is pretty amazed that we have so many connected friends, but never met before. Then to take things to the next level, he tells me he used to attend high school with this one comic book nerd that had an encyclopedic knowledge of comics, and even started his own comic book space for kids in Pacific Beach. “Wait,” I said, “Are you talking about Matt Dunford?!” He was. So not only did he know all my friends from high school, but he knows a friend of mine now as well! We chatted for the longest time about people back in the day, who’s getting married and divorced, and even a mutual creepy asshole we both despise who had a reputation of tying girls up. It was a great chat, and I of course ruined it by accidentally knocking over his beer glass when I went to shake his hand. Klutzy Cameron had to go and make a nice moment awkward. Bryan, you’re a cool dude, and I’m sorry we didn’t hang in high school. With all of our mutual acquaintances, I know we would have gotten along swimmingly.
The convention eventually comes to a close at 5 pm, and Amanda and I head home. Again, it wasn't a good con for us, but it did have its moments. It did excite me seeing all the smaller book publishers that were exhibiting on the main floor, making me hopeful to be published by one of them in the future and forever have a spot to hang and sign books during the convention.
Hopefully Comic-Con next year will include a much more glowing report from me.