Comic-Con International 2005 Trip Report
14-17 July 2005

Day 1

Flew in, got some work done on one of the tie-in proposals and edited S.C.E. #58: Honor by Kevin Killiany on the plane. Jet Blue is better than other airlines insofar as the seats are more comfy and you get your own TV screen with DirecTV. I like being able to watch West Wing reruns and X-Files reruns and Celebrity Poker Showdown and Whose Line is it Anyway? reruns while flying. Also finished reading the latest Boondocks collection and started Laura Anne Gilman's Curse the Dark.

Checked into the hotel -- not the Marriott next to the convention center like usual, but the Courtyard by Marriott much farther away, thanks to the Padres being in town this weekend as well as a sand castle festival in addition to the big-ass convention -- showered, changed, and headed to the convention center. Checked in with various and sundry folk -- among them, Rich White, who gave me a copy of his new comic, the Pocket folks, who were displaying the covers to both Down These Mean Streets and Serenity for the first time anywhere (I'll put them on the web site after the convention's over), Joe Jusko, the painter for the Spidey novel cover, Glenn Hauman, Marv Wolfman, Steve Roman, and lots of other people, plus the folks at the Serenity fan table -- rescheduled a meeting that I stupidly scheduled for a time when I would be on the airplane, and did two panels.

The crime fiction panel, which was conveniently named "Down These Mean Streets," went very well, as the panelists -- self, the ever-erudite Max Allan Collins, the charmingly rambling Charlie Huston, the dry-witted Richard Morgan, and the goofy Nathan Walpow, moderated by the ever-magnificent Maryelizabeth Hart -- discussed why we do crime fiction, how we do crime fiction, and what kinds of weird-ass shit we've done to research crime fiction.

The Smart Pop panel was very well attended, though that turned out to be in part because Amy Berner brought several of her groupies along. Everyone got applause when we introduced ourselves, but Amy got screams and squeals akin to those heard at a 1964 Beatles concert, prompting me to look at her and say, "We gotta go to the crappy town where I'm a hero!" We discussed possible future subjects for BenBella essay books, and also talked about the ones we wrote. (The other panelists 'sides me and Amy included the line's editor/publisher, Glenn Yeffeth, as well as the ever-charming Nancy Holder, the soft-spoken K. Stoddard Hayes, the always-loopy-but-in-a-good-way Kevin Andrew Murphy, and the gleefully insane Don DeBrandt.) Afterward we all did a signing, which went very very well, with at least one person declaring herself my newest fan because she thought I was hilarious on the panel. Go me.

I've also pledged that for every autograph I sign this weekend, I'll donate $1 to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. I've got one autograph session per day this weekend, so I expect the $20 I made today to be but a drop in the proverbial bucket....

After the signing, I had a lovely dinner with editor Marco Palmieri, fellow Trek scribes Geoffrey Thorne and Paul Tseng, and Geoff's faithful sidekick Clint, then back here to collapse.

I've now been up for 20 hours straight, including lots of time being "on." Time for beddy-bye.........

Day 2

In brief: had a productive meeting with folks from a comics company who might be throwing work at me; had lunch with Marina Frants; helped out at the Pocket Books booth for an hour; signed at the Serenity fan table, during which I got to meet Joss Whedon, who just dropped by the table, and also signed about 50 autographs over two hours; had dinner with Jeremy Bottroff and his lovely wife and daughter; and hung out with a bunch of Browncoats.

To bed now.

Day 3

Gotta head out to the Byron Preiss Memorial, but in brief:

That last one needs explanation -- they finished editing the movie about two days ago, and they did a screening at a theatre in Horton Plaza of the final cut of the movie. I liked it when I saw the screening. With the better editing, the lighting fixed, and most of all the music, I really really love this movie. David Newman, who also did the music for Galaxy Quest, caught the perfect balance between Big Movie Music and the twangy, acoustic laid-back music that Greg Edmondson did on Firefly.

Then went out drinking with some Browncoats. Always fun. *grin*

Off to the final day......

Day 4

Only did the first half-hour of the Byron Preiss memorial, but was able to say some things about the effect Byron has had on my life -- which is actually pretty extensive and profound -- and also heard tributes by Kevin J. Anderson and William Stout (the latter actually getting choked up; he and Byron were very close friends in addition to colleagues). Then went to the media tie-in panel with Andy Mangels, David Mack, Marco Palmieri, Don DeBrandt, Nancy Holder, and Jeff Mariotte, which was in a room that was intimidatingly large (and followed up a much more popular Power Rangers presentation), but which went very very well. Then we went to our autographing that they forgot to list in the program, so only four people showed up. *sigh*

And that ended my obligations for the con. I talked briefly with one of the editors I had already talked to, as I had a notion for a tie-in comics pitch to send him, and I wanted to make sure it hadn't been done already (it hasn't); gave Rob Burnett an autographed copy of Articles of the Federation; bought a Super Grover action figure and two t-shirts for Terri; helped out some more at the Serenity fan table, including coming up with lines from Firefly to use as word balloons accompanying some excellent caricatures that were donated for future charity auctions; gave $20 more to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, bringing the weekend total to $100 ($1 per autograph I signed at an official autographing this weekend) donated; got to meet Margaret Weis and join her in some Serenity geebling (Margaret's doing the Serenity role-playing game), and we made vague plans to possibly do some cross-marketing at Dragon*Con; caught a bit of "Starship Smackdown," which was amusing; and then came back to the hotel to see the rather dramatic end to the Yankees-Red Sox game.

Gonna have dinner with Dave Mack and his lovely wife Kara Bain and then come back and collapse.

This was a fantastic show. I am quite happy.

[First posted on my LiveJournal on 15-17 July 2005.]


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