Details of Setsuled's Expedition now follow;
I went early on Thursday, the first day. I woke up at 7am. I'd planned to get ahead on Boschen and Nesuko earlier in the week but never managed it. But I was still up appreciably late on Wednesday to make Thursday morning a drag.
I went early because I wanted to attend DC's talent search at 10:30am. But, to spare you the suspense that fragmented my attention for days, I'll tell you now nothing came of it. Apparently I'm not what DC, Vertigo, or Wildstorm are looking for in an artist, which isn't terribly surprising to me. But my hopes were raised somewhat by some of the really crappy comic book art I'd seen recently, especially in some Star Wars comics I'd been reading (which, I know, isn't DC, but, you know, industry standards, I figured). I remembered snickering and pointing with Tim at a particular drawing of Aayla Secura where her arm seemed to be coming out of her head.
But the talent search thing did mean I had to get up early for the next couple days. The worst was Saturday, because by Friday night, not only was I not ahead with Boschen and Nesuko, I was a little behind. I had to ink the last half of the second to last page, pencil and ink the last page, and colour the last four. By the time Friday night was dead and Saturday morning was climbing from the birthing pit, my styrofoam brain was no longer able to comprehend the meaning of my actions and black lines and colour were sort of oozing their ways into existence on the computer screen. But, by the gods, it got done and I got two hours of sleep, to boot.
When I found, Saturday morning, that I wasn't chosen to be interviewed, I didn't really feel bad. I'd started thinking about how I'm not really much of a good soldier. How I'm better off trying to get my own stuff out there.
I wandered the floor, turned a corner, and saw that a young woman had chosen to walk around topless. She had nice, large-ish breasts, a leather cap, and a long black skirt. She walked like she wanted people to think she was perfectly comfortable and courageous, but something about the way she gripped her boyfriend's hand told me she wasn't at all comfortable.
I was trying to get to hall H to see, I think, Kevin Smith and Richard Kelly or something (I forget). When I saw that there was a queue, I decided not to bother, turned around, and saw that security had already spirited away the topless girl. It's a lucky thing, too; who knows how many boys had already been ruined for honourable marriage by the sight?
I saw the Samurai Stormtrooper on an escalator, but I didn't know what it was until chris_walsh told me about it. And there were many good garden variety Stormtroopers, a good Darth Maul, and lots and lots of people wearing very comfortable looking Anakin Skywalker costumes. I was also privileged to see a pretty young woman in a Leia Slave costume. But oh, the experience is simply too fleeting.
As for actual celebrities, high profile artists, or writers in attendance, I saw far fewer this year than usual, and those I did see I didn't look for very hard. I'm kind of disappointed I missed David Cronenberg on Thursday, and Bruce Campbell for three days, but I simply didn't feel very excited by the idea of sitting around listening to talented people having nothing much to say, especially when I was operating on so little sleep.
I was hanging around one corridor on Friday, wondering where Tim and his friend Amber had gotten to, when I realised that Jhonen Vasquez was speaking in the room next to me, so I went inside and took a seat.
Vasquez was saying how people normally asked really dumb questions at these things, which is true, and I hoped his speaking out against it would discourage all but the truly interesting questions. But Vasquez himself, aside from coming off as being a neat, intelligent fellow, didn't have a great deal of interest to say. Yes, he was happy to've worked on Invader Zim but, yes, it was a pain in the ass dealing with money-conscious collaborators. And yes, he has ideas for other works involving Johnny and Squee.
I was sort of bemused by how he seemed mildly unhappy that many people admired Johnny (the character), whom he'd meant to be somewhat pathetic.
Later that day, I saw Jill Thompson in a corridor talking to some people, but I didn't stop to listen. But, hey, all ya'll, I was close enough to tackle Jill Thompson. Envy me, yo.
I had a good time attending panels on web comics on Saturday and Sunday. I'd never heard of any of the panellists, which was sort of funny as I've been looking at all sorts of web comics over the past couple of years looking for the rare decent one among millions. The panels were on promoting web comics and earning a living off of them. I didn't really learn much I didn't know, but was reminded of some things I've been too distracted to do.
But it was nice just seeing what a bunch of web comic makers were like. Not only the panellists, but most of the people in the room had web comics. It was sort of nice suddenly feeling like I was part of a society.
Anyway, in case you'd like to know, panellists I saw on Saturday were Bill Barnes, Scott Kurtz, James Kochalka, R Stevens, Dave Kellett, and Kristofer Straub. Sunday, in addition to Bill Barnes and Scott Kurtz, there was Steve Troop, David Willis, Raina Talgemeier, and Andy Bell.
They all seemed like reasonably charming people. Talgemeier, the only girl, was very quiet on the How to Make Money with Web Comics panel because, apparently, the poor young lady doesn't make any money with her web comic. It seems her comic requires a subscription to read, which has driven humanity away. A good thing to remember, I guess. I approached her afterwards and offered my condolences, and snagged the only free comic I'd managed to get at the con, a little promotional copy of her Smile. It was cute, and interesting as apparently it was about her getting her front teeth knocked out when she was younger. I could identify as I wear a false tooth to-day for one I lost playing little league baseball as a kid.
I read her comic while waiting for the trolley to take me back to East County. I'd never seen the trolley station so crowded and the blue and orange lines were all fucked to hell because it seems a Padres game was happening the same day as the last day as the Comic-Con--and the stadium is across the street from the convention centre.
So we had a huge mass of baseball fans packed to bursting in the little red trolley cars along with huge masses of costumed comic fans. A hot, sweaty, uneasy atmosphere it was as two social groups were blended as they were never, ever meant to be.
Reading an entry in Franklin's blog, I decided to go out to-day looking for this new Batman comic. And beheld, I did, the comic book store apocalypse.
I knew my previous regular shop at Parkway Plaza had been gone for weeks. So I went to North County Fair and saw theirs had closed as well.
About two weeks ago, I'd been to Mission Valley Centre and had discovered that a cool anime/manga shop, that'd been there for many years, had been driven out by a comics shop. So I went there as, since the store was new, it was bound to still be in existence. I coyly thought to myself, as I ascended the ramp from the parking garage into the mall, that I oughtn't count on this store still being around, the way things were going. But I was still dumbfounded to discover that the shop was indeed closed.
I remembered a little shop near a hospital where bloodlette used to work, so I headed there. Yes, the shop still existed, but as I approached, I was stopped by a sign proclaiming that the store's new hours meant it was now closed on Mondays.
So there will be no comics to-day.
Only yesterday I was surrounded by an unimaginably vast universe of comics, and now I can't find one damned shop. So suddenly and violently have I been expelled from heaven. Is it 2006 yet?