[TMPL page.setTitle=" - Spiels: Comic Con International 2003"]
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Wow. It took me a week just to recover from this year's comic con. Unlike previous years, this year I actually had my own booth. Well, sharing it with Fred Gallagher of Megatokyo, but we actually had the booth ourselves, so I was at it most all the time. This means I had very little time to actually explore the convention itself. So don't expect me to tell you what comic con was like this year. I really don't know. I saw maybe an hour of the convention, to be honest.

So, we get to San Diego at about noon on Wednesday. I was gonna pick up Fred and Sarah from the airport, but after packing the car on Tuesday, I realized that there was no way in hell any more than two humans were gonna fit in that car. No way, no how. So we head straight to the convention center to pick up our badges, and while waiting in line, Fred and Sarah walk up behind us. Perfect. :) This was actually the first time I'd met the two of them, and they're wonderful people.

Anyway, we head down to the booth to get our bearings, and it's actually not too bad of a location. I mean, sure it's on the ass-end of the convention, but we're in a pretty accessible location, and at least we weren't buried in the middle of the hall. Fred and I start unloading the car, wishing I had the foresight to bring a hand cart or something along. Especially when lugging that laser printer from the parking lot in the middle of the hall to the booth. Ugh.

So we get the booth all set up, and being as how it's somewhere around 25,000% humidity in San Diego, we head back to the hotel to get a little rest before preview night starts. I swear, preview night was invented by the Comic Con staff just to piss off exhibitors. "What, you're all set up! Fabulous! Now get to work!" Anyway, I ALMOST had a repeat of last year, but I made it clear that I did NOT want to move to a different hotel, thank you very much. So I had to wait somewhere around an hour or so for them to get my room ready (this is at 3 in the afternoon, mind you). Hotel lounges are a beautiful thing. Not only do you have somewhere comfortable to relax, but there is alcohol there. :)

Preview night was interesting. It was honestly surprising just how many people were there. It's crazy. It was four hours of signing things, printing things, selling things, sketching things... and then the people got let into the hall. *grins* That night, after all was said and done, we headed out to a restaurant in the Gaslap Quarter called "Acqua Al 2". Don't do that. Blah.

Thursday was the real crazy day. NINE HOURS behind that booth. It does things to you, I'm telling you. One of the first people to stop by was someone I saw last year...he was the travelling billboard.

This was just at the beginning of the day, too. He was completely covered by the end of it.

He brought a white shirt over to me, too. With a little convincing, the Shirt Ninja made an appearance to do some sketches for people. I didn't even know he could draw. ^^D

Ninja Art Skizzillz!

Oh, and Liz and I had a few fangirls that came by all the time. They were actually pretty cool, and the one on the left drew us a few pieces of artwork (which I will scan in at some time). This particular day, they were dressed as pirates, but they had costumes for every different day. :D

Yarr! Pirates be usin the cell phone, matey!

OH! Almost forgot! Our good friend Keith (or as we like to call him, Pdac), on thursday morning, apparently had a little conversation with two women cosplaying as the Black Canary and Lara Croft. Maybe they were doing it professionally, I really don't know. But Pdac asks them out to lunch, and lo and behold, when noon rolls around, they show up at our booth, ready for lunch. I had to get a picture to commemorate this outstanding act of Pimp-Daddyness.

Keith Pdac Posehn, if there were still bards around, they would sing songs of you.

Thursday night we headed to possibly the best restaurant in the Gaslap Quarter, Moose McGillicuddy's. They have a Philly Cheesesteak that is EXCELLENT. We went with Young, Natsuki, and the rest of the Nekobox crew. They somehow managed to accompany a party of TWELVE relatively easily. :D

Friday was basically a repeat of thursday, with a few less people. (Just a few) Fred was busy as always (he pretty much always had a line... I feel bad for the guy. He was busy nonstop. A few people that stopped by to see fred were pretty cool. This one group had two ratties with wings on, cosplaying as Boo.

Aren't they CUTE?

Also, on the brief trip around the con we did take, looking for Mike and Jerry, we found him. Just in case you're driving yourself crazy, he's at Comic Con.

THERE'S Waldo!

Also, a RL reader than came by on Friday had the world's most AWESOME tattoo.

Yes, folks, that's a moogle. BOO-YAH!

Saturday, a horde of Shirt Ninjas came to the booth, waiting to do my bidding! I bade them to grab Kevin Smith and bring him to the booth, as I was more or less stuck there. Then they ran off, presumably to do as I bade them. The one in front is actually the same guy who was the walking billboard. He sorta hung out at our booth the whole time, and he even handed out about 200~300 Real Life flyers. We gave him a free t-shirt for that. He brought us pocky. :D So did many others.

Shirt Ninja Horde, STRIKE!

Ah! Also on Saturday, a group of Real Life cosplayers stopped by to say Hi. It even took me a minute to realize they were cosplaying. What can I say... my characters have normal clothing. :D And the one on the left also cosplayed as Miho from Megatokyo on Sunday. She's actually a member of the forums, V'Lyandra, and she's apparently from folsom, even. I actually met quite a few people from this area during the con.

From left to right, Liz, Liz (the real one), Me, Greg, Alan Extra, Dave, and a guy who may have just been posing, but could be Tony caught he has the black shirt. :D

And you may have seen this hinted to on the megatokyo page, but I present to you, ladies and gentlemen, the cutest cosplayer, EVER.

She's Boo from MT. She actually didn't seem to pleased about the prospect, since I think she was pouting around this time, but she was still a cutie none the less.

We took Steve Troop, who does Melonpool, out to lunch that day at a place called Pat & Oscar's. I must confess, I've never had avacado on a pizza before, but damned if it wasn't tasty. I never realized Steve was such an Auteur. He does it all.. animation, puppetry, video, cartooning... the man's got more projects than I could ever take on. Nice, nice guy. He even gave us a copy of his newest Melonpool book, which I've been reading through lately.

Friday night, we grabbed Dave Kellett, the man behind Sheldon, and took him out to dinner at Moose McGillicuddy's. It's becoming kind of a yearly tradition. Dave is possibly one of the most charismatic and funny gentlemen I've ever met, and we're both fans of each other's comic, which works out very nice. We got to chat about how things are going under the United Media Coporate Umbrella, as it were, as well as the virtues of a Femenine German accent. Seriously, just don't even ask. You wouldn't understand.

Sunday was panel day. Fred arranged for a Megatokyo panel to take place, and he told them the numbers he expected, based on previous attendance. Much to our dismay, they gave us a room to hold about 120 people. There were about 600 people waiting in line. What sucks is that instead of finding us a bigger room, they capped the line and told 480 people to head out, essentially. :( What was cool though was that even though it was an MT panel, a good deal of the audience reads Real Life, so when Fred announced Liz and I, people cheered. It was encouraging. I even got the first two questions of the panel. And yes, someone really did ask about the master sword. All in all, the MT panel was a lot of fun, and I hope the good people at Comic Con have learned their lesson.

Sunday was nice, because it was they day everyone left. At 5, they kicked people out. As fun as the convention was, I was SOOO glad to hear that call. I was beat. And we still had to tear down the booth and get ready to go. It was kind of surreal though... we were hanging out with Steve Troop in the lobby of the convention center after everyone left, and it was just dead silent. Coolest thing ever. It felt so amazingly good to just lie there with nobody else around. And you wouldn't believe how fast those booths in the convention hall come down once they close the show. It's unreal.

Sunday night was the night we decided on to have our big-ass webcartoonists dinner. We invited Scott Kurtz, Steve Troop, Batjew, Safety Monkey, and a few of the Dumbrella guys out to dinner. Of course, after about half an hour, TWELVE Dumbrella guys showed up. Wow. Not unwelcome, just unexpected. Fortunately, the Rock Bottom Brewery had this upstairs room that had enough room for everyone, so we eventually filtered up there and had a great time. It was the first time I actually had a chance to sit and talk with Scott, which was cool for me, since he's basically the guy who got me doing all this in the first place. I also got to mee the guy behind the online comic, Bruno, Christopher Baldwin. Really, really nice guy. When I went upstairs, I saw a bunch of familiar faces, as well as a few I had never seen before, but knew a lot about. I met John Allison and Jeff Rowland last year at the keenspot booth, but I got to meet R. Stevens from Diesel Sweeties, a comic I had read a lot of, but I'd never met the guy before. He had a TON of really, really good advice for me regarding T-shirts, which will bring itself to fruition here before too long. *wink* And he's a dead ringer for John Cusack. :D Also, I met Sam Brown, who does Explodingdog, a very funny online comic that you really just have to see to understand. And get this... one of the guys at the table turns around and says "Ah, Greg Dean?" I say yeah, and he introduces himself as Jon Rosenberg. Maybe you've heard of him... he's the guy that does GOATS. Jon Freaking Rosenberg, introducing himself to ME. The guy is a LEGEND. I felt really bad, cause I was trying to make the rounds and talk to everyone, but it was pushing 11, and we had to drive two hours to anaheim, so I had to say goodbye. There were a lot more people at that table, believe you me, but I have a really bad memory. Hell, I even kept calling Jon Rosenberg "Josh Rosenberg". I'm really bad with names. :(

Back row, left to right: Sarah, Fred, Scott, Me, Batjew (grabbing my ass), Safety monkey, and Keith (Pdac)
Front row, left to right: Steve, Liz, and Cliff

Anyway, that was the con. I know it was kind of boring, since it's all from the perspective of the booth, but that's about how things went. Next year we want to try to organize it such that Fred and I will get a chance to leave the booth and explote the con a bit, but I will definately be getting a booth from now on. It's the coolest thing EVER. :) Thank you so much to everyone who stopped by to get a shirt, print, sketch, or just to say hi, and thanks to Fred and Sarah who helped us out when we needed to run off. Also, Liz deserves a MEDAL for all the work she did behind the booth with me. She did far more than I ever did, believe me. But yeah, comic con is over, and part of me is sad, but part of me is really glad. Running a booth is a lot of hard work. Whew. See you all next year!