I have a pretty long list of friends and panels I hope to see. The big Hollywood stuff doesn't interest me--I'm there for the comics and will be thumbing through back issues, ogling original art (who knows, if something is priced right it might end up on my wall), and buying a few things that folks back home asked me to pick up. I can also always count on meeting two or three incredible people I didn't expect to find but who will make my day. As Mark Evanier has said, whatever kind of convention experience you want to have is available there--San Diego is like five separate cons all going on in the same space-time--you just have to find it.
My publisher Abrams has a booth (#1216) that will serve as my home base. It'll be great to see Editor Charlie, his wife the Lovely Rachel, and some of the Abrams people I know. I don't have any formal book signings scheduled but will be sure to autograph all of my books on the table (geez, I hope they brought some). If anyone wants to meet me, check there; if I'm not around, leave word and we'll try to rendezvous.
Demands on my time are few, and half the fun of Comic-Con is just wandering around taking in the spectacle. In addition, San Diego is itself a great city, and I plan to spend time doing something few convention-goers do: getting outdoors. My only commitment is to attend the Eisner Awards Friday night, where I'll be vying for two trophies. Here's the competition and my best, most dispassionate estimate of my chances:
Brian Fies, Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow? (Abrams ComicArts)
David Mazzucchelli, Asterios Polyp (Pantheon)
Tom Orzechowski, Savage Dragon (Image); X-Men Forever (Marvel)
Richard Sala, Cat Burglar Black (First Second); Delphine (Fantagraphics)
Adrian Tomine, A Drifting Life (Drawn & Quarterly)
My odds: 1%. I haven't seen Sala's work. Tomine's book is both very popular and good, while Orzechowski has been a talented professional letterer forever. Either of them could take it. But Asterios Polyp is simply this year's best-selling 800-pound gorilla that will win every category for which it's nominated, and may even deserve to.
Best Publication Design:
Absolute Justice, designed by Curtis King and Josh Beatman (DC)
The Brinkley Girls, designed by Adam Grano (Fantagraphics)
Gahan Wilson: 50 Years of Playboy Cartoons, designed by Jacob Covey (Fantagraphics)
Life and Times of Martha Washington, designed by David Nestelle (Dark Horse Books)
Queer Visitors from the Marvelous Land of Oz, designed by Philippe Ghielmetti (Sunday Press)
Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow? designed by Neil Egan and Brian Fies (Abrams ComicArts)
My odds: ~15%. We may have a shot here. Absolute Justice was a well-regarded book that looked good and I think sold well, and if I had to put my money somewhere it'd be on it. The others are very attractive publications. But I don't see an undisputed runaway favorite in this pack, and if the Eisner voters actually looked at how the books were designed, I believe ours stacks up. I'm very proud of WHTTWOT just as a physical object whose form enhanced its content in a way I don't think is true for the others.
So we'll see how that goes. The Eisners start at 8:30 p.m. and will probably end around midnight. In the past, I've sat within a dozen feet of people like Frank Miller, Jim Steranko, and John Landis. Never spoken to them, just breathed the same air. The past couple of ceremonies I've attended have been pretty entertaining in their own right. Win or lose, it should be fun. Winning would be more fun.
Saturday I've spotted another couple of panels I want to catch, and then need to leave for the airport by midday to get back home at a decent time. Some would disagree, but I think a day and a half at Comic-Con is just about right: enough time to cover the exhibition floor and see what you want without going completely brain dead, shuffling through the aisles like a zombie, giant plastic bag crammed with free posters you'll never hang and t-shirts you'll never wear, a chilling mid-distance stare in your rheumy red-rimmed eyes. Brrrr.
Stories, photos, and maybe more to come. I have a few things in mind you might enjoy.