Well, my flight got delayed… but an hour behind schedule is still one for the victory column, considering the incident from last year that I’m no longer speaking about or referencing. After that last time right there, anyway.

Think we’re cruising somewhere around 35,000 feet up at several hundred miles per hour, and I just finished Hulk: Gray by the literally inseparable Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale.

Really glad I had the discipline to “wait for the trade” in this case, as there’s almost no way that story feels the least bit satisfying in monthly chunks. Often the case with stories from Loeb and Sale, there’s a lot of “air” present, huge panels sometimes filled with incredibly sparse text, but that’s not a complaint mind you. I think conceptually and stylistically, Sale’s so good so often, with what appears to be relative ease, that it’s easy to underestimate his genius.

Loeb plays off the artist’s strengths, something he’s well known for, and lets the visuals take the lead, peppering the whole thing with smooth captioning and nice dialogue that tells a very unorthodox love story. Seriously though, the writer in me really wants to read a project where Loeb isn’t paired with Sale (or another comparable superstar) that he isn’t always accommodating, and letting his narrative ultimately control the speed and direction of the story. I think that Witching Hour mini-series he did with Chris Bachalo definitely applies, but sometimes I feel like he’s short-changing himself. Does that make any sense?

Ah, hell. Crap battery’s going out. Back soon.

End Transmission 6:22 PM (central)

Man, does Marvel have some hot shit to announce in a couple days.

A little bird let slip the names of the next big exclusive picks, and there is one particular jaw-dropper among them that is going to make Marvel losing Bruce Jones to DC a serious non-issue. This is something that cats are definitely going to respond to, especially in light of last year’s show which was virtually owned by DC and their
press kits.

For some reason, I thought Preview Night was going to be some fairly relaxed affair that’d see empty con floor spread out in all directions, but the place was still fairly packed, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t give major props to Jimmy Jay at Arcade who hooked me and my boy Nate Lee up with exhibitor badges. I was really anxious to get my hands on a copy of Youngblood: Imperial to review it here tonight, but it’ll have to wait until tomorrow, as the books are being driven literally straight from the warehouse to the con floor. There’s the Kirkman factor of course, but I’m also curious to see what Marat was able to lay down, as I’ve been in possession of his artwork from the Shatterstar mini that’s spinning out of Rob’s X-Force venture for the last several months, and it looks really fucking good. Pretty sure I’m scripting that by the way, which is interesting for a couple reasons that I’ll get into shortly.

Met Ivan Brandon and Andy McDonald from NYC Mech, and if Ivan’s smart, he’ll keep any and all editors as far away from Andy’s sketchbook as is humanly possible. This guy has created art that almost defies belief, and if anyone gets a decent look at this stuff, he’ll be snatched up by one of the Big Two without question. Say it with me ladies and gentlemen… next big thing. Couple of really cool guys doing a really cool book, with a really cool attitude and approach that I respect and appreciate even more now that I’ve met them. There might be some preview copies of issue 4 coming through before the weekend breaks, so that might be another First Look review to watch for.

The bulk of the evening was spent wandering all over San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter, searching for a decent place to grab dinner, and colorist David Baron later becoming my own personal superhero for the evening by footing the bill. And man, there was like eight of us, including writer/letterer John Layman, who’s also splitting my hotel room, and keeps bothering me about wearing one of his “got layman?” T-shirts. I mean, there are kind of fly in a strange way, but I informed him that this is one of those situations in which I’m not wearing it unless one, I was working for him, or two, was sleeping
with him, neither of which is going down anytime soon. He’s participating in his first X-Men panel on Saturday, and I promised to toss him some dumb-ass question about Gambit’s motivation, so hopefully he’ll leave me alone about it. Even if he doesn’t, I’m still not wearing it.

Thursday should be significantly faster, with us needing to hit the floor pretty early, and only having a very vague idea of how I’ll even by able to send this column in. But if you’re reading this, apparently I figured it out. More soon, and good night.

End Transmission 1:51 AM (pacific)

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