Only one more plane to go, and then I’ll be home.

Enjoying (perhaps that’s too strong a word) a lengthy layover in Los Angeles, and using the window to write the conclusion to this harrowing saga. Being Saturday, today was the busiest day of the convention, and I’m willing to bet that the organizers broke yet another attendance record, as the place was literally swarming with people. There was a line outside the front doors to purchase tickets nearly the whole day, and navigating the floor was an exercise in patience, as even the tried and true method of traveling along the back aisles of the hall was little help in dodging the crowds.

I started off the morning with a critical mistake, as I fully intended to hit the Warner Brothers panel at 10:30 a.m., watch a couple of new trailers, and learn if Halle Berry is really that fine in person. Should’ve went straight to the ballroom, but I detoured at the Kinko’s stand to jump onto the net and send the third installment, only to learn that all of the e-mail programs were trapped behind very effective firewalls. So I burned fifteen minutes, and by the time I got upstairs, the line was ridiculously long. Now I love Halle, and I love Matrix, but after hearing whispers that the room was completely full, I gave up and hit the main floor.

My friend Nate Lee was catching a flight at 2:00 p.m., so final lunch was at Pat and Oscar’s, and on the way back, I dropped by the Marvel Hospitality Suite again, looking for Teresa Focarile. No luck, though I did get the time she’d be back, and on the elevator ride down, I looked up and to my left, and realized that I was sharing an elevator with Cy Young pitcher Randy Johnson, who has got to be the tallest man I’ve ever seen. Seriously, he’s like 7′ 2″ or some shit.

Anyway, spent an hour or so at the Arcade booth, and got a large handful of books to carry home with me, before running back up to the suite, this time finally meeting the woman I’d been waiting for. Talked about the project we’ve been trading notes on, and the convo. quickly turned to my wonderful plane ride out. I think the more I repeat the story, the more bizarre the whole thing seems, and the more edgy I become about the return flight out. But hey, something like that couldn’t possibly happen twice could it?

Another writer named Brian Lynch showed up, and our projects dovetail at a cool point, and we joked that the character by which we intersect, would make a crossover almost eventual. But we were just playin…I think.

Axel Alonso arrived next, followed by Daniel Way, introduced by Axel as the “future of Marvel,” and he and Lynch batted plot ideas back and forth, before Alonso asked me about what I was working on with Teresa. I tried to sound as if I knew what I was talking about, but I don’t know if he bought it or not. Before leaving, I thanked him for that interview we did last year that got Year Two of Ambi. launched with a nice bang, and I started thinking about whether or not it would be wise to do it again. Hmm…

Visited a couple people in Artists’ Alley, most notably Sanford Greene, who’s got something really big cookin’, probably ready to be announced in Chicago. He’s also got a book coming from the Dark Horse Rocket line called Galactic that should be out soon. I planned a feature for it, but it never quite migrated from my e-mail account to full fledged feature status. We’ll probably try again soon, as it’ll be nice to drop something that corresponds with this big surprise he’s gonna spring.

The remainder of my time was spent at the Arcade booth, doing a last burst of signings and shoring up the projects that we’ll start work on next. In addition to Genesis, we’re doing a new Brigade, and possibly even completing Keron Grant’s long forgotten Century series that has an incredible set of artwork supporting it. When Rob first contacted me about doing anything for Arcade, Century was the first thing I wanted to sink my teeth into, as I’ve been drooling over the preview art that was contained in a book from about three years ago. And it’s still amazing. Looks like it may be next on the plate.

Said goodbye to everybody, and rushed back to the hotel that was holding my bags, and ducked into the business center to send part three, which I was really hesitant to do, because the whole thing is so incredibly expensive. Five bucks just for signing on, and then an additional ten dollars for every half hour. These are fifteen dollars columns I’ve been posting, so you better be reading them 😉

Bout to board the final plane that’s heading to Chicago. Hopefully this one has better landing gear…

End Transmission 10:42 p.m

This is me going on record, and proclaiming that I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever fly standby…ever again. That plane I was trying to board left me behind, adding additional insult to injury is the fact I could’ve rode first class, but I didn’t look the part. When one is flying on the type of voucher that I am, you have to be sporting business attire to chill up front, and since I had checked out of my hotel before I even set foot on the con floor, I had no place to change clothes before heading to the airport. In hindsight, I would’ve stopped in a bathroom, and switched shoes and pants, before checking the bag in. But that’s hindsight…

Missed another flight at 11:55 p.m., and started to get that sinking feeling. Caught a plane to Ft. Worth Texas that left at 12:55 a.m., and spent the majority of the flight passed out. Picked up two hours on the clock, but my body was not deceived by the time reading 5:30 a.m., believing it was actually 3:30 a.m.. Changing time zones is a strange thing, feels a bit like time travel actually, but I had two hours to kill before the connecting flight to Chicago showed up. And then I almost fought another American Airlines employee…

Though I had already boarded and flown on two separate flights in the last several hours, I met an evil old woman who swore that it was against regulations for me to board an aircraft in the T-shirt I was wearing. Uh…what? We got into it briefly, and she refused to give me a seat assignment, telling me that I had to change my shirt before being issued one. Honestly, I think she just didn’t like the Fat Albert FUBU shirt I was sporting, as she seemed particularly determined to make an issue of this, and instead of wasting time growling about it, I dashed to the PGA sport shop and grabbed a new Polo. I was expecting her to point out something else about my attire that would deny my boarding, but she was wise enough to shut up, as I was prepared to ask for a supervisor, and cause a small scene.

Got listed on the very last open seat and made it out at 8:00 a.m., arriving in Chicago at around 10:00 a.m., and planning to go and check out Bad Boys 2 after showering and dropping my bags.

The entire experience, barring the flight issues, was extremely positive, and I can’t wait to do this again in Chicago. Right now, I’m extremely exhausted, my body doesn’t know what time it is, and Monday will probably involve heavy sleeping, as I need to gear up for writing a couple scripts, including Brigade, more Youngblood, and the secret thing of which I cannot speak. It’s been fun though. Thanks for reading.

End Transmission SDCC 2003

P.S.- If you missed any of the previous con reports, all three previous chapters are only a link away…

Peace

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