I almost died again today…but for completely different reasons.

Right now, it’s a bit past midnight, and I’m on the balcony outside the hotel room, looking out on San Diego and listening to the Amtrak a short block away. It’s got me thinking about how I’ve always wanted to travel, for the sole purpose of being able to say that I wrote things in different places, and further appreciating the perks of my laptop becoming mobile again. But you don’t want to hear me romanticizing this whole thing, do you?? You wanna know what went down on my first day at the convention, right?

Things started off slow, with my friend Nate Lee and I taking a shuttle to the front door, and attempting to locate my press badge, which wasn’t where it was supposed to be of course. So they made me another one on the spot, that looked like it was made on the spot, and we hit the floor, making a beeline to the Arcade Comics booth. Made a few stops on the way that included Joshua Dysart, who was really pumped about the new Demon series he’s got coming from DC, and Eric J from Rex Mundi, who heard from Nate the previous night about my death-defying airliner experience. We’re going to come up with a special way to publicize Mundi, which is going monthly as of next month.

Finally made it to Arcade and met Liefeld, Jimmy Jay, and the Walker Brothers, and snatched up a few copies of Genesis. Did succeed in not hyperventilating over the fact that my name was on a comic in the writer’s slot, even though top billing goes to
Mr. Kurt Busiek (more on him later). But Nate, Liefeld, and I just started talking about Alias and 24, planning my signing schedule, and discussing my flight out. Wait, wait…did I just say signing schedule?? That can’t be right.

With a handful of Youngblood comics, we made our way over to the MOB booth, and I finally met Brian Michael Bendis, who thanked me for the frequent stroking he received in the New Hotness, and then motioned to the guy next to him (Ed Brubaker) and said, “Hey, this guy loves Sleeper.” Then Brubaker kept trying to give me some of his comics, but was surprised that I had all of them already. Bendis also whispered a little secret about an upcoming Alias story in my ear, but if I repeat it here, he’ll kill me. But something is truly wrong with the man.

Now onto my Kurt Busiek story.

For some reason, Busiek happened to be like five feet away from the MOB guys, sitting with Neil Vokes, and I went ahead and introduced myself as the guy that scripted his old YB story. He said that he already had a copy, and I told him that I’m anxious to hear what he thinks about it, and he cleverly quipped back that no matter what happens, he’ll look good. If the story is still respectable, then it’ll be a decent Busiek story, and if it’s bad, he can just blame me. That’s one way to look at it I suppose.

Next, I met Augie from CBR and Matt Brady near the Oni booth, while Nate chatted with Chynna Clugston-Major. Me and Augie talked panels, writing columns, and traded horror stories about a few people that have taken shots at our respective forums. He seemed pleased that I was referring to him as the Godfather of comics columnists, and promised to stop by the Arcade booth when I was doing my signing. There’s that word again.

Went to a CrossGen panel, even though I’m only reading the books in trade form now, but Nate’s a huge fan, and for this next month, Barnes & Noble is running a buy two, get one free promotion on all CrossGen trades, and combined with my thirty percent discount, that’s like getting three trades for twenty-five bucks. What better time to
catch up? We ducked out early, and I made my way back to the Arcade booth, and settled in behind the table.

For the next three hours…I was SO happy that I walked off that plane.

My first signing not only went remarkably smooth, but being honest, it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. Seriously. The vibe from the people plopping down cash for the book was infectious, and regardless of my constant attempts to downplay the importance of the whole affair, anyone who stood in line to get their book signed would not allow me to forget that I was now a published writer. In addition to signing more than a few books, I got a chance to touch base with Joe Casey, who stopped by to visit Rob, and also have a chance to meet Jonah Weiland from CBR, who showed up with Augie. They have a picture of me, and I’m hoping it doesn’t look TOO stupid.

Talked to a few aspiring writers (what Twilight Zone episode am I trapped in), and hopefully my repeated dissertations on how Ambidextrous started made some sort of sense. Combine this with a couple portfolios that I looked at, and me and Rob chatting about what things are coming next with my name on it, and I’d have to say that I had an absolute fuckin’ blast. Can’t wait to get up and do it again tomorrow, as it’ll probably be even busier.

The night concluded with dinner alongside Barb Lien and Park Cooper, who are just a couple of extremely cool people. We basically sat around and talked about the respective things we’d been pitching recently, and what was going on with them, as well as shooting the shit about all sorts of industry nonsense. Great time, and we’re definitely hanging out a bit more before the con closes out.

A phenomenal day from start to finish, and I’m hoping to actually see more of the convention floor tomorrow, because I haven’t even seen the DC booth yet, or braved Artists’ Alley. But who am I too complain right? I just did my first signing today…

…ain’t nothing wrong with that…


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