Friday, July 27, 2007


It got off to a late start. For whatever reason, once again, they were late in opening the floor and the natives were restless. Making matters worse was the uninformed security staff. While waiting for the doors to open, I was told at “A” door that press could enter the building down at “D” and wait inside. So I went to “B” and tried and got right in. Then I heard another security guy telling someone else that the only blue badges that could be in the place were Professionals. Yeesh. So I made myself scarce and waited it out.

Today was a day to work the floor. I made the rounds to see folks I know, or that I’d wanted to meet in person. Sean O’Reilly at Arcana. Scott Christian Sava. The Awesome April Flores. Stephen Buell of Lost In The Dark.

I finally hit a panel at 1:30pm, and that’s where things went wonky.

Let me first say: I meant to write a feature article about the Viz Media panel. Big company. Important publisher. They represent a high standard for manga. And their panel was excellent. Marketing whiz Wendy Shimamura and her crew of editors have a great slate of books and anime on the way. And then the Q&A began.

One of the reasons I avoid superhero panels is to sidestep that particular brand of fan. You know the one: the jackass whiner who pisses and moans about everything. But who knew manga fans could be just as bad? They were godawful… the first three people to hit the microphone were complete complainer assholes. I felt sorry for the folks at the front- they were there, totally professional, did fine work in presenting their slides, and… boom! Shitheadland relocated to room 2. So I walked out, not wanting to see more of that scene.

Later in the day, I sat in on the Villard Books panel. Villard is a division of Random House, and they’ve brought in books like the FLIGHT anthology, Josh Fialkov’s ELK’S RUN, and POSTCARDS. The afore mentioned Ms. Flores moderated, and the panel included folks like Kazu Kibuishi, Fialkov, Jason Rodriguez, and Dallas Middaugh. It was well run, professionally executed, and the audience questions were good. It took some of the bad taste out of my mouth from earlier.

After that, friends Brandon Jerwa and Jessica Blackshear arrived. Jess, as I’ll formally announce soon, is joining the main site as an advice columnist, which I’m really excited about. We joined Dan Jolley and many other friends for dinner before heading over to the Hyatt, and finally called it an earlier night thanks to exhaustion.

Tomorrow: it really kicks in.


Thursday, July 26, 2007


It was… eerie, really.

Last year’s Preview Night was a horror show. The lines at the doors downstairs were fairly frothing, but this year… calm prevailed. There was a mellower sense at play. People merely gathered and waited. It was strangely civilized.

I executed my personal plan perfectly. I hopped on the trolley about 3:45pm and rode down to the convention center. There was only one person ahead of me in the pre-registered press line. Journalism rocks. So I got my badge and made my escape, zipping over to the Marriott and hitting the bar for a margarita. 5pm rolled around, I finished my beverage, and headed back over.

Bumped into friends and colleagues, meaning the show was truly underway for me. First highlight: talking to Tom Spurgeon. If you’ve never met Tom, you’re missing out- the man is a born raconteur. He also has a very droll wit, which one poor fellow who came up to introduce himself didn’t quite get. He applauded Tom’s guide to the show (which is brilliant) and Spurge jokingly told him he was screwed. And the poor bastard just didn’t get it, looking bewildered. Great stuff.

Once the doors opened, I ran a quick errand inside, then popped out to await the arrival of the Indisputable Matt Maxwell. We rolled through the floor, making stops at AdHouse for new Paul Pope goodies, Paul Horn’s booth for his Hodabeast collection, and Steve Lieber’s table for new minis. There were also chats with folks like Larry Young along the way.

The whole thing just felt… subdued, if that’s possible. Like the attendees know that the real action starts tomorrow… even if Warren Ellis and his cowboy hat were there tonight.

Finally, our friend Joe arrived, and it was time to leave the floor and let the real show begin. Off to Seaport Village and then the Hyatt. Day One: complete.