Busy day. I had a lot of stuff that I wanted to get to but had to make choices. Shoulders are starting to acclimate, though there’s also the fact that I’ve taken a lot of stuff out of my backpack as I’ve gotten it signed. I have no idea what I’m going to do to carry around Comic Book Tattoo.

Speaking of which, yes, the books finally came in! I picked mine up late morning, and decided to shell out the extra $20 for the hardcover because it’s just so big. It’s at least an inch and a half thick, and it’s 12 inches square — the size of a vinyl record album case.

Katie dressed up as Yomiko Readman, and we started the day at Richard Walker’s Pancake House. They were very busy, but had a system in place that kept people moving — and they were also very good. We got to the convention center around 10:00, explored the floor a bit together, then split up. When I bought a comic from Sergio Aragonés that I hadn’t seen before, and asked him to sign it, he asked her what character her costume was from. He clearly didn’t recognize the show, but it was nice of him to ask. The first hour or so that we were there, she mostly got people asking, “What’s that from?” but then people who knew the show started asking for her picture.

I managed to round out the complete set of signatures on the Girl Genius trades. I also picked up a print of the Flash: Rebirth cover at Moose Baumann’s table, and commissioned an Impulse sketch from Todd Nauck. When I got there, he was talking with someone, and I waited while they chatted for several minutes. When he left, it turned out that he was Carlo Barberi, who drew Impulse during most of Todd Dezago’s run. I couldn’t stick around while he drew the sketch, since I was on my way to a panel, plus he was finishing up a sketch for someone else, so I’ll be heading back sometime tomorrow to pick it up.

I went to a couple of panels by science fiction authors, both one-person shows: Connie Willis and Robert Sawyer. Connie Willis was very funny as she talked about writing in general, about her upcoming novels, and answered questions from the audience. Robert Sawyer mostly talked about his experience in the publishing industry, and managed to make it interesting. I followed it up with a panel on lost civilizations and secret societies that should have been fascinating, but was dull enough that I left only 10 minutes in and decided to hit the art show instead. Katie attended “Humor in Science Fiction” and the Bones panel, and I finished the programming day up with Final Crisis Management.

Today was the day for running into people. On my way from Image (with the Tori book) to Studio Foglio, I ran into a group from Comic Quest (the local comic store I go to on Wednesdays). I ran into my mom at the Connie Willis panel. We met up with our friend Sean at lunch, and I ran into our friend Wayne after Final Crisis…because Katie had spotted a Minbari, and I went over to take his picture. Ten feet away, there was Wayne.

Lunch was at an Irish pub called The Field. I missed Sean’s phone call, so by the time we caught up he’d already found a place and ordered lunch, but they were nice enough to move all of us from the tiny little pub table he was sitting at to a larger table. Up to this point, we’d been batting 1.000 on food. Dinner was another story. We hadn’t gotten around to making reservations, and after a couple of places with long waits, we just went to the Horton Plaza food court.

Comic-Con seems to have learned from last year’s line debacles. They’ve worked out a traffic system where halls are one-way, lines are clearly labeled, and breaks are clearly marked, with staff directing foot traffic. At least for the small-to-medium rooms. I haven’t messed with the large ones, like Ballroom 20 or Hall H.

I’ve found that my shoulders are screaming in pain whenever I put my backpack on, but they get used to it after a while. And I’m losing my voice from trying to talk above the background noise.

I caught the Mark & Sergio panel after lunch, which was (as always) fun. Found the S*P booth, talked to Randy Milholland, and picked up a copy of Super Stupor with a sketch of Aubrey. (Thankfully, I don’t seem to be the inspiration for this strip.) Made my way back to Studio Foglio to get two more volumes of Girl Genius signed by Kaja Foglio. Got to the TwoMorrows panel and booth, where I finally met Keith Dallas, the primary author of The Flash Companion.

Managed to liveblog DC nation, which I started posting as soon as Dan Didio introduced Geoff Johns and Ethan van Sciver as the team on Barry Allen: Rebirth. This woman dressed as Batwoman was about 10-15 feet behind me in line, and got to go up on stage and…well…look like Batwoman.

Getting out of the panel was slow, since they were funneling everyone through one set of double doors and handing out little Batman pins. Once I was free of the crowd, I raced back to the hotel to meet Katie (fortunately we’d already planned to just meet back at the hotel, because my cell phone’s battery died right before DC Nation), and we went out to dinner at Dakota.

*ahem* Sorry about the title, but when you read that a truck carrying 60,000 pounds of meat flipped over and burst into flames, it comes to mind.

I hope the driver pulls through.

The accident shut down the 5 freeway for most of the day Thursday. We were fine since we drove down yesterday, but a lot of people coming from the LA/OC area or farther north — including my parents, a lot of panel guests, and the driver with all those copies of Comic Book Tattoo — were stuck in the traffic jam for hours. It took us about 2 hours yesterday, including navigating the downtown streets to find our hotel during rush hour. My parents, coming from roughly the same distance today, made the drive in 6½ hours.

The problem is there just isn’t another way to get from there to here. Between Anaheim and Oceanside, there’s only one route inland, the Ortega Highway, and it’s a twisty little mountain road. And there’s miles and miles of freeway bordered on one side by the ocean and the other by Camp Pendleton. Naturally, it was in the middle of that stretch that the accident happened.

(Link via aeryncrichton)

First morning at Comic Con, we went to breakfast at Cafe 222. Harvey Dent would love this place — it’s 222 Island Ave., and it’s on the corner of Second Street. They have dishes like the Two Plus Two and the Two Plus Two +2. By the time we left, the line to get in was stretching at least 30 people. Great food, definitely recommended.

Arrived around 9:00 AM, about a half hour before the doors opened. I wanted to go straight for the Image booth for the tickets to the Tori Amos signing; Katie wanted to go straight for the Sci-Fi booth for the Big Frakkin Bags — and the lines to get in started at either end of the convention center. So each of us picked a different line, and waited for the doors to open.

Just after 9:30 a huge cheer went up from the front of the line over by A and B. They opened the doors all the way along, so I went in the first one that opened, and made a beeline for the Image booth… where I stood in line for an hour, talking with the people in front of me and behind me in line.

The missing books turned out to be on a truck that jackknifed on the freeway, if I heard correctly on a truck stuck in a massive traffic jam on the freeway. They’re hoping to get them in tomorrow or Saturday, in time for the signing itself. For now, they’re selling prints and offering the book for the price difference, at least for people who arrived in time for the signing “tickets.” I managed to get the 46th slot this morning, out of 75: I’m in for the signing!

After that I went back to Colleen Doran’s table to get Orbiter and A Distant Soil signed, and kicked myself for not bringing The Book of Lost Souls. JMS was standing there talking with her. I waited until he left and said something to that effect, and she said he’d probably be back at some point. But I got the two books signed, and she sketched a space shuttle on the inside cover flap for Orbiter. (Then I noticed a small stack of the Lost Souls trade, and realized I probably could’ve bought a copy right there and had both of them sign it. Ah, well!)

After that I wandered over to the small press area, and found myself in the webcomics neighborhood. I picked up Girl Genius vol.7, got it signed by both Phil and Kaja Foglio, and got Kaja to sign volumes 1 and 2. (They keep coming out right before Comic-Con, so I’ve ended up getting all of them signed… by Phil Foglio. This was the first time I caught them both at the booth while I actually had the books!) While I was paying for the book, Randy Milholland of Something Positive came over and handed the Foglios a copy of the Super Stupor comic book, then left. I’ll have to locate his booth at some point today.

After that it was up to Sails so I could drop some flyers for Speed Force off at the freebie table, where I caught up with Katie again. We wandered a bit, made reservations for dinner, then I headed back to the hotel (such a novel idea!) to drop stuff off. And decided to blog.

General sense: about the same level of crowd as last night. More costumes. Saw lots of Dark Knight-style Jokers, not all of them in purple suits — including one woman dressed as a Nurse Joker. As I waited to cross the street from the convention center, someone actually asked me if I was selling my ticket. 3 hours into a 4-day show? I don’t think so!

Now to grab some food and head back to the con!