Francis Manapul Sketching

Sketches and Signings

  • Tongues of Serpents (latest Temeraire novel) signed by Naomi Novik with a sketch of Iskierka
  • Girl Genius volumes 8 and 9, and the newly-colorized volume 1, signed by Kaja and Phil Foglio.
  • Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour signed by Bryan Lee O’Malley.
  • The Flash #1-3 signed by Francis Manapul.
  • Flash sketch by Francis Manapul.
  • Lady Mechanika mini-poster signed by Joe Benitez.


  • Scott Pilgrim vs. the World T-shirt
  • Leverage: Mastermind T-shirt
  • No Ordinary Family T-shirt
  • Harry Potter: Undesirable No.1 T-shirt
  • Castle water bottle

»Full index of Comic-Con posts and photos.

Na'vi StatueWhenever I walked into the convention center at this year’s Comic-Con International, I felt completely overwhelmed for about fifteen minutes. After that, I relaxed and just sort of went with the flow. It never seemed to fail, even when I left to grab lunch, or to catch an event in a nearby hotel. The first fifteen minutes back? Crazy. After that? Normal. (Katie, on the other hand, felt completely at home with the crowds everywhere but the main floor and just outside the main lobby doors. Not sure whether the latter was more a reaction to the wait for the train, or the rampant smoking.)

RecognizerNeither of us had anything early or popular that we were trying to catch on Friday, so we slept in — which I’m sure really helped after the exhausting first day. Katie went for the design panels, with talks by TV costume designers and TV & movie production designers, while I roamed the middle of the floor where all the comics publishers had their booths.

Bryan Lee O'Malley Taking a PictureI stumbled onto the tail end of a Brian Lee O’Malley signing with only about five people in line, and still had Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour with me. Then I made it to the Studio Foglio booth just before Phil and Kaja Foglio left for an event, so I was able to get them to sign the new Girl Genius books that I picked up.

Exploring Downtown

On the shuttle ride to the convention center, I’d noticed a building with comic-book themed window art all over its first-floor windows. I wanted to get back to it for a closer look at some point during the con. I also wanted to drop off the new and newly-signed books so that I wouldn’t be carrying them around the rest of the day, so I figured I’d try to find the building while walking back to the hotel.

R2D2 Window Art Scott Pilgrim Window Art

Ghostbusters and EctomobileI also found some more window art at the Gaslamp Garage across the street from the Old Spaghetti Factory (one Flash and one Wolverine), a souvenir store flanked with Green Lantern and Sinestro, and, eventually, the building with all the drawings: Batman, R2D2, Scott Pilgrim and Ramona Flowers, The Monarch and Dr. Mrs. The Monarch, etc.

Disney PrincessesStrangely enough, the con had even spilled into the historic Davis House: Alienware had set up a demonstration tent for their gaming systems on the lawn.

At some point during this trip, I stopped in at the Chuck Jones Gallery on 5th Street. In addition to Looney Tunes–inspired art, they also had quite a bit of superhero and Disney-inspired art on display, including several Alex Ross pieces. I’m not sure what their usual exhibits are, but it’s worth stopping by if you’re in the area.

Art Afternoon

Cortana and Soldier (Halo)Originally I’d planned to return for the Francis Manapul/Whilce Portacio art demonstration, but as I wandered downtown it became clear that I wasn’t going to make it back in time. So I stopped hurrying, grabbed lunch, and when I reached the convention, checked the schedule to see what I might do instead. I settled on the Comics Arts Conference panel on action heroines, specifically: where are they? It was an interesting lineup of female fans, scholars, actresses…and JMS, who was there because he’s just started writing Wonder Woman. (He and Cindy Morgan both left early for other commitments.)

Classic DC TV HeroesFrom there I visited the art show. The wide range of both skill and subject really struck me this time for some reason. Also, there were a few pieces I recognized from Westercon. From there, I decided at the last minute to catch the second day of DC Nation. I’m glad I did: Geoff Johns announced a second Flash series to launch next year (though considering I watched him announce both a Kid Flash series and a Wally West co-feature, neither of which actually went into production, I’m not letting myself get too excited).

DC Nation - JMS, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern

Meanwhile, Katie had spent the afternoon first watching an artist’s presentation on drawing animal anatomy, then waiting through Teen Wolf (yes, they’re remaking Teen Wolf…as a TV series) for Falling Skies with Moon Bloodgood and Noah Wyle.


Stuff!We left the convention center a bit earlier than the day before, hoping to avoid the closing crush, and met up with my parents (who were also attending the convention) for dinner at Sevilla, a tapas restaurant on 4th. Great food, but very dim and very noisy. It’s the one with the suit of plate armor in front of it. It was on the way to dinner that I lost my badge briefly; fortunately it hadn’t fallen too far back, and was still there when I looked.

Afterward, Katie and I returned to the convention center to make use of the wifi for some internet catch-up. We were aiming for the tables and chairs in Sails, but they had been put away for the night, so we settled in on a bench in the Ballroom 20 lobby. The Batman: Under the Red Hood premiere had already started, so the area was mostly empty.

It’s always strange to see the convention center when it isn’t crowded, especially after a full day of Comic-Con. It was quiet, the windows were dark, and most of all there was space. A few small groups were scattered around the lobby like we were. Stragglers wandered through, including three guys singing “Masquerade” from Phantom of the Opera. And over near the corner was a group of twenty or so people in costumes dancing the Macarena. Katie looked up from the computer and wondered if there was a world record for that.

If not, there should be!

This was Friday, July 23, 2010.
Next up: Saturday! Leverage, Harry Potter, No Ordinary Family and more.

»Full index of Comic-Con posts and photos.

Friday night at Comic-Con, on arriving at a restaurant, I reached down to remove my badge and found that it was already gone. The lanyard was still around my neck, but the badge wasn’t attached anymore.

Your badge is critical at Comic-Con: Not only do you need it to get into the building, but security will check again when you try to get into the exhibit hall or any of the programming areas. My badges always flip over, so I constantly have to turn them around so that staff can see that yes, I have a four-day pass and I’m not trying to sneak in with a Friday badge on Saturday. Then there are events or special offers that will mark or hole-punch your badge instead of handing out tickets, and others that will mark your badge when you receive an item to prevent people from taking more than one. On the weekend, it seems like every time you leave the convention center you’ll run into at least one person offering to buy your badge if you’re done.

I wasn’t as worried as I thought I would be. I’d been there two days, and I’d accomplished the things I most wanted to do. There were still two events and an artist that I wanted to catch if I could, and I’d only really explored a fourth of the main floor (if that much), but my must-see events this year were all on Thursday. Plus I knew I’d had the badge when I started down the street, so I only had to search a small area. Looking back, I think I was fairly confident that I’d find it.

Still, I couldn’t be sure that it would still be wherever it had fallen. It could have blown away, fallen down a storm drain, or been picked up by someone thrilled at their good fortune to be able to go to the con. Heck, a pickpocket could have snagged it.

As I retraced my steps, I started pondering what I might do in San Diego over the weekend: Plenty of touristy stuff. Sightseeing. Museums. Check out more ships. Head out to the zoo. Catch a movie. Finish reading Tongues of Serpents. Hey, that’s a badge!

I’d lucked out: the badge had only fallen a few doors back, and had stayed put. Maybe a block, but a tiny Gaslamp-sized block. All thoughts of alternate plans flew out of my mind, and I rejoined the group for dinner.

I later found out that they do have procedures to handle lost badges, so it wouldn’t have been a total loss, but I’m sure it would have been a pain to deal with on Saturday morning.

»Full index of Comic-Con 2010 posts and photos.

A busy day of crowds, lines, costumes, DC Comics, Scott Pilgrim, bad science, twisted genres, Naomi Novik, Geoff Johns and more.

The last few years, we’ve driven down to San Diego on Wednesday afternoon and stayed for the entire length of Comic-Con. This year we drove down early Thursday morning.

Getting There

Scott Pilgrim vs. the HiltonThe drive was a lot smoother than I expected, and we didn’t really run into traffic until we passed Oceanside. We made it to our hotel around 10:00, figuring we’d store our luggage, then come back to check in when we could. In a stroke of luck that surprised me even more than the traffic, the hotel had a room available at that hour, and we were able to drop things off and move on to the convention center without worrying about having to come back.

The Sheraton Suites at Symphony Hall isn’t exactly close to the convention center, but you can walk it in about 20-25 minutes. To get a sense of the area, we walked that first trip, spotting signs of the convention along the way: a movie screen being set up in a parking lot. The Scott Pilgrim banner on the Hilton Bayfront. Flynn’s Arcade. The marine layer hadn’t cleared yet, so the walk was quite comfortable (if a bit gloomy).

SyFyFinally we arrived at 5th and L, the hub of off-site convention activity — not to mention a serious bottleneck for pedestrian traffic. SyFy had a giant purple balloon, Green Hornet had a car and booth babes, there was the Scott Pilgrim Experience across the street, and people were handing out flyers, cards and promotional comic books everywhere you turned around.

The zombies hadn’t shown up yet as near as I could tell, nor the “religious” protesters, nor the vegan activists, nor the boothless babes promoting gaming sites, nor the pirate band…

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Portable cellular phone tower on wheels.As near as I can tell, there were two main wifi networks at the San Diego convention center this year: “Comic-Con 2010” was open and free…and bogged down. It was enough to post snippets of text one line at a time, but it took forever to start the console for Cover it Live, though, and it wasn’t worth it for uploading photos.

AT&T also had a wireless network, but it required you to either be a customer already or buy access. One of the perks of U-Verse service: free access to AT&T wifi hotspots! Since only paid customers were using it, it was a lot faster. Faster even than our home internet access, in fact.

This was in the lobby, hallways and meeting rooms at the convention center itself. I never really tried to access wifi on the exhibit floor (who has room to sit down, other than people staffing a booth?), and didn’t spend much time on my phone either, except for sending and receiving text messages.

Over at the Hilton, however, access was virtually nonexistent: No wifi as near as I could tell, and even phone access was spotty. I saw people texting in the Indigo Ballroom, but the ones nearby were all on iPhones (AT&T) or Verizon. I had absolutely no T-Mobile signal in that hotel, even though it was perfectly fine everywhere else. Katie had the same problem at Indigo last year, and we were hoping it might have improved. No dice.**

One reason I didn’t worry too much about having constant net access: I spent way too much time last year online. Liveblogging aside, this year I wanted to focus more on actually being there. Last year I posted about 30 messages a day to Twitter. This year it was closer to 10 posts total.

So of course, now I’m spending lots of time after we get back writing things up…online.

*Yes, I know the photo is of a cell phone tower, not a wifi hotspot, but I didn’t take any pictures of wifi routers and this is the next best thing.

**Actually, there was a whole booth full of dice, but it was over on the main floor.

»Full index of Comic-Con posts and photos.