Back in 2005, Tokyopop started working on manga-style graphic novels based on Jim Henson’s Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal. They released one volume of three planned for Legends of the Dark Crystal, taking place centuries before the movie, and two volumes of four planned for Return to Labyrinth, focusing on Sarah’s brother Toby as a teenager…and just sort of stopped. After two years, the third volume of Return to Labyrinth eventually came out, but it was unclear when the final volume would arrive.

Earlier this year I noticed an August release date for the conclusion of Return to Labyrinth. I checked a few days ago and was surprised to find that not only was it actually available…but so was Legends of the Dark Crystal volume 2. (Interestingly enough, the main thing I can glean from the Return to Labyrinth v.4 reviews on Amazon is that the Jareth/Sarah shippers hated it.)

Of course, when you start thinking about long-delayed fantasy books, one in particular always comes to mind: George R.R. Martin’s A Dance With Dragons, the long-awaited fifth book of A Song of Ice and Fire. It’s already been nearly five years since the last book, and while the cover art has been ready for most of that time…there’s no sign of the book being finished anytime soon. This is the book that indirectly prompted Neil Gaiman’s (in)famous essay in which he stated, “George R.R. Martin is not your bitch.” The really funny thing? People are reviewing the book on Amazon. Actually, they’re reviewing the wait for the book!

In addition to fan frustration, some readers are concerned that George R.R. Martin might follow in the footsteps of another fantasy author and die before he completes his magnum opus. Robert Jordan, fortunately for his fans, was already working on the conclusion of his epic, The Wheel of Time, and left extensive outlines and notes. Brandon Sanderson has been writing a trilogy to conclude the series based on Jordan’s notes and partial manuscript. The Gathering Storm came out last year and was surprisingly good. On Tuesday, Dragonmount reported that Sanderson has completed the final draft of Towers of Midnight, and is on track for its November 2 release. The final book, A Memory of Light, should be out next year.

The Mighty ThorI spent more time walking around outside today, so I did get to fry a bit. (Not too much, fortunately.) Oddly enough, one of the first hall costumes I saw on Friday was Thor.

Caught the Stardust preview. It looks very promising. Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess were there, of course, plus screenwriter Jane Goldman and one of the producers. The director wasn’t there, because he was on set, filming, but they showed a few clips of “very raw” footage which was actually quite good. (And yes, they do want Tori Amos as the tree, if they manage to film the scene.)

The secret to visiting Ghirardelli’s seems to be to go at off-peak hours. We dropped in mid-afternoon, after the Stardust panel, and there were only about three people in line in front of us. Usually we go after dinner, when the main floor and panels are closed, and about half the con attendees are filling up the Gaslamp District, and they all seem to want chocolate ice cream. Of course, it being Friday may have something to do with it as well, though it was definitely more crowded than yesterday.

I was walking past the Keenspot booth, and noticed a drawing of Kestrel from Queen of Wands. Sure enough, Aeire was there. I told her I was a fan of the comic, and asked her whether she had any new projects in the works. She said she had two, one of which is a QoW sequel with Angela, that she’s working on between real life and work. (She wouldn’t say anything about the other one.)

Power of the Dark Crystal is way too early to get any sense of how it’s shaping up, but the people involved seem to be really into it. And they’ve got Brian Froud, who did the designs for the original. (The director and the lead effects guy both said one of the first things they asked when approached for the film was, “Is Brian Froud doing it?”)

We met up with our friend Wayne after the Dark Crystal panel, and went out to dinner at Masala, a new Indian restaurant on 5th Street. It appears to have replaced Octopus Garden, since it’s next to Rockin’ Baja Lobster, but looking at that photo, I’m not 100% certain it’s the same building. Anyway, great food once again.