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.

Irish and Mexican FlagsI caught a story on The World (PRI) today about Los Angeles band Ollin’s song tribute to Saint Patrick’s Battalion (in Spanish, El Batallón de Los San Patricios)—a group of several hundred primarily Irish Americans who, during the Mexican-American War (1846–1848), left the US Army to fight alongside the Mexicans. They fought fiercely for a year, but came to a bad end: most were captured by the US and executed as traitors.

Cover of Solo #11It reminded me of a story Sergio Aragonés told last year in his issue of Solo (#11). In “Heroes,” he talks about growing up in Mexico, where the San Patricios are national heroes. They have statues, memorials, and a commemorative ceremony every year on the spot where they were executed. After telling the story of how he learned about the battalion, he jumps forward a few decades. Living in the US, with his daughter going to American schools, he wanted to see how she would learn about the heroes of his youth. So he looked through her textbook to the section on the Mexican-American war, and found only a fleeting remark about how a bunch of drunk Irishmen deserted the US Army, surrendered, and were executed.

It was a surprisingly serious story from an artist known for his comedy (some of the other stories in the issue are drop-dead funny), and an interesting commentary on how nationalism shapes our views of history, with one side elevating the battallion, and the other trivializing them.

Sergio Aragonés with a Groo statueI mentioned that I spoke briefly with Sergio Aragonés at his booth on Thursday afternoon. The first half of the conversation went something like this:

“Sorry, I can’t make it to your panel this year. There’s another one scheduled at the same time.”
“And that one’s more important, right?”
“Well, I saw last year’s, and it was great.”
“It’ll be the same thing this year, you won’t miss anything!”

Not that I saw anyone dressed as Thor, but it seemed an appropriate description for a Thursday at Comic-Con.

[Picture of Carmine Infantino]No earth-shattering news so far, but then it was only a Thursday. Katie went to the voice acting panel and the Animaniacs panel (mostly in connection with next week’s DVD release. I went to the Carmine Infantino retrospective. Other than that, we both roamed the floor.

Be sure to check out the back of the Snakes on a Plane booth. There’s a wonderful flight safety card on “what to do in the event of snakes on a plane.”

When I was in high school, I remember there being tons of comic book retailers. They aren’t gone, but there are a lot fewer, and listening to people at the booths, they have the same feeling: not only is the percentage of the con focused on comics shrinking, the number of comic sellers is shrinking too. I managed to pick up a couple of leads on my back-issue hunt. I also sold a couple of random Golden Age and Silver Age books I had picked up, freeing up some space in my backpack (though there’s plenty of stuff left that I didn’t bring).

I spoke with Phil Foglio briefly, and got him to autograph the remaining three Girl Genius volumes (amazingly, volume 5 showed up the the mail the day before we left) and got a photo of Sergio Aragonés holding up a little Groo statuette.

[Picture of Kelson with magician Misty Lee]At one point I started to take a picture of a woman in what I thought was a good Zatanna-style costume (though it evoked the look rather than copying the look). As I was setting up the shot, I realized that it was magician Misty Lee. I told her I’d seen her show in Burbank a few months ago, and she insisted on posing for a second photo with me in the shot. The guy who took the photo? Paul Dini. We talked for a few minutes (“You weren’t there on Saturday, were you?” “Uh, I don’t think so…”)

We ended up leaving around 6:00, went back to our hotel, showered, changed, and went out to dinner at the Indigo Grill (which we had walked past on our way to and from the con two years ago). It turned out to be very good. Highly recommended.

DC has announced their comics for June, and I’m really looking forward to three books.

Cover of The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #1First, they finally announced a release date for the re-launch of The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive. It was getting to the point where I was in more suspense over when they’d launch it than who was going to be wearing the mask. And at least we know that Wally and Bart are “not dead” (in the words of Infinite Crisis writer Geoff Johns), though that doesn’t necessarily imply we’ll see them anytime soon. Now I only have to worry about who’s going to be “the” Flash, and whether the new book will be any good.

Cover of Solo #11Almost as good was the surprise return of Michael Moorcock & Walter Simonson’s Elric: The Making of a Sorcerer. They got half-way through this mini-series in 2004, and issue #3 just never appeared. It looks like they’re finally going to finish it. Which reminds me, I should look for the final book in the Elric/Von Bek trilogy and see if it’s in paperback.

And then there was the real surprise: An issue of Solo by Sergio Aragonés and Mark Evanier. (Shouldn’t that be Duet?) Need I say more?

Also interesting: Astro City: Samaritan and Fables #50.