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Tuesday July 26, 2011 12:06 am

Comic Con International 2011: My Con Report

MarinemanSo I'm back from the latest Comic Con extravaganza in San Diego. Unlike other folks that gather up news and special announcements, I gather up a few odds and ends.

Here's my Comic Con report for 2011 (Spoiler Alert: names will be dropped):

Planet of the Apes – When Boom!'s marketing director Chip Mosher asks, I answer! I was on the Boom! Planet of the Apes panel as a guest and had a great time with the engaged crowd. Editor Ian Brill, writer Daryl Gregory and myself talked about the movies, the comics, the creators and time travel. Life is rarely that good.

Aaron Lopresti – Dinner with the artist on the upcoming Justice League International series from DC. We spent it art-spotting with licensed merchandise. Pal Dave Olbrich bought along a 1970s-era Master of Kung Fu drinking glass and it was decided that it was a Gil Kane figure with a face reworked by Romita, Sr.

Marineman – I had a great chat with Ian Churchill, creator of Marineman, the Image Comics title that's also an Eisner-winner. I plopped down $15 for the collected 6 issues. I'm halfway through and it's money well-spent.

Portfolio Review – Dropped in on Space Goat's Dave Olbrich (him again) as he flipped through portfolios offering advance and gentle criticism. Lots of talented folks this year.

Stan Lee – I'm apparently the only person without a Stan Lee project. How is this even possible?

Mark Wheatley – Sat down with him for quite a while. He's got some great looking stuff and a new project coming up that I'm pretty sure I can't talk about.

Conan O'Brien – So I'm having drinks with a couple of friends at McCormick & Schmick's – the bar/restaurant off the lobby of the Omni Hotel. And there's Conan right next to me. He graciously poses for some pictures with fans – including the three models dressed as Disney Princesses – then disappears to eat dinner. He's very tall, even when he's ordering from a menu.

Star Wars – While buying some monster toys for my kids, I ran into a friend of mine who produces Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The upshot? Big doings in Season 4, which he says is the best ever.

Celebrities – I always think it's weird that I can be standing in one place outside the Convention Center waiting for a friend when Robert Picardo, Brian Posehn and several Boba Fetts all walk past.

Scholastic – Snagged an invite to their Jeff Smith/Bone anniversary party on the balcony of the poorly-designed Hilton San Diego Bayfront. Nice spread, great food, and spent a few minutes yakking it up with Jeff who I hadn't seen in a while. Nice swag bag, too, so "Thank you, Scholastic!" Also had a nice chat with Paul Levitz, who I hadn't seen since last year.

Marksmen – You know who's fun to talk to? David Baxter, the screenwriter and creator of Marksmen from Benaroya (the Dave Elliott-edited imprint distributed by Image Comics). I picked up the first issue of his comic – a six-issue series that takes place in a world sixty-odd years in the future where oil wells ran dry and the economy fell off a cliff - and recommend it.

Ross Richie – Ran into Ross - the publisher of Boom! - who I hadn't seen since our lunch three weeks prior. He was showing his wide-eyed nephew around the con on Preview Night. The kid seemed deliriously happy and so did his nephew.

St. Tropez – If you find yourself in America Plaza waiting for trolleys and get hungry, I recommend this place because (1) it's right in front of you and (2) the food's good. They had a great breakfast deal during the con: scrambled eggs and ham on an English muffin with a side of coffe for $3.50. Best deal outside the Convention Center. Also: free wifi and a fast connection.

Zach Weiner – His booth was way up front this year and I grabbed a copy of his first collection of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. Awesomely funny.

Scott Rosenberg – I ran into him at the Arcana booth which had a nice Cowboys & Aliens display set up. C&A's been getting some nice word-of-mouth and he's got something else brewing that’s unrelated.

Laptop – The word is long out about the far side of the Marriott Hotel as a place to catch a rest, hit the bathroom and recharge the laptop. However, if you can find a spot amidst the insanity, this is still the closest place to go.

Panda Inn – It's fun eating Chinese food next to a table full of Steampunk Cosplayers. Still the best Chinese food around, if you can ever make it to Horton Plaza.

Gameplay – Played Avengers Trivia with the security guard at CVS. He won.

Saturday – If it's not, it certainly feels like the most crowded day of the con. A good day to go upstairs and hit some panels and presentations and keep out of the aisles.

Mrs. Fields – Dang those expensive cookies are really good. And they're everywhere.

That's it for 2011. I've already started planning for next year.

[Artwork: Cover to an issue of Marineman by and © Ian Churchill. Ain't that nice?]

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