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Where The Elite Meet Defeat On Our Concrete

The City of San Diego must rotate which of its fire stations respond to emergency calls; Engine 4 has been dispatched a half-dozen times or more since I left the convention center at the end of Thursday’s show hours (a significant amount of this period coincided with when I was trying to sleep), a situation that I don’t recall occurring in the previous days. Let’s do this.

One of the things that gets lost in Comic Con is interaction at the personal scale; even when the crush of the day is done and you aren’t surrounded by thousands of attendees, the desire to catch up with every friend, don’t waste a minute of time, where can twelve people get dinner together is strong. I got away from that tendency at several points during the day, taking the opportunity to talk to just one person:

  • Aaron Diaz was giddy about Dresden Codak’s current storyline, Dark Science, approaching the halfway point, and about changes coming in the story structure, and about how things will get interesting (read: blow up). When Diaz is enthusiastic, it’s contagious.
  • Kris Straub was contemplative about boothing alone (the missing Penny Arcade and PvP have merged booths into a joint satellite booth with t-shirt vendor We Love Fine, leaving Straub solo), and desirous of figuring out exactly when the lulls would come on the floor which means you can run to the bathroom. He remains incredibly humbled and grateful for the ongoing success of the Broodhollow Kickstarter, which is proceeding apace.
  • Ryan North was willing to confess that his contribution to This Is How You Die was essentially a gender-swapped Ryan/Joey [Comeau fanfic, with a healthy dose of the history of Henrietta Lack and the most literary use of the phrase dick move in history. He’s also been gifted with copies of his own head (seeing as how it’s open source and all), including a test strip of different sizes, the smallest of which would fit on a chessboard and you guys we need to get Joey’s head scanned and make a chess set of Joey heads and Ryan heads and then have Grandmasters contend with that set forever.
  • Andy Runton just because he is the nicest guy in the world. Seriously.
  • Randy Milholland and I spent hours on a wide-ranging conversation that centered on the past fifty or so years of comics; I have a broad but shallow knowledge of a lot of comics, having heard that a particular character, title, or story arc exists and knowing its basic outline; Randy’s actually read all of those and will kick your ass in any showdown of comics trivia knowledge. It was perhaps a tactical error to have dinner with just one person and hope for a quiet night after a day of talking and wear/tear on my throat because when that one person is Randy, you end up talking more than if you were shouting to be heard in a loud bar with ten other people, and you like it. It was perhaps the most purely comics experience I’ve ever had at Comic Con.
  • Vijaya Iyer, the publisher of Cartoon Books, you may recall spent some of last year’s SDCC going through the webcomics section, asking how things work. Her husband, Jeff Smith, has spent decades as a dead-tree publisher but now they’ll be making the leap to the give-it-away-sell-stuff-on-the-back-end model with Tüki Save The Humans on November first. Honestly, if this isn’t a monster runaway success, it’s because we let Smith and Iyer down; we know the he’s going to turn out an outstanding comic, so let’s not let this experiment fail. It will help determine the particulars of Smith’s career for the near- to middle-term, and he’s earned our attention and consideration many times over.

I didn’t make it to any panels, but today I expect to see the Jim Zub panel on pitching creator-owned comics, which unfortunately starts at the same time (11:00am) as the This Is How You Die autograph session, so I’ll likely be a little late. By the way the TIHYD autograph count now stands at seven total, having added Ryan North, David Malki !, Becky Dreistadt, Aaron Diaz, Tyson Hesse, and Kris Straub).

Below the cut, the best cosplay photo of the day: Dr Venture and Pete White.

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