Day 2 started off early. My roommate and I (who hadn't really met, yet) woke up to a 6 AM alarm. He hit snooze, we went back to sleep, only to have it go off again 10 minutes later. I flipped on the light and found the off switch, at which point I said "hi" by means of introduction. We both cracked up and then tried to go back to sleep.
Which didn't work, so we got up, introduced ourselves properly, and then played dueling laptops with the hotel wi-fi, each of us finding out what had happened in the place we were before through the magic of Facebook and Twitter and Email.
At about 8, I went down to grab breakfast at the deli next door. The special was eggs, potatoes and sausage biscuits and gravy, which sounded decent. It was pretty good, but they were very liberal with the gravy, and let me just say this: You haven't lived until you've had eggs with gravy. And after that? You don't want to. Still, my non-gravy-covered eggs and potatoes were good, and the sausage was decent as well.
From there, I tried to grab the free shuttle down to the convention center. The shuttles are running really slow this year, taking longer between trips and getting hung up in traffic, so after waiting until about 9:30, past when the hall closed, I finally gave up and started walking.
The shuttle bus, of course, passed me halfway there, but that was OK, as it got stuck in traffic and I still got there at basically the same time, if not a few minutes before.
My first stop was at the Oni Press booth, where I talked with Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt about their upcoming book, a fantasy/western that looks fantastic and is due probably next year. Bunn and Hurtt do the terrific prohibition crime/horror book Damned, and if you haven't picked that up from Oni Press and you're at the show, I definitely recommend swinging by and grabbing it. If you're not in San Diego? Get it at your comic shop. Especially if you're a fan of Hellboy, BPRD, Hellblazer and/or gangster flicks.
Next up I rushed over to the Guild booth to buy the DVDs of the first two seasons, then went up to have them signed. I got to talk for a minute with Felicia Day about Austin, and learned that her brother lives in Round Rock and plays boardgames, and wondered if he might actually shop at my store.
After that, back down to the floor to catch up with Chris Schweizer, author of the hugely ambitious historical fiction Crogan's graphic novels. It's about a family tree of adventurers, running from the early days of piracy and up into the modern age, with stops at '60s spy and French Legionnaire. The first book, a pirate book called Crogan's Vengeance, is out from Oni now, and if you're stopping by to pick up Damned, you should probably go ahead and pick that one up to. I looked at the pages Chris had for the next Crogan's book, which are terrific, and talked to him about possibly coming out for STAPLE! (the small press show in Austin) for next year.
I wandered into Ballroom 20 at about 11:15, thinking I'd get an early jump on the Entertainment Weekly and Burn Notice panels. I actually walked right in, but then realized that the panels didn't start until 1:15, which was way too long to sit in one room, and I went back out to grab lunch of clam chowder at Ralph's. Headed back to the convention center, was able to get back in and get pretty decent seats for the panels.
The Entertainment Weeky panel was Wonder Women, about women in pop-culture, and it featured Zoe Saldana, Eliza Dushku, Sigourney Weaver and Elizabeth Mitchell. Oddly, the person who was least responsible for me being there (Saldana) turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the panel, as she gave honest, smart, funny answers about women in Hollywood. It was also a joy to see Sigourney Weaver, and I was shocked to learn that she's turning sixty soon, because frankly, folks, the woman is gorgeous. As is Elizabeth Mitchell, actually. The panel's moderator seemed a little shaky and nervous (I can't entirely blame him, I'd be more than a little starstruck too) but the conversation was pretty good and it was a solid panel.
Burn Notice, however, was a great panel, one of my favorites ever in San Diego. Bruce Campbell just owned the room, you can read all about it on the Twitter feeds of @HitFixDaniel, @Moryan and @BurnNotice. Everyone was great, with Matt Nix earning that "I will follow you to whatever show you're on" thing from me. The "Spy Tips for San Diego" were fun opening video bits, too. And there were free T-Shirts! A bit garish, yellow shirts with Michael Weston's face giant and orange on the front, but still cool for Burn Notice fans like myself.
I wandered the hall for a bit after that, stopping to talk with Kazu Kibuishi, who is crazy prolific. In addition to more Flight and Flight Explorer, he's got volume two of Amulet hitting very soon (I saw a hardcover and it's beautiful), a collection of his webcomic Copper (he had a proof of that, and it's nice as well) and plenty more.
Dinner plans were with Thom Zahler, of Love and Capes. I'd tell you all about Thom and why you should buy Love & Capes, but I'll let Whitney Matheson do that instead. Anyway, Thom's a friend from a ways back, and together with Bill Williams, Paul Storrie and a couple other folks whose names I've blanked but who were spending their honeymoon at the Con, we headed out to try a Mexican restaurant called La Puerta.
While we were waiting for a table, I got a call from Josh Elder (Mail Order Ninja, Starcraft, Batman Strikes) to join us. Which is when Josh learned the all-important lesson that most of my friends learn at one point or another: Never follow directions from me without double-checking. I told him we were at Sixth and Market (it was Fourth and Market). Eventually, through the magic of cellphones, he caught up with us, and joined us for dinner. La Puerta was OK, but I think tex-mex has spoiled me in terms of enjoying California mexican food. The restaurant did have a power outlet right near the table, which let me refill my dead iPod, which had died far earlier in the Burn Notice panel than I would have liked.
I took the shuttle bus back to the hotel. There were some exceptionally annoying older know-it-all types giving a running commentary on everything on the way back, snarking on various things they saw, with the bus driver chatting it up with them, and by the time they got off, I was wanting to take an ice pick to them, or possibly my own ears to keep from having to hear any more of it.
However, the ride back to the Hyatt after a quick change of clothes, with the same tour bus driver, provided some small revenge. A couple of guys were on the bus talking and causally dropping F bombs, and every time they did, the bus driver would protest with "Hey!" They didn't hear her, but I did, and I found the idea that a bus driver was so offended by bad language that she had an almost Pavlovian response every time the word "fuck" was uttered very funny.
At the Hyatt bar/Boom! Studios party, I chatted with a ton of people, mostly Austin friends like Chris Cox, Martin Thomas, Paul Benjamin and Bill Williams but also Thom Zahler and Bob Ingersoll and Chip Mosher. I also got to meet Roger Langridge, say a brief hi to Jann Robinson, meet Chris Roberson (whose I, Zombie book from Vertigo with Mike Allred on art is getting early buzz) and also meet Mark Sable (of Unthinkable). And my buddy Joe D., who I worked with on Psycomic so long ago and who now is wheeling and dealing some Hollywood work, was there and I got to chat with him for what hopefully won't be the last time during the show.
About 1:30, mildly buzzed on Absolut Vanilla and Coke, I wandered back to the shuttle, got back to the hotel and fell into bed at about 2 AM. I was asleep practically before my head hit the pillow.
Now: Quick breakfast muffin or something and on to day three!