Axel-In-Charge: Facing the 'Divided' Marvel NOW! Future
8:30 am – Breakfast at the Embassy buffet again. Tried the build-your-own omelet today. Tomorrow: bagels and cream cheese!
10:30 am – I arrive at the convention a half-hour after it opens. There may be something to say about my not being excited to get there, but really it was mostly me waking up a little late and taking my sweet time getting ready.
I spot Edward James Olmos and Michael Hogan from Battlestar Galactica at their tables and as much as I’ve complained about Autographapalooza, I admit to getting a bit of a thrill from seeing them. Not enough to stand in line and pay for whatever, but man that was a cool show and it’s cool to see them in person.
10:45 am – Finishing up my tour of Artist Alley today. Say hello to Andy Brase who’s probably my favorite cover artist. Pick up one of his sketchbooks too. Somehow manage to screw up the picture and snap it when his eyes are closed. I’m sorry, Andy!
Talk to Phil Hester for a bit and buy a copy of Oversight. It’s a collection of rarities that he’s written for Negative Burn, Taboo, and other anthologies. Didn’t even know it existed, but there it is. Have to have it. He also lets me take one of the retailer previews for his new series The Anchor. It’s even more awesome than I hoped for.
Frank Cho’s got a big crowd at his booth. No surprise there.
11:30 am – Back over to the Crimespree booth where I pick up Tim Broderick’s Cash & Carry, a graphic novel from his Odd Jobs webcomic series. Crimespree publisher Jon Jordan also hooks me up with another issue of the magazine and a mini-comic called The Cowl by Brian Azzarello. Azzarello’s Cowl is the real-world version of a fictional comic written by one of the characters in Joseph Finder’s novel Vanished.
On my way out to lunch I pass where Rhona Mitra and Michelle Rodriguez are signing. I overhear a girl say, “They look so much prettier in their pictures.” The guy she’s with remains strangely silent.
12:00 pm – Lunch at Chez Colette in the Hotel Sofitel. I’ve had Saturday lunch there every single year that I’ve been to the Chicago convention. As usual, it has the best service I’ve received in any restaurant ever. I love this place. Sad to think that this will almost certainly be my last time eating there.
Start reading Cash & Carry while they’re making my lunch. The book’s very good.
1:00 pm – Back in Artist Alley. Grab some lunch for Jess and Grant.
1:30 pm – Walk around a bit with RD Hall before his Heroes signing. We talk about how awesome Phil Hester is and end up at Phil’s table again to tell him ourselves. Frickin fanboys…
2:00 pm – The Mondo Marvel panel is fun, but I feel disconnected from it. I’ve switched almost exclusively to trades since the issue prices went up, so I know that the stuff they’re talking about – as fun as a lot of it sounds – is stuff that I won’t be reading for a very long time. It’s not the panel’s fault, but I feel kind of bummed by the end of it.
3:00 pm – Back to Artist Alley. I’ve hit the wall now. Totally tired and bored since I’ve seen pretty much everything at the show. I talk to several other people who are experiencing the same thing. Tiredness and headaches are setting in.
I should say though that this is a normal Saturday afternoon phenomenon at this show. The place is packed and it’s a chore even to walk around. Two days of all these costumes and banners and salespeople take it out of you. There’s even more sensory overload in San Diego, but that show’s so huge that there’s always something new to distract yourself with. Here I’m walking past the same stuff over and over again. But like I say, that’s normal for Saturday afternoon at the Chicago show and it’s sort of nice to recognize something from previous years, even if it’s exhaustion.
What’s not normal or recognizable is how weird the tone of the show is. I’m hearing this all over the place, but my favorite comment is when someone compares it to an Irish wake. Everyone seems to be having a good time – including me, restless as I am – but there’s a palpable sense that something you loved has come to an end.
4:15 pm – After the Marvel panel I’d decided against going to the DC one, but I’ve got nothing else going on and I wander over. I end up being glad that I do. Editor Ian Sattler is hilarious and runs a lively, entertaining panel. I’m way excited about the new pulp line now, especially how it’s a separate continuity in which super powers don’t exist. I am all over that.
The panel gets especially awesome at the end when Brian Azzarello goes off on all the questions trying to pry spoilers out of the panelists.
5:30 pm – Back to Artist Alley for a few minutes to check in with Jess and Grant. Everyone doing okay, so…
5:45 pm – I’m done for the day. The convention center is now stifling hot and I’m worn out anyway. Head back to the room for some air conditioning.
7:20 pm – Jess and Grant are back, so we go to the Embassy’s bar for dinner.
8:30 pm – Back in the room, the three of us try to work: Jess and Grant on art commissions; me on this post. There’s way more giggling going on than work getting done though. This is what conventions are all about.
10:15 pm – This is too: Grant and I take a break and heard over to the Hyatt for a couple of drinks and to visit with friends. I meet some new people whom I plan on visiting tomorrow.
As with yesterday, let’s close with some costumes. Today was the costume contest, so there were lots and lots of people dressed up.