Comics Ate My Brain

July 26, 2004

San Diego Diary, Last Day

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tom Bondurant @ 11:01 pm

Saturday, July 24

Woke up in the middle of the night thanks to stereo snoring. One would snore and the other would answer. Very strange.

Tried to make up for the room-service imbroglio from yesterday by getting my own breakfast. Everybody else was still asleep, so after getting cleaned up, I moseyed down to the hotel restaurant and had granola and a croissant on the veranda by the pool. Read the New York Times, too. It felt very high-toned.

The water taxi didn’t start until 10:00 a.m., so I was late getting to the 10:00 “Lost” panel. For those who don’t know, Lost is a new ABC series from JJ Abrams, the creator of Alias. My lovely wife and I are big Alias fans, and she asked about the panel when we talked on Friday night, so I figured I had to make a decent effort to get there.

Went to Room 20, but the panel had moved across the convention center and it was a pretty good hike to get there. Still saw about 15 minutes of the first episode — survivors of a plane crash explore the wreckage and get terrorized by some mysterious thing. All things considered, it was probably good I didn’t see the actual plane-crash scenes. After the show, the cast and some of the writers came out for Q & A. Dominic Monaghan, who played Merry in Lord of the Rings, is in this show, and he was the subject of much squealing and screaming from what I took to be the teenage girls in the first few rows. Not bad for a guy I thought was the Ringo of the four hobbits. Neither Abrams nor Greg Grunberg (an Alias alum who is also in Lost) was on stage, which was a little disappointing, but it was still a good presentation.

After about an hour on the convention floor, it was time for the Identity Crisis panel. I had expected a little more acrimony from the crowd, considering that the series has done some pretty horrible things to a character who was always pretty light-hearted. However, everyone was cordial, and the phrase “love-fest” was used a few times. I suppose the people who don’t much like IC wouldn’t have come to the panel just to vent, but I was surprised nobody said anything negative. I asked a question and, after the panel, made a couple of positive comments to writer Brad Meltzer.

Dropped in on the Cartoon Voices panel next, and enjoyed stories from Tom Kenny (who voices SpongeBob and a couple of characters on The Powerpuff Girls) and Billy West (who starred in Futurama and Ren & Stimpy). Left that one early to go to the Pros vs. Fans Trivia Challenge. Before that panel, I talked to Mark Waid and Kurt Busiek and basically told them they’d “made my year” for JLA/Avengers and Superman: Birthright. I then told Waid his first Fantastic Four issue was one of the best single issues of comics I’d read. None of these were real exaggerations — I did enjoy JLA/Avengers even though, and probably because, it was blatant pandering to the fans. I do like Birthright, which revised Superman’s first adventures, better than its predecessor Man of Steel. The reinterpretation that Waid outlined for Reed Richards, leader of the Fantastic Four, did really stun me. (Waid told me it was editor Tom Brevoort’s idea.) I try to say something nice to everyone, even Chuck Austen, just to be nice — but I wanted these guys to know how much I appreciated their work. Busiek’ s going to be the regular writer of JLA next year, so I’m excited about that.

Anyway, the trivia panel was fun enough. They took questions from the audience for a while, and I contributed a couple. It wasn’t as entertaining as I’d seen it, but it was still diverting.

The general DC Comics panel was next. I’d heard most of the information before at other panels, but it was announced that DC would start reprinting every single Batman story in order, in paperback form. I wonder how long DC will stick with this, because a complete set of Batman stories just through the 1970s would cover half a wall.

Caught up with Sam on the convention floor, and we walked around while he shopped for his kids and waited for his panel to begin. I had already gotten my wife a couple of gifts, and took them to the on-site UPS store to be shipped back. (One thing about coming to San Diego — I always limit myself to carry-on baggage, and my bags were pretty full. By this point, they were a lot heavier too.)

Sam did pretty well on his panel. He was on with several other sculptors, talking about making action figures. Most of the crowd were artists themselves, so hopefully they found it informative. We left the convention, caught a taxi, and got to the airport about 2 hours before the flight was supposed to leave.

Sunday, July 25

We left San Diego at about 1:30 a.m. EDT and flew straight to Atlanta. I slept for about 2-3 hours on the plane, and the rest of the time tried to drown out the cabin noise with my MP3 player. We landed in Atlanta at 5:00 a.m., where we settled in for a 2 1/2 hour layover. This consisted of watching Airport CNN, listening to the piercing beeps of the courtesy golf cart making its rounds, and growing slowly colder under the glacial influence of determined air conditioning. A little plane, like the one which took us to Dallas, returned us to Lexington. I got home about 9:30 a.m., took a shower, and went to church.

Before too long, my wife will have to experience all of this.

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