San Diego Comic Con 2015

ComicCon2015

Good ol’ Booth 4722

I attended my first san Diego Comic Con in 2005, simply to see it. A number of my friends had been attending for several years and spoke highly of it, as a place to be seen, to sell work, to connect with buyers and other artists, and as a sensation. It was a lot to take in, but I approached it the way I’d approached every other new convention: with a notebook and a long list of questions. Did I want a table in Artists’ Alley or a booth on the convention floor? (on the floor) How expensive would it be? (very) How big were the crowds? (HUGE) How much fun was it? (lots!)

I came home with an application, but learned that there was a waiting list of YEARS for booth at Comic Con.

In 2006 my friend Norm Hood called me. He had an entire island in the Arts section, where he sold prints from three of the bays and sublet the others out. One of his regulars had decided he was done with Comic Con, and Norm asked me if I wanted that corner booth, 4722, the next year.

“Let-me-think-about-that-for-a-minute-yes,” I said.

I figured out how to haul a complete gallery store 1258 miles. It’s a ton of work. The paperwork is miles deep (just ask my wife Rita). Sometimes it feels daunting. But when you get to the show and everything is set up, it’s an adrenaline rush like few others.

I took a stroll through y photo archives to sort out the memories.

My first booth in 2007 was little more than walls and a table.

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In 2008, I met John Howe—one of my very favorites.

John Howe copy

In 2009 I invited a helper to assist with set-up and teardown, and to give Rita the occasional break from the booth. That’s MuYoung Kim in the picture below, along with Shizue Harrison and my niece Elaura. Mu assisted me three years running. Thank you, Mu!

Mu, Shizue, Elaura

And I got a visit from a Dragon and an Oberon:

Dragon Todd Oberon copy

Dragon Dronet has long worked in Hollywood, as an actor, stuntman, and especially building weapons and armor for movies like “Riddick.” I believe that was the year that I gave Dragon a painting, the standee image of Regdar, part of the marketing push for 3rd Edition D&D. A year later, he would hit me back with an amazing surprise…

And of course there are always costumes, like these from 2010:

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In 2011, Lucio Parillo stopped by with his friend Leonardo Meschini from Italy, and made Rita’s weekend with this picture:

Rita_Lucio

MuYoung took a job with a gaming company, so in 2012 Brittany Drew stepped in to help with the booth. I’d been mentoring Brittany for several years while she was in art school, so I was happy to finally meet her face to face. Her sister and two of her friends joined us. I think I had more fun at Comic Con that year than any other. We cracked ourselves up inventing memes out of the crazy things people said around us—non-sequiters and gobbledy-gook. And I entertained myself photo-bombing the cosplay pics being taken all around our booth.

Here are Ashley Drew, Amanda Stucke, Aubrie Reichardt, Drew, me, and Rita:

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Dragon showed up again:

Dragon:Brittany

He gifted me with this, art exchanged for art:

Me_Sword

That’s a one-of-a-kind sword, custom made by Dragon himself. There’s not a sweeter guy on the planet. But don’t tell him I said that.

In 2013, Stacie Pitt and my daughter Caitlin came to help out. It was extra-special having my daughter at Comic Con with me.

2013

Though I think Caiti might want to murder me…

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Somehow, this is the only image in my files from 2014. Who else would it be but Dragon Dronet?

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On Monday we fly to San Diego. This will be my 9th Comic Con. My ninth. That feels like an amazing number. How did nine years get behind me so fast? They’ve started to bleed together.

If you’re going to be at the show, come on down to booth 4722 and help me make some new memories.