40th Comic Con International 2009
July 22-26, 2009

Wow what an incredible, wild week we had at the 2009 Comic Con International Convention. Word has it this year was the highest attendance ever in history, topping at 140 THOUSAND people. Give me a freaking break!!

Bill and Dan made even more changes to our booth this year. Bill’s been tweaking his 10×10 booth each and every year in his almost 30 years of being an exhibitor for Comic Con, but the last 3 have been the most dramatic. Dan designed pvc pipe poster displays to hang above each bookcase. And Bill has a ton of posters to sell – including an original Star Wars poster collection. Other tweaks were laying carpet on top of the padding, bringing in more shelves, losing the chairs, etc. Maximize that selling space!

Monday before the con, Bill and I loaded the rental cargo van and headed down to San Diego. Tuesday was the big “load in” at the boat yard… here’s Dan, Amy & Nate helping us with all the tubs and stackable bookshelves. Exhibitor load in is a slick process… you stack your stuff on wooden pallets, wrap it in plastic, a forklift driver moves your pallets into the exhibit hall and sets them down right at your booth. After that, you’re on your own!! Here we all are laying down carpet, setting up shelves, the pegboard, poster displays, and many many books. This year, we were fortunate that Nate was in town staying with Dan and Amy (he’s as much of a rascal as a hard worker… and SINGLE LADIES! He’s yummy, eh?!). Tuesday evening, after we’d tarped everything for the night Dan said something about “that Joe’s Crab Shack” across the boat yard. HELLO. I was like WHAT!! SHARK BITE?? Bill rolled his eyes… why did you have to go there Dan! (Previous adventure involving me and a shark bite… not pretty).

Wednesday morning Bill and I hauled our tired bodies out of bed and did more set up and book alphabetizing all day long. Dan and Nate came by before Preview Night got going and set up the last of the poster displays. The booth really looked great, if I do say so myself. :)

After Preview Night, Amy invited us all (she had friends and family in town too) over for home made mac & cheese (rouw-wer) with baked ham and sweet green beans. And her mom had dropped by with home made lemon cookies and biscotti. We’re sooooo spoiled!

Thursday morning we bounced (ok, not so much bounce) out of bed, packed our ice chest full and headed back to the convention center for the first full day of the con. We had our same awesome neighbors as last year – Things from Another World and Girls Drawin’ Girls. Things has way cool stuff (Bill is a loyal customer) and Girls provides us with nonstop booth babes in various costumes.

Honestly, the next few days are a blur. Many friends stopped by, hundreds of customers perused the booth, and we saw multitudes of kick ass costumes. The big highlight was when Ray Bradbury stopped by to see us. Bill gave him the new Fahrenheit 451 poster (compliments of The Ogre), and Ray looked at Bill’s booth and said, is this all yours? Ray said a quick hello to me and we were able to get a photo with him before John and his entourage moved him on.

The delightful and talented James Owen visited Bill for a few minutes. Here he is holding up the 3rd novel in his “Here, There be Dragons” series. Such a pretty book! James told us how he got to speak with Ray for a few minutes (paraphrasing). Ray recognized James and exclaimed, you’re a comic book artist! And James told him, yes, I am, and now I also write fantasy and showed him his books. Ray looked at one and said, this is beautiful! James got a lump in his throat as he gave a signed copy to his “Uncle Ray” and took a photo with him. Believe me, I understand. Ray has that affect on most of us!

We didn’t get photos of everyone, but our logo and website designer Edrolfo dropped by while advertising his business Peer Deal. Yes, that way cute penguin reading a book and flying a 50’s style space ship is Edrolfo’s creation, and he nailed it. Ken Estes came by, newly weds Terry & Betty; Dan Davis; booksellers Jeff & Rosanne; Ray & Karla; Corinna & Gabriel were promoting their new graphic novel Heathentown; Craig Miller, who is promoting his new TV series Resistance and his wife Genny; Scott Brick (who “presented” us with an MP3 version of Frankenstein read by him with bonus features!), JT who helped us the last 2 years with breakdown; Soulgeek’s Dino and Casey had their own booth; Bill visited Patrick from Mysterious Galaxy and of course; fellow book hunters J&N, Mark the Ogre and Max; Bill’s buddies Susie, Katrina, the Ring Sisters; Jon Armstrong, the Magic Castle’s close up magician of the year, all around good guy and a huge Batman fan; magician David (Speeno) & Colleen (still newly weds); Ed Hooper (LosCon), and so many others. Like I said, it was a blur of big smiles, hearty laughs and wild costumes.

Before we knew it, Sunday evening rolled around, and with it, Dan, Amy & Nate with the empty tubs. Breakdown was fast and efficient. These guys are old hands at this now! And we suspect that Dan and Nate are “psycho“pathically linked they work so well together (they served together in the US Navy. Nate is still serving and will move to California in about 6 months – yeah!!). We broke down displays, packed up books, and ripped up carpet. Before too long, everything was tubbed, tied and shrink wrapped. I ran back to the condo and drove the van to join the boat yard line. Unfortunately, it was a long, slow line and I had to wait about an hour, but finally they called me inside the loading area and a forklift driver delivered our pallets. Amy ran home to finish dinner and Dan, Nate, Bill and I loaded the van as fast as we could. Mostly, I stayed out of the way at this point… those guys have way more upper body strength than I do, and they are scary when they move fast!

FINALLY we were done and we went to Dan & Amy’s for some (OMG) thick saucy ribs, homemade pasta salad, succulent corn on the cob, and tasty sausage. These people are serious about great food! Bill and I were so tired we were zombies. It was late when we stumbled back to the condo and fell into bed.

Monday morning was sad. Comic Con was really over. We packed up our stuff, quickly cleaned the condo and dropped off the keys with Nate before heading north toward Los Angeles with a very full van of product. Nope, we didn’t sell all of it! After we dropped off the empty van at Enterprise and parked the Pathfinder at home, I actually burst into tears in the parking lot before we climbed the stairs to our apartment. Like Bill didn’t have enough to deal with!!

We are deeply grateful for our friends who help us so much in many ways during Comic Con and promise to see more of them through out the year… All of you!

Until our next comic adventure!

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