Archive for July, 2010

Comic Con International July 2010

Friday, July 30th, 2010

Bill and Peggy Wu Comic Con 2010
Bill and Peggy Wu photo by Ken Estes

It was another whirlwind of a Comic Con this year! As usual, Bill and I loaded up the rented cargo van on Monday and headed down to San Diego for the 41st convention. This was my 5th Comic Con as a vendor (Bill’s SCBB*) but mind you Bill has been a vendor/attendee for over 30 years. A true veteran! Trust me, he’s seen it all.

Dan and Amy (no Nate this year, whaa) helped us unload the van onto pallets which were shrink wrapped and fork lifted to our booth. After hours of setting up poster displays, shelves and alphabetizing many many books, we were open for business for Wednesday’s busy preview night.
Comic Con booth

Bill and I were up bright and early the next 4 days to greet our numerous friends and customers. Comic Con is famous for their attendees wearing fabulous costumes. Except for a few signings, we almost never left the booth, but plenty of great costumes came our way, including those belonging to our neighboring booths, Things From Another World and Girls Drawin Girls. There are sites out there with a lot more costume photos than ours, but click here to see all our Comic Con photos. Especially if you dropped by to see us!

Things from Another World booth babe

We had the pleasure of not only seeing James Owen but meeting more members of his wonderful family this year. John King Tarpinian brought Ray Bradbury by our booth for a precious few minutes with Sam Weller, who quickly signed a book for Bill. (To see a brief video of Ray at our booth click here! Ray Bradbury visits booth Comic Con 2010).

Ray Bradbury visits booth 2010
Sam Weller visits booth 2010

I was able to slip out of the booth for a bit and see Peter Beagle (The Last Unicorn), Patrick Carman (Skeleton Creek, Thirteen Days to Midnight) and Tonya Hurley (Ghostgirl).

Peter Beagle signs The Last Unicorn new comic
Patrick Carman signs Peggy's Trackers ARC
Tonya Hurley signs Peggy's Ghostgirl

We saw so many friends but some we got photos of are The Ring Sisters, Scott Brick, Robert K. Wiener, President of Donald M. Grant Publishers, Ken & Mitch, Terry & Betty, David & Colleen, James Owen (and his hilarious brother Jeremy), Pat Murphy, Connor, Richard & Ingrid (The Mystery Bookstore), and so many that we didn’t get pictures of, but we love you all!

One thing to note in our booth… those Star Wars posters you see displayed? All originals. All for sale. Most belong to Craig Miller (Wolfmill Entertainment) who used to do marketing for Lucas Films back in the day, and he kept them in pristine condition. Click here and check them out! Another note, I am constantly amazed by not only Bill’s in-depth knowledge of books, but his genuine, old fashioned customer service. Bill cares about helping people find what they want… an art form that is hard to find in this modern age.

The 5 days of Comic Con flew by in a colorful blur. Dude… it’s like Vegas, can’t see outside, can’t tell what time or day it is, but finally Sunday evening rolled around bringing with it Dan & Amy with our empty tubs. So it was time to break everything down, load up the pallets, for me to join the massive truck line with the van, and wait until they could fork lift our stuff to the loading dock. It was almost midnight before the four of us could grab a tasty pizza together in downtown San Diego. We were all so tired and hungry, it was the best pizza ever.

We slept quickly and Monday morning headed back to Los Angeles to, again, unload the van, turn it in by 3 pm and get our completely exhausted selves home. It’s sure a lot of work, but we wouldn’t miss it for the world. Already looking forward to next year…!

Until our next comic adventure…

Just for fun, we shot a few brief videos. If you’ve never been to a Comic Con, or it’s been a few years, these will give you an idea of what they’re like these days!
-Comic Con walkabout ending at booth
-Doors open! Friday & Saturday openings…
-Bill with customers at booth
-Colleen's mouse show

*Peggy Wu… Bill’s senior citizen booth babe…
Peggy Wu Senior Citizen booth babe for

Scream Queens at Larry Edmunds Cinema Bookshop of Hollywood Memorabilia
July 18, 2010

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

Scream Queens signing at Larry Edmunds

Scream Queens? Ah, you are more familiar with these lovely ladies than you realize… let’s take a quick walk down the memory lane of horror shall we? Heh heh heh…

Who spoke the first line in the 1931 Dracula? Why that would be Carla Laemmle, 100 years young.
Carla Laemmle

How about the little girl from the 1942 Ghost of Frankenstein? Presenting Scream Queen Janet Ann Gallow
Janet Ann Gallow

Remember Elena Verdugo, a gypsy in the 1944 House of Frankenstein
Elena Verdugo

And how could we forget The Leech Woman star Coleen Gray
Coleen Gray

And Kathleen Hughes from It Came From Outer Space… eh eh? :)
Kathleen Hughes

These glamorous starlets were delightful as they signed Confessions of a Scream Queens at Larry Edmunds Cinema Bookshop. Author Matt Beckoff interviewed fifteen “Ladies of Horror” which spans over ninety years of cinema. A must have for classic horror fans.

To see all our Scream Queen photos, click here.

Until our next screaming Hollywood adventure…

For signed copies, drop Bill an email, but for unsigned copies we have good ol’ Amazon!

Steve Niles & Bernie Wrightson signing The Ghoul at Dark Delicacies July 17, 2010

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

Steve Niles & Bernie Wrightson signing The Ghoul at Dark Del

I LOVE the new Dark Delicacies store. There’s more room for spooky stuff and amazing writer and illustrator signings… like this one!

A couple days before we left for the San Diego Comic Con, we drove out to Burbank to meet illustrator Bernie Wrightson (Swamp Thing) and writer Steve Niles (X-Files/30 Days of Night) for the signing of their new graphic novel The Ghoul. Is this an awesome cover or what?!!

The Ghoul cover by Niles & Wrightson

Owners Del and Sue were busy with all of us customers as usual while keeping tabs on the signing. Here’s Del holding up a movie poster that Bernie said was never made. BTW, *pout* Del is causing me major hair envy. That is one seriously gorgeous snowy mane. Sigh.

Del holds up movie poster for Bernie

While Bill was chatting up “one of the greatest comic book artists EVER” (aka childhood hero) I perused the store and procured several summer shirts (with monsters on them, of course) and my own favorite earthy scented oil. Hey, I needed stuff to wear to Comic Con. :)

Dark Del is Disneyland Haunted House quality in its ghostly decor. Click here to see more Dark Del photos of the new store from our last visit with Eclipse director David Slade.

Dark Delicacies
Dark Delicacies

To see all the Niles & Wrightson photos, click here…

Until our next ghoulish adventure…

For signed copies, please email Bill. For unsigned, we have Amazon Baby!

Westercon 63 July 1-4, 2010

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

Westercon 2010 fan tables

What is a Westercon?

The West Coast Science Fantasy Conference is a regional science fiction and fantasy convention founded in September 1948 by Walter J. “Doc” Dougherty of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society (that would be the LASFS, of which I am a life member). The location changes each year and is decided by the convention members via a bid and voting process. Now, since this is the WEST Coast Science Fantasy Conference, they are always held in west coast cities or in Hawaii. Traditionally, they run four days on a weekend adjacent to or including the 4th of July. So, if you’re lucky, you get fireworks too!

This year was the 63rd Westercon (holy smokes!), held in Pasadena California… close enough to home for us to make an appearance. The last time we went to a Westercon was in 2002 when it was held near LAX (but Bill and I hadn’t met yet). This Westercon featured WesterChordfilk singing. Unfortunately, this year Westercon competed with Anime Expo so our attendee numbers were way down. Boo. The next two Westercon locations are set, but there is talk of discontinuing them. This would be the end of a old science fiction fan community tradition and sad indeed. Hopefully this will not be the case.

The author autograph area was hopping… here are some shots of Don Glut, Tim Powers and Larry Niven. Later in the weekend we met Rudy Rucker. As you know Bill always has something to be signed!

Tim Powers picks out a treat…

Tim Powers picks out a treat

Larry Niven signs RingWorld

Larry Niven signs RingWorld

Rudy Rucker signs Bill’s books
Rudy Rucker signs Bill's books

We checked out the fun dealer’s room and art show, but mostly Bill and I just hung out in the Pasadena Hilton lobby, drank lattes, munched off the Bar Grill menu, and enjoyed some magic before heading up to the evening room parties

Ken & Bill entertain Tim & Serena Powers

Since the next two Westercons will be further away from Los Angeles (2011 in San Jose and 2012 in Seattle), I doubt we’ll be able to go. I sure hope someone picks up the torch and runs with 2013 or, sadly, this will be our last Westercon. :(

To view all our Westercon 2010 photos click here

Until our next west coast fantasy adventure…

Penguin Books Celebrates Its 75th Anniversary! Vroman’s Bookstore June 30, 2010

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

75th Anniversary of Penguin Books

Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena hosted the 75th Anniversary of Penguin Books (USA) and Penguin Classics with Representatives Howard Wall and Amy Cornito, author Laura Dave (The Divorce Party: A Novel) and special guest artist John Parot, winner of Bravo’s “Work of Art: The Next Great Artist” Book Challenge with an original new look for the Penguin Classic, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells.

Bill and I arrived to find the upstairs signing area of Vroman’s colorfully decorated in black and orange, as well as a Penguin history wall, a table of free books (yay!), and a huge orange penguin cake. Howard Wall gave us a little Penguin Book history and Amy distributed fun raffles prizes… Penguin t-shirts, tote bags and books, books, books.

Penguin raffle

Lil Penguin History

Penguin Founder Sir Allen Lane launched Penguin Books in 1935 with ten titles:

    Ariel: a Shelley Romance – André Maurois
    A Farewell to Arms – Ernest Hemingway
    Poet’s Pub – Eric Linklater
    Madame Claire – Susan Ertz
    The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club – Dorothy L. Sayers
    The Mysterious Affair at Styles – Agatha Christie
    Twenty-Five – Beverley Nichols
    William – E.H. Young
    Gone to Earth – Mary Webb
    Carnival – Compton Mackenzie

Over the next 75 years, Penguin went from selling paperbacks, which cost a mere sixpence, to an international publishing powerhouse. Penguin revolutionized publishing through high quality inexpensive paperbacks sold through Woolworths and other high street stores. This was ground breaking because back then, paperbacks were associated with poor quality, lurid fiction. By March 1936, ten months after the company’s launch, one million Penguin books had been printed. Their success proved that large audiences existed for serious books.

Penguin book covers

The Penguin book cover design was simple: three horizontal bands, the upper and lower of which were color coded* according to which series the title belonged – sometimes referred to as the horizontal grid. In the central white panel, the author and title were printed in Eric Gill’s sans serif and in the upper band was a cartouche with the legend “Penguin Books”. The horizontal grid was created by twenty-one-year-old office junior Edward Young, who also drew the first version of the Penguin logo.


*orange and white for general fiction, green and white for crime fiction, cerise and white for travel and adventure, dark blue and white for biographies, yellow and white for miscellaneous, red and white for drama; and the rarer purple and white for essays and belles lettres, and gray and white for world affairs

We had a fun time and wish Penguin Books another successful 75 years!

Until our next flightless adventure…

Heh heh bad birds…

Monster birds

Click here to see all the Penguin party photos

Neil LaBute, Julia Stiles and Johnny Galecki at Booksoup June 27, 2010

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

Neil LaBute @ Booksoup

Filthy Talk for Troubled Times… yep… that about sums it up. Neil LaBute arrived at Booksoup in West Hollywood with the beautiful Julia Stiles (Dexter) and dapper Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory) in tow. After reading a few graphic excerpts from his new book, LaBute had both Julia and Johnny read pieces as well, both separately then as a “mini-play” dialog. My jaw dropped at some of the raw material, particularly the piece he had Johnny read solo. I don’t think I was alone in my shock… the lively audience kinda went “all crickets” before awarding the actor with hesitant applause. Far from PC, but maybe sort of “real” for what life is like for at least some in troubled times. Made me super glad to not be caught up in the modern dating or bar scene! Oy vey!

LaBute, Stiles & Galecki reading at Booksoup

Julia was a total sweetie and signed Bill’s Dexter books. We’ll be seeing her soon when this season’s Dexter episodes begin. Johnny was super cool – poor guy had to run out for a cigarette after that long reading session before signing our stuff. LaBute was happy to sign our books too. It was quite an evening… definitely not the sort of entertainment I’m used to! I actually think I prefer zombies over this stuff.

LaBute, Stiles & Galecki signing at Booksoup
Click here to view all LaBute event photos
Until our next modern-love adventure…

For signed copies, drop Bill an email
For unsigned… well, that’s what Amazon is for!

Ray Bradbury, Sam Weller & Black Francis sign at Bookfellows June 26, 2010

Saturday, July 10th, 2010

Frank Black, Sam Weller & Ray Bradbury

Bookfellows, aka Mystery & Imagination, packs the house again! Ray Bradbury injured his leg earlier this year and has not been out of the house in months. So we were delighted he was able to sign this new book Listen to the Echoes by Sam Weller and intro by musician Frank Black (aka Black Francis). Frank’s wife and kids welcomed Mr. Bradbury back to the limelight! Ray’s paparazzi, me included, went nuts!

Frank Black's wife hugs Ray

Malcolm and Christine did an incredible job in spite of the huge crowd and the fact that the books were delivered… a week in advance…? Nope. Um, earlier that day? Nope, nope but WITH Ray. YIKES. I can’t even freaking imagine! But several folks jumped in to help, including Bill, and they managed to get the stock sorted, distributed, lined up and signed. Whew!

Malcolm & Christine Bell help Ray's fans & sort his books

Signing table for Listen to the Echos

John King Tarpinian performed his usual efficient crowd control while keeping a close eye on Ray, making sure he was having a wonderful time without getting over tired. If you ever awake one morning to discover you have become an overnight celebrity, you’d be fortunate to have John by your side at big events! Eric Larson, formally Ray’s driver, hung out with his kids too. No longer his driver, he told us he’s “just Ray’s friend”. ;)

It was another gorgeous southern California day in Glendale as all Ray’s friends and fans packed into the book store and spilled out onto the Brand Avenue sidewalk. Bill had the foresight to purchase our books well in advance so we were near the front of the line, having time to relax and hang around after wards. We were all thrilled to have Mr. Bradbury out and about again!

To see all our photos from this Bradbury event click here.
For signed copies drop Bill an email

Until our next echoing adventure…

“Sam Weller knows more about my life than I do.”
—Ray Bradbury

You Tube Video:
Ray Bradbury Listen to the Echoes

Final shot of the cutest pic EVER (Frank’s shy little boy meets the legendary Mr. Ray Bradbury).
Mr. Bradbury meets Frank Black's son