San Diego Comic-Con was tons of fun, but I'm so happy to be home. Four days of waiting in lines and hiking up and down the convention center with a backpack was quite enough for me, until next year, anyway. It was the first time my husband and I went for more than 1 day (last year was our first time going to SDCC ever) and I think we did a pretty good job of planning it.
First of all, we stayed at The King's Inn Hotel, which was inexpensive, small but clean, and most importantly only 50 feet from a shuttle stop. I would totally stay there again next year. We brought lots of snacks (cereal bars, meat jerky, and even some pre-made steel cut oats we kept in the fridge for breakfasts) and ate a few convenient, cheap prepared foods from Ralph's grocery so we could splurge a little on delicious meals at Chocolat and Extraordinary Desserts. The snacks really came in handy since many of our panels were back-to-back in the same rooms, which meant we didn't have much time to run out and get hot food for lunch. Actually, I once had a cheeseburger from the Cafe at the back of the Exhibit Hall and though it was really expensive and nothing special (think triple-size McDonald's cheeseburger), it really hit the spot.
But enough about me! On to the books!
First up, Curtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School, Book 2) by Gail Carriger. I just adore Gail and her writing. Thanks to Little-Brown Books for Young Readers and the kind sales reps at Hachette for making it possible for us to surreptitiously snag these advanced copies at the show!
Nancy Farmer's award-winning The House of the Scorpion's long-awaited sequel is coming soon! The Lord of Opium drops September 3rd from Atheneum Books. Thanks to Simon & Schuster for calling attention to this highly-anticipated book in their preview panel.
The Simon & Schuster panel also highlighted The Monstore, written by Tara Lazar and illustrated by James Burks. I just love it--so bright and playful! As the jacket copy says, The Monstore is a one-stop shop for all your monsterly needs in this enormously funny story that’s full of friendly, kooky creatures. I picked it up at James's booth along with his own Bird & Squirrel on the Run, published by Graphix, an imprint of Scholastic.
This isn't out yet, but I cannot resist Scott C.'s artwork. It makes me want to grin like a fool and skip gaily down the street. You can find the words beforehand, after all, Bob Dylan's song has been around since 1970, but the illustrations will delight kids, kid-parents, and dog-parents the world over and let their imaginations run free as a... dog. If you're lucky enough to be in SoCal on August 24th, there's a launch party for If Dogs Run Free at Nucleus in Alhambra, CA. This was featured by S&S, too.
Now, a sentiment I heard at least a few times per day was that Comic-Con isn't really about comics any more, which is a shame--it's a medium that combines two things I love, writing and art, into a super-storytelling method with appeals that are all its own. I hope attendees in future years will make more of an effort to recognize that SDCC isn't just a giant celebrity swagfest, but a chance to learn from expert artists and writers. My husband and I mostly focused on attending comic and animation panels instead of the blockbuster movie and TV ones (which also saved us about 2 days worth of waiting in hopelessly long lines) and came home with some great graphic novels.
My husband and I both adore Bone by Jeff Smith, and he always has a booth at SDCC with his friend Terry Moore. We were able to sit in on a couple of Smith's panels and meet him at a signing. I almost bought the Bone cousins plushies too--Fone Bone!--but I know my cats would probably tear them up. Maybe next year when they've mellowed out a little... For young adults and grown-ups, my husband highly recommends RASL, Smith's noir-sci-fi graphic novel, which buzzes with speculative science (some of which is coming true! eek!), folklore, and philosophy. At his spotlight panel, Smith also talked about his new project, Tuki, which will be released first as a free web comic before coming out in print. I'll post more info when it launches. He also edited this year's Best American Comics, so all-in-all it's an exciting year for Jeff Smith and eager fans like me.
At one point, hubby and I split up to cover more ground, and he went to track down David Petersen while I paid a visit to James Burks. We now proudly own a signed copy of Mouse Guard: The Black Axe, a prequel to the graphic novel series. I can't wait to dig in!
Oh my gosh! My husband just wanted to swing by for the Zombie Bacon SDCC Exclusive toy, but I had to pick up the comics available from Mr. Toast too (#1 isn't available any more, but you can read them on the website). I settled for a Vampire Candy Corn doll but I really want ALL THE TOYS. (Please keep that in mind for my next birthday, friends.)
Last but certainly not least, I picked up a copy of Curiosities Junior, a new story from the makers of Curiosities: author Jonathan Ying and illustrators Victoria Ying and Mike Yamada. Check out their Extracurricular Activities online shop--it's full to the brim with adorable books, prints, and gifts! Oh how I wish all self-publishing were this well-designed. Keep an eye out, I'll be posting a giveaway for a signed copy of this very soon!
I had a great experience at SDCC 2013, and I'm looking forward to going again next year!
That's it for me! I'd love to hear what everyone else got at Comic-Con (or even just what you are reading if you couldn't go).