San Diego ComiCon 2011

This year was my favorite ComiCon in a very, very long time!! I haven’t done a con writeup in years, but wanted to remember why I liked this year so much! Here’s what happened:


Arrived late-night to Jordie and Jim’s pimp Hillcrest pad. They’re old friends from the Dumbrella messageboard. They have awesome cats.



Breakfast with Rich Johnston. Met lots of his friends, including Neal Adams. Ate a delicious pecan pancake. Me and Rich like to trade candy and this year we were doing old fashioned candies (and he gave me Jelly Babies!).  He’s British and I live in LA, so I think I get the better end of this deal. But I loaded up on tons of treats from Rocketfizz Burbank before coming out.

After foods, I went back to Jordie’s to do a work project for NBC Universal that was kinda driving me crazy. On the way to ComiCon around 4ish I got hit by a car. The dude driving it was a Turkish student who’d bought a shiny BMW yesterday but it wasn’t insured yet. His friends were translating for him and they really didn’t want me to call the cops or my insurance. I let one of them ride with me to a mechanic friend of theirs, and they were haggling over prices, which made me really nervous. The mechanic was practically in Mexico, in a really really really sketchy part of town off Caeser Chavez blvd. I called Tenlow and he told me to call my insurance, so I did. (edit: Turns out it was $900 in damage. The kids had offered $200-300 to settle it on the spot. Super glad I didn’t take them up on it)

I ran around back behind the Mariott to the CBR Yacht. My role at ComiCon is mostly to take pictures of stuff for Comic Book Resources, which is one of the best and oldest pop culture sites on the internet. We have a boat that TV interviews take place at. This year Remy kicked ass at getting me access to a bunch of press rooms and junkets, and Jonah got me a spot to shoot a movie premiere. I grabbed my press pass from there and said hi to everyone, and ran into the convention center for Preview Night. Before ComiCon officially opens, on Wednesday you can go in for a few hours and buy stuff in the exhibit hall. I had to go to the Dark Horse booth for a surprise announcement:  Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine was going to be doing books with them. I got pics of him and then ran back to the boat for the CBR mixer, a private party where all the reporters could meet each other.

After hanging out there I went to Tr!ckster, which was an event across the street from the convention center. My friend Kyle (aka DJ Headshot), was spinning. I found Jane Dope and Jim Mahfood and some other friends and hung out. I also ate some sushi from Sushi on a Roll, which is a mobile sushi caterer. I was really impressed with their chef; he’s one of the most innovative food guys I’ve talked to in a while. Tr!ckster was great because it felt like it had some of the best parts of ComiCon in a space with plenty of room, beautiful artwork, available seating, booze, music, and my favorite people. There was life drawing set up, and some fantastic live art coming out of that. I was gonna take off and get some sleep, but I ended staying there most of the night cuz DJ Headshot was playing really good music and I couldn’t leave 🙂



Thursday I woke up at 6:30 and checked into my hotel at the Sheraton Symphony Hall (thanks Pat Loika!). I took a cab to the Hilton Bayfront for a Twilight press junket. That event was NUTS. There was a crazy line for all the press who showed up, and when I got into the room, I grabbed a spot against a wall. It even had a catered continental breakfast, which is unusual for press rooms at ComiCon. I put on our 400mm lens because I was still pretty far back, and got some okay pictures of minor Twilight characters. When the event was rolling past two hours I had to take off and shoot Chris Evans at the Marvel booth. I got there before he came out, but it was already packed so I took some shots from the signing area with the telephoto lens. They had the signings starting up, and I made friends with the guy who made the Captain America iphone cases (he gave me one!) and he got the Marvel event staff to let me into the press area in the front. I got a shot of Elena from Top Cow posing with Chris Evans.

Lately I’ve been really into Game of Thrones, so next I ran over to the Avatar booth and got to meet and shoot George RR Martin. Yay! After that I shot stuff for Burn Notice, Napolean Dynamite, Arkham City, and Voltron. Then I shot Stitched press stuff (short movie by Garth Ennis), but had the chance to do some unique shots so stuck around there for a while. I didn’t notice that by then I’d killed all of my flash’s AA batteries, and by the time I made it to Simone Bianchi’s gallery opening at the Chuck Jones Gallery, it wasn’t firing off. The guy who manages the gallery was SUPER NICE and hooked me up with 8 more batteries, so I shot that event and helped drink their free tequila. And damphyr from DeviantART met me there! I had to jet from that and get back into the convention center to cover a surprise Torchwood cast appearance at their screening, which was SUPER fun to shoot. They were all hyper and hugging each other, and my shots from that are fantastic. My plan after that was to hit the CBLDF party, but it was ending about when I was able to leave. I was gonna do the Comikaze/Stan Lee event, but I needed to go by the Adult Swim party and pick up Kyle (DJ Headshot). I ended up going in and when I walked in, KID KOALA was spinning in a KOALA SUIT!!!! So of course I couldn’t leave. Plus I kept getting free drinks. That was a super fun party. Stephanie Sheh and Michael Sinterniklaas came by and then we all went to a pizza place.



I again woke up way too early. I shot a bunch of stuff, but the coolest ones were Sparticus and Torchwood. Those were both outside in the sunlight. I also got to shoot Warehouse 13, which was awesome cuz I LOVE Artie and Claudia so much.  After I was done with everything and offloaded my photos, I met up with Dave, Jules (Count Ninjula), and Rob Phelps at Tr!ckster. They all had just driven down from LA because Jules was DJing. It was super fun! The best part was when Kevin Altieri and his friend came up just as Count Ninjula was playing a song he made using Cartman singing “Pokerface” by Lady Gaga, and they were dancing with me for a while. After that, we met up with Jacen Burrows and David Marks at the Mariott. We took off to visit a grocery store after that, and I didn’t realize I’d left my camera bag at Mariott, so I ran back to get it (3 blocks!). There was a cargo train in the way that took forever and ever and ever (15mins?) to pass, and I finally got my camera. The bar staff had kept it safe. Those guys are awesome!!! After that, we still needed to eat some dinner and it was getting close to 2a, and we stumbled across a pizza place that was fully themed to Adventure Time, the cartoon. Win!

I’m extremely allergic to mosquitos and there were some on the marina, so by today I was reacting very badly to them. 🙁 Super uncomfortable. Got a bite on my leg that was doing horrible for the next few days.



Up early again! Grabbed my camera stuff from the boat, and shot the Terra Nova press room. Ran by the South Park thing offsite and that was pretty rad; I liked the food truck lot. I ate a lobster roll from chop-soo-ey. I wanted to try to get an ideal spot for the Cup ‘o Joe panel that Marvel does, so I actually went back in and hung out in line for an hour, but people I knew kept walking by and wanting pictures taken so I wasn’t bored. At Cup o’ Joe, Joe Quesada  got “arrested” by a SHIELD team for playing unauthorized footage from a short being included on the Thor DVD, and when the lead cop took his glasses off, it was the main star of that – Clark Gregg. The short’s called “The Consultant.” I went back down to Marvel to shoot the signing, and got permission to shoot from the stage, and got some fantastic shots. After that, I grabbed a cab and headed to the Civic Center theater, where they were doing red carpet arrivals for Cowboys and Aliens. This was a proper Hollywood premiere that felt like it was picked up from Hollywood blvd and plunked down into San Diego. I didn’t see many comic book press people there; it felt like it was a lot of paparazzi and major networks. Super fun though. Harrison Ford was there. The best part was that I was down on the end (last group to shoot) with someone from a local TV crew and another photographer, and when Harrison Ford walked over (with someone.. I have to check my photos to see who), all the other photographers pretty much smashed into our area to shoot them. The security guard started yelling at them to stay in their spots, and he knew them by name and said they’d get in trouble, and it was really cool that he stood up for us.

I felt really really ouchy after the event, so when I returned to the boat to offload my photos (I filled my hard drive twice and had to delete stuff to make room), I took a bunch of painkillers and had to chill out for a few hours. Tons of fun hanging out with the CBR crew that was around. Went back out to the Hyatt and met up with some deviantART friends who were sponsoring Artist’s Alley at the con. I felt bad about not making it to Tr!ckster, but I honestly didn’t think I could walk that far. My friend Heather ran down and was like “YOU HAVE TO COME UPSTAIRS!” .. it turns out that all the celebs who couldn’t get into the SyFy/EW party made their own event on that floor and anyone could pop in and hang out. It was called SlamCon. I had a really nice time up there hanging out with old and new friends. Saw Emmet, Tara and Yuri, Tony Lee, and a bunch of other people. Met publishers from 2000AD. At the end of the night, Jan and Bill from Hurricane dropped me off at my hotel, which was super awesome.

While I was at SlamCon, Dave texted me about a shooting in LA.. under our window. His computer’s on that wall under it, pretty much. But he was ok, and our neighbors seemed to be as well.



Checked out of the hotel room (I never got to party with my hotelmates!). I took the shuttle to the con, and got to shoot Matt Smith and Karen Gillan from DOCTOR WHO!!!!!!! I’d been looking forward to this all week, and it was incredible. After that, I shot a bunch of people from different cartoons. Got more updates about the shooting back home.. nobody got hit but it sounded pretty bad and scary. I decided to try to get back home faster, so I drove for about four hours (stopping for taquitos near Encinitas). Was pretty delirious towards the end, but made it back safe and sound! Pictures will come soon, and they’ll be up on CBR! I’ll post links to them from this blog.