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SDCC Aftermath 2

I’ve been pondering what to write here, and the fact is, there’s too much and there’s not enough. The show, frankly, is becoming more and more of an ordeal every year. It has wonderful things to recommend it — the fans being the highest amongst them (and yes, even the strange ones) — but it is also, rapidly, becoming not only grueling, but in some places, outright dangerous. You get some shill from some booth or another shouting about a free giveaway, or, worse, actually throwing freebees into the crowd, and you have a near riot. I tried moving my kids towards the 4000 to 6000 aisles on Thursday before noon, and I was sincerely concerned for their safety (and that was with me carrying the four year-old). We eventually gave up altogether.

Floor layout is insane at this point, the artists are being (literally) driven out of the hall, and Big Media is taking more and more room. Congestion in the aisles is absurd. The fastest way to move these days is to actually leave the hall altogether, and then re-enter it at another point.

Thus will it ever be so, I suspect.

The Greatest Sin one can commit at San Diego (and by extension, I suppose, any other major convention) is To Stop In The Middle Of An Intersection To Have A Chat. People who do this should be dragged, by their genitals, out of the hall. Seriously. It’s akin to parking your car in an intersection, and it’s only because we are not creatures made of Detroit steel and fiberglass that such sinners aren’t run down into a smooth and easily-applicable skin cream format.

Okay, that’s out of my system.

My big announcement was Stumptown, which you can read about here (and please note, Anthem is supposed to be, I think, Bantam), and here, if you’re so inclined, and which frankly just about everyone had suspected anyway, and which would have been bigger news if we’d had a hard release date. But given the unmitigated disaster I created with the Queen & Country publishing schedule, I think we’re all going to be a lot happier if there are multiple issues in the can before we start soliciting anything, so I’m okay with that. Best part, frankly, was finally getting to meet Matthew Southworth in person, after spending the past couple months in email correspondence. He is a great guy, smart, quick-witted, and rather absurdly talented, and I think we hit it off pretty well (though that may be because I bought him, Stefano, and James Lucas dinner on Thursday night to seal the deal). It was great to see Stefano again, as well — I’ve known him for the past several years, but we’ve never had much opportunity to just hang out and talk, so that was a delightful bonus.

Friday was Whiteout day, which was extraordinarily surreal. Jen, the kids, myself, and DHS were given an escort to the Very Special Place in Hall H, whereupon Jen and the kids went one way, and David and I went another. The “another” was, essentially, a con waiting room stuffed to the gills with Important People (and I recognize that, by saying such, it may appear that I am including myself in that number; I am not. Joel Silver was there. Sir Ridley Scott was there. James Hong was there (which may not mean much to you, but this is one of my all-time favorite films, warts and all). That kind of Important People, not the-guy-who-wrote-the-graphic-novel-the-movie-is-based-on important-with-a-small-”i”-people. Those were just the ones I recognized, mind you.

Arrive in said room, and just as quickly am marched out of said room with Dominic Sena (Dominic: Hey, Greg! Crazy, huh? Me: Hey, Dom. Yes!), Joel Silver (Joel Silver: GREG! GLAD YOU MADE IT! LOOKS GREAT! Me: Thanks Joel…(see, he’s already out of the room, because we’re running late)). Very Nice Publicist Alison and her Assistant (I assume her assistant, she was responsible for moving me around, quite literally) Cecilia lead the charge. “Where’s Kate? Where’s Kate? Anyone seen Kate?” No, no one’s seen Kate. Somewhere in this I learn that Kate had a birthday, though it’s unclear if that’s today, the day before, or the week before.

New room. Full of People With Television Cameras and People With Microphones. They are stacked, as the Army would say, ass-to-nuts, crammed in a line. They stand on masking-taped “x”s, on which are written things like “E!” and “Starz!” and “XBox Live!” and “G4!” I see, out of the corner of my eye, the poster for the first time. Then I’m literally being shoved after Dominic, who’s been shoved after Joel (who, I cannot imagine for an instant anyone even considered shoving) in front of the cameras. Two minute sound-bite interviews.

This, Geoff Johns tells me later, laughing at me with glee, is called a “junket.”

“Hey, we’re at Comic Con with Greg Rucka! And Greg, so, tell us, what did you do on Whiteout?”

“Hey, we’re at Comic Con with Greg Rucka author of the graphic novel Whiteout! So, Greg, tell us about the movie!”

“Hey, we’re at Comic Con with Greg Rucka! Greg! What’s Whiteout about, man?! It looks cold!”

Everyone speaks with exclamation points at these things, I rapidly learn.

And so I answer. As quickly and well as I can. But never quickly enough, because Cecilia, bless her heart, has to keep leaning in to say, “okay, that’s enough, next,” and so on, down the line.

The reason, incidentally, we bless Cecilia’s heart — and Alison’s — is that, with cameras come lights. And it’s the hottest day of the con in San Diego. And we’ve had to rush from the hotel to the end of the convention hall for this. And I shave my head, let’s not forget. So I am sheeting sweat. Literally, it’s beginning to visibly soak my shirt. Cecilia and Alison spot this, yank me from the line behind the backdrop, and hand me a wad of paper towels. So if you see footage where I appear to be holding brown soggy junk, yes, that’s paper towel laden with my sweat.

God is in the details.

We’re almost done with the line when we’re all yanked out of it. “They’re ready downstairs.” “They’re ready?” “They already showed the footage! Hurry!”

Whisk. Into elevator. Flanked by security guards, as well as bodyguards, now. Out of elevator. Whisk. Into very dark hall. Onto stage. Like that. Probably a very good thing it’s like that, too, because I have just enough time to think, “hey, doesn’t this hall hold like 5000 or 6500 people or something like that? Y’know, that’s an awful lot of people who’ll remember if you say something totally fucking dumb–”

And then we’re sitting there, taking questions from the audience, and trying to explain that, yes, Kate is coming, there’s been a traffic delay (which I don’t doubt; there’s a railroad track that runs parallel to the convention hall and which, oddly, freight trains seem to actually use. Very large freight trains. Kate, we learn, is on the wrong side of the tracks.) At some point I see Lieber in the front row of the audience, a big grin on his face. This heartens me like you wouldn’t believe, as I have not seen the trailer. I ask to see the trailer. Lights go down. Trailer is run. Trailer, I learn, was cut together specifically for the con.

Trailer is very, very cool. I hope trailer will be online soon, so people can see that it is very, very cool.

Lights come up, and now Joel’s gone, it’s just Dom and me on the stage.

Then Kate arrives and steals the show, which, frankly, she should do.

We finish, we’re whisked back stage. Jen and the kids come back. Dashiell is very happy to see Kate — they hit it off in Montreal when we visited the set. Kate is happy to see Dashiell. Whisk. Upstairs. Joel vanishes. Whisk. New room, Dominic, Kate, and I sit at Very Long Table. People enter 10 at a time. They get signatures on posters. They leave. Rinse. Repeat. Whisk. Kate vanishes. Whisk. New room, round-table interviews, Dominic and me sitting at, yes, round tables, with reporters from various publications, online and other, from various countries, the US and other. Ten minutes, whisk, new table. Ten minutes, whisk, new table. Ten minutes, whisk, new table.

“Okay, you’re done. If you want to get something to eat in the Green Room or something, feel free.”

DHS and I go back to the Green Room. All the food? Pretty much gone. Eat brownie. Drink water. Stagger out with box full of posters to give to the Oni guys. David, bless ‘im, has managed to get signatures on a handful of posters for the Oni guys. I give Steve, who’s signing at the booth, a stack as well, and we both exchange a “holy shit” moment, as we have been doing since they actually started making this thing.

Catch breath. Go to signing at Bantam booth. Give signed copies of Private Wars to anyone who asks, and several people who don’t. Rush to cocktail party I cannot locate, even with Google maps (I swear to God, the location I went to was boarded-up, and when I called the number, got a not-in-service message). Stagger back to hotel to find Jen and the kids, and learn that Dashiell’s running a fever, which is another story.

Surreal day.

More to come.

9 Responses to SDCC Aftermath 2

  1. parakkum

    Well, that all explains why I never successfully ran into you at Oni or DC, then.

    I’m glad you’re cool with the trailer. None of us braved Hall H to see it, but my friends and I were all a touch doubtful about Kate in the role. I figure approval from the author (well, as long as it’s you, at any rate) is a good sign.

  2. victor_with_a_c

    Whiteout left out!

    Well, now I know what went on in Hall H. Since I went up to the Rooms and couldn’t find H for the life of me, which of course then I remembered it was a “Hall”; once back downstairs and to Hall H only to find out it was closed due to a full house. I really wanted to see the Whiteout Trailer and to see you up on stage in front of 6000 people, no reason for the latter other than just to see your reaction.

    I’ll have to keep my eyes open on Youtube for the trailer.

    So Greg what was your involvement with the movie? ;D

  3. lithera

    I liked the trailer and was glad when Kate showed up as most of the questions seemed to be for/about her anyway…

    I promised my friend that I would put this link in here as you sort of have a cameo in it –

  4. uzumerid

    Hahaha, thanks so much for posting this. It’s rare to see this process talked about with this kind of honesty (and the usual Rucka skill).

  5. admin

    That’s terrific! Now I’m wondering if I actually encountered your friend or not.

  6. sharkcowsheep

    (Fame, sweet fame!)

    I don’t think you ever ran into me, I was just a component of the teeming mass of humanity. I saw you at your panel, at least at one of them, but then so did about six thousand other people. I probably blended in. :)

  7. lithera

    You and I have met before at the Seattle show but I do not believe that the two of you have ever met.

  8. davesbu

    God…that sounds like insanity with the whole Whiteout process. I feel like if I were in your shoes, there would be a moment in there where something would break in my brain and I’d start screaming like a kid who’s on Ridalin who is in the Museum of Natural History for the first time.

  9. mercuryeric

    The Greatest Sin one can commit at San Diego (and by extension, I suppose, any other major convention) is To Stop In The Middle Of An Intersection To Have A Chat. People who do this should be dragged, by their genitals, out of the hall. Seriously. It’s akin to parking your car in an intersection, and it’s only because we are not creatures made of Detroit steel and fiberglass that such sinners aren’t run down into a smooth and easily-applicable skin cream format.

    I’ve been a terrible, terrible influence on you, haven’t I?

    Great to see you at the show, man.

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