Friday, February 27, 2009

Last post from California

I'm getting ready to fold up the laptop and pack for tomorrow morning's plane ride, so this is the last post from California.

We had a great, great time. This was the first time that we've taken off two weeks in a row -- other than the winter holidays, which have their own hectic schedule -- in years and years. So it's amazing to me that we didn't do half of what I thought we might do or track down half the folks out here in California that I wanted to see. But it was good. We did lots and lots of stuff, and saw a ton of old friends and some family members. And yet we still had time to relax.

I can predict one thing for sure: I am going to be great at retirement. (I also suspect I'll quickly end up as one of those guys who wonders how I ever had time to work before that.)

Just another 25 or 30 years to go. Sigh.

We closed out the vacation with a fun day around the Bay. Monique stayed here and had a nice long walk and lunch with my aunt Carol. I BARTed across the Bay and attended the first day of San Francisco's big comic convention, the WonderCon. I had no idea it was happening while we were out here, but the temptation proved irresistable once I found out about it. It was a good time: lots of colorful folks in colorful costumes, lots of dealers selling all sorts of comics and sci-fi memorabilia, lots of well-known artists and writers, and a huge small press section with lots of really interesting independent comic creators.

The big comic companies are having their financial woes, but the actual creation of comics seems to be healthier than ever. It makes it an interesting time to follow the world of comics.

One of the celebrities who will be attending the con this weekend is Carrie Fisher. She was not there today, so I don't have a picture of her. I do, however, have a picture of Carrie Fisher's key ring:

Why do I have a picture of Carrie Fisher's key ring? Therein lies a future blog post filled with intrigue, gossip, drama, and what is undoubtedly the closest brush I will ever have to Star Wars fame.

(In other words, keep readin' the blog in future weeks, you mugs.)

We wrapped up the vacation by going to the Cartoon Art Museum's fundraiser party, which featured Watchmen co-creator Dave Gibbons and a genial fellow named Stan Sakai, who writes a really interesting comic called Usagi Yojimbo, which follows the adventures of a Samurai rabbit in the Japan of a couple-hundred years ago. I must confess that I had never heard of Usagi Yojimbo before coming to the museum, but they just opened a great display of his work. I'm going to get to know his work quite a bit better because I won the best darn prize in the whole raffle, an autographed copy of a limited-edition hardcover release of one of his books.

Stan then very kindly drew a very cool extra sketch in it:

I was also a winner in the silent auction, where I picked up a piece of original art by Ryan Claytor from his And Then One Day series:

It's worth clicking on that one to read it. Go ahead. I'll wait ....


... I really like what it says about the duality of trying to be an artist while also meeting real-world commercial obligations. This is all the more tangled in Ryan's world, since he is his own publisher and his work is autobiographic.

And now, away goes the laptop. Michigan, here we come!

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