Monday, July 31, 2006

On the way home this morning we had some lovely lightning and thunder. Only a few flashes but still pretty cool. The rain started up just moments after stepping in the door and continued for several hours.

The Comix and Stories con was mentioned on Brian's board this week and for some reason I got the idea that it was on today. We met up with Vic and Susan and stopped by the hall to see that there was a wedding reception being set up instead. Blah. At least the weather was cooler. We all had a nice lunch and chat at Bert's.

Spent the rest of the day at the office tackling pages. Got those first two fleshed out and then started up another two.

The head cold isn't so bad today. Sneezing and sniffles.

Back home now and Ian is cooking up something that smells incredible. Gonna watch another Planetes episode soon.

Yeah, not too insightful today. Maybe tomorrow.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Out of the gate... with a head cold. Figures, you spend a weekend with a hundred thousand people that one of them will pass on a bug. Nothing serious, just a lot of sneezing. Blah.

So to get the day started I called up Ian who was already at the office and asked him if he'd like to grab some lunch (more like dinner since it was about five o'clock, slept in a bit due the head cold). Ian wanted to go to Black Tuna down by the beach and we both blanked that it was Saturday and the downtown core was going to be swamped with about a million people checking out the fireworks competition.

We get there at about six and have a lovely dinner while we watch the masses go by. After stuffing ourselves on beautiful fish we decide to give the fireworks a try. By now it's seven thirty and the only place left is a patch of green across the street. We sit for an hour or so, looking up at the looming clouds. I've worked on some small pyro teams in the past and whenever the skies were overcast like this, seemingly non threatening but still thick, something about the booming mortars would cause them to spill rain shortly after any show. It was chillier than usual this evening, I didn't have a jacket and I didn't really want to get rained on either. Splitting seemed like a good idea.

We walked towards Granville to see if we could make it to the comic shop before they closed. We've been totally hooked on the Planetes DVDs and there was one more left we hadn't seen. Halfway through the west end we're at a street corner and I look up to see a very familiar head of flowing hair. The actor John Glover was crossing the road and me, being ever the loquacious geek just had to stop and tell him how much I liked his work. He thanked me politely, wished us good fireworks and continued on, his gorgeous, healthy mane bobbing in the wind.

We just made it to the shop. Actually they had just closed but we gave them the puppy dog eyes and promises of a good, fast sale and they let us in. Planetes 6 was ours! Yay!

We then walked over to Chapters but no finds there. I really wish they'd adjust their prices to the current exchange rate because twenty three bucks for a Computer Arts magazine just seems a bit much these days.

We grabbed a cab before the fireworks were set to start and hightailed it to the office where, after some distractions with comics and the gameboy I got two pages nicely started. The rain was nice too when it finally fell.

At around 3 am we heard a loud crash outside. The whole evening had been pretty loud, lots of cars leaving the core, sirens racing back and forth, and rowdies partying into the night. This particular crash was the sound of a lot of glass followed by angry yelling.

We look out and see two guys walking up the street, the loud one was brushing himself off. We couldn't see any glass so we just watched him go up the street with his buddy. When they were just out of sight we looked back and saw a small crowd gathered around the barber shop there. We went downstairs to have a look and sure enough, Mr. Angry McSmash-a-lot had punched a very large hole into the plate glass window. Most of the glass was inside which was why we couldn't see any from across the street. We looked back to where they had gone and now there was a cop car sitting there. We hurried over to make a report but they were too involved with a couple of street racers to care and asked us to go across the street to call 911.

We filed the report but by then the two drunken douchebags were long gone. We grabbed some hot chocolate and went back to the office.

Quite a day all right.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

I've avoided thinking about issue 60 over the last few years mostly to keep myself from thinking about how much more work there's left to do. Stay in the present, plow through and some day that cozy promise of fulfillment will just show up on my doorstep.

At the con this weekend I had several dozen people ask me the same question: "So what's next?" and with a shrug I would answer "Dunno, we'll see when I get there."

Just as I haven't let myself dwell on issue 60 I've sidestepped the whole what-happens-after part. I supposed I would take a break, have a look at all my back-burnered projects, consider any proposals that might come in (hopefully from creators I've always wanted to work with) or possibly try something completely different.

After a fun and inspirational weekend at the con I started to think about putting together a booth for next year and what that would entail. Maybe a table or two to sell some art and the ever popular sketchbook, or a self publishing venture, make up some funky t-shirts to sell. Maybe all of that. I started getting excited, ideas began spilling out of my noodle and I was scribbling furiously in my notebook.

And that's when I began to look at the future. Specifically, my schedule.

For some reason my brain locked onto the idea that the end would be around December of 2006. At the very latest February of 2007 which would have left me time to put some projects together in time for next year's San Diego con. I started counting out how long I'd have left after finishing issue 49 this week and was horrified to learn that I wouldn't be done until summer. A whole year. Egads.

I became quite depressed. Now, don't get me wrong, I love working on Y, the story is brilliant and I feel so lucky to have done as much as I have. It's also a lot of work and the idea of trying something new just jazzed me up so much. And that's when I came up with this idea for the blog and my spirits lifted.

Y the Last Year. T minus ten issues. So leading up to issue 60 I'll be blogging as much as I can about it. The fun parts, the hard parts, the couple of issues I'll probably be off in the middle, anything I can write about the experience including the huge bash we're planning for the finish.

Today I opened my e-mail to find the script for issue 50.

Here we go.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

San Diego reportage:

Thursday Freak Out: How an Omni Hotel Reservation Lady Screwed Us Out of Our Room.

We should have known something terrible was about to happen when everything went so smoothly in getting to San Diego on Thursday. We got to the airport early, managed to upgrade our flight, sailed through customs, landed in town about 20 minutes early, and to top it all off, just as we were pulling up to the entrance the radio started playing "our song" from the reception, As Time Goes By.

We walked into the Omni, cheerfully greeted reception and asked for our room. After a few moments digging through the records the man (I'll call him Good Cop) announced that our room had been given away. According to their records we were supposed to arrive on Wednesday and because we didn't we were considered no shows and our room was given away. We both gasp in shock.

I related the conversation I had with a their hotel staff on Monday, which went exactly like this:

Omni: Omni Hotel, where can I direct your call?
me: Reservations please.
Reservation lady: Omni Reservations, how can I help you?
me: I need to change my check in date for this week.

I provide the name and day we're set to get in to town, Wednesday.

me: It looks like we're now coming in on Thursday now so we need to change that to Thursday from Wednesday. Is there still time to change that?
Reservation lady: No problem, I'll do that for you.

She quotes a date on her screen.

me: Is that Thursday?
Reservation lady: Yes, that's Thursday.
me: That's the day we're coming in so great. Oh and I wanted to ask if we could get a room facing the convention center because we stayed there a couple of years ago and we had a room on the side of that bar and we couldn't leave the window open for the noise.
Reservation lady: Let me check, we're pretty full up for the weekend.
me: Yeah, I know. It's the con, everything gets booked up during that time. The noise is one thing but I also have some mild asthma and I need to have a window open, and we can't leave it open when there's so much noise from that bar.
Reservation lady: Oh, well that will probably help you in getting that because we give priority for medical reasons.
me: Oh thanks. I stayed at a hotel a few years ago that couldn't open the windows and I had an attack in my sleep, it was really scary.
Reservation lady: We have ionizers if you need them.
me: Oh no thanks, the window really does the trick more than anything. If you can't get anything on the pool side of the building then up high is good too, as long as it's far from the bar.
Reservation lady: Okay, I think we can do that. I have all the information on your file now.
me: Thank you so much. I really appreciate that.
Reservation lady: You're welcome, we'll see you on Thursday.
me: Thanks again. Bye

Good Cop looks at the screen and says that he sees the medical information there and I tell him that was the information I added on Monday so why wasn't the date changed? He calls in another manager (this one shall be called Bad Cop).

Bad Cop gets updated on the information and says there are no rooms available and that the rooms have been booked for months. We tell him that we booked this months ago so why would we screw ourselves on the one weekend of the year when the entire city sells out of rooms? We made the changes with their reservation department and it's their fault, not ours. On top of that we find out I was charged a night's stay because we were no shows.

At this point I start yelling that I was not responsible for this screw up and I shouldn't be charged for their mistake. They agree to reimburse the charge but that's it. Bad Cop takes the stance that since there was no record of making a change to the date that we must be trying to scam them into getting a room. They call around the city and the only room available is one night at the Marriot on Coronado Island and no matter how inconvenient and awful that is for us that's all they can do and Bad Cop escorts us to a cab. No offer of compensation for the ride over either.

We were shaking with rage on the ride over. How the hell can we get through this weekend like this? We drop off our stuff and quickly hurry back to the convention center (another twenty dollar cab ride) and were just able to get our badges before the 7pm closing. There was five minutes left before the show ended so we decided to check in with the DC Comics booth to get a signing schedule set up. We found Fletcher, one of the booth managers who shall be forever known as Saint Fletcher. We mentioned our predicament and asked if he knew of anyone who might know of a room available in the city. He thinks for a second, winks in that knowing way and says, "Give me a moment, I'll call a guy."

Ian and I stand there stunned that there may actually be a solution and sure enough, in a couple of minutes Saint Fletcher returns with a man who says he can set is up in the Gas Lamp.

Holy crap! Holy crap! We were so happy! We were saved! Saint Fletcher rocks!

We stayed that night at the Coronado, a Shining-esque creepy night at that but the next morning we were at the Marriot Gaslamp. Yay! Double Yay!

I will never stay at the Omni ever again. I may stop by the bar for their very nice Arnold Palmers but as for the hotel... forget it. Never trust a place that can't read a bloody calendar.

Friday was a hoot. We didn't win at the Eisners (as expected) but we got to hang out with Shane and goof around drawing cartoons on our programs all night.

The signings at the booth went very nicely and I thank everyone who stopped by to say hello and get sketches.

I'll post more soon, time to go and be a social butterfly.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

San Diego is a go go!

Ian and I will be arrving on Thursday afternoon so we probably won't see too much of the con that day but we'll be around. No signing schedule yet but chances are it will be the same time as Brian's. Check in with the Vertigo booth for more information.

Some quick notes on sketches:

I do free sketches at the booth. I ask they not be resold because that's just tacky. Anyone who wants a sketch from me can get one by mail for free as well. I'm not here to make you rich, only to make you happy.

Bring a backing board or your sketchbook because I'm not hauling paper to the con.

If you have a request for a character not in Y bring reference, my memory is only so good and I don't want to mess up your board/book.

I will not do nudes of your favourite character. Sorry, that's just my policy.

I will do my best to get to everyone but if time runs out please check with the booth attendants for future times. If there are no other times on the schedule check with the FAQ here regarding mailing in for a sketch. And feel free to say hi regardless of whether you can get a sketch or not, it's always nice to hear from you.

See you this weekend!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Breyer's ice cream now officially sucks.

Ian picked up a carton of Breyers today, that ice cream that features ads with cute children reading off the oh so simple ingredients to prove how natural it really is. I used to really like it, that is until this evening when we had some for dessert.

After a few bites we began to wonder why the hell it tasted so gummy and awful. We checked the label and sure enough there were these not so simple names on the list: milk ingredients, sugar, modified milk ingredients, polysorbate 80, guar gum, glucose, mono and diglycerides, cellulose gum, natural vanilla flavour, carageenan and oh yeah, pure ground vanilla beans (makes you wonder why they had to add the natural vanilla flavour if there's ground vanilla beans in there hmm?).

We checked to see if this was some diet version or for people with gluten alergies but the label only said Breyer's Natural Vanilla (with real vanilla specks!), not that I saw a lot of specks in there either.

Sure there are many more important things out there to feel betrayed about (Wal-Mart, Bush, leafblowers, Vancouver's real estate market) but this is especially disappointing. I can understand when you buy the cheapo stuff you get crap but spending all that money for crap when they've always claimed to not be crap? I feel ripped off.

And now my stomach is all rumbly and that taste keeps hanging around. Ick. Breyer's blows.

Monday, July 10, 2006

San Diego. I've gotten a few e-mails lately asking if I'm going. The answer is maybe. The thing about weddings is they tend to do a royal number on your bank account balance. I'm presently waiting on some income to get the tickets and the hotel all paid for. I will say that I'd really like to go but it's up in the air.

I've also had some invites to do some cons/signings for this fall. Right now, work is piling up and with all the travelling and back and forth of the past couple of months, another plane trip would juts make my ears bleed. For now I'm just going to hole up in my office and work. It's the final stretch and I need to be there for it. When it's all done there will be lots of time for a tour but presently the book should be my primary focus. Thank you for the consideration.

Requests. Please read the FAQ regarding sketch requests before e-mailing. It's all there, it's all I have time for. Unless you send in the SASE with your information you won't get a response.

And what is a backing board? It's that acid free piece of cardboard you usually get with comics in bags. If you can't find one you can send a sturdy piece of art paper like bristol or sketch paper. These survive transit very well. Please keep the size reasonable, it'll save you on postage.

And I have no pages for sale just now, still working on the details there.

Hope that wasn't too grumpy sounding, I've got a lot of work to get back to.