Each year, not only does it supply us with horrible stories of illegal fireworks and mutilated teenagers, it also brings with it the San Diego Comic Convention. Which is great because that means it's time to get off my ass and start hustling the last issue of Hot Mexican Love Comics.
We've had a new book each summer for the last 3 years so usually I head down to San Diego for the whole weekend in order to pimp the book to its fullest but this year, with the addition of Jazzy Jake to the Hot Mexican Love family, I knew that I wouldn't be able to go for the entire weekend. Picking my spot, I figured that I'd be able to be the most help on Saturday since that's usually the busiest day. I wanted to get there bright and early as soon as the doors open on Saturday so I left my place around 9:30pm on Friday night.
It's usually a two hour drive from the San Fernando Valley to San Diego so I wasn't too worried about the trip. I had a recently renewed Sirius radio contract, a fully stocked iPod, a bottle of Dr. Pepper and a large packet of Skittles (mmmm, sugar rush) so I was good to go. Traffic's light around that time so I was making good time until I hit Long Beach where the 405 turned in a single lane due to unforeseen "police activity" (thanks KNX 1070!) It only pushed me a hour back turning my two hour drive into a three hour drive which normally wouldn't be a huge deal but I popped the Skittles early into my trip so by the time I hit downtown San Diego, I was crashing fast. It's now 1:30am, I'm tired, cranky and in need of sleep. Or a beer.
I got the hotel info from Bean Robot the day before I left but I forgot the exact address. No worries, I'm a resourceful guy, I'll use my navigation system. Brilliant! .....or not. The hotel we were staying at was recently purchased by another local chain so at that particular time, there were two hotels with the same name. Not paying attention to this, I park my car five blocks from where I'm told the hotel was. I sling my bags over my shoulder, grab the awkwardly-sized box of comics I brought with me and start walking. I get to the properly named hotel and call Bean Robot who informs me that I went to the wrong location. The correct hotel, one with the same name mind you, was literally across the street from where I parked. I was just too tired to notice.
Once everything's straightened out I quickly realized that I'm now even more tired, even more cranky and even more in need of sleep. Bean Robot suggests we go to the hotel bar, which sounds like a fantastic idea to me. But by the hotel mess got figured out, it was now well past 2:00am. In other words, it's off to bed.
The next morning, we seemed to get off to an slow start. Four of us were working the six foot table which meant that we were a little cramped. This was Angry Bob's first full convention with us and I've got to say, he did a great job. He worked the West Hollywood Book Fair with us last September but the San Diego Comic Con is an entirely different animal. It's the biggest comic convention in the country and over the last few years, it's grown to encompass far more than just comics and it's packed with so many people. The aisles are just packed with people so the convention is a pain in the ass just to attend, to work it is even worse.
Truth be told, every single year I dread the convention. Because like I said, it's a pain in the ass. We're usually stuck there at our table, pushing the comic and we rarely get the opportunity to actually see the rest of the convention of meet up with friends who we know are at the convention as well. But this year, Angry Bob changed all that. Having a fourth person there really freed us up to work in rotations, something we never really had the chance to do. I think all of us got the opportunity to stretched our legs and walk around for a bit. Which was really cool.
The show itself was cool. Like I mentioned, it started out slow to us but after a while we realized that it only seemed that way. Before we knew it, we were on pace to sell more issues than we'd ever had before. But none of seemed difficult. We were all so.... relaxed. Man, the difference an extra body makes. And that is the power of Angry Bob.
We met some really interesting people too. I got interviewed by a Spanish language newspaper from San Diego that wanted to talk to me about racism in comics. I tried to rope Bean Robot into the conversation but I think he exited stage left as soon as he realized that it was semi-serious. I don't blame him, I was planning to do the exact same thing to him. I'm interested to see how the article came out but I'm not exactly holding my breath. Last year, we got interviewed by four different outlets, including NPR, and none of those ever surfaced. To my knowledge, at least.
As always, my favorite feature of the convention are the costumes. Every year, a large number of convention goers show up dressed as their favorite comics/film/animated character, sometimes with fantastic results, other times they go horribly awry. In either case, I figure one reason these people dress up is a little shameless self-promotion so if they're going to whore themselves out anyway, why not get them to promote our book at the same time? It's a win-win!
Here are a few of my favorite pics this year....
Angry Bob with a personal convention favorite, the authentically Mexican star of Futurama, Bender B. Rodriguez.
The White Queen didn't need her psychic powers to see what was on Bean Robot's mind. His thoughts were written all over his pants.
Playboy.com's Melany Denyse. Click here to see a shot on Playboy.com of the hard-working HMLC crew with Ms. Denyse. Warning: Don't click that link while at work, kids!
Face it, tiger, you just hit the jackpot! (The first person who writes in to say that Mary Jane Watson actually said that, not the Black Cat, is a NERD.)
Our latest celebrity endorsement! Diedrich Bader, formerly of The Drew Carey Show, and the voice of Batman in the upcoming Batman: The Brave and the Bold animated series shows off his HMLC fanhood.
This guy asked if we wanted his wings on or off for the photo. Oh, definitely on.
The Teen Titans' Hawk & Dove were very excited to find our booth. Very excited. Especially Dove there on the left.
And while we're on the subject of thinly veiled phallic symbols.... here's Plastic Man.
Chewbacca? More like COOLbacca.
Order your copy of HMLC early enough and you can even get it in a galaxy far, far away.
Cobra Commander and the first woman I ever truly loved (dude, seriously, The Baroness was hot) are shocked by the depravity of the latest issue.
These little ladies were at the con promoting the cosplay café, Royal/T in Culver City. According to their flyer, Royal/T is Los Angeles' first meido kissa restaurant which basically means that the service staff there dress as, and I quote, "elegant maids." I'm told that the café primarily caters to otaku, aka obsessive anime fans. Sounds positively pedo-rific to me.
Oh, hey. What's up, Michelangelo?
I think this Rorschach costume looks better than one I saw in the Watchmen trailer.
Wonder Woman and Awesome-X. Booosh!
All in all, it was a great show. I haven't heard the final numbers from Señor Ira yet but the early word is that this was our most successful year yet. The aforementioned shot glasses (a convention exclusive!) were a tremendous success. Truth be told, I wasn't 100% on board as far as the shot glasses were concerned. I wasn't completely convinced that they were a product worthy of the HMLC brand name and I was pretty vocal about it within the HMLC nucleus. Luckily for me that Bean Robot and Señor Ira recognize that I usually have no idea what I'm talking about.
While I'm at it, I want to give a very special thanks to Señor Ira. He's usually the taskmaster that has to put everything together, from cracking the whip on the creators, to getting the hotel rooms, to dealing with the tax collecting section of the City's Office of Finance. Playing the bad guy is a thankless job but without Ira, Hot Mexican Love Comics never would've emerged from it's 10 year hiatus. It may seem like some of us need a break from each other by the time an issue is published but we've all had a tremendous amount of fun because of the book and it's due to Ira. So gracias, Señor.
So what's next for Hot Mexican Love Comics? Nothing. For now. Contrary to previous reports, I think we're going to skip this year's West Hollywood Book Fair in September and concentrate on our appearance at the Alternative Press Expo in San Francisco in November. I do believe we'll have something new for the APE show, possibly a brand new sketchbook.
Stay tuned for updates, true believers!