I woke up the next day, back in my apartment with a wicked hangover. Whatever happened during the Time Lord Orgy would forever be lost to the ether of drunken stupor. I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes and picked up my phone to see what time it was. Seven in the morning. I checked my alarm to see what time I had set it for and realized I woke up roughly an hour earlier than I had planned. Slowly, I dragged my ass out of bed and made my way to the bathroom to see if I could get some sort of grip on reality.
Looking at myself in the bathroom mirror was a sight to behold. My hair looked like it belonged in an anime, shooting off in every conceivable direction. The light in the bathroom shone too bright, a sure-fire sign that I was in the throes of hangover. My eyes were bloodshot and I felt like my wrists were about to explode Riki-Oh style.
It was time to start C2E2, Day 2.
My friends arrived to pick me up eventually. For the sake of privacy on the internets, I’ll just refer to them as Chewie and Bryan. I sauntered over to their car and kind of threw myself into it. Instantly the car was away and we were making our journey back to McCormick place.
“You look kind of tired,” Chewie said.
“I drank a lot,” I said.
There was more conversation, I think.
We arrived in a prompt manner and I momentarily forgot about my hangover woes. The place was packed to the brim with all kinds of nerd and everything was in full swing. I don’t quite remember when I lost Chewie and Bryan, but I do remember them not being with me while I was poking around the Doctor Who area.
The guy at the Doctor Who Area was nice and he gave me pamphlets and cards I had no intention of reading. I saw a TARDIS-styled wardrobe and thought to myself how beautiful it would be to have a TARDIS-styled camping tent out in the badlands somewhere. Snapping back to reality, I looked for a Sonic Screwdriver. I too wanted to get myself a phallic do-it-all to prove that I could be just as good a fan as the rest. There was one, but it was a Sonic Screwdriver Game and the devices themselves looked dinkier than a Wal-Mart brand glow-sword.
I moved on to other booths and displays, waiting anxiously to the one panel I wanted to go to: JEFF SMITH PANEL OF AWESOME! I remember reading his comic book BONE a long-ass time ago and I wanted to be able to reconnect with that childhood I had long since lost. He was the key.
At around this time, my hair product wore off and just thinking about moving would blow my hair in some random direction. I took a good ten minutes (while walking in some direction) to make sure it was perfect for anyone who might be staring.
I found myself at the Web Comic Area again and in front of Gordon McAlpin’s booth. We talked a little bit more and I bought a Yellow Popcorn shirt. It was yellow. Yellow is awesome. I thought to say hello to Joel Watson of Hijinks Ensue, but it would have been awkward.
Me: I like that you’re a web comic creator, but I’ve never read your stuff.
Him: It’s all good. Let’s be best friends.
After that, I found the Topatoco Booth again and said hi to Anthony Clark like I was a creepster. I pointed out that I was wearing his Beartato shirt when it hit me that I was actually wearing his Beartato shirt. I dismissed the unease of not remembering how I dressed myself, and moved on.
It was finally time for JEFF SMITH PANEL OF AWESOME! I scurried to where the thing was going to be held with the glee of a child on christmas morning. I ran into another friend, who for security reasons we’ll call Grace, and we exchanged words.
“Hi,” I said.
“Hi,” she said.
She punched me and we talked about maybe getting a chance to see Carrie Fisher live and in person. I showed her some of the pictures I took of the nerdly denizens of this convention and then scurried into the panel room to listen to one of my cartooning inspirations from childhood. First the moderator showed up and started plugging things in. I thought that THAT was Jeff and got confused.
“He looks a lot like Mike Mignola,” I said to no one in particular.
A younger, more handsome looking fellow arrived onto the stage and started tinkering with things as well. I assumed that since he looked younger, he couldn’t have possibly come up with something like BONE. Well, that was in fact Jeff Smith.
“Hi, I’m Jeff Smith,” he said. There was at least one BONE in the audience who squee’d in delight. Hint: Me.
And then my childhood was raped. See, I was anxious to hear how Jeff created his own comic book company and how it had been trying to make his way in the industry within his subgenera, which up to that point hadn’t been tapped. Instead, Jeff read from a future comic from the BONE world and talked at great length about RASL. After being really boring, he opened the panel up for questions and everyone asked essentially the same thing. A young kid worked up the nerve to ask a question and it made me happy since it quite reflected some of the giddiness I had felt going into the panel.
Then there was talk about a movie version and I checked out completely.
After the panel, I shuffled over to another room and met up with Chewie and Bryan. We were all going to see the CYANIDE AND HAPPINESS PANEL OF AWESOME! With the disappointment of the last panel, I wasn’t holding my breath. The guys came up to the front and showed everyone their videos.
It took me a moment or two to realize that the SMBC guy with red hair was Zach Weiner. A light bulb went off in my brain and suddenly things turned around. Also, at about that time there was a Cyanide and Happiness short involving a hobo kicking a pigeon to death and stealing the feed that a kind old lady had thrown to the ground.
The panel made my day.
At about 4pm, I ducked out and made my way over to where Jeff Smith was going to be signing copies of BONE. I thought to myself, at least I’d be able to get a signature to make up for the crappy panel. Boy, was I wrong! I made my way to the booth and failed to notice that there was in fact a line that had formed. A kind and patient young Red Shirt informed me of this and told me that I would have to go to the back of the line. I did.
Another Red Shirt, who I’d like to dub Smug Asshole, stopped me.
“This line is cut off,” he said in his Ass-speak. “Jeff will be signing books again tomorrow at 11. The next two hours were spent in a huge depression.
During that time, I saw a guy I had only met over Skype named Dave. He was cool. In hindsight, I should have been a little friendlier. But when your childhood innocence gets raped in such a way, there’s no room for pleasantries. I ate a pretzel and it was the most depressingly good tasting pretzel I ever had. Each granule of salt that fell from it symbolized broken childhood memories.
At some point I made my way out of the funk and met up with Chewie and Bryan again. I walked up to Bryan and he gave me this look that I couldn’t quite interpret. He pointed his head in some direction and I just stared at him like he was special needs.
“Uh..” I said.
“Over…there…” he whispered.
I looked over and saw curtain.
“Uh..” I repeated.
“Carrie…Fisher is five feet away from us.” I looked back at the curtain and the aura of celebrity hit me like a blast-wave. I was mesmerized. We acted giddy about being closer to Carrie than we’ve ever been before while Chewie talked to an artist that she admired. After we had had our fun, the PA announced that the floor show was ending.
“Want to check out the Top Cow Comics Panel of Awesome?” Bryan asked.
“They’re a big deal,” Chewie said.
I nodded and we made our way to the nicest of the panel rooms. We sat down among the nine other people there and waited for the room to fill up. It didn’t. Apparently, scheduling a panel right after the floor show closes is a bad idea. On the plus side, however, I learned a great deal about Witchblade and The Darkness and decided that I needed to look into Top Cow’s properties further.
When that poorly-attended panel ended, we all went and got pizza. That was about the time my hangover stopped.