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(Above, Adrian Tomine, Tom Devlin and Chris Oliveros at the D&Q booth.)

First off, the really BIG BIG news at BEA is that Viz is debuting PURPLE DEATH NOTE BAGS! Damn, these are hot!

And so was everything else! As Bully’s blog says, global warming has hit the Javits Center big time. Everyone was glowing and sweating and when you throw in the lugging around books all over the place, it becomes a Death Marth to Bataan situation.

It’s hot today at BEA. How hot is it? It’s so hot that if this were San Diego Comic-Con, the Stormtroopers would be keeling over left and right. It’s so hot that if Bahlactus’s Friday Night Fights were held on the floor of BEA, both fighters would be dropping into the floor in a pool of sweat. It’s so hot that if the Human Torch wandered into your booth, you’d be clustering around him just for the cool relief.

Actually, for a full account of the day’s activities, I fully recommend Bully’s blog referenced above, which features tons of photos, commentary on Marvel’s booth and much much more. My own day was…different.

We got to the Javits in time to eat an egg salad sandwich and meet up with Elissa Lynch from Diamond who introduced me to superstar vampire novelist Laurell K. Hamilton and her husband/collaborator Jonathon Green. I was to interview Laurell for an “Upfront and Unscripted” panel which will be available for podcast. I hung out with Laurell and Jonathon in the green room before the panel, and got to hear about how they met, a very cute story. Also, Christopher Hitchens opened a door too fast and nearly knocked me out of my chair. He is my writing stylist idol, so that was really cool!

The interview/panel took place on a riser with two chairs and ferns. I have never done a panel in front of ferns before. Very James Lipton. Everyone said it went well, and Laurell talked a lot, so my big duty for the day was done.

After that I wandered around just to say hi to a few people…and just like that the day was done! But not before sweating a lot. A LOT. And also throwing out my back. It’s like I was suddenly too old for this shit or something. I went to Hudson news and paid $4 for four Motrin tablets, but what could you do? I felt so feeble that I didn’t take ANY FREE BOOKS from any booths! Well, except for one or two, and that was enough.

I ran into my PW cohort Kai Ming Cha and we partook of champagne and pocky in the ToykoPop booth, joined by Jeff from Forbidden Planet, librarian/author Michelle Gorman, and Janna from TPop — I am really bad and didn’t get her card or her last name, but she edits the prose novels for them. We discussed why Japanese culture is so…out there, and why Japanese woman artist produce so much material that is so disturbing to our sensibilities…the seeds of future rants/essays/articles were definitely planted.

Kai Ming and I joined up with more PW types, Douglas Wolk and Laurel Maury, and we ended up having the first ever PW/Cartoonists Across America joint dinner as I had promised to hook up with my old pal Phil Yeh. Besides Phil Y we had Phil Ortiz, who draws the Simpsons for Bongo, and CAA aide de camp Mike Wolff and Phil Y’s lady pal Linda, who is also a librarian. Eight people.

As anyone who has ever been to the Javits knows, once you get there, you are stuck there. The lines for the shuttle buses were immense, the lines for cabs were longer and there WERE NO CABS, and the only alternative was walking all the way to 6th where we thought we could get dinner. With my back and all the crap I decided that I was just as likely to suddenly sprout wings and FLY to Koreatown as walk there.

A guy with a van offered to take all eight of us to where we were going to dinner for an outrageous amount I will not name. Everyone pooh-poohed his offer. But now it had started to rain and they had predicted severe thunderstorms for the afternoon. In my mind’s eye I pictured this bedraggled crew having to walk through a line squall all the way to 8th Avenue lugging 30 lbs of wet books each. The picture was so appalling that I made an executive decision and decided this was our only chance to get us back to civilization with all our crap and agreed to the price. We piled into the van clown car-style — “Skinny people in the back!” barked the driver, as he pulled out a sort of jump seat made of duct tape for Phil Y. I still had to sit on Laurel’s lap. But, we escaped, and some Korean food and Pinkberry later, it was all good. Then I came home, lay down, and passed out for two hours.

That was pretty much my BEA for Friday. Hopefully Saturday I will have better coverage.

Oh, ADV’s Chris Oarr suggested I take a picture of the very stylish covers to CROMARTIE HIGH SCHOOL…so I did.

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  1. Yeah, I was wiped Friday evening. Lots of comics related panels, plus the usual signings, and I wish I could clone myself.
    Keep a small bag, and unload it in the attendee shipping area. Take it home then, or ship it.
    Tom Batiuk has two Funky Winkerbean books, one on alcoholism, one on breast cancer.
    and Running Press is offering the Complete MAD Don Martin in October, two volumes, $150.

  2. Thanks for the link!

    Here’s a getaway tip for the remote desert island that is the Javits Center: at least an hour to a half-hour before you want to leave, call a car service to make a reservation appointment to come for you. Make certain you have an exact meeting point in mind (sometimes crossing the street and waiting on that corner is better than trying to direct them to which door at the Javits you will be at). Most car services will call you back on your cell when the car is five minutes or so away.

    You’ll pay more than a taxi but much less than the gypsy van service you seem to have had, and it’ll be more comfortable and safe. Ask them how much the price will be when you call. Add in tolls if you’re heading out of Manhattan to any of the airports.

    Here’s numbers for two competiting car services in Manhattan; both are pretty good and the numbers are easy to remember: (212) 777-7777 (Dial 7 Cars) and (212) 666-6666 (Car-Mel).