I’ve never been given so many things as I have at Comic Con. I mean, you guys really made me feel special. Most of it was simply thoughtful and indicative of the in-jokes we share. For example, Wes Molebash brought me a copy for SkyMall magazine from his flight in (autographed!). I also received a copy of a newspaper that used “Champing at the bit” as a headline. My friend, Keith, who works at NC Soft, the makers of City of Villains, brought me a cool City of Villains cape (pictured to the right). My sons have been running around in the cape every since I got home. Sometimes they even give me a turn. The one that kills me is that someone — and I have no idea who — left me a Green Lantern ring and a pen that projects the Bat Signal when you press a button. I left the table for a bathroom break, came back, and saw the swag setting on the table between Kris Straub and me. I immediately began coveting it.

“That’s so cool,” I said to Kris, “Who gave it to you?”

“Dude. That’s yours. Somebody brought it for you.”

It was stealing without the theft. 🙂

Clearly, I need to take more bathroom breaks.

My pal Ryan Archer (right) brought over a T-Shirt from his strip, and David Oakes, who has always surprised me with more Lego versions of the Evil Inc cast at every successive convention he visits, gave me my very own Lego me. You can see it below, third from the left, in a little VILF shirt. Yes, that’s a lego Dr, Haynus on the far right.

…And that’s not mentioning all of the treats (including a huge bar of Lindt’s 85%-cocoa, dark chocolate), books, comics, well-wishes and lascivious glances.

You guys humble me with your kindness. But I really do need to make this clear — all I ever ask is that you come up and say hi. I don’t need gifts or trinkets. Heck, I don’t even care if you buy a book. I just get a thrill when someone comes up and tells me that they read the strip every day.

Hands down, I have the best readers in comics. You can have your Sheldonistas handing out crates of Hobnobs (I can’t believe Kellett started hoarding them!) … I have a pen… and it projects the Bat Signal. I can turn off all the lights, put on my cape, and use it to strike fear into my own, superstitious heart.

Too much information? Right. Moving on.

The Killing (Practical) Joke

So, on the podcast, we’ve made somewhat of a point of saying that we really feel uncomfortable doing portfolio reviews at comic conventions. So, it was with a deep, inward sigh that I received a perfectly nice guy who started his conversation with how much he loved Evil Inc and then transitioned directly to…

“I know you don’t do portfolio reviews, but I’d love for you to just take a quick look at my work. It would mean the world to me.”

“Sure, let’s see it.”

At this point, he takes out a pad of tracing paper.

“Ugh,” I think to myself.

He slides out a comic, and…

OK. It was offensive. And, when I say it was offensive, I mean, it was offensive. It was so offensive, I can’t even tell y — listen… it was OFFENSIVE.

And it was drawn poorly, too.

As I begin stammering, my eye is caught by some familiar faces around this young ‘toonist. One is Gloria Calderon Kellett, Dave Kellett’s wife. Another is David Scales, an actor and friend of Dave and Glo, who I met in New York at a production of one of Gloria’s plays. And… And…

These are show folk.

And I… I have been had.

The laughter positively erupts from all around.

Fred, the erstwhile cartoonist, is a writer, but for my money, he could be an Oscar-worthy actor.

And an amazingly nice guy. He apologized unnecessarily. It was one of the best laughs at the Con, and that’s heavy competition.

Left to right: Me-a, Culp-a

Oh, and did I forget to mention that I stood in the presence of greatness all weekend? No, I mean besides Straub. Catastrophic Comics is launching a “Greatest American Hero” comic series, based on the classic 80s TV show starring William Katt, Connie Sellecca and…

Robert Culp.

That’s right, losers. Me and Mr. “I Spy”… close enough to do manly knuckle-bumps for five straight days.

Not that we did.

But I did work up the courage to ask for a photo.

And then knuckle-bumped Kurtz. The “bing” sound effect at the end? I added that.

Plastic Man

Speaking of Scott Kurtz, he was staying at the Marriot next to the convention center. Take a look at what was plastered all over the facade. It seems the newest DC animated series is a take-off of the Brave and the Bold series that teamed Batman up with another DC character each month. And just look who was being promoted. My favorite hero of all time, Plastic Man. He was even on the fans that DC handed out. In fact, put Plastic Man And San Diego into a Flickr search and you’ll see not one, but two people cosplaying the ductile doofus at Comic Con this year.

I’m telling you… his time has finally come. Can a revamped monthly be far behind? Could there be a better man than me to write/illustrate it? I got the portfolio. I got references.

I got Culp.