Comic-Con 2014 Day Four

July 27th, 2014 by Max Allan Collins

This was family day for us, with only a brief late afternoon foray into the packed convention center’s dealer’s room. On the elevator, I ran into an old friend, artist Jim Steranko, who looks terrific, like something out of one of his own drawings. Very nice man and always extremely gracious to me. On the same elevator, a fan told me how much he loved ROAD TO PERDITION the graphic novel and preferred it to the film – not a bad way to start the day. Barb, Nate, Abby and I spent most of the morning in and around the Marriott pool, before heading to Old Town for Mexican food at Casa Guadalajara and some fun touristy shopping. Then the con for just a little while, before going to a movie at Horton Plaza – unfortunately, the theater’s air conditioning was on the fritz and it was more like a sauna. The film, A MOST WANTED MAN, featured a dramatic performance from Philip Seymour Hoffman (one of his last), but was perhaps too leisurely and less twisty than you’d expect from John LeCarre source material. Tomorrow is our last full day here, with a business breakfast tomorrow with Titan before going over to the con, where I have a 1 pm signing at the Hermes Booth (#1821), signing till at least 2 pm. Officially it’s for the MIKE HAMMER COMIC STRIP book, but if you’re at the con, bring anything of mine around for inscription.

Comic Con 2014

Comic Con 2014

Comic Con 2014

Comic Con 2014

Comic-Con 2014 Day Three

July 26th, 2014 by Max Allan Collins

A memorable day at the San Diego Comic Con for the Collins contingent. We started off with a great breakfast at Richard Walker’s Pancake House, a tiny place with some outdoor seating and incredible food. We were seated by Richard Walker himself. Turns out the first of three Richard Walker’s Pancake Houses was and is in Schaumburg, Illinois, where Nate once worked and Barb and I frequently go on post-novel getaways. Fortified, Barb hit Horton Plaza for some shopping, while I did an art deal for a 1952 Buck Rogers strip from the Donnelly booth, where mindboggling comic art is for sale…pricey but great examples. In the afternoon, Leonard Maltin’s wife Alice got us into the very high demand panel (huge ballroom at the Hilton) announcing Triumph the Insult Comic Dog’s new TV show. Leonard moderated, good-naturedly taking feelthy abuse from Trimuph (and apologies from Triumph’s “trainer,” Robert Smigel.) This panel was crushingly hilarious, enlivened by the presence of Triumph’s new co-star, Jack McBrayer of 30 Rock (and Second City). This promises to be a classic duo, the sweetness of McBrayer and the sourness of Triumph. It should be a great show…”for me to poop on.” Then Barb and I (exhausted from laughter) returned to our hotel room for naps (yes, we are that old) before I returned to the convention center for a meeting with my producing partner, Ken Levin, about possible movie and TV projects. Next up was the Scribe awards, where I moderated a huge TV/movie tie-in panel (including one Nathan Collins) – there was just time for one question per panelist. I’ll provide all the winners later, but for now I’ll just announce that “So Long, Chief” by Spillane & Collins won Best Short Story, and that the panelists did just fine (and Barb helped greatly in what could have been a logistical nightmare). The evening ended with tropical drinks around the pool at the Marriott Marina.

Comic Con 2014

Comic Con 2014

Comic Con 2014

Comic Con 2014

Comic Con 2014

Comic Con 2014

Comic-Con 2014 Day Two

July 25th, 2014 by Max Allan Collins

The first full day of the con was just fine. After a delightful ocean-front breakfast, I headed for the convention center, Barb hit the trolley to go to the Fashion Valley Mall, and Nate and Abby began a day of standing in line to get things signed. I was on the prowl for bargain books – I collect hardcover collections of old comics – and scored a good number, and took in lots of original art that I can’t afford. Late afternoon, we went to Nate’s panel on translating Japanese into English (emphasis on manga) and that was, as usual, fascinating. Then it was off for an evening with Alice and Leonard Maltin, where Leonard and I impressed everyone with our vast range of knowledge about the Three Stooges, especially Shemp. Well, maybe not everyone was impressed, but Leonard and I were. Good food at the Harbor House, a restaurant we settled on when our original choice voided our reservation because a private party took over the place (Buster’s). But the Harbor House was excellent, and the conversation a blast. Beautiful weather to walk back in, cool but never chilly. Tomorrow – the Scribe Awards (see info below).

Comic Con 2014

Comic Con 2014

Comic Con 2014

Comic Con 2014

Comic Con 2014

Comic-Con 2014 Day One

July 24th, 2014 by Max Allan Collins

This was a very long day, starting at 3 a.m. in Iowa. After arriving at the airport in San Diego, Barb and I met up with Nate and Abby in weather so beautiful it seemed like a bad practical joke to a bunch of humidity-ridden Midwesterners. Staying at the Marriot Marina – thanks to Nate’s mad computer skills when the rooms were made available – we are in a much more convenient position to get the most out of the con. Standing in line to get into preview night, we met Ian Abbott, a special effects expert from the UK who worked on tons of huge movies, including SKYFALL and several Christopher Nolan projects. Lovely guy, funny and willing to share fascinating and sometimes hilarious inside stuff. The dealer’s room was crowded and fairly daunting, though Nate and Abby made some key purchases – including a lovely Stan Sakai watercolor – and I picked up some books from Bud Plant’s great booth. Tomorrow at 6:30 PM (see details below) is Nate’s panel on translation.

Comic Con 2014

Comic Con 2014

Comic Con 2014

Comic Con 2014

Comic Con 2014

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