“No, I said Hallo, but that’s close enough.”
And this year, that’s saying something. (I’ll get into that later.)
Sometime Thursday afternoon or Friday morning I concluded that we’d remember this year’s trip more for the circumstances around it than for the con itself. I had no idea.
For starters: We had tickets for Thursday and Friday, and planned to drive into town Wednesday afternoon and drive home Friday evening. Sure, Comic-Con is stressful, but we always used to drive home Sunday evening and I was fine.
Of course, most of those times we weren’t bringing a toddler along.
Comic-Con is a stressful, high-pressure, taxing experience. Vacationing with a small child is also a stressful, high-pressure, taxing experience. And so many little things went wrong the first two days: Leaving the stroller behind and having to buy a cheap one on the way, the leg cramp in stop-and-go traffic, having to search for outlets to plug in the lamps in our hotel room (and having to unplug them in order to charge more than one phone at a time), the fit at dinner that had strangers commenting on how J must be tired (actually, ma’am, he acts like this regardless of sleep quotient). Getting out too late to take the shuttle back and having to take the trolley instead (though that actually worked out fine, as J loved the idea)…at which point we learned that the routes had changed since we last rode the trolley, and we got off one stop too early to make the transfer.
Thursday morning we had everything planned out: We’d go to breakfast at Broken Yolk Cafe, then pick up our badges, then I’d take J around while Katie tried to catch the first big panel of the day. So what happened? We missed the shuttle because they moved the stop from where it had been last time we stayed on this route. Then I ordered blueberry crepes and managed to spill them on my shirt and shorts. They went into the con while I went back to the hotel to change clothes and try to rinse out the blueberry syrup before it stained.
And the first taste of Comic-Con is always overwhelming. Always. Add in these circumstances and you won’t be surprised that when I finally caught up an hour and a half later, Katie was ready to swear off ever coming back.
- Always bring spare clothes. (Done, fortunately.)
- Don’t start the con with a breakfast that might stain if it spills.
- If you’re bringing a small child, find some way that you can start the con without them, then bring them in later.
Overheard: “It was! It was! It was Reptar!”
Fortunately, things improved over the course of the day, and the rest of Thursday actually went pretty well. Friday, on the other hand…well, we’ll get to that.
Back in 2005, Tokyopop started working on manga-style graphic novels based on Jim Henson’s Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal. They released one volume of three planned for Legends of the Dark Crystal, taking place centuries before the movie, and two volumes of four planned for Return to Labyrinth, focusing on Sarah’s brother Toby as a teenager…and just sort of stopped. After two years, the third volume of Return to Labyrinth eventually came out, but it was unclear when the final volume would arrive.
Earlier this year I noticed an August release date for the conclusion of Return to Labyrinth. I checked a few days ago and was surprised to find that not only was it actually available…but so was Legends of the Dark Crystal volume 2. (Interestingly enough, the main thing I can glean from the Return to Labyrinth v.4 reviews on Amazon is that the Jareth/Sarah shippers hated it.)
Of course, when you start thinking about long-delayed fantasy books, one in particular always comes to mind: George R.R. Martin’s A Dance With Dragons, the long-awaited fifth book of A Song of Ice and Fire. It’s already been nearly five years since the last book, and while the cover art has been ready for most of that time…there’s no sign of the book being finished anytime soon. This is the book that indirectly prompted Neil Gaiman’s (in)famous essay in which he stated, “George R.R. Martin is not your bitch.” The really funny thing? People are reviewing the book on Amazon. Actually, they’re reviewing the wait for the book!
In addition to fan frustration, some readers are concerned that George R.R. Martin might follow in the footsteps of another fantasy author and die before he completes his magnum opus. Robert Jordan, fortunately for his fans, was already working on the conclusion of his epic, The Wheel of Time, and left extensive outlines and notes. Brandon Sanderson has been writing a trilogy to conclude the series based on Jordan’s notes and partial manuscript. The Gathering Storm came out last year and was surprisingly good. On Tuesday, Dragonmount reported that Sanderson has completed the final draft of Towers of Midnight, and is on track for its November 2 release. The final book, A Memory of Light, should be out next year.