04 October 2005

Neil Gaiman Day

Sunday was Neil Gaiman Day, which is better known as the West Hollywood Book Fair to the rest of Los Angeles. I have on my friends page, so I've been tracking him, just waiting for my chance to finally meet him.

Waking up at a decent hour on Sunday was a necessary, but easy to due to excitement, evil. This was to be a ticketed signing, limited to 100 tickets, and I had no intention of getting there too late to get a ticket.

[about 1.5 hours of jumping up and down, with intermittent periods of getting dressed and brushing my teeth]

There were maps of the event to be had at the front gate, so it didn't take too long to find the Golden Apple booth. Since Golden Apple, a comic book store, was the one who booked Gaiman, it was also their duty to distribute tickets. Via a basket full of coupons, with 35 marked with a red dot, which would entitle the barer to get something(s) signed. Wait, only 35? you ask. That's right; they didn't bother mentioning anywhere that they distributed the first 65 at their store. Based on how full the basket was, there were about 200 coupons waiting to be plucked. I closed my eyes, prayed, and came up with a red-dot-less coupon. Matt didn't do any better. The world ended.

Walking around to see if anything else of interest was going on, we discovered that an artist from The Simpsons and Futurama would be signing comic books, and an animator from Family Guy would be sketching later in the afternoon. At around 4, Bill Maher would be signing his new book New Rules, which happens to be a very funny book.

Hunger for reasonably priced food, as well as a desire not to pay full price for Maher's book, drove us away for an hour. Upon return, a new person was guarding the precious coupon lottery. Two more failures. Extreme disappointment ensued, while we waited to get our comic books signed by Bill Morrison. I happened to have part 1 in a 2 part Futurama series, so I had a Bart and autograph applied to the second part. By then the Family Guy animator, Mark Covell, was at the booth, so Matt and I moved on to the next line. I asked for a picture of Stewie, with Rupert (his teddy bear) and a laser gun. I received a comic book board with a pissed off Stewie aiming his gun at a Rupert, who happened to have his hands above his head, pleading not to be shot. Amazing is the best word to describe it. Matt went with Brian holding a martini. His comic book board certainly had Brian holding a martini, but it was the fact that Brian was completely bombed and about to fall over that made it awesome. Wednesday will bring a trip to the framing store, to ensure that these amazing pieces remain intact for centuries to come.

Side note: About 1.5 hours later, we walked by the Family Guy animator again, and he was obviously losing steam. The pictures were only taking up 1/4 of the boards, and they were not nearly as detailed. Getting there early seriously paid off.

Pictures in tow, it was just about time for the Gaiman book signing, and I still didn't have a ticket. No matter, a Golden Apple employee was walking around with the basket full of potential tickets since not all had been picked. Attempt number three!.... no red dots to be found. Then, out of the corner of his eye, Matt spotted a coupon fall out of the basket. He ran over and picked it up. After fumbling with the tape on it for 30 seconds, A RED DOT! I practically skipped over to the line of ticket holders and took my place at the very end.

The guy behind me in line had a French copy of American Gods with him. A friend had loaned him the book for his flight across the Atlantic. At the fair, he had recognized the author's name and decided to get it signed for his friend.

When all was said and done, Anansi Boys, Neverwhere, and American Gods contained brand new autographs and short little messages from Gaiman. I wish I could say that we talked for a few minutes, or something like that, but truth be told, I couldn't think of anything to say that was, well, not stupid.

Afterwards, I waited another 10 minutes in the Bill Maher line to get New Rules signed. Luckily Matt had been waiting in the line for a half hour before I got over there, or we would have had a much longer wait. Maher seemed rather ambivolent about signing books, while his assistant was a real twit. He was trying to order people around and make everyone understand how important he was, but nobody was really paying much attention to anything he said. He was also the moron who contradicted the booth owners about personalized autographs, then proceeded to enforce his new rule. Maher himself was fairly laid back, though he did have an interesting reaction to someone giving him a picture of a marijuana leaf.

Rex Pickett was next. There wasn't a line for him, so getting Sideways signed was almost trivial. He actually seemed interested in talking to us, though he seemed a bit surprised that I hadn't seen the movie. The fact that he wrote "See the movie!" in my copy was a subtle hint.

There. Now all the important occurances have been covered. And it only took me two days to write it all.

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