Cubicle at the End of the Universe: Mike Braff


The Cubicle at the End of the Universe: My First Comic-Con by Mike Braff, Associate Editor

For those who know me, it isn’t a stretch to say that I am a devout and practicing Geek.  I spend much time reading from the Geek canon (specifically the writings of St. Tolkien and St. Mieville), often ruminate on Geek teachings (“Do or do not, there is no try”), and spend time worshipping along with fellow geeks (Firefly marathon, anyone?).  But for all of my devotion there was one thing missing from my life as a committed Geek, and that was a pilgrimage to San Diego Comic-Con.  Well the good folks at Del Rey Books saw fit to bring me along this year to SDCC and I couldn’t have been more excited!

I arrived in San Diego very late in the evening on Monday, July 9th, and was up super early the next morning to help Erich and Joe (veterans of many an SDCC campaign) in setting up the booth.  Now, I’ve done New York Comic Con a few times and have helped to assemble/dissemble my fair share of, but just walking into the convention center marked this con as a very different animal.  For starters, the San Diego Convention Center is HUGE, definitely the largest building I have ever been inside.  Second, the size and number of the exhibitors’ booths is staggering.  Walking in on the first morning I saw huge cranes hanging posters, gigantic wooden shipping crates that looked like they belonged in Warehouse 13, and some of the coolest model assembly ever.

Arriving at the Star Wars booth, Joe and Erich helped pick my jaw up off the floor and put me to work.  After about an hour and a lot of sweat (the convention center hadn’t turned on the air conditioning just yet), we had assembled an awesome-looking booth, complete with a life-sized version of the cover of STAR WARS: SCOUNDRELS that con attendees could pose with.  Check it out:


After a short water break, we headed over to the Random House aisle where the Del Rey booth was located.  What waited for us still haunts my dreams: eleven pallets of boxes, all of which had to be unpacked and set up to form two forty-foot rows of tables where we would be doing our various signings, giveaways, book sales, and more.  A few hours in, I was just about to give up from exhaustion, crawl under some boxes and have a nap, when reinforcements arrived!  The rest of the Del Rey crew rode in like the proverbial cavalry and set to work.  With their help, we took the booth from this:


To this:


Not too shabby, eh?  After some more cleanup (and much-needed showers) we prepared for the first evening of the con.  That’s when the author of everyone’s favorite Druid novels showed up to hang out.  Kevin Hearne is a delightful person and extraordinarily fun to be around, even for a short while.  But at SDCC I got to hang out with him several times, often for more than a few hours!  It was awesome.  Here’s Kevin, myself, and Kevin’s editor Tricia on Preview Night:


Preview night was lots of fun, and we got to hang out with Del Rey authors (and some non-Del Rey folks), and the first batch of con-goers.  But what awaited us was the long convention ahead.  Would we be able to handle the pressure?  The lines?  THE FREE SCHWAG?!

Stay tuned to find out the answers to those questions and more when I return with the second part of the recap in the next episode of THE CUBICLE AT THE END OF THE UNIVERSE!