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Going to San Diego, California for the Comic-con this year was probably the last thing on my mind last April. I did somewhat feel in 2010 that I ought to go in 2011, but looking seriously at my finances, I knew it wouldn\’t be possible. It became more obvious when I browsed for plane tickets and they had gotten a whole lot expensive compared to a few years ago. I still nevertheless asked my SLG Publisher Dan Vado if I he could provide me with a letter of invitation just in case I would need to renew my US Visa. He replied with some insanely good news. He said that Elmer had been nominated for an Eisner Award, and later, he returned with more great news. Comic-con would be inviting me as a guest, all expenses paid, including hotel and travel. After picking up myself from being unconscious on the floor, I realized I was actually going. A blizzard of paperwork followed, specially with regard to renewing my US Visa, but it was all worth it. On July 20, 2011, after 12 long years, I would finally be back to San Diego for the Comic-con!

I arrived at San Diego at 11:30 in the evening on Wednesday, July 20. Curiously enough, I left the Philippines also on Wednesday night, at 8:30pm. It might seem my journey took only three hours, but because of big balls of timey-wimey stuff, the journey actually took thirty five hours from my home here in San Pablo to my hotel in San Diego. Oh, I have to talk about this. The plane I took from Manila to the US was Philippine Air Lines, which was actually pretty nice. It would have to be for business class tickets (bwahaha! Thanks Comic-con!). But it would only go so far as Los Angeles, which is my point of entry to the United States. I would then take a connecting flight to San Diego via American Eagle. It all seemed fine, but then, AE misplaced my luggage. I had nothing on me but the clothes on my back, and all my important papers in my little shoulder bag. But everything else was in my luggage. They apologized but then assured me that my bag would be delivered to my hotel the following morning.

I was met at the hotel by Pam, a friendly Comic-con staff (who seemed to be up really late waiting for guests to arrive), who gave me my first Comic-con swag bag including my badge. The bag contained an awesome hardcover book on the history of Comic-con, as well as convention guides.


I really couldn\’t sleep that night, so by 4am the following day, Thursday, I went out for a walk in front of the convention center. I was amazed to see people already lining up for panels. I heard the Twilight line had already formed before I even left the Philippines.


I went on a further walk through the Gaslamp District and I saw a few people walking around, including a few media people with cameras and hosts interviewing passers by. I was also on the lookout for a 24 hour grocery or convenience store where I could buy some toiletries that were still with my luggage…. somewhere. Surfing the Internet back home, Ilyn told me about Ralph\’s Grocery just a short walk from my hotel, which I became a regular of during my stay. It\’s here where I got to buy my snacks, supplies, and other stuff. Walking on the way back to the hotel, I saw the first awesome thing of the day:


Excited, I went to the convention center as early as 9:00am. The doors finally opened at 9:30.

Hey Raipo! This one\’s for you, man!

Walked a bit and found myself on artist alley where I met….

Art Adams!

With Alex Niño and Whilce Portacio.

I met Alex in person for the first time. It was great finally meeting this man whose work I have admired for many years. And of course, there\’s Whilce. I literally wouldn\’t be in comics without Whilce. I owe this guy a lot for teaching me what the comics business is like, and for helping me reach a professional standard in my work.


I started to head to the SLG booth beside DC\’s large area. The Artists\’ Alley is a LOOONG way to where SLG is, and that\’s only halfway the length of the convention center. This early in the convention, you can still afford to take a leisurely hassle free walk. That photo there is probably the last sane moment I had at the con before everything just went turbo.


That\’s the view from the SLG Booth, where I did my first signing from 10am to 11:30am. I met my publisher Dan Vado in person for the first time. I also met other SLG guys like Van Jensen, creator of Pinocchio Vampire Slayer, MD Penman, creator of Peabody and D\’Gorath, and SLG staffers Dustin, Bryan, Dillon, Jennifer De Guzman, etc.

Van Jensen at the SLG Booth. And Hey, Baby!

After my signing, I went back to the hotel for a bit of rest and lunch. The view is breathtaking from the balcony!

At the bottom right is a South Park Theme Park!

My luggage arrived as well, so finally after a couple of days I could have a proper change of clothes.

After lunch I went back to the convention and met Jeff Moss of The Watchtower Podcast. Pretty cool guy! He gave me an unDexter-ified badge lace. Dexter being the sponsor of the badge laces meant you saw Dexter everywhere. As much as I love Dexter, I think it didn\’t need me anymore to further sell it. I then went exploring on the 2nd floor where the huge \”Autograph Area\” was. The area is called the \”Sails Pavillion\” because the ceiling looks like a huge translucent sail, allowing massive light from the sky shine down below. I had an autograph signing between 2pm and 4:30pm. I was put in a spot surrounded by mostly actors. They\’re not really A-list actors, but genre actors who had their own cult followings. The people here were actors and actresses like Erin Gray (Buck Rogers), Reggie Bannister (Phantasm), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca in Star Wars), Richard Hatch (Battlestar Galactica), Lee Meriwether (Batman), and so forth.

Well, immediately to my right was this fella by the name of Vernon Wells. Now I knew this guy from the movies. I\’ve seen him lots of times. He\’s a pretty popular guy. He looked at me menacingly, telling me my table belonged to someone else. But then he said he was kidding. ha! ha! I said, \”I know you! I\’ve seen you a lot! I\’m a big fan!\” I was about to say it was so awesome to see Emilio Estevez blow him away in Young Guns when it suddenly occurred to me I was actually thinking about Jack Palance.

Vernon Wells.

So OK, no sweat. I looked at his photos and realized I saw him in Commando, Road Warrior and MacGyver. We talked a bit, and I was actually planning on buying his photo and get his autograph but then in the distance I saw another autograph booth being set up. This time a much bigger one. And then the posters went up… holy crap! It was… HIM! The guy who played Duncan McLeod for six seasons on TV, the Highlander! I was a huge fan of the TV series, and even have all seasons on DVD. Lots of people were lined up for him. You had to pay for an autographed photo, and if you wanted a photo with him, you had to pay for it as well. But I thought holy crap, this is all worth it. Ilyn and I are huge fans, and Ilyn is a huge fan of the man himself. I thought it would be great if I could have an autograph of him, personalized to the both of us. I thought Ilyn would really love that. And I would hold off telling her about it until I got back. That would be a surprise! So after my signing, I got on the Adrian Paul line and before I knew it, BAM!


I had promised Mico Suayan that I would pass by Marvel in the afternoon of the first day to see how he\’s doing. He was pretty busy signing so I thought I\’d just leave him to it.

John Romita Jr., Mico and Joe Kelley at the Marvel booth.

I explored the floor a bit more, although I must admit it was difficult looking for something specific if you wanted something specific. Personally, I was looking for Volume 2 of the X-Men Companion book Fantagraphis published in the 80\’s. You know what? NOT as easy as it seemed. There\’s just so much stuff and so many people. You get engrossed and distracted by things that you forget what you were looking for. For instance, I heard a strange wheezing sound somewhere. It seemed familiar, and then a thud, like something materializing out of nowhere.


I wonder what that was. Strange. Before I left the convention floor I found myself in front of the Hip Flask Booth, and there he was, Richard Starkings. I knew of Richard in the beginning as the letterer to things like Marvels (Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross). Since then, Richard grew to being an all around creator and publisher. He published the popular Elephantman, illustrated by the amazing Ladronn. I had corresponded with Richard a couple of times before. I had sent him Elmer, and he sent back copies of Elephantman. I finally met him for the first time. It always gets me when I meet someone for the first time after talking with them for years online. I gave him a copy of \”Bold Star\” and Budjette Tan\’s \”Trese\” and he gave me an Elephantman trade. We promised to stay in touch. In this booth I also met an editor for Dark Horse, and I also gave him a copy of \”Bold Star\”. I\’m hoping it could lead to things!

Anyway… that was it for Day 1. The thing about San Diego is that by 7pm, the sun is actually still up. Which was weird because I\’m not used to it being so bright at that hour. I went back to my hotel room, got a bite to eat, went to bed for a rest not really intending to sleep yet, but I ended up falling asleep anyway. It was deep, and dreamless. And then just like that, it was Friday.


I woke up early and nervous, knowing I would be moderating Tony De Zuniga\’s panel first thing today, followed by my own panel, moderated by Dan Vado. Dan gave me sensible advice on how to moderate a a panel, which I dutifully followed.

With Tony De Zuniga

Tony was caught by surprise when he was awarded the Inkpot Award, a very prestigious, Comic-con only award given to people of great accomplishment in the field of comics. It was a big deal, and I was extraordinarily happy for Tony when he received it.


I had my own panel afterwards, which was not as nerve-wracking as I thought it would be. The people who attended looked genuinely interested and Dan made the exchange between us easygoing and light. I have no pictures of this, unfortunately. I had the chance to talk about not only Elmer but also of Wasted. In fact, I talked about Wasted a lot.

With little time for lunch, I grabbed a cookie and a coke and headed to my 2nd day at the Autograph Signing Area on the 2nd floor.


I met a lot of nice people during my 2 days at the Sails Pavillion, among them Mary Ann Romero, frequent Twitter buddy who came up with this pretty cool Comic-con video.

As I wrapped up my signing at my spot, a familiar figure walked by. I knew he was coming, but I didn\’t know he would be roaming the area like a fan, toting a huge convention bag. I just had to ambush him and asked him if I could have a photo with him. An extraordinarily nice guy, Aaron Goodwin of the Ghost Adventures Crew even took the picture himself. Thanks man!


I\’m actually a huge Ghost Adventures fan. The ghost evidence they capture are somewhat light to moderate, but I really watch the show for the three hosts, Zak Bagans, Nick Groff and Aaron. They\’re absolutely hysterical. They can do a cooking show or a straight travel show and I\’d still watch them. It\’s their chemistry together that makes the show work for me.

After browsing the convention floor a bit, I decided to do something about my phone situation. As it turned out, the phone I brought with me where I had roaming enabled through Globe wasn\’t working all that well. I could send texts to Ilyn, but I couldn\’t call her or text anyone else, including the Twitter provider back home. Since I had no laptop or any gadgets of the sort to go online, I was pretty much offline for the duration of my stay. I was just counting on being able to send Tweets that would post both at my Twitter account and my Facebook page which I had set up to interconnect.

I was given a tip to buy a cheap prepaid phone there in San Diego. I could call and send texts to Ilyn using this phone, but she has to respond to me through my old phone which would be inexpensive for her. I got a TracFone from CVS Pharmacy which was like only 7 bucks, plus 20 bucks for load which would give me 60 minutes talking and texting time. Each text (sent and received) would cost me .30 minutes, which wasn\’t so bad.

Turns out, you can\’t call the Philippines with a TracFone, which was a complete bummer. You can communicate with people from 150 different countries but the Philippines wasn\’t included. CRAP. So I devised a way of sending messages to Ilyn anyway though Twitter. I can send her DMs (direct messages) to her Twitter Account. Ilyn was always online back home so she would immediately get it. She can then respond to me through my other phone. I was happy enough to be able to send Ilyn messages, and finally post to Twitter and Facebook as well. So I was all set.

I went back to the hotel for a rest, and get ready for the big night. Eisner Awards night! And since I was both nominated, and will be presenting awards as well, I thought I\’d dress for the occasion.


Yeah! Just so you guys know, I didn\’t wear my chucks to this one. I was going traditional through and through.

However, the walk to the Eisner Awards venue was a pretty long one. From my hotel I would walk through the entire length of the convention center to the other side, where the Hilton, Bayfront was located. And I tell you, this was a LONG walk. Young Filipinos I came across on the way there didn\’t bat an eye, but older Filipinos did a double take when they saw what I was wearing.

Hilton on the Bayfront.

Upon arriving at the Indigo Ballroom, I met Tony, the official Eisner Awards photographer (who was Filipino). He introduced me to Tom Ware, who instructed me how to do the presentation. When I came to the table I was assigned to, I immediately thought they made a mistake. Because at that table was Lance Henricksen. I looked at the table number on both the table and my little note. They both indicated the same table. So yes, I was supposed to be there. I sheepishly took a seat. The guy to my right began talking to me. I recognized him from MadTV. It was Phil Lamarr, who would be one of the hosts that night. And then Lance Henricksen looked at me. He said, \”Hi, I\’m Lance.\” All I could do was say, \”Hello! I\’m Gerry!\” when all I wanted to say was, \”Holy shit it\’s you! Of course I know you! You\’re the Millenium guy! HOLY CRAP!!!\”

Now guys, I hope you forgive me for not having photos or videos of this. Fanboying over them quietly is one thing, but to be so openly starstruck, asking to have pictures taken with them didn\’t seem right, on that occasion at least. Perhaps afterwards, but it didn\’t feel right at the time.

Thomas Lennon on the gigantic HD screen.

So there I was still quietly hysterical I was on the same table with these guys, I saw another guy roaming the room. I recognized him right away as Thomas Lennon, another one of the hosts of the show. I knew him from a recent episode of Jason Lee\’s Memphis Beat. He was absolutely funny there. I also read earlier he was the screenwriter of such things like Balls of Fury and Night at the Museum. I looked at him, trying to figure out if it was really him.

And then he looked at ME. And he looked at me for a long time. And then he walked towards me! Holy shit! He said,

\”I know you! I\’ve seen your VIDEO! Oh man, when I first saw that, I got MAD! I thought, this guy is funnier than me!!\”

He then asked me how to pronounce my name, as he would be introducing me later in the night. I told him to think of it as two words. \”Allan\” and \”Gillan\” and then say both words together quickly. That\’s all it was. He thanked me, reiterated how much he liked my video, and was off to start the show.

I presented three awards. Best Lettering, Best Coloring and Best Digital Comic. I didn\’t feel nervous when I came on because from the stage, you don\’t really see the audience. They also showed my video when I walked on so it was quite the icebreaker. I said it\’s something that would haunt me for the rest of my life. It was true, but I didn\’t really mind it. I went through reading the names without much problems. After all, I had been practicing for a while. I even emailed some of the people whose names would pose problems for me to ask the how to properly pronounce them.

The category Elmer was nominated for, Best Graphic Album, was the last award to be given that night. Jonathan Ross and Dave Gibbons were the presenters.


I had my fingers crossed and I almost had a heart attack when Dave said it was a \”tie\”. The first award went to Daniel Clowes\’ Wilson. One more award was left to be given. I managed to spy behind Dave and Jonathan, and I noticed that two trophies were left. It was then I knew I wasn\’t going to get it. They couldn\’t have one trophy left over, right? So the last award would go to a nominee that had two creators.

I must admit that I that I was disappointed, but it was a feeling that quite honestly quickly passed. By the time they read the names of those who won, I had already accepted it. The winners were after all, amazing creators and they created amazing books. I truly am happy to have gotten that far, a notion that I wouldn\’t have believed could come true only a few months before. I met Karen Green, one of the judges, who came up to me to ask me to sign her copy of Elmer. I also met Heidi McDonald of The Beat, and thanked her for writing about Elmer on her popular comics blog. I looked for Dave, Jonathan and few other people there who I wanted to take photos with, but they all seemed to have disappeared. I also didn\’t spot a few of my friends from back home, who said they\’d be attending the event. Spotting no one, I decided to just go ahead and go back to the hotel, bracing for the long walk back.

Day 3

I woke up around 6am, had breakfast, and fell asleep again. I was more tired than I realized because I woke up just a few minutes before 10am. And at 10am I had to be at the SLG table for my signing! I rushed through my bath and off to the convention center. An hour or so in I started to feel terrible. Like I wanted to throw up. But I had to keep a game face for those who came up to have their books signed. I must have looked terrible. I must apologize to all those who came and I didn\’t seem as accommodating as I could have been. I immediately fled back to my hotel after my signing to recover.

After lunch I felt a lot better, and I spent a few minutes on stalker mode up at the Sails Pavillion, right beside the Ghost Adventures Crew signing.


I wanted to meet them, but the line was just too long. And I didn\’t have much time. I had to go back down for my afternoon signing at SLG. After that, I went around looking at all the cool stuff.


A personal surprise of mine was seeing Bobbie Chase at the DC booth. I\’ve known her work for many years over at Marvel in the 80\’s. I\’ve never met her until that day and I introduced myself. She said she had been out of comics for the last 10 years and was now back at it with DC. It was such a pleasure to finally meet her at last.


Rob Liefeld and Erik Larsen at the Image Booth.

Gigantic He-Man

Manananggal Hulk at the Marvel Booth.

Immortals mask used in the 300 movie.


Invaluable reference for artists.

I started to head back to the artists alley at the farthest end of the convention center as day 3 started to wind down. I found Scott Dunbier at Mike Mignola\’s table and introduced myself. I\’ve known Scott for years and like most encounters at this con, I was meeting him in person for the first time. He then introduced me to Mike Mignola. Just behind their booth I found Mico all by himself:


I then headed to Whilce\’s table to ask about our \”date\” that night. We ended up having crab at a Crabshack behind the Convention center.


Whilce and I spent the entire night, up to around 1am in fact, at a nearby cafe just talking. It\’s amazing how far Whilce and I go back together. I first saw him, well a photo of him at least, at a branch of Filbar\’s near San Sebastian\’s College along Recto around 1991. Filbar\’s had announced a tour of one of Marvel Comics\’ most popular artists in the Philippines. And it was this guy named Whilce. It\’s a name that\’s familiar to be because he had inked Longshot and Uncanny X-men few other titles back in the 80\’s. I loved his inking. He seemed to have become popular as a penciller, drawing stuff like Punisher and X-Factor.

I didn\’t realize he was Filipino until I saw that photo in Filbar\’s. I freaked out. Up until then I didn\’t realize it could be possible for a Pinoy to work on books like that in the US. But it was. It was a huge kick in the butt, and a huge slap in the face. It was one of those moments that I felt my life change literally from one second to the next. All of a sudden, a career in comics was possible. All I had to do is want it bad. And I wanted it bad. I eventually met Whilce during that tour and he gave me my first pointers. I met him again many years later, and he thought I had gotten good enough to work at the studio he was setting up in the Philippines. I was one of the first to be recruited, along with Roy Allan Martinez, Edgar Tadeo, Leinil Francis Yu and Gilbert Monsanto.

And as I sat there in that cafe talking with Whilce, all that came flashing through my mind and I realized what an amazing journey it had been.

Day 4


I woke up very early again, at around 5:00am. I puttered around, writing in my journal, twittering, texting Ilyn, then watching some TV. AT 7am I went down for breakfast. I haven\’t had meat yet during my time in San Diego, but I thought I\’d give Sunday a break considering where I needed to go that night (more on that later). So I had some bacon. And oh my God, it was horrible. Sorry Marriott, but your bacon is horrible. And greasy. I just had a bunch of fruits and bread instead. I can still taste it. Jeez.

Stan Lee suddenly walked in and it seemed like sunshine just suddenly came into the room. I thought I\’d ambush him at the buffet table, and just say hi, but he never went to the buffet table. After breakfast, I waited by the elevator bay and I planned on saying hi to him as he got on. I waited and I waited. And then before I knew it, he walked past the elevator bay and headed to the other elevator bay in the lobby of another tower. And man he walked FAST. Amazingly fast for a man his age. To be honest, I couldn\’t keep up with him. He turned a corner, and when I followed to turn in that corner, he was suddenly far away. How amazing.

At 10am I went to the SLG booth.

With MD Penman, Des Taylor and Dan Vado at the SLG Booth

Dan related to me the story of how he found Elmer in the submissions box. He said that most submissions he received were crap and was already tired looking at that box. He asked his assistant Bryan to pick out something he liked. And he saw Elmer. He was about to put it back when Dan grabbed it and read it. He seemed genuinely sincere when he said it was quite privilege for him to have published Elmer. For my part, I was extremely thankful that he took the risk on it. I still am very thankful.

I had an hour to kill between my SLG signing and the Filipino Invasion panel at 12 noon. I went around, taking photos:


Roaming the floor I chanced upon one of my biggest inspirations, Eric Shanower. I absolutely love this man\’s work. His lines are clean, his figures well drawn, and his comics are generally an absolute wonder to behold and read.


He gave me some great advice on getting inking jobs while doing your own thing. It was advice that helped me a lot while doing Elmer. In fact, he remembered me sending him a copy of the book and it was so great just chatting with him.

I then went upstairs for the Filipino Invasion panel with Tony De Zuniga, Alex Niño, Ernie Chan and moderator Mark Waid.

(Thanks to Karen Kunawicz for taking photos!)

The panel went extremely well. The room was absolutely packed with people! It was so amazing to see genuine interest in Filipinos in comics, and for Comic-con to invite us and make it a huge year for us is something I\’m very grateful for. One hour simply wasn\’t enough. I felt it was too short. I felt we had a lot more things to discuss but we just didn\’t have the time. It was here I met Mark Waid for the very first time. I had worked with Mark previously on Superman: Birthright. I told Mark that it remained as my absolute favorite inking job ever. And it was the truth. I really feel that way. I love that book. And it\’s always a privilege whenever someone asks me to sign their copy of it. Mark and I promised to stay in touch.


After the panel I was accosted by something mean.


I only had thirty minutes for a quick break and lunch before I had to go back to SLG for my last scheduled signing. Amazingly, a line had already formed before I got there!


Dan said it was typical for people to wait until the last day to get their stuff signed. Apparently, many people had the same idea. After I finished, I decided I wanted to spend the last couple of hours of Comic-con just buying stuff I wanted to buy since Day 1. And I had to do it quickly because the convention center was so huge that it takes a full thirty minutes to walk from end to end through the crowd. And before I knew it, the place would close. I ended up not buying too much because I simply couldn\’t find the stuff I wanted, but I was at least able to hand Mike Mignola a copy of Elmer, buy Art Adam\’s sketchbook, a copy of Tintin in the Congo, Jack Kirby\’s The Losers, Howard Cruse\’s Stuck Rubber Baby, and the amazing looking Pinocchio by Winshluss.

The day had one last surprise for me. I was looking around for stuff to buy when I suddenly found this guy signing books in front of me.


Meeting Jonathan Ross was an absolute Joy. I met him when he actually emailed me years ago in response to my posting his documentary on Spiderman and Steve Ditko on my website. It turns out, he was a huge fan of the classic Filipino style of art. I promised him I\’d send him a copy of John Lent\’s The First 100 Years of Philippine Comics, and he gave me a copy of \”TURF\”, a comic book he wrote and Tommy Lee Edwards illustrated.

Last awesome sight before I left the convention floor:


I went back to my hotel and prepared for what would be a big night, well for me at least. I had a date. Yes I did! I had a date with myself and a piece of MEAT. Oh yeah! As I had mentioned earlier, I had been avoiding eating meat, mostly for health reasons ( I would gobble them up otherwise). But I would make an exception during my last two days in San Diego. A couple of months ago I browsed the Internet for the best steaks found in San Diego and I found Donovan\’s. I set up a reservation for Sunday, 7:00pm, and they accepted. Donovan\’s is a bit of a high end restaurant, requiring patrons to wear collared shirts and not wear jeans or sneakers at the very least. Now this was probably the only time in my entire life I would eat at a place like this, but I wanted to experience it. Just once.


And so there I was, in clothes you would never see me wear. Ready to eat some steak. With a little bit of sightseeing along the way.



This Filet Mignon is absolutely the softest steak I have ever tasted. It felt like soft fluffy cotton in my mouth. It\’s amazing. What about the taste? Well, I must say the service at Donovan\’s is excellent. I have absolutely nothing to complain about. But to be honest, apart from this being the softest piece of meat I ever tasted, I actually tasted something better back home. Was it worth it? Sure it was. At least I can say that it was something I had experienced, although it\’s something I probably wouldn\’t be able to do again.


And with one last look at the convention center, I went back to my hotel to rest, and to prepare for my trip back home. The following morning as I looked down from the balcony, I didn\’t hear the usual busy buzz of the convention, or the teeming mass of people milling around below. It felt sad that the convention was over, knowing just a few days ago how busy and bursting with life everything was. And now the signs were being taken down, everything was quiet and everyone seems to have gone home. As much as I wanted it to go on and on, I couldn\’t stay and see how still everything was. All of a sudden, there was nothing more that I wanted than go go home.

It wasn\’t over yet though.

Whilce and Joanne Portacio graciously offered to take me around on Monday before I left. Before I left the hotel, I saw Tony and Tina De Zuniga, and ever game, Tony signed and sketched for a young fan who happened to be passing by.


Whilce and Jo helped to find places where I could make some last minute shopping and shipping and we ended up having lunch this place. YEAH!


Ok, now I can say I\’ve finally tried the much hyped In-N-Out Burger. What can I say? Well I can say that I\’ve finally tried it. To be honest, I actually had better burgers back home. Dayrit\’s was better, Tropical Hut\’s was better, even Jollibee\’s CHAMP sandwich is better. But it was nice its own way. Nevertheless, I had a great time and I want to thank Whilce and Jo for treating me out and for the company. You guys are awesome!

And then finally, I left San Diego on the evening of Monday, July 25. And because of another big ball of timey wimey stuff, I arrived in the Philippines on the morning of Wednesday, July 27. I was back here in our house by 8 in the morning.


All in all, an astoundingly amazing experience. It was a far better experience than I had the last time I was there, in 1999. It can become addicting, going to conventions. I feel like I want to go every year, if not for the expense and the mind numbing travel time. I\’m afraid I won\’t be able to return to San Diego for quite a while. It would be nice to again though. Just as long as it doesn\’t take another 12 years.


48 Responses to “My San Diego Comic-con Experience, 2011”

  1. danmir on July 28th, 2011 1:09 pm

    you are really amazing!

  2. Fred Lopez on July 28th, 2011 1:10 pm

    Thank you for sharing your experiences at the SDCC. Great reading as always.

  3. Rey Siasar on July 28th, 2011 1:20 pm

    WoW! thanks sir for letting us in into your little adventure! Congrats congrats!

  4. Kat on July 28th, 2011 1:21 pm

    Thanks for sharing this Gerry. It’s been a dream of mine to attend SDCC and so far this is the closest I’ve ever been to it. :) I can feel your excitement and giddiness, especially when you’re retelling how you’d meet these people you’ve admired over the years.

    Congratulations again!

  5. Auggie on July 28th, 2011 1:25 pm

    Nice Documentation of the Event Gerry! and hey, while your LUCKY STREAK has still its Mojo, go and buy a lottery ticket. Who knows what that streak has in store for you….

  6. Ed on July 28th, 2011 1:30 pm

    Awesome!!! XD

  7. Jun Pamintuan on July 28th, 2011 1:36 pm

    awesome sir, just awesome!

  8. Caloy P on July 28th, 2011 1:45 pm

    Wow! That certainly was an awesome adventure for you, and nakilala mo pa si Highlander at Jonathan Ross! Astig!

    Absolutely envious

  9. Dexter Entera on July 28th, 2011 1:56 pm

    It was like reading through one of your books…. So proud of you. Thanks for sharing Gerry!

    On a side note: Hope you enjoyed the lace “I” sponsored hehehe.

  10. norby on July 28th, 2011 2:01 pm

    sana maexperience ko rin yan balang araw.

  11. Ofelia Concepcion on July 28th, 2011 2:19 pm

    I’m so proud of you, Gerry!

    Hindi man nakamit ni Elmer ang Best Graphic Album, sa mga fans mo tulad namin, si Elmer pa rin ang the best. At ikaw, hindi ko malilimutan kung paano ka nagsikap na matulungan ang mga kapwa natin taga-komiks sa panahon ng Ondoy. You are so blessed because of your generous heart.


  12. Katja on July 28th, 2011 3:11 pm

    This was absolutely joy to read. Thank you for sharing your experience…what a thrill! :o)

  13. JOSH on July 28th, 2011 3:30 pm

    That was great, Sir Gerry!

    Thank you for sharing your experience at Comic-con (^^)

  14. Hazel on July 28th, 2011 3:39 pm

    Love love LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Markus on July 28th, 2011 4:12 pm

    Oh its Tony! At first glance, I thought it was Stan Lee hahah!

  16. Peter John Maderazo on July 28th, 2011 5:36 pm

    Brilliant! So inspiring Sir Gerry, one can actually feel how happy and satisfied you are through your words. I hope one day I’ll have the same experience. Like you said – “All I have to do is want it bad.”

  17. Gilbert Monsanto on July 28th, 2011 6:47 pm

    Ayus! Saka sa dami ng blessings, okay pa rin kahit di mo nauwi ang award, malaki na rin naman ang dating na nanominate ka eh.

    Thanks sa mahaba at madetalyeng SDCC report na ito. nakakamiss. :)

  18. Ruel de Jesus (aka Gumby) on July 28th, 2011 6:51 pm

    Sir Gerry! It was an absolute pleasure to read your blog above! I’ve been wanting to go to the SDCC for years now but couldn’t due to budget and scheduling (but mostly the former!). I’ll probably do it within this decade (hope it’ll be 2012 – George Perez is a guest!!) but your well-detailed blog made me feel as if I was there with you so I guess that’ll tide me over until I actually go. Great to “see” you in fanboy mode and happy for you that you had a great time! :)

  19. raipo on July 28th, 2011 7:41 pm

    I’m crying man-tears of happiness right now. Thanks for the Optimus pic Gerry.

    Oh also for the TARDIS and Shinkenger pic too :D

  20. jill on July 28th, 2011 9:49 pm

    first off, a big congratulations on the nomination and to say that apart from loving your art, how i love this blog and the apparently un-stressed way you expressed yourself. it is so refreshing and so unique!

  21. Chris Pitzer on July 28th, 2011 10:15 pm

    Many thanks for a GREAT report!

  22. Patrick Carlos on July 28th, 2011 10:47 pm

    Thanks for sharing your SDCC experience, Gerry. It is rare to get a blog post like this about SDCC. Very personal! Thanks!

    Amazing that it took you 35 hours from San Pablo to your SD hotel. Would love to hear that story. At 35 hours, it is like you travelled all the way to Brazil. :)

    Great review of Donovan’s and In & Out Burger. I would have probably gone to Morton’s but you’re right — restaurants here can easily beat those in the US. It is the really fancy restaurants with Michellin chefs that are worth the $$$ (55% experience & 45% taste) :)

    Thanks for ably representing the Filipino artist and congratulations! Your time off inking comics to do Elmer was well worth it

  23. Jonas Diego on July 28th, 2011 10:55 pm

    Si HIGHLANDER! Panalo! Welcome back, p’re! :D

  24. Mark Cerbo on July 28th, 2011 11:48 pm


    I envy and happy for you having this experience for the second time others dream about.

    This is “my personal Disneyland” SDCC meant to me because of the stories behind it. Just to experience the mind numbing spectacle in your own eyes was enough for me to say I was there.

    I’m always going to be one of your fans who appreciate your work. Your stories and adventures still amazes me. Your videos where unforgettable and hilariously funny. To me that’s enough to say you’ve made it even though not winning the award.

    Always stay as the same friendly guy who replies to my nonsense emails from back in the day. I’ll see you around at the local conventions.

    All the best and let’s pray you make it back there.

    Mabuhay Ka!

  25. frbarba@hotmail.com on July 29th, 2011 12:17 am


    btw, ser, overall, how would you differentiate the set-up/flow/people/whatnot of the convention there and here in the philippines?

  26. Tim V. on July 29th, 2011 12:38 am


    That was one AMAZING and LONG entry you have there! I don’t know if you remember me, but I’m the guy with the Punisher get up you met at the Metro Comic Con a few weeks back. I’m good friends with Mark Cerbo up there, and like him, I’ve been a longtime fan of your works and stuff. Wasted and Elmer remain some of my personal favorites, and the former graphic novel’s story was something everyone of us could relate to in our own way.

    The SDCC has been one of the most biggest and fantastic conventions where big things happen in the world of comics, movies, games, and everything related to popculture. I’ve been following the news and announcements online, and I could only imagine the sheer excitement everyone in attendance there must feel! Hopefully someday I’ll get to experience it for myself, and maybe I might run into you there too, haha! Best wishes to your future projects! I’ll always be a fan! Mabuhay!


  27. Jose Mari Lee on July 29th, 2011 1:37 am

    Hi Gerry:

    I just got home from Cali. I was hoping to see you and Randy in San Diego, but an unfortunate event happened: my aunt in Sacramento passed away and I had to stay there for at least 2 weeks. But, there’s always another time. Kung buhay pa ako by then. He-he.

    Ang nakaka-turn off lang sa convention sa San Diego ay sobra ang hype ng invasion ng Hollywood. Sana, komiks lang, labas na yung films, nakakapagpagulo lang ito dahil ang mga fans nito ay hindi naman mga fans ng komiks kundi mga artista lang.

    It’s okay if you didn’t win an Eisner, it’s peanuts compared to the PULITZER PRIZE. If you focus on this one, you might just bag it like Charles Burn’s The Black Hole and MOUSE by Bill Sienkiewicz.

  28. Noel Tuazon on July 29th, 2011 7:50 am

    Great SDCC report, Gerry! Only been to SDCC once and the one thing I liked about it was seeing the ‘Old School’ artists (like Nino & DeZuniga).

    Thanks for sharing.

  29. Pedz on July 29th, 2011 10:11 am

    Congratz po sir and to Mico Suayan, Alex Nino, Whilce Portacio and Tony de Zuniga. More success for Filipino Artists!

  30. Ner P on July 29th, 2011 10:44 am

    thanks a lot for the thorough report Gerry!!!

  31. leo celino on July 29th, 2011 12:33 pm

    well narrated with superb photo coverage! very well said, parang graphic novel!
    after reading through it, I feel really happy for you, even though didn’t brought home the bacon, it’s all worth the trip, for being 1 of the proud representative of our country!
    patuloy kong tatangkilikin ang mga gawa, guhit at likhang pinoy!
    congrats uli, kuya Gerry!

    PS: gusto ko nung “Hey, Baby” t-shirt!

  32. Jay David Ramos on July 29th, 2011 1:42 pm

    Thanks for sharing, sir Gerry! Parang andun na rin kami.:)

  33. leinil yu on July 29th, 2011 2:24 pm

    Wow! great post!:) I wish I was there… but then again, I’m reminded of how I’ll get stuck at my table and so I’m also relieved that I stayed.

    Looks like a lot of fun , Ger! and of course we are so proud of you. I hope we can all hang out with Whilce again someday.


  34. Christian Anthony O. Peñafuerte on July 29th, 2011 2:30 pm

    I love reading your blogs. It is very detailed and I can relate to your insights as well. Hopefully you return to San Diego at the same time I get to attend the comic convention again. It is quite hard to get time off, not to mention admission badge availability. Anyway, nice to see you enjoyed your whirlwind visit to San Diego and the Comic Convention. Maybe next time you’ll have better tasting bacon, and hamburgers (other than In-n-Out’s). Food just tastes better in the Philippines in my opinion. Thank you for your wonderful work, Gerry!

  35. KC Cordero on July 29th, 2011 2:47 pm

    Lufeeet! :)

  36. Reno on July 29th, 2011 6:00 pm


    I’m so happy for you, Gerry. :)

  37. Philip Tan on July 29th, 2011 11:57 pm

    It was great seeing you there, Gerry! : )

    But next time… more days naman, so you can spend a few days at my place! XD And Whilce lives close by, I’ll drive you everyday to visit him lol

    Sorry, I was not able to spend more time hanging out with you. Like Leinil said, it gets ridiculously hard to “have fun” there when your required at the booths… Next time!

    Hope to see you again next year >:D


  38. Rose on July 30th, 2011 2:38 am

    I enjoy reading your journal Mr. Gerry! :) out of curiosity, I started the first paragraph, and then I continued to the second… and I guess i did not miss a word :) and I read the whole lot! Thanks for sharing, as if you took the reader with you in the convention.


  39. Gerard on July 31st, 2011 12:26 am

    this was a nice read! thanks for sharing this with us. :)

    P.S – thanks for that amazing Chris Reeve Superman statue pic. I love it.

  40. Mike Dimayuga on July 31st, 2011 11:54 am

    hey gerry,
    fantastic journal entry as usual! i just wanted to tell you it was a pleasure FINALLY meeting you face-to-face!;D it was great chatting with you even for just a little bit.

    too bad you didn’t get a chance to come and watch the live matt smith/karen gillen show with me saturday night. unfortunately with everything last minute, and everybody i know having their own plans for that night, the ticket went unused.

    the philippine invasion panel went as good as you said it did. too bad you had to end things just when you were getting to the juicy parts! ;D

    i hope you come back soon and maybe next time we can grab dinner or something.


    ps- sorry to hear about your sub-par in-n-out experience! it can be mediocre unless you know the secret menu.

  41. Omar on July 31st, 2011 2:34 pm

    Hi Gerry,

    Instead of echoing all the great words thrown already, i just have 1 very important question… Saan po yung mas masarap na steak dito sa Pinas? :)


  42. Gerry Alanguilan on July 31st, 2011 6:15 pm

    Hey Omar…. Spot.ph did a top ten Best Steak in Manila list:

    I haven’t tried any of these yet though. The best steak I personally had was from this now closed diner at Festival Mall in Alabang.

  43. leo katigbak on August 1st, 2011 1:46 pm

    thanks for the great SDCC coverage. i may never get there but your account makes for a great vicarius experience. have also admired your work and i agree that your best work was probably BIRTHRIGHT [and I was glad DC/comixology] had a 99c sale this past weekend which included BIRTHRIGHT. i have always wanted to meet you and i am so proud of all the filipinos who have made it from the days of alex nino, nestor redondo, romeo tanghal, all the way till whilce, you, leinil, francis manapul.

  44. 'g' lee on August 2nd, 2011 1:38 am

    soo touched….your amazing sir gerry…

  45. Paul Burrow on August 3rd, 2011 8:00 am

    Hi Gerry, great post. You’ve inspired me to get my photos uploaded onto my blog for SDCC 2011. We took similar pictures and I visited the SLG booth several times but our paths did not cross. I thought I had a long journey from the UK (24 hours) but not as long as yours. It is a tiring journey but well worth it! Keep up the great work and maybe we will cross paths another year and I’ll say hello :)

  46. eric on August 3rd, 2011 8:20 am
  47. Koko on August 5th, 2011 6:13 pm

    Can’t believe I finished reading a post this looong!!! It was definitely a very enjoyable read.

    Thanks Sir Gerry for sharing this with us. I may not have any chance to go to these comic-cons but I felt like I’m in the middle of the action!

  48. Eula on August 10th, 2011 4:42 pm

    I LOVED reading this entry. I’ve been so out of the comics loop, I didn’t know Elmer had been nominated for an Eisner! That is beyond amazing and totally well-deserved, Reading how excited you were made me excited too haha! You look so dapper in your barong and collared shirt getups. Clever TARDIS reference too. :p