By Chris Thompson
The Orbital Comics World Tour begins here!
Along the aerial pathway that leads to San Diego, adventure is to be had at every turn, and many fantastic characters to be met along the way. Join Orbital Comics staff members Chris Thompson, James Wilson and Liz Jordan (me) as we journey to the Big Kahuna of comic conventions: San Diego Comic Con 2015!
Sunday July 5, Day 1
This is how backwards international travel can be: We're flying to Dublin for an overnight stay just so that we can have our first layover right where we started from: London. Even with the cost of flight and accommodation for the night, it still works out significantly more cost effective. Huh.
We arrive in Dublin and stand in the rain. The coach tickets we bought on the flight are the wrong ones, so we miss the first bus and grudgingly fork out the difference. Chris points out that, on any good trip, some things have to go wrong to keep the karmic balance aligned. So at least we've got some of that out of the way. And of course from there things get better.
John from The Big Bang comic shop swoops in to take us to a local pub where we order the first of many pints of Irish Guinness. We are joined by his colleague JP and Peter and Nancy who own Big Planet Comics in the Washington DC. Just in time for a meal are Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire, fresh from a signing in Belfast. We eat, drink and become very merry, bar-hopping for cocktails and taking a last peek at The Big Bang before they move shop for a bigger location in the coming weeks. A great night with a great bunch of people makes for an excellent start to our trip.
Monday July 6, Day 2
Chris suggests hair of the dog the next morning at Dublin airport, fancying one more Guinness before we leave the Emerald Isle (more from Chris on the after-effects of Guinness later). No time for that though, so we settle for a full Irish breakfast. The energy proves useful when we arrive in London to discover that our flight is boarding and we need to go through security again, then have to sprint full speed across Terminal 5 to make it through the gates by a hair.
[Chris' note: John told us that Guinness would have an interesting effect on our bodies the next day. I'll say no more, but John was right.]
The flight to Toronto is fraught with delays and when we finally arrive, it turns out that our luggage hasn't. We're forced to sit around waiting for them at baggage claim for another hour or so, but at least they show up. We catch the Airport Rocket, then the subway (where we pass through the most, ahem, punishing area in Toronto) and eventually the suburbs where our Canadian hosts George and Nicole live. George owns the Silver Snail comic shop in downtown Toronto and, as it turns out, the coolest house in the world. Their place is packed to the brim with toys, collectibles, art and comics paraphernalia of all kinds; it is nerd Nirvana. We eat pizza, drink red wine and have a lovely evening in the end.
Tuesday July 7, Day 3
We manage to squeeze in an early morning visit to the Silver Snail on our way to the airport. It's a great shop, spacious and full of stand-out features that make it truly unique. The back issues sliding-drawer system is a stroke of genius, and their shelves are well-stocked with everything from this week's comics to high-end collectibles to handmade sock-monkeys dressed as Bane. We drink geek-themed lattes at their in-store cafe, The Black Canary, and ogle the place for as long as we possibly can before heading on to the airport for consecutive three-hour flights to Dallas, then San Diego.