I was in the shower on Monday when I heard Dawn start shouting. I couldn’t make out what she was saying but she sounded very agitated, and I shut off the water in a slight panic wondering if she’d seriously hurt herself or the cat had suddenly dropped dead or something equally worthy of me needing to immediately spring to action, regardless of towel and moistness status.

“Booth! Eeeeee!” There she was in the bathroom suddenly, thrusting my cellphone at me.

“What?”

“Booth!” She played back the voice message from the Small Press coordinator of San Diego Comic-Con on speakerphone. He’d had a last-minute cancellation and wanted us to sub in, and please contact him by the end of the day if we were still interested in exhibiting.

To what I like to think is my infinite credit, I finished my shower before responding yes. This meant we had a little over a week to suddenly kick into gear for exhibiting at the biggest Comic-Con in North America.

Insane? In 2009, I would agree with you. That’s when we had a month to prepare for the much more modest Long Beach Comic Con but had little to no clue what we were doing and no tools to do it with.

But now? A couple weeks back I’d piped up and sent a “what the hell let’s try this” message to the Small Press guy reminding him that we were on the wait list but had our new trade volume which was such a milestone for us and we really really were hoping to exhibit this year and did we mention we already were planning to attend and already had a hotel and it would take very little warning time for us to seize any opportunity he might be able to provide? Hint hint?

Dang if he didn’t call our bluff on that. But honestly I don’t think it was a bluff. We have six years of acquisition and streamlining of booth materials under our belts, with bins still mostly packed from our last convention outing. We have suppliers of art prints and business cards that we were able to get orders placed with within a few hours of getting that Monday confirmation worked out, and the products should be here before we leave. We’ve developed a good relationship with our Comic-Con hotel such that they were perfectly willing to extend our reservation so we could arrive one day earlier on short notice. Our California Seller’s Permit for 111 West Harbor Drive has been sitting primed and waiting since our last foray in 2011, ready to be dusted off at need. I know exactly what paperwork Comic-Con International needs and how to find it, and I had it emailed, faxed and/or submitted through their online system by day’s end. We’re still even intending to get today’s Zombie Ranch page drawn, lettered, and published on schedule.

There are certain things that the late substitution has put beyond our control. We won’t be listed in the printed program guide. We have no way in hell to reserve parking at the Convention Center for the load-in or load-out. Yet still, there are workarounds for these that we feel confident about in such a way that would have had us in absolute panic back in our “rookie years”.

We can do this.

I hope.