Last night I made a trip out to Meltdown Comics on Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles to see Guillermo del Toro sign copies of his new novel, The Strain, co-written with Chuck Hogan. The Strain began life as a TV series pitch to Fox; when the network turned it down Guillermo reworked it into a novel, which is actually the first volume in a trilogy.

The turnout for the event was, as you might expect, terrific – even for a midnight signing. There was a small reception beforehand where I ran into Quint from Aint It Cool and El Mayimbe from Latino Review. Producer Don Murphy was on hand, as was Tyrese, looking psyched out of his mind to get his book signed.

Before he started signing Guillermo made an announcement: he was instituting a ‘No Geek Left Behind’ policy, and he would sign books all night if he had to. Each person in line got a personalized signature and a self-portrait sketch of the big man himself.

I dutifully waited in line to get my book signed, and to get my big bear hug from the big man. This, he told me, would be the last time I would see him in this hemisphere. After this visit Guillermo returns to New Zealand where, barring emergencies, he plans to spend the next three years of his life making The Hobbit. I told him I couldn’t wait to get down there and visit, especially after hearing him gush about it. I feel like Guillermo might be turning into a kiwi.

When I left at 1am Guillermo was still happily signing away and the line to get in still stretched out the block. I don’t doubt that GdT sat there and gave a signature to every single last person on that line, and did it with a huge smile on his face. Nobody treats their fans better than this guy.

The Strain is in stores today. You can order it through CHUD by clicking here!