SAN DIEGO COMIC CON is the queen mother of all the comic cons-- mostly because Hollywood has taken it over. It attracts a pretty huge crowd of about 150,000 people, you can't buy tickets anywhere near close to show dates and the entire downtown area of San Diego transforms into a comic book mecca.
New York Comic Con might be technically bigger but San Diego is a much nicer city to visit and it's easier to get around in so I give the edge to SDCC. I'm not sure why someone didn't think to have SDCC in January when you can really appreciate this weather, but it is what it is and the show goes on when they say it does.
You can read about our arrival in a previous post here
We were honored to be Invited Guests of the show which meant they not only paid for our travel and lodging but they gave us an expense account to cover meals and personal assistants to get us around the show much faster than we would on our own.
On Tuesday we were slated to be judges for the Eisner Award for best Comic Shop-- we were greeted by one of the con organizers and lead into the judging room under the guidance of Joe Ferrara, who runs Atlantis Fantasy World-- a great comic shop in Santa Clara which was the one used in THE LOST BOYS (1987). Joe is a tremendous guy and I'm happy that we became friends through the course of the show-- that's the real reason to do the show.
Judging was extremely hard. You had super mega shops and small shops but with each and every one you saw the passion of the person running it and it was someone's favorite shop just in that it got nominated.
We did our judging, working through lunch we wrapped up early and then met up again at a nearby Brazilian Steakhouse which was outstanding.
After endless (and unlimited) meats and salad bar we passed on an invitation to a nearby Gelato shop because I was looking for a stretcher to get me back to the hotel. Luckily they had let us bring #2 son along so he was able to firemen carry me back the mile and a half or so. We walked about 70 miles over the course of the 8 days we were there and it felt great.
Wednesday we had completely free so we made our way up to Balboa Park, which would be a beautiful area if San Diego decided to enforce Quality of Life laws and didn't let the homeless create a huge campground with no bathroom facilities. Nothing better than the heat to bring out that pee smell.
I don't want to get into politics but you aren't helping anyone by letting them live on the streets. They need to face the choices they've made that have led to this lifestyle and taken out of it. Don't do drugs kids.
The main part of the park was breathtaking. It was hot and humid-- so much for the wives tale that San Diego is never humid. We walked to the art museum and enjoyed two $6 bottles of water like it was Patriots Training camp.
We got back to the show at 530 and walked the convention hall which is incredibly large. Larger than you even think it is. Wednesday night was Preview Night so we thought it would be less crowded, but it was packed wall to wall with people.
There's no way to see everything at the show in one day. It's that big. The show seemed to be broken down into several categories;
Publisher Booths; Dark Horse, DC Comics, Marvel Comics, IDW, Boom Studios, Titan Books, First Second, Scholastic Books, Penguin Publishing and a WHOLE bunch more had a presence on the show floor.
The Dark Horse Booth was nice because it had an entire STORE connected to it and it had hidden booth areas where as members of the Dark Horse team we could hide from the show floor for a little while if needed. It also doubled as a press room and we did a couple of interview in there. They also had two signing stages set up and we signed a few copies of Blackwood #1 and #2.
Dark Horse had also setup a TV Interview for us with SyFy Wire which was held at a nearby Hotel and that was fun. It was a nice break to talk about comics at a show that really doesn't have its main focus on comics (You'd have to go to Baltimore Comic Con or Heroes Con for that). There has been a bounce back from various cons that decide to just focus on Comics-- Boston Comic Con started that way before they decided celebrities bring the crowds in.
So back to the floor;
Toy Manufacturers are there in prominence. From Mattel and Hasbro to Funko and Super7 there were probably fifty booths devoted to toys, statues and collectibles. If you're into that thing here's your chance to see what's coming soon and grab some exclusives available only at the show.
Video Game Companies- I know very little about Video Games but they were there too.
Artists Alley-- Probably 150 comic book artists setup at booths and table selling their work. Not just from comics, there are illustrators too. A lot of great stuff.
Vintage Comics-- Several of the Big Dealers are setup. If you've never seen a Detective Comics 27 (First appearance of Batman) or an Action Comics 1 (Superman) they're here for you to drool over.
Upstairs are the panels which allow you to listen to new projects, talk to creators, get your questions answered, etc.
In another area of the show there are celebrities signing autographs but I never made it up there.
Overall it was a great show and we were very happy to be invited out.
The support staff was great, we got to meet amazing people like Sergio Aragones and see some old friends.
It's a lot of work but hey it's comics right?
Next show for me is Chicago in another month.
Blackwood is wrapped up and so are classes so we'll be taking a few days off.