7.31.2007

San Diego Comic Con International 2007 Report

This was the most complete Con experience ever for me. Attended all 4 days, as well as the Wednesday preview night. And away we go...

Wednesday: First time I've had the opportunity to come in for preview night due to having a 4 day pass. The real benefit here for me was getting a badge before the deluge of people flooded downtown San Diego on Thursday and being able to spend a couple of hours scouting out the floor noting where the booths I wanted to visit during the week would be.

Thursday: In short, the bar code registration process is a huge help, but the San Diego Convention Center is actually getting too small for this massive convention. There were lines to cross the street to get into a line to go inside to get into a line to go outside to get into the line before the line you actually wanted to line up for. God help you if you didn't pre-register online. Every day eventually sold out. I won't bore you with all the details, everyone has their horror story. But, my suggestion would now be to spread this event around town. Use Petco Park, use Qualcomm Stadium, use the neighboring hotels. Movie stuff in one location, comics in one location, and video games in a another. And yes, the place is still largely co-opted by Hollywood and non-comic related activities. I actually had to search to find some comics or Artist Alley, frustrating to see so much generic pop culture at something calling itself a Comics Convention. Anyway, kicked off opening day with the Marvel Comics US Postal Service Stamps unveiling. Decent rendition of the Star Spangled Banner and a free Silver Surfer inaugural stamp. Nice vibe to kick things off with. Hit the Paramount Pictures show in the (dreaded) Hall H. Great material related to Iron Man, Neil Gaiman, and Indiana Jones. Attended a panel with writer Brian Wood, got a sneak peak at his new project Northlanders from DC/Vertigo and some entertaining quippage from his Editor Will Dennis. Had amazing steak and beers at The Strip Club in the Gaslamp with some friends and family.

Friday: Hit the Warner Brothers show to check out a slew of new movies. Nice chat with Edward Burns and the adorably shy, nervous, cute Shannyn Sossamon (the girl from 40 Days & 40 Nights w/ Josh Hartnett for those that don't recognize the name). The highlight for me was Greg Rucka and Kate Beckinsale debuting the Whiteout trailer. Hearing Kate's dry wit, sexual innuendo, and general charm around a great comic book movie was uber-fun. The Whiteout pitch is easy, US Marshal Carrie Stetko investigates the first murder in Antartica, which is basically a different planet. Looks solid. Got some nice moments from Steve Carrell regarding Get Smart, and ended things with a great chat from Zack "300" Snyder on his upcoming Watchmen movie. Loved his insights and attitude toward approaching the project. Moved to the Archaia Studios Press (ASP) panel, the company that, for my money, was the hit of the entire Con (more on them later). Got a nice run down on the current stable of ASP books and what's coming up on deck. Hit up the DC Nation panel with Dan DiDio and a bunch of creators. I remember last year's DC Nation panel being fun, but fairly informative. This year, it tried to be fun (failed), and wasn't the least bit informative. The only real waste of time was this panel. No information was released and all questions were dodged. What's the point? The Friday highlight was attending the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards (yes, the "Oscars" of the Comic Book Universe for anyone that mistakenly stumbled in here). Not only did I attend, I attended as a VIP (more on that later). This made for a long day, going 'till near midnight.

Saturday: Attended the Meet The Press: Writing About Comics panel. A nice assortment of online bloggers and more traditional journalistic types from Variety and Entertainment Weekly. Lively discussion about what constitutes "real" journalism, the online conversational style, immediacy of the web, fact checking, etc. Really enjoyed this. Bounced to the Spotlight on Paul Pope. Extremely interesting to hear him talk through his general influences to thought process to approach on a project like Batman: Year 100 and how it all ties together. The dude is just a comic rock n' roll pop star. He won an Eisner last year and 2 more this year. Love everything he does. Hit up the Spotlight on JH Williams. Equally interesting panel with JH and Grant Morrison discussing his general approach, and working with Alan Moore, Warren Ellis, as well as Morrison. Pretty impressive resume, loves his unique page layouts. Attended the Oni Press 10th Anniversary Quiz Panel. In my little trio, two of us answered questions correctly and won a stack of four trade paperbacks. Sadly, our little would-be hat trick was snuffed out on question three with an incorrect answer of 68,000 (talking to you, Crowe!). Then hit the CBLDF Benefit Auction, a huge array of over 100 interesting pieces and all for a good cause. Scored an early steal on a Paul Pope signed Harvest Moon print, but otherwise prices were astronomical and left about 90% into the auction since it was stretching into the later PM hours.

Sunday: Attended one final panel, the Marvel X-Men roundup with Ed Brubaker, Axel Alonso, Mike Carey, Peter David, and others. Pretty cool insights into the upcoming Messiah Complex "war" crossover that looks to be fun. About a billion other things happened during the week that I can't recall in order, so here they come... chatted with old comic pal Phil, who used to run Heroes in Campbell, CA and now runs the Comics Collector Shop in Mountain View, CA. Saw Lee from Lee's Comics in Mountain View. Saw Jamie from Southern California Comics. Chatted with David Mack and Mandy Amano at the Image booth and picked up his new children's book for my daughter. Chatted with Jonathan Hickman (The Nightly News) at the Image booth about his new book Pax Romana. Talked to Becky Cloonan at the Image booth and picked up a short story anthology from her. Talked to Billy Tan and Attila (cool guy from Canada, forgot your last name bro, sorry!) in Artist Alley. Saw Joss Whedon at the Dark Horse booth. Saw Warren Ellis at the Avatar booth. Went to the Paul Pope signing at the AdHouse booth, then bumped into him at the Drawn & Quarterly booth as he debuted some original art pages for sale. Ended up chatting and purchasing a stunning page featuring Robin from last year's Eisner Award winning short story in the the Solo series, Teenage Sidekick. Checked in with old buddy Tim Goodyear (who drew my first mini-comic, The Mercy Killing) a couple times and bought some books from his new company Sparkplug Comics. Chatted with Editor Joe Illidge a couple times at the ASP booth, met David "Mouse Guard" Petersen, Dave Rodriguez from Starkweather: Immortal, and Nick "Awakening" Taplansky. Generally drug everyone I encountered over to the ASP booth and made them buy something. Good times.

Coming up... more on the Eisners and a complete list of everything I picked up at the Con!

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