Comic Con SLIIICE!
Submitted by dave_roman on July 30, 2008 - 15:11
I'm back from the circus that is truly the greatest show on earth: San Diego Comic-Con International! It was my eleventh year attending, and I already can't wait till next year.
Our ragtag Comics Bakery table in small press did pretty well considering all the amazing sites, sounds, and promotional bags competing for attention. CCI is definitely a multi-media show, but comics can still thrive and be a major part of it if we believe in ourselves. We just have to work harder to convince all these pop culture/genre/media-loving people that printed stories can be just as exciting in their own special way. What's cool about the mainstreaming of Comic-Con is that it means an even more diverse group of people are showing up to check out what all the hype is about.
Not all of these people can be convinced to become instant comic fans, but if they can be exposed to the right book that matches their own specific tastes, they might at least open up to the occasional graphic novel, specific series or even a random mini-comic or art book. There is no better place for outreach than the San Diego Comic-Con. Many people were hunting down copies of the Watchmen trade paperback after seeing the movie trailer before Dark Knight, which specifically called attention to it being one the most acclaimed graphic novels of all time. Some people may debate the labeling of "graphic novels" versus "comics," but the sudden drive to actually read Watchmen (rather than just collect back issues) seems like a step in the right direction for the industry. Especially if Watchmen still holds up as a masterwork of the sequential art medium (it's been over 10 years since I actually read it).
Much to my own personal delight, I met lots of people newly exposed to the world of DIY arts who seemed thrilled by all the mini-comics, self-published books, home-made toys, and silk-screened t-shirts to be found in the small press section. It's sort of like being the second or third stage at a big rock festival. We know our band isn't the main attraction, but we offer an alternative for people who enjoy discovering something that the cool kids haven't already played out.
And if you are as big a nerd for all things pop culture as I am, then you don't mind rubbing elbows with all your favorite shows, movies and videogames. You just wish you could take it all in without having to abandon your booth duties!
The hardest part of Comic-Con is trying not to spread myself too thin. Not easy when I'm:
-Dividing my time between 3 separate booths (luckily all 3 were not too far from each other!)
-Helping shoot 3-6 video interviews for Nick Mag.
-Hoping to hang out with friends I rarely see except at shows.
-Hoping to hang out with friends from home.
-Meeting up with various peers, west coast co-workers, creators of popular TV shows and trying not to say something stupid.
-Encouraging skeptic con-goers to read comics with my name on them.
-Hoping to break even on table/travel costs.
-Wanting to just be a fan and stand in line for cool-sounding panels!
- Eat right, not stress out, and not end up in the hospital again (there was an early scare after the drive down from San Francisco, but everything turned out okay).
All that said, it actually felt like I got a good sampling of everything I wanted or hoped to do. Of course I wish I'd spent more time at the Flight table, hung out with more people, and seen the MS3K reunion, but I'm grateful for the great time I had overall.
-John singing his traditional San Diego croon.
-Getting to watch the Avatar finale on a big screen with lots of screaming fans and meeting, goofing around, and taking photos with the Avatar cosplayers afterwards.
-Making a video with Justin Ridge and having Kevin Coppa suddenly pull out his Zuko puppet, and watching the two of them start improving together.
-Fillipi's Pizza Grotto.
-Sharing a booth with awesome people like John Green and Marion Vitus, who help make the 5 days fly by.
-Attending a spotlight panel with Raina and Steve for animation legend Floyd Norman. Hearing him talk about working for Walt Disney and Steve Jobs.
-The smile on a kid's face when I confirm that there will, in fact, be another volume of Flight.
-Pulled pork and coconut rice at Buster's Hawaiian restaurant.
-My brother-in-law (a non comics fan) read Watchmen cover to cover while in line for a TV-related panel, and thought it was "good."
-Attending the Fraggle Rock panel, and singing the friendship song with Zack and Alison and a crowd of fellow Muppet-nerds.
-Getting to see the original Muppeteer, Karen Prell, perform as Red Fraggle for the first time in like 20 years.
-Kids fan-girling my wife. Excitement over a possible book collection of her webcomic.
-Realizing the Comics Bakery is between Art Balthazar and Lark Pien in terms of both table placement and content.
-Hot tub two nights in a row.
-Raina explaining to Thien Pham what a key party is.
-Kids coming up to the stage to show off their artwork at the Kids Draw! panel.
-Hanging out with a large group off friends Sunday night.
-Multiple meals (and ice cream) at Seaport Village. Twister Fries forever!
-Sunday night, walking back to the hotel, and Bannister (a first-time attendee) admitting how addictive the con can be.
-Coming back home with Raina, getting late-night Greek food in Astoria, and feeling good about our lives.