So there's this crazy convention in San Diego every year called Comic-Con. No mere fan convention, it's THE industry event every year for not only comics, but has grown to include what they term "pop culture," which mostly centers on science fiction, fantasy, horror, comics, gaming, anime & toy fandoms, mostly media-oriented, which includes a lot of collectibles, previews and artwork. At around 80,000 attendees and hundreds of exhibitors, panels, artists and guests, it's quite a show - it literally takes up the entire San Diego Convention Center, which is about a mile long. Yowza.
This was, I believe, my 4th Comic-Con. Comics isn't really my fandom, and the sheer size of it puts me off, but I can't deny it's a thrilling event, and, if you can get past the crushing crowds and the overwhelming fannish stimulii, is well worth attending.
Knowing I was only going for the day Saturday, Daniel and I decided to get an early start, so I was up early and we were out the door by around 9:00. We stopped to pick up some breakfast and hit the ATM, and along the way I called JayTee and Adam, who were driving down from LA and I wanted to make sure they were ok. While giving them instructions on how to park at Old Town to take the trolley downtown (silly boys thought you could actually get parking at the Convention Center!), I missed our exit for Hazard Center, so we ended up parking at Fashion Valley.
While getting our tickets for the trolley we saw Sandra and Jim waiting for the trolley as well, so we all rode to the Convention Center together. When we arrived we ran into Daniel's friend CeaJay, but then split up again once we reached the door. Daniel had gone on Friday, so he headed in to go stake out a spot for a Stargate panel while I waited in line to buy a membership. A new artist friend of mine, Sean-Z, who I met at Gaylaxicon a couple of weeks ago in Boston, tried to get me a pro pass, but it didn't come to pass, but no biggie.
Once I got in I called Stuart, who had beaten us to the con by an hour or so, and we met up at the Prism Comics booth, where I also got to say hi to the outgoing President of Prism, Zan. We hung around there long enough to also meet up with Sean, JayTee and Adam. Stuart took off to get tickets to see a screening of the Firefly movie Serenity, so JayTee, Adam and I decided to walk through Artist's Alley.
What an amazing display of talent! I knew there were a few people there I wanted to see specifically, but ended up oohing and aahing over many more folks than just them. Adam was particularly taken any time we saw a Wonder Woman print, and I of course noticed any winged men to add to my collection, including one by Ron Brown that I ended up going back for later. At one point Wyatt and his fan club met up with us, but we weren't able to stick together for long. While we were there we saw Theresa Mather, who I had never met in person before. I gushed for a while, telling her how much I enjoyed her work and the fact that she sends such unique pieces to conventions (especially the piece she sent to Gaylaxicon - 6 feathers in the pride flag colors with dragons painted on them), and that I always enjoy getting to be auctioneer for art show auctions because I know hers will always be the most fun and get the highest price. She was tickled to hear me gush, and ended up giving me one ofher small prints, so I picked a blue dragon to give to Kevin since he needs more artwork in his life, dammit! :) I also stopped by and said hi to Joe Phillips and his brother Lex, and congratulated him on showing the trailer for Stonewall & Riot at Rich's the night before.
From there we wended our way through dealers, noise and toys to get to the DC Comics booth. Adam wanted to say hello again to Phil Jimenez, and I got another picture of him for Quincy. From there we wandered over to see Scott Kurtz, who remembered that he still owes me artwork from four years ago! To his credit he gave me his wife's e-mail so that she can make sure he finally does it for me. :) He gave me two keen keychains, and I got his latest PvP collection. I also stopped by the Wizard booth and picked up the fifth issue of Twisted Toyfare Theater, which cracked me up as I read it last night before bed, plus I picked up an X-Men t-shirt for Quincy.
By this point it was past noon, and the Stargate panel had let out, plus Kevin had arrived, so him, Daniel, JayTee and Adam and I went into downtown to a Chinese buffet for lunch. Since most of my objectives had been met, when we got back I was pleased to just wander around and soak in more of the exhibitors. We met up with Stuart and CeaJay and went with the flow. We ended up at Ruth Thompson's booth, where I finally got a copy of "Vox Fini", which I thought was out of print (I'm going to get more of her angels series at Pennsic I think, plus her "Invictus" is what kicked off my winged men collection in the first place, and I spent some time blaming her for that!). She and her staff were really cool, and since I bought something, Daniel bought something, and Kevin was actually buying two pieces (she does great dragons), they decided that counted as four purchases, and her con special was "buy 3 get 1 free," so Kevin got one of his free. Keen! We walked around more, and Stuart bought a very disturbing-yet-kinda-hot Superman print, and I caved and bought the Ron Brown angel print I'd seen earlier.
Finally it was time to head to the "Queers in Comics" annual panel, which was in a very big room and had an amazing turnout (kudos to Andy Mangels for putting together another great panel this year). My friend Vince from Surge of Power was on the panel, and so was Sean-Z. While we were sitting down I actually saw D'wan, D'ner and Perry, Bells, and Michael the Lawyer, so it was good to unexpectedly run into lots of old friends. Right as they finished the panel they let me give a quick plug for the Gaylactic Network and Gaylaxicon, which was good. Prism Comics hosted the post-panel social hour, and although previous years was just a mix-and-mingle with some door prizes, they tried to run some sort of ice-breaker game, but the vast majority of people weren't having it (and the guy running it was kind of being pushy about it, which seemed to turn a lot of people off). I was happy to schmooze a bit, and it paid off - I got to squee over Ivan Velez, Jr. whose "Tales of the Closet" series back in the 80's was a favorite of mine, and since he's re-releasing them in collected form and finally finishing off the series, he pulled one out of his bag and gave it to me, plus Sean gave me one of the prototypes of the t-shirts he's getting made next year because I love the little fairies he draws that he's putting on them, and Michael gave me a Justice League pin.
After that it was really time to get out of there and eat (plus Stuart had to go to see Serenity). It ended up being me, Kevin, Daniel, CeaJay, JayTee and Adam, plus Michael, John, Tom and Dom joined us, and we headed for the trolley where we all got off at our respective stops, then met up for dinner at Brians'. After that it was getting JayTee and Adam on the road back to LA, and home for me and Daniel, then SLEEP (but not before a few pages of Twisted Toyfare Theater, of course).
You can see my pictures here, which include Phil Jimenez, a group of DC superheroes, Daniel with an Alien and a Gloomy Bear, a bunch of us after dinner, and, of course, an Elvis stormtrooper:
Today I actually only slept until 1:00 (early for me), then gathered myself together and headed to Kris & Darrel's (the Polar Den) for a post-con fandom gathering. Hung out with Stuart, Meg, Chris, Stella, Dave and a few new folks playing Carcasonne and mahjong, but finally we turned into pumpkins and headed home. Sean was supposed to call about possibly getting dinner, but I'm sure the last day of the con was a busy one for him, so I'll have to catch him next time he comes into town.
So, a slightly exhausting but very, very fun weekend. I'm sure in future years Quincy will want to attend all 4.5 days since comics is his fandom, but I think 2 will be about my max, although I certainly enjoyed looking at the toys and meeting a lot of really, really neat people. Props to JayTee, Adam, Daniel, Kevin and Stuart for hanging out with me most of the day - you guys made it way more fun!