Put simply, the San Diego Comic-Con is out of control. It’s a monster. A behemoth that nobody can fully comprehend. I was there from Thursday to Sunday morning, but I feel like I saw almost nothing. It was all a blur! In the days since, I have been talking to people and skimming websites & blogs to catch up on everything I didn’t see or hear about. I’ve barely skimmed the surface.
Thank god for Heidi MacDonald and her work. Today’s post on The Beat is an example of some of the best reporting on the “Con.” Except that now I feel bad that I didn’t get invited to Bob Chapman’s party. Guess I should have gotten off my butt and said hello to Bob at his booth. Gotta work on that. The Pulse also has some nice overviews of the panels I missed. The Battlestar Galactica panel, hosted by Kevin Smith, sounds like it was great fun. I caught a little of it on YouTube yesterday:
Katee Sackhoff. Yes, indeed.
Speaking of YouTube, by pal Don posted some amusing “podcasts” of his own. They always make me chuckle. Here’s one that shows off the inside of the Owl Ship from the Watchmen movie:
Seeing the full-sized Owl Ship was one of the highlights of the convention for me. It really brought out the “fanboy” in me, I must confess. Don’t tell anyone. That movie is going to rule.
Anyway, I’m not a reporter and this is just my blog, so I’m just going to mention a few things about my San Diego experience. Forgive me if I ramble…
First, I must say that getting there was a HORROR! Like thousands of other commuters on Thursday morning, I got stuck in an unbelievable traffic jam on the 5 Freeway. Evidently, at around 5:00 AM, a big rig ran into an SUV and burst into flames just north of Oceanside, by Camp Pendleton. The fire spread to the nearby brush, and about 4 acres were consumed in flames. Luckily, nobody was killed. I would have guessed otherwise when my car finally passed the wreckage and I saw the burnt-out husks of the vehicles involved.
I had left my house between 6 and 6:30, and was making amazing time until I hit the backed-up traffic. What would usually be a 2-hour trip stretched out to just over 6 hours! When I got to San Diego it was about 12:30 and, of course, there was nowhere to park. I found a spot about 10 blocks from the convention center and had to make a couple of trips back & forth by foot, hauling boxes of books & stuff, since I had a spot in Artist’s Alley.
After setting up and having some food, I finally got to relax and settle in to my spot by about 3:00 PM. In past years, I’ve had my own booth at Comic-Con, I’ve planted myself at different publishers’ booths (like Marvel or Tokyopop) and I’ve shared or bummed space at a friend’s booth (Like Active Images), but I’ve never done the whole “Artist’s Alley” thing until this year. It’s different. I liked it!
I find that it really helps for me to have a “base of operations” when I attend Comic-Con. When I don’t have a specific place to be or a real focus, I find myself wandering around rather aimlessly, overwhelmed by the crowds and all the visual stimulation. Artist’s Alley was a cool place to make my “base.” For one thing, it was smaller, and I was just representing myself. When I was self-publishing and had a booth (for Comiculture) I was there to represent an idea, or a product. As a small-press publisher, it was easy to get lost among the other publishers. One tends to lose one’s individuality. Many convention-goers seemed not recognize us as “creators,” but saw us simply as salesmen hawking our books. This is probably because many of the larger publisher’s booths are manned by interns and editorial staff. In Artist’s Alley, I was a person! Just a guy, selling his comics & doing sketches.
Having half of an 8-foot table in Artist’s Alley may seem like a step down from having a whole booth, but it certainly has advantages. Cost is a big one. The price of a booth is so great that, unless you have a lot of popular products to sell, it’s very difficult to make money. In Artist’s Alley, I had none of the stress associated with that. Without having to try and recover the cost of the booth, I was content to earn beer money.
As a freelance artist looking for work, Artist’s Alley was a good place for potential clients to find me. I met some interesting people & traded cards.
Also, this year I was listed in the directory as an artist by name, instead of by my company’s name, the name of a book, or website. That meant that friends, or fans of my work, knew I’d be there and how to find me. I was pleased to have people seek me out to autograph X-Men comics or to ask me whatever happened to Weasel Guy.
It’s nice to feel wanted!
To be Continued…
For part two of my Comic-Con report, click here.