Well, I've ALMOST finally recovered from Comic-Con International which came to a merciful end this last Sunday July 27th. I wouldn't have thought it possible, but it seemed like the show was even MORE crowded than ever before! It's almost completely out of control how big the show's become and how many friggin' people jam into the halls...yes "halls" plural because there are at least 8 massive halls and then an almost equal amount of panel rooms on the second floor making this the most massive event in the USA and maybe the world. I kid you not. If you've been there you know, if not just try and picture about 3 football stadiums worth of showfloor space and you've got a pretty accurate idea.
Now, as in years past, there's been some pretty serious grousing that Hollywood's taken over this show--which, to be fair, it kind of sort of has--but I've gotta tell you, I'm not all that upset about it. Sure, the show's comic book roots may have taken a backseat to the ritz and glitz of the movie premieres and video games but the roots ARE still there. And what with all the major super-hero movies always coming out and being premiered there there's still that connection. And I'm not going to argue that because of the Hollywood presence the attendance has exploded...is that necessarily a good thing for comic book sales? No, maybe not, but the people are there and maybe, just maybe a few of them do spend a couple bucks on comics while they are there. I honestly don't think many do but they might.
And for me, I'm there to MAKE that Hollywood connection! I'm there to sell my comics and my art to the fans, sure, but the Holy Grail for any creator like me is having our property optioned into a film, cartoon or video game, so I am thrilled to know that the Hollywood peeps are scouring the showfloor for new material! BRING THEM ON!!! And every year I do, in fact, meet them. Nothing big has happened yet, but man, as long as I keep meeting them, getting my little pinky toe in the proverbial door, then I have a chance. And that's more than I'm ever getting at ANY other con out there. ANY. OF. THEM.
So, yeah, sure...the crowd's are annoying and frenzied over the free junk that's being tossed around. I'm freaking exhausted by hour two of day one. It's near impossible to find a seat for dinner in the Gaslamp District before 9pm. Sure, yes, all of these things...But I wouldn't have it any other way! Comic-Con HAS become the new Cannes or Sundance but that's just fine with me. If the "comics" element were to disappear completely then yes, I'd be really disappointed. But I seriously doubt that'll ever happen. I know the people who run that show and I know that their hearts are still in comics. I seriously cannot fathom them letting that ever happen.
I think they've struck a realistic balance right now! If it teeters any further towards the Hollywood side we "comics folk" may be in trouble but I think they also realize this and will never let that happen.
This was my best Comic-Con since my Eisner year back in 1999. I made great sales, did a ton of sketches, met a ton of nice fans, saw old friends I only ever get to see at these cons, went to several very nice dinners, drank waaayyy too much beer, and then ended my show at the Bill Willingham party where I also had the chance to meet some DC dignitaries! Thanks to Bill Williams for the invite! And if you like Willingham's writing you MUST MUST! go check out the book that Lone Star Press (www.lonestarpress.com) published of his entitled PANTHEON. They just released it in a full-color trade paperback ($19.99) and I think it was Bill's finest work ever! And I love it all. So there's my plug of the show.
And I was lucky enough to be seated next to budding superstar artist Dave Crosland who was a most excellent neighbor. And one hell of a talented artist! Check out Dave's art at hiredmeat.com
A'ight! Thassit for now, folks! Comic-Con 2008 rates a solid B+ for me this year...thus far...if one of the couple connections I made comes through that B+ is gonna bump all the way up to an A+...I'll keep ya posted. Trust me.