And here I am in beautiful San Diego for Comic-Con 2008!
Having been to various fan conventions in the past, I thought I was prepared for the big event. I was so wrong. This is a convention unlike any other, and it's unreal just how bizarre an experience it is.
There are a lot of other people writing about what's happening here... and taking better photos than I can... so I'll just skip a recap and jot down some random stuff...
- Oversold. There's simply no other way to say it... the event is drastically oversold. Today was a Thursday, and it was so packed on the show floor that you could barely move to get anywhere. I can't even imagine what it's going to be like tomorrow. Or... shudder... Saturday.
- Undersold. My one goal for Comic-Con is to walk away with as little stuff as possible. I'm not buying anything... I'm not grabbing any free crap. I just don't have the room back home to store it. At least that's the plan. I am terrified that I'll find a piece of $3000 original comic book art that I can't live without.
- Lines. I am constantly amazed to see what people stand in line for. They stand in line to get a ticket to stand in another line to buy a limited edition toy (which they probably turn around and sell on eBay). They stand in line to get autographs. They stand in line to meet minor celebrities. They absolutely stand in line to get even a glimpse of major celebrities. And they'll stand in line again for all the celebrities in-between. Call me jaded, but there's only a handful of people I'd stand in line to meet, and only one of those (Simon Pegg) is here at Comic-Con.
- Captain. I was minding my own business, looking at some crap on a dealer's table when all of a sudden a line formed around me. Not knowing exactly what's going on, a guy comes up to me and says "The books are $35.00." Looking around in a desperate attempt to figure out what the hell I've gotten myself into, I see CAPTAIN JACK HARKNESS FROM TORCHWOOD (actor John Barrowman). Apparently I've just started a line to get a signed copy of his new autobiography Anything Goes. I like the guy on Torchwood okay, but that's all I really need to know. I'm not paying $35 for an autobiography about him. The guy selling books looks dumbfounded when I say "No thanks," wave goodbye to Captain Jack, then leave.
- Fame. The people I most want to see at Comic-Con are people who don't really have lines to meet them. This makes me happy and sad at the same time.
- Shanower. One of my all-time favorite artists, Eric Shanower, is at the show. His current series, Age of Bronze, is a beautiful re-telling of the Trojan War. But my favorite work he's ever done was as illustrator to Moebius' really cool series The Elsewhere Prince. I've read the comics so many times that they're falling apart, and I was hoping against hope that the series has finally been collected in a trade paperback but, alas, it hasn't been. What a shame.
- Peterson. Another comic book creator I admire is Brandon Peterson. He's done quite a lot of mainstream stuff (like X-Men), but the book of his I most enjoyed was called Arcanum. It was a solely creator-owned work, which meant every issue was a labor of love, and it showed. Sadly, it was cancelled after only 8 issues... but he did manage to wrap it up before it was killed off, and I've always been grateful for that. I might just have to break my rule and buy one of his art books, because I love his stuff.
- Watchmen. The undercurrent here at the Con is all about the upcoming Watchmen film. Probably spurred on by the appearance of Night Owl's very cool ship at the Warner booth. There is simply no way that any movie can capture the brilliance of the original comic book series, but the trailer makes it look like it will be an interesting project in its own right... just different.
- Disappointment. One of the things that shocks me is how unprepared the vendors are. LEGO had a cool limited-edition Indiana Jones set that was completely sold out before I even got to their booth... AND THIS IS THE FIRST DAY OF THE SHOW!! WTF?!? And this is not a unique situation. Everywhere I go the cool stuff has already sold out or been given all away. There's really no excuse for this to happen during the first few hours of the first day of Comic-Con. They should make enough shit to at least get them through the first frickin' day, or not even bother.
- Costumes. There are not as many costumed people wandering around as I had thought... and most of the costumes are lame (a random guy drew two holes on his neck with a red Sharpie marker and said "I'm a vampire!"). Some costumes, however, are amazing. The amount of money, time, and energy people put into these things boggles the mind. Sure it's kind of crazy, but you have to appreciate the dedication it takes to create a really good costume.
Tomorrow I'll probably attend a few sessions and take a more thorough run through the exhibitor hall. There's just entirely too much crap there to see it all in one day. FTW!