After I moved to San Diego in 1995, I began attending Comic Con. I’d drive my orange Jeep downtown and park just east of the Gaslamp and walk into the con on free passes handed to me by a friend of a friend who worked at the convention center. At that time, I was used to shows about as big from Boston and New York—about 40,000 attendees. I remember looking at the displays, looking at the indie comics, attending a panel or two. But mostly I was buying old back issues. It was definitely the place to complete my 60s/70s Legion and Teen Titans collection.
Over the years, I started getting into the portfolio review lines, trying to meet “famous” creators and publishers, to a frustrating end. Frustrating, but led to good things: turning Arche-Lady into portfolio-level work, and ultimately embarking on a serious self-publishing career. Once I began publishing, Comic Con became “serious business” for me to recup exhibiting fees and networking for new deals.
Years later, the publishing seems to take care of itself, and I seem to get more attention by simply doing my thing rather than active networking. So this time around, I went to Comic Con to see old friends and have fun. And it was indeed very fun! These days Comic Con pulls in 125,000+ attendees—it's crazy!
Thursday, I flew in from Boston. En route, I met an Image artist Christian Ward coming in from London and killed time chatting in Logan airport. When I arrived in San Diego that night, I met up with my hotel-mates at the Gaslamp Westin. After a shower (solo), we went to the infamous Hyatt for industry chit-chat and a few drinks. Friday morning, Aman and I hit the hotel gym and made our way to the convention. After registering, we walked around a bit and went to the DC green room. Spent time in the big exhibits of DC, Marvel, Image, etc, and then through artist alley. Met Seth Estrada, who is making a documentary about his dad Ric (who I knew best for drawing war comics). I then had a signing @ the Prism Comics booth (where my books were on sale) with a steady stream of guests. After a little relaxing, we grabbed some food and then back to the Hyatt for more industry chit-chat.
Saturday, once again, Aman and I hit the hotel gym, though I had to hot-foot it to the con to be on time for my Saturday signing. This one wasn’t advertised, so it wasn’t nearly as busy. Chatted with Andy Suriano a bit and bought his book. Walked through the smaller publishers and gushed over Chynna Clugston a little. We left the con for a drink and then I went back to appear on a panel about romance comics. The panel turned out to be really good. The moderator tailored questions for the panelists, who in turn gave some quality answers. No one dominated the panel either. I think it turned out to be the best panel I’ve ever been on! That night was the BGD gathering and ultimately was back at the Hyatt again.
Sunday morning, friends held a spot in line for me to get into the Doctor Who panel. David Tennant (who looked like he sexily just rolled out of bed) graciously gave us an extended look at his happy trail. That was one weird panel. While I like Doctor Who, and David Tennant is definitely hot, I was surprised by all the girl-squealing going on. I mean, the crowd was crazy-silly. I started watching the show because I am a fan of Catherine Tate (see my post “Doctor, Donna, and kitty”); I was tempted to get in line to ask if David would deliver my drawing of them to her. :P I bolted back to the hotel to check out and headed out of town.
A bit of a whirlwind, and I spent a bit too much money between comics, t-shirts, food, and many drinks…but a very fun time!