Well, a last-minute turn of events enabled me to make it to the San Diego Comic Con after all. Not as an exhibitor of course, but as an old-fashioned fan. Really though, the main thing I wanted to do was catch up with friends. Oh, and attending Blake Bell's Steve Ditko panel was another priority! Here is my report....One week later....
I arrived in San Diego late Saturday, about an hour before the Ditko panel.
Actually, as soon as I got off the bus in front of the Con, I ran into three friends I knew! One guy introduced to his friend, and after I introduced myself this person realized I was the guy who created EL MUERTO, which delighted both of us! I have to say, despite not being able to exhibit, and knowing I was only going to be at Con for less than 10 total hours, walking in the front doors always gives me a big rush. I attended Con for about 6 years until I became an exhibitor, so unlike many publishers/cartoonists I have memories of San Diego far beyond trying to sell books (which I love doing, of course).
Once inside, I tracked down some friends at their Small Press tables and then made my way to the Ditko panel. I introduced myself to Blake Bell, telling him that he was a guest on my radio show a few weeks back. (Thanks to Blake for mentioning me on his Comic Con report!). His panel included artist Jim Starlin, Marvel editor Carl Potts, Fantagraphics publisher Gary Groth and Kim Deitch. All had good insights and stories about Dikto. After the panel I made my way down to the floor and visited more friends.
One of the other main reasons for attending the Con was to make our annual trip to Old Town after the show. We've been going for years now, a whole group of cartoonists and friends and spouses making our way to a secret location for a feast of Mexican food and pitchers of strawberry margaritas! In an outdoor patio to boot! It's really at this dinner that I get such a sense of euphoria of being involved in the comics biz. Just sharing great moments with some really good friends; some new, some I've known for a longer while.
Ms. Bernyce Talley and I bump into each other...
Two cartoonist pals of mine, CRYING MACHO MAN Jose Cabrera and SQUIDWORKS' Stan Yan (both are former guests of my radio show as well!)
Alex here is a long-time fan and friend I met at Comic Con some years ago.
Jose and his wife Blanca have just moved to San Diego from Chicago. How convenient is that? I originally met Jose a few years ago when I had a Message Board at El Muerto.com. We had never met before in person until earlier at the convention center. He's always been an extremely supportive fan, and I always had a good sense of him as a person just by his posting on my Board. When we met we carried on like we've been friends for years. Which we have, actually!
The next day at the Con I had more time to actually visit more people and check out more of the Exhibit Hall. One side of the hall seemed to be comprised of more-or-less comic book related exhibitors. Small Press, Publishers, comic book retailers, etc. The
other side if hall hosted more of the media outfits like movie studios, cable networks, video game makers, toy companies, etc. And this is the side that was choked with 1000s of people blocking the isles and trying to get glimpses of movie props or grab the freebies being handed out! I swear this place was unmanageable when I walked through it!
I did manage to take this pic of the IRON MONGER from IRON MAN. Geez, imagine if this thing started going berserk amongst all the people!
I saw this Boba Fett (or is it Jango??) and tried to take his picture, but then he stormed off! Oh well, if he's reading this: I don't care about Star Wars anyway!!
What I do care about is the old Adam West BATMAN, represented here by the Batcycle. You younger fans can have your Batpod or whatever it's called in the DARK KNIGHT!
My good friend Jason Martin of SUPER REAL fame. Jason's expanding his publishing interests with a line of books created by other cartoonists, but published under his SUPER REAL PRESENTS brand. Me and Jason have bounced around the idea of me publishing one of my new creations under his brand. But that's just one of many, many things we talk about. You never know.....
Long-time friend and cartoonist compadre Michael Aushenker wonders how he got bamboozled covering the CRYING MACHO MAN table!
Taking a well-deserved break with Grasiela(L) and Tammy(R)....
I was very happy to finally meet New Jersey's powerhouse Puerto Rican comics/podcast mogul, Samuel Vera! Sammy and I exchanged visits on one another's podcast earlier this year, and I wrote the intro to his THERE'S AN ALIEN IN MY TOILET traderpaperback....He told me when he received it that it brought a little tear to his wife! Awww, that's sweet!
Ran into the Space Pope in Small Press and went into Good Catholic-mode!
Chris Wisnia, creator of DORIS DANGER and TABLOAI, has charmed his way to a guest slot on PLANET COMIC BOOK RADIO in the near future!
Like I said, I had a great time seeing old friends and new friends. The plan is to apply for a talbe early, early, early...... But for now, the memories I made at this year's Comic Con will hold me over for awhile.
See you there next year!