Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary















July 18, 2018


Go, Look: The Holy Ghost

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posted 1:40 am PST | Permalink
 

 
NCS Announces Its First Comics Show For 2019

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They have a really good line-up, including Clowes and Trondheim. Some of the hyperbole strikes me as deeply unfortunate to the point of ignorance from a show on the same continent as the mighty TCAF, which obviously beat NCSFest to the punch by more than a decade in terms of having a European style festival in North America. We'll see, though. I like the confidence. NCS is very well-funded, and this show should be as well. Certainly no show has ever started with an asset that comes near to matching the legitimacy of the Reuben Awards. I hope to attend. Sounds great.
 
posted 1:35 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Robin Hoelzemann

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posted 1:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
News & Notes From The San Diego Convention Floor

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Here are some thoughts and links as to things I've seen or discussed on the convention floor and in the barrooms of Comic-Con International.

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Wednesday

* okay, I'm not down there yet, so clearly this is a case of a mis-post. I'm working in a hotel room in Burbank until 1 PM and then seeing family and catching up on family business like who gets to pay for what on that one thing and goddamn you to hell and you've always been like this. See you tomorrow, my fellow convention-goers.

* Preview Night is a huge night not just for what it adds to the Comic-Con schedule but for what it does distinct from the rest of what goes on: provides the jolt of energy that comes from a mad consumer rush concerning exclusive toys. I think it's that show's era of exclusive toys and merchandise the same way that the Twilight years were the show's era of Hollywood participation and anticipatory pop-culture madness. For some key attendees and their dreams for the show, San Diego Con is basically over 30 minutes in.

* what's out there...? the IDW/Marvel deal is interesting in a lot of foundational shift-your-perspective ways, especially for olds. For many older comics readers, the core Marvel Comics themselves were perfect reading for their years eight to twelve: they were complex without being complicated, had some degree of moral gravity without being mature in specific focus, and featured cool art depicting exciting things. It's also going to be interesting to some just in general that Marvel signed a licensing deal within publishing to match some of the quality licensing partnerships outside of comics that have been as much a part of Marvel's rise in general entertainment as any movie casting decision.

The cheeky question for a few of the think-about-comics crowd will be if IDW does this well, would Marvel consider abandoning the expensive infrastructure of a publishing company and do this with the supposedly adult definitely soap opera main line? I don't mean that as a prediction, because it is super-unlikely, but I think it may become a factor in measuring how effectively that traditional set-up performs moving forward. Marvel declaring that it needs to have an entirely different company put its characters into kids hands might even change how critics engage with the homegrown product.

* next year in Hellboy.

photos and additional reporting by Whit Spurgeon

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posted 1:25 am PST | Permalink
 

 
This Isn't A Library: New, Notable Releases Into Comics' Direct Market

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MAR180037 DORK HC $19.99
Evan Dorkin is a very funny man and an under-appreciated cartoonist who made loads of funny, short comics during the first, long phase of his career, the majority of which are collected here. I own all of these comics and I'm going to buy them again.

MAY180759 CORTO MALTESE GN TANGO $19.99
This is one of the classic comics for which I just don't have a taste, but it seems to me that IDW's presentation in their series has been of a type that a lot of people have used these books to get on board.

MAR180085 HELLBOY OMNIBUS TP VOL 03 THE WILD HUNT $24.99
MAY180374 WITCHFINDER GATES OF HEAVEN #3 (OF 5) (MR) $3.99
That Mike Mignola's world of comics gives us 1-2 things at the story every week is something that doesn't get talked about enough.

APR180309 LOEG III CENTURY TP (MR) $19.99
I don't know where this offering is on the timeline of this stuff being published, but I enjoyed the comics when I read them.

JAN180732 EAST OF WEST #38 $3.99
MAY180196 MAGE HERO DENIED #10 (OF 15) $3.99
MAY180845 AVENGERS #5 $3.99
MAY180852 IMMORTAL HULK #3 $3.99
MAY180795 LIFE OF CAPTAIN MARVEL #1 (OF 5) $4.99
MAY180847 THOR #3 $3.99
MAY180854 TONY STARK IRON MAN #2 $3.99
I enjoy East Of West; it's stylish and weird and feels like work that wouldn't be possible in any other medium. The latest Mage series has improved as it has progressed; I would guess the 10th issue of 15 would have some narrative consequences given how the trades are done and how most series anticipate those collections. Looks like a big week for Marvel books that have experienced a relaunch of some sort. I've been underwhelmed thus far. I'm not sure why they're making that Captain Marvel book a limited series instead of a regular one. It might just be they're holding back to do a regular series to coincide with the forthcoming movies.

MAY181688 DISNEY ROSA DUCK LIBRARY HC VOL 09 THREE CABALLEROS RIDE $29.99
Hail, Don Rosa! Nine volumes!

APR181567 DULL MARGARET HC $29.99
This is the comics that involves the actor Jim Broadbent. I'd love to interview Broadbent, but I admit 9/10 questions would be about that amazing scene in Topsy Turvy where he browbeats the shit out of three performers. It looks like an interesting book, certainly worth a peek -- I will physically pick one up and look at it at this weekend's show. That's just like looking at it in a comics shop except for the enraged retailers.

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The full list of this week's releases, including some titles with multiple cover variations and a long, impressive list of toys and other stuff that isn't comics, can be found here. Despite this official list there's no guarantee a comic will show up in the stores as promised, or in all of the stores as opposed to just a few. Also, stores choose what they carry and don't carry so your shop may not carry a specific publication. There are a lot of comics out there.

To find your local comic book store, check this list; and for one I can personally recommend because I've shopped there, albeit a while back, try this.

The above titles are listed with their Diamond order code in the first field, which may assist you in finding comics at your shop or having them order something for you they don't have in-stock. Ordering through a direct market shop can be a frustrating experience, so if you have a direct line to something -- you know another shop has it, you know a bookstore has it -- I'd urge you to consider all of your options.

If I failed to list your comic, that's because I hate you.

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posted 1:25 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This

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posted 1:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

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posted 1:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Forthcoming Comics-Related Events, Through August 2018

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July 19
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (CCI)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

July 20
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (CCI)
* If I Were In SF, I'd Go To This (Comics In The City)
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (NVS Panel At CCI)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

July 21
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (CCI)
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In DC, I'd Go To This (DC ZineFest)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

July 22
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (CCI)
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This

July 23
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

July 24
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

July 25
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

July 26
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

July 27
* If I Were Near Arlington, I'd Go To This (Blerdcon)
* If I Were In SF, I'd Go To This (Comics In The City)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

July 28
* If I Were Near Arlington, I'd Go To This (Blerdcon)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Brooklyn, I'd Go To This

July 29
* If I Were Near Arlington, I'd Go To This (Blerdcon)
* If I Were In SF, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

July 30
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

July 31
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

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August 1
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 2
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 3
* If I Were In SF, I'd Go To This (Comics In The City)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 4
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 5
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 6
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 7
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 8
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 9
* If I Were Near Urbana-Champaign, I'd Go To This (CSS)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 10
* If I Were Near Urbana-Champaign, I'd Go To This (CSS)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 11
* If I Were Near Urbana-Champaign, I'd Go To This (CSS)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 12
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Edinburgh, I'd Go To This

August 13
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 14
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Sacramento, I'd Go To This

August 15
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 16
* If I Were Near White River Junction, I'd Go To This (Comics And Medicine)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 17
* If I Were Near White River Junction, I'd Go To This (Comics And Medicine)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 18
* If I Were In Las Vegas, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This (Flame Con)
* If I Were Near White River Junction, I'd Go To This (Comics And Medicine)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 19
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This (Flame Con)
* If I Were In Minneapolis, I'd Go To This (Autoptic)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 20
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 21
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 22
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 23
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 24
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 25
* If I Were In Boise, I'd Go To This (Boise Comic Arts Festival)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 26
* If I Were In Boise, I'd Go To This (Boise Comic Arts Festival)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 27
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 28
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 29
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 30
* If I Were In Atlanta, I'd Go To This (Dragon Con)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

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Events For September 2018 Onward Listed Here

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posted 1:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Daughter Of The Lillies

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posted 1:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Alex Hoffman on The Weaver Festival Phenomenon.

* a couple of people have sent me this quote apparently from the actor, comedian and podcaster Marc Maron on the infantile nature of superhero movies and the push-away effect that kind of culture can have on other expressions of culture. I actually don't know if that effect exists in a way that's any more powerful than at any time post-Jaws. I see what he calls grown-up films in the exact theaters I see goofy junk like Avengers 2: The Snappening. Rope in home viewing options and it's pretty easy to see just about anything you want. Would that were true of theater. I do wonder about the effects these movies have on their audiences, though, and a kind of reduction of expectations for narrative media in general.

* here is a peek into Infowars' strategy for fighting Matt Furie's lawyers over use of his Pepe The Frog character. I think the person who said this defense has intuitive appeal but may not be all that convincing overall shares my view.

* finally: I would see this movie.
 
posted 1:05 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 38th Birthday, Wes Molebash!

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posted 1:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
July 17, 2018


Go, Look: Dahling!

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posted 1:40 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Twenty-Five Tips For Surviving + Thriving During Comic-Con 2018

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For the last dozen years, this site has published a massive guide for Comic-Con International -- the mid-summer event that is still in most ways North America's Big Comics Show. Those days are ever. This smaller version will have to do.

What follows is a somewhat shorter and mostly practical list of specific tips for the upcoming convention. Many of the items that follow can be employed at your show of choice. They are still very much intended for San Diego, the big daddy of modern comics shows.

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There may not be a bigger change in comics over the last two decades than the significant role played by conventions and festivals. In North American comics, that starts with Comic-Con International, more frequently San Diego Comic-Con, Comic-Con, San Diego Con or SDCC. Sometimes it's just "San Diego." Call it what you want: Nerd Prom, Mouthbreather Sundance, Fandom Branson or Geek Vegas, Comic-Con International is that moment during the calendar year when all of comics pauses and watches Tom Arnold and Dax Shepard walk past them to eat in a restaurant they're not allowed to enter anymore, because, you know, private party. Sorry, folks.

At the heart of a giant dance that includes filmmakers, actors, toymakers, visual artists, prose authors, tv showrunners, animators and voice talent is someone like you or me representing all the funnybook fans slow dancing with their beloved art form: comics. Like a boutique hotel nestled within a Vegas strip leviathan, Comic-Con is a really, really good comics show in the firmament of a giant exclusive toys party. Over the years I've met Lorenzo Mattotti, Ryoichi Ikegami and Moebius at Comic-Con. I saw the first two speak at length. Just three years ago I watched Gilbert Shelton draw from a position a mere two feet away! Their comics guest list is always loaded. It is this year as well. Manuele Fior!

Comic-Con is an even better industry show, with all of the tribes represented in one place and taking meetings and saying "I just took a meeting" and running off to take another meeting. It's the only show with a cocktail circuit that involves more rooftop bars than there are yearly line reboots.

You should come see it, at least once. If I'm still going, say hi. I may be too stressed to respond, but I'll deeply appreciate the effort and will always remember how awkward it was between us. If you don't know what I look like, I'm the fat guy.

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1. Stay Safe

Always remember that during Comic-Con you're in a real-life American city, not a magical land accessible via closet, train or bathroom mirror. You can get mugged; you can get beat up; you can get hit by a bottle. Accidents happen every show.

Also keep in mind that the events of the show carry with them their own dangers. Grumble at the cops and the security if you must, but do what they ask. In 2012, a Twilight fan with the intention of attending Comic-Con died after running into traffic and being struck by a car during a time she spent in a line that formed in advance of the show. Her name was Gisela Gagliardi. It's almost certain she did not think her life might be over later that day when she got out of bed that morning.

So: please, please be careful. Nothing about this works if you get hurt. You look after you.

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2. Do Your On-Line Research... And Your On-Line Reach-Out

You cannot be underprepared for a show the size of this one. Scope out the con. Scope out the city in which it takes place. It pays off. We live in an anticipatory age of spoilers and trailers; preparing for Comic-Con is an act of fan anticipation that has direct benefits.

At the very least, do this in the next 36 hours. 1) bookmark the show's site. 2) bookmark your hotel's site. 3) get a broad picture of what each offers you that you would like to do. 4) investigate what's directly in the neighborhood around where you'll be staying. 5) map a walk from your hotel to the convention center.

If this is a rare trip for you, or one where you have a very specific set of goals, make a last-minute reach-out to your comics friends and see who's going. Share with the ones that say yes your hopes and plans. Comic-Con is a difficult place to negotiate socially. If you have goals that include a bit of networking, just reaching out to people you know can unlock key doors. Remember that you connect with old friends horizontally to forge new relationships vertically.

Finally, to keep things karmically clear, try to help the people who are trying to help you.

Twenty minutes on google maps and a half-dozen e-mails can make a huge difference in one's weekend. You'd be astonished how frequently this is the case. It's also true that people go, get frustrated, complain about it afterwards and more than one person reading thinks, "I could have helped them!"

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3. Join Every Freaking Points Club You Can

If you go to conventions with any sort of regularity, you should join the points clubs for 1) any airline you might use to get anywhere, 2) Amtrak, if it applies, 3) every hotel you might stay in but also definitely the programs offered by the most frequent chains in close proximity to comics shows: Hilton, Starwood (Westin) and Marriott.

It's great to use reward points on segments of travel or nights of hotel stay, making them paid-for by previous segments of travel and nights of hotel stay. A healthy convention schedule involving the Marriott chain can almost always get you a night or two off at SPX, for instance, savings that you can spend on getting the last few forty-somethings in attendance drunk enough to maybe physically fight one another.

Even if you do very few shows, join the points club at your San Diego hotel (and consider getting a Ralphs card). In your hotel's points club you might get an advantage of a dedicated check-in and check-out desk. That along could make it worth it. You might get automatically upgraded -- also awesome. Best of all, your being in the points club gives your hotel an easy-to-grant avenue to make something right if something goes wrong. Comic-Con is a crazy weekend where things frequently go wrong. Hotels are almost never willing to give money back, but they'll give you points like a nervous class officer giving out drink tickets at the graduation luau. I got a bunch of Starwood Points one year at SDCC just because they kept marching new guests into my room when I was getting dressed after a shower. No big deal for me, traumatizing for them, and I'm the one who ultimately benefited.

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4. If You Don't Have A Badge, Think 2019

There are no badges at this point available to most of us beyond what we've already arranged. If you're powerful enough to get one day of, there's no way in hell you're reading this site.

Don't buy a badge from someone on-line. There is nothing in that sentence that is a good idea. The days of asking Rory Root and Rory scooping several passes out of his pocket with funny names on them, those days are a distant memory. (RIP)

If you do score a late badge, don't abuse them! Someone put themselves out there for you.

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5. Maybe Park At The Airport

Due to the increased cost of the show, I've been attending the last few years from Thursday early morning to Saturday late evening. No complaints: that's just the way things are in my relationship to Comic-Con.

Here's a practical tip that's probably totally illegal -- it's certainly unsporting -- that I've used the last half-decade on this shortened schedule: I parked at the airport's long-term parking for like 1/5 the price of hotel or public parking. I dropped off my bag and my family and any friends at the hotel, and drove right out where google maps told me, in this case a moderately-priced lot south of the airport between the highway and the ocean. Hopped on the shuttle to the airport. Took the city bus back down to my hotel. It added time, but as I transitioned into my new job back in Columbus I really appreciated not having to spend that money. It was literally like a fancy meal's difference. I'll eat my money in San Diego, thank you.

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6. Find Your Store; Stock Up

I encourage a physical trip to whatever sundries store is closest and able to serve you. If there's still a pharmacy in the Horton Plaza, that or one of the two 7-11s is the place for you Broadway Ave hotel people. It's Ralphs for everyone south of Broadway and west of the convention center's middle-most point. It's probably Cine Cafe for the group of hotels right up next to the show on the eastern access crossing.

You can buy stuff for your room on that first trip. That's never a bad idea. The programming schedule is super-full at Comic-Con, like an all-day college date that never ends -- champaign brunch to lacrosse game to cocktail party to fancy dress -- and you can end up hungry without anything to eat at 3 AM almost as easy as you can spot a teenager wearing a costume that looks like it cost more than your first car. More importantly, I just think going to the store connects you to the possibility of that place, and even to a kind of commercial activity that doesn't involve an exclusive Lego Ladybird set or whatever.

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7. Hit Whatever You Can At Off Hours

Press and pro registration is so easy now I would vote the person who changed it from the way it used to be done into any elective office they desire. Still, it's a lot of people. If you can get someone else to secure you these things, like an exhibitor or a publisher that's sponsoring you, do that. If you can't, consider going a little later that first day or during Preview Night itself so as to miss the biggest moments of line-clumping. In our current political and cultural reality, people see being an asshole in line as self-assertiveness.

Take the strategy of hitting at slightly off times with you into the show. Three places you can apply it. First, if you just want a sense of a panel but don't care if you get the whole thing, you can frequently hit a panel ten, twenty minutes in and avoid the before line and the time spent there. Second, look for signings that are first or last in a day over those in the crush of attendance mid-afternoon. Third, think about hanging back from the opening hour to eat breakfast for less of a cluster around the buffet, or leave the convention center earlier than most for a dinner dominated by happy-hour discounts.

I'm sure there others -- I always thought it was fun to shop at Ralphs at 2:30 AM, and the hot tub at the Westin Gaslamp can be all yours most Sunday mornings until 11 AM. It's a strategy that seems to work, if only modestly. It's probably a bit less effective since the bulk of Hollywood people came because of their meeting structure and tendency to pull people away from the convention center, but it can't hurt to try.

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8. Use The Half-Day Target Strategy

I always suggest under-planning for the show in a macro sense and then rigorously planning in terms of execution. A principle I always follow is to split each convention day into an AM and a PM and pick one thing I have to do during each slot. If I end up with extra time, I spend that on some general things I like to do, like sitting out back of the convention center and soaking in that Southern California sun or checking out the funnybook retailers or seeing if the guy who dresses like Captain Stubing is working the far west doors. By limiting to must-dos to five to eight things, I'm getting key things done every year.

Allowing a half-day per event also allows you not to feel as bad if the thing you want to do -- like see a TV or movie panel -- involves literally 12-18 hours of your time. I don't have any specific advice on those panel lines, by the way, except that they didn't seem nearly as bad as they used to. You should also chat with people in line; that is value-added right there. Proposed subject: what people did before phones. A lot of the big-ticket events at Comic-Con involve a major commitment, and being reasonable about what you want to do makes for fewer instances of failure. Just like that, the day becomes less stressful. It's always better to get 5/6 of the things done you want to do on a vacation or working weekend than 11/40.

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9. Make Time Between Events Because Of The Crowds

Definitely give yourself time to go places. If you can skip outright a walking trip either at or up by the convention center, consider doing so.

The days when I ate breakfast at the Marriott ended when two years ago it took me a half-hour to get there FROM THE HOTEL NEXT DOOR. Three times during that walk I considered going Crocodile Dundee on the whole situation and running on folks' shoulders. (sorry, another old reference; please imagine appropriate reference from Sorry To Bother You)

Anyway, I eat breakfast at my damn hotel now and I don't count on getting anywhere without 30 minutes of defeated-by-life style walking involved.

Within the hall? Going all the way out to the front hallway and then back in is often preferable than walking long distances on the floor. Some folks still don't know there's a stairway in the back of the show that will take you upstairs and to the single digit conference rooms.

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10. Think About Packing A Lunch

You're going to walk a lot. Wear comfortable shoes. Take water with you. There is water in every panel room and there are plenty of water fountains but having your own is still best. You should also eat at some point during the day. Because of the crowds and the circle of con activity closes to the show, that can be difficult time-wise. Convention Center food is basically a culinary parade of sadness, and you pay extra to boot.

You are not really supposed to take food into the convention center, but you might consider it anyway. There are plenty of things from the store to which you're now connected that you can get into a backpack or purse with no problem. I have yet to get in trouble eating quietly in the back of a panel room or sitting outside wondering what excuse I'm going to Shena Wolfe for not stopping by the GoComics reception. Nobody told her I wrote that.

There are also merchants in the street on the way to the show that will sell you something that's nice and packed up. Pay attention. No matter how you get it, definitely process some calories, though. People can and will film you spazzing out in a low blood-sugar state.

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11. Attend The CBLDF Event

In the 1990s, San Diego Con offered people scattered parties and at least one night where a bunch of people would do something like go to a heavy metal show or head south to watch wrestling in Tijuana. Then it was hosted parties. Then it was big events. Now it's pretty settled: Thursday night is publisher-driven cocktail parties or private dinners; Friday is the Eisners or Hell No I'm Not Going To The Eisners; Saturday is maybe you get invited to a Hollywood party or two but otherwise you get a big meal and maybe just be mellow at a bar somewhere wishing someone would invite you to a Hollywood thing. All three nights feature heavy hotel bar drinking scenes, semi-hosted. For some those are afterparties. For many those are the entire social scene.

The one that I always suggest people do is the rooftop party hosted by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. You pay to get in with money, not status. That one is increasingly well-attended as a kind of Rick's Cafe for people of various comics backgrounds taking a few days off from fighting in the Creators Vs. Haters Wars. It's always lovely to sit outside in that glorious San Diego weather. It's also where 80 percent of the people I know catch up with Kiel Phegley.

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12. Look For Secondary Signings

If you're there to meet a specific comics pro or have something signed by a specific person, pay attention to secondary appearances. Cartoon Art Museum has a lot of cartoonists at their booth doing charity sketches. The CBLDF has certain luminaries on hand. A lot of mainstream comics-makers have books at smaller publishers. All of those can sometimes be easier to access than the signing directly for the project in which you're likely most interested. Just be polite, and respectful of what the object of your attention is doing in that moment, and you should have a good experience.

One place that's difficult to meet someone is after a panel by running up to talk to them. If you do that , remember that the ideal position for a post-con talk is to be that person with whom the artist or comics-maker walks on their way back to the show. That's quality time. So maybe try last instead of first (the risk is you're blown off entirely). Remember, the show wants you out of the room, and how happily you're greeted in a pressure situation like that depends on the artist. I've only seen a few people actually sign something as they're trying to leave; it's a hard sell.

In general, meeting celebrities or even comics people? They're all over the place there. You don't want to dominate their time or scare them. Still, nearly everyone likes to hear a few nice words. Just remember how you'd feel were you to be approached by strangers, even happy ones, who look like they expect a moment. Not the superhero version of yourself, but you -- how you would feel to be tapped on the shoulder right now and not get to read the rest of this sentence.

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13. Know The Floor

A cursory understanding of how the floor of the convention works solves a lot of confusion problems ahead of time. The Expo/Marketplace part is on the first floor; programming and ballrooms and a big wide open space between the two halves of the programming with some autograph signings and an art show make up the second floor.

If you look at the floor map as if it were the US and you're entering the country from the South: East Coast to the Mississippi is basically the comics stuff. West of the Mississippi is everything else, all the movies and toys, with tiny pockets in California and Southern Arizona for another artist's alley/solo vendor type area, and big crossover areas with the artisanal toymakers and the illustrators.

If you want to see anything in the movie and toy half, do that early or late in the day, or on Preview Night, before it gets soul-destroying. It's sometimes easier to leave the hall and walk on the outside corridor than it is to ram yourself down one of the aisles. There is an escalator at the far end of the hall -- think Northern Michigan -- to get to the second floor or back down again.

A couple things to remember about the one-way hallways upstairs is that if you leave a panel you'll be going out the far door so if you're know you're going to leave maybe sit up by that door so as not to freak out the panelists, who will think you hate them. The other thing to remember is that celebrities will sometimes be brought to their panel the wrong way down the exit hallways, so keep your eyes open for random encounters.

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14. Panels, Panels, Panels

I basically do three things in San Diego now. I fecklessly carouse, I have pretty good meetings and I go to excellent panels. The overall swell of the con population has been good for panels: the small ones that used to have seven people have 50 now, and the most appealing comics ones are packed. Beyond being prepared to focus in on and sacrificing other experiences for a panel you have to do, and the trick of coming into panels halfway through for an easy taste of what's up, any tips I can provide are pretty straightforward. Go see someone that interests you. Don't apologize for what that is.

You will have things and people you want to see, and everybody's a lot better at panels than they used to be but the fewer guests on a panel the more you'll get to spend quality time with the person you want to see. Themed panels can sometimes be great, but other times they're that sofa at Omega Theta Pi where the fraternity has stuck the freshmen they don't want to pledge. If you go to the panel before the panel you really want to see, in order to score a seat, that is still somehow an accepted strategy but be attentive and respectful of what's in front of you. I also always advise seeing humor cartoonists or people that are funny/interesting on-line. They're usually that way in front of a crowd, too. Also: think in terms of a panel experience you won't likely have again, like a cartoonist from Europe, say, or one's that older. I'm a big fan of the CBLDF's drawing panels from the last few years, too -- so if they're doing those again, jump on board.

*****

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15. If You're Buying, Write Down The Price You'll Accept For Comics

It's a great thing if you shop at Comic-Con. It's retro. It's bold. It's counter-intuitive. I think it's a psychically purifying thing to do, as it's literally the major reason why cons got started. There's a tendency to split material at booths between really rare stuff and stuff at a stripped-down discount and I am the perfect customer for at least one of those things.

Here's a tip I learned from a friend who no longer collects. Write down what you're looking for and then write down a price at which you'd be happy to buy the book. You might find it cheaper but comparison shopping in a room of 75,000 people is for suckers.

It's not a bad headspace to be in with original art, either, figuring out in a more sober location what would make you happy in terms of spending. There's no real comparison shopping there, either, except perhaps between artists.

*****

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16. Don't Develop A Hang-Up About Drinking

A lot of people in comics like to spend some of their con time having a drink or two. Some like to have 50. Some don't drink at all. There's no real stigma here. Do what you feel is fun. If you're not a drinker but enjoy a drink in the summer, I always suggest the gin and tonic as a socializing cocktail because the cheapest version is 90 percent of the most expensive iteration taste-wise, it boasts a sturdy glass you're not likely to drop or knock over, and the ice in one melts in a way that it's like getting two drinks for the price of one. It says "My other suit is seersucker."

Another option in recent years is local craft beer, which bartenders all over the city are happy to suggest specific examples. Still: Diet Coke is fine, believe me. Just by reading this section you've thought about this too much.

*****

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17. Eat Out At Least Once

San Diego's downtown used to be fairly terrifying in terms of the food offerings. There were five cheap, funky restaurants and 35 slightly overpriced ones serving a morose downtown clientele. There's a lot more to recommend eating in San Diego now, and I suggest spending some research time and finding a place for you and your friends to take in a meal. If you're having a hard time finding a place that floats your boat or satisfies your budget within walking distance, maybe head out of the neighborhood on a little field trip, perhaps to Little Italy.

Two classic San Diego Con restaurants I recommend are Pokez and, now that Cafe Chloe is apparently closed, let's go with The Grant Grill, where you can also see folks related to the run of Conan O'Brien shows being put on across the street.

One whole class of restaurants that has a tougher time than they used to on that weekend is the group of storefront restaurants up and down the Gaslamp. The higher end restaurants do well, the cheaper ones and the buy to eat in your hotel room places seem to be doing okay, but that $15-$20 entree restaurant has started to look, at least to my eyes, empty as can be some nights. I think it's just that the fans are different now, and the professionals are different now. You've lost that middle class of buyers and pros.

Two completely satisfying restaurants where I've eaten in almost empty surroundings at some point during the last couple of years are Asti Ristorante and Bandar.

*****

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18. Attend The Eisner Awards

If you get a chance and you're not actively doing something more directly tied into your weekend's goals on Friday night, might I recommend the Eisner Awards? CR has declined to be considered for nomination since our last trophy win, but that doesn't mean we've stopped going. Team CR sits in the back now and laughs and drinks beer we carry in and has people visit us to make a disapproving face about our not sitting up with the rest of the industry. It's glorious.

If you're a comics fan, you should see the Eisners at least once. They are divvied in a way that you're likely to have someone you like win one. It's fun to see all the comics peccadilloes on display and sometimes it's genuinely nice and funny and sweet. The afterparty is now the weekend's most underrated, a hardcore group of mostly 45-years-old and older veterans that I never see any other place than in that lobby. I'm pretty sure Joe Ferrara lives there.

Winning an Eisner Award is still a goal for many cartoonists and comics-makers, and should be. It's one of the nice and completely comics-only things you can have happen to when you're in comics, and there aren't a whole lot of those things left.

*****

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19. Shmooze

I mentioned earlier there is a second track for late-night socializing: the entrenched hotel bar scene. I should probably give that its own post here. I think that whole scene is a handy supplement to anything else you might want to do. For example, a lot of folks of my acquaintance have spent their Eisner Fridays the last few years going to the awards program and then immediately cutting out for cocktails in the host hotel's bar and lounge. The bar scene can be a step-up or a wind-down: like I said, super-useful.

What used to be an afterparty scene at places like the Hilton and the Hyatt have become full-bore party experiences, noodling along from dusk until last call. The bigger places tend to have unofficial hosts that have laid the groundwork for an evening of drinks via their afternoon tipping. The last couple of years you've seen people finishing the evening at their own hotels: there are significant little parties going on at the Westin Gaslamp and the smaller Hilton.

You probably won't get hired for going to one of those places, but you might become familiar enough that someone pays a little bit more attention to your next creative act. Nearly everyone who's been going to San Diego for a while has spent a lot of time working these rooms, even if they don't remember why.

*****

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20. Go See Mark Evanier Moderate A Panel

The writer and historian Mark Evanier does at least two kinds of panels, and probably more, better than anyone out there: voice actors and cartoonists of his close acquaintance. Seeing him moderate and seeing how the great pros he assembles react is the Comic-Con equivalent of getting off the Las Vegas strip and dropping some money at a casino downtown. It's just this side of mandatory.

*****

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21. Use The Buses For Exhaustion, Not For Speed

There is an extensive bus shuttle service between the hotels and the show. There are no rules for walking, but here are my rules for walking at San Diego. If your hotel is right across the street all the way up to Broadway, try to walk it. If you're staying north of Broadway, try to walk the first day before making a decision if you'll be doing it all weekend. If you're anywhere else, get there any way you can, including the buses. If that means you're driving in, the key is to make sure you're paying to park all day and not just some eight-hour "all day" artificial configuration.

One exception is that if you're just too damn tired to make the trip, use the buses then. That might come Saturday night, or Sunday morning. But at that point don't be shy. They're pretty intuitive to figure out route-wise. You're going to have done a lot of walking, too much walking, no matter what. It's just that kind of show.

*****

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22. Build In The Extra Time To Check Your Bags

One thing folks forget on getaway day is that they're probably going to have some convention center time that occurs after they check out of the hotel. Gotta do something with those bags. The hotels all provide the opportunity to check your bags into lobby storage, but unless you do it early it might take a while because a lot of people will be storing their bags. So build in the time or set an alarm and get down there with everything but your backpack. You'll also likely need extra time built in to pick the bags up. Don't miss your flight standing in a lobby -- you get no points for that from either place.

Another option is go over to the convention center with your bag, which I would restrict to those of you with 1-2 bags that also have friends at an exhibitor with a lot of behind the table space. Do something to thank them if you do that. Maybe even ask the day before.

If you catch a cab out of the area, go west a bit, towards the Marriott first and then down the road even further to find a cab unencumbered with that direct-convention traffic. Also consider taking a bus up past Broadway before jumping into a paid car. I would assume these same principles apply to services like Uber and Lyft. You don't want to pay for downtown gridlock.

Talk of cabs reminds of one more direct piece of advice. There are pedicabs everywhere, and people like them for short bursts of travel, six to eight blocks. I'm not sure why. They creep me out a bit. Anyway, always get the price for where you're going before you get in one. That way there's no drama between you and some angry person with gigantic calves.

*****

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23. Consider That First Class Upgrade

This could have gone up top. Check about 48 hours before you go about an upgrade each direction. It may be affordable for the extra care and legroom you receive, and if there's a bag fee you might even make that back with two bags or more carrying your con stuff either direction or both directions.

*****

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24. Take Business Class On Amtrak Back To Los Angeles

Here's a returning-from-San-Diego travel tip. If you're taking the train back to LA, make at least that segment of your trip business class rather open and unreserved. You get assigned a seat that way, and you get a shorter line. The lines are enormous for the unreserved seats; there's no guarantee you'll get to sit down, and the length of the line leads to people cheating, which if I've played by the rules shoots my blood pressure to the moon after a long weekend of general stress. That's no way to live.

Also, never count on the train to get you back up the coast where you need to go right on time. It's a train.

*****

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25. Remember You're Having A Good Time

There are so many little stresses in terms of getting around and doing things at Comic-Con that a lot of people forget to have fun. Look at the crew coming in on one of the shuttle trains sometime, if you get the chance: not a smile to be had. Comic-Con is an amazing experience, if you think about it, this massive tent revival devoted to geekdom in its loftiest forms and its most base. It is a phenomenon of our times. Take it all in. Talk to those around you. Crack some jokes. If you feel like it, go ahead and smile.

*****

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BONUS TIP: Make Room In Your Luggage For Stuff That You Buy By Managing Your Underwear Flow aka Hayley Campbell Hates This One

One thing that comes a little tough for people attending a big show is finding room in one's luggage for items purchased over the weekend. One strategy is to mail some stuff back -- either new or old. The convention center has a mailing hub right there that I've never used, there was a US post office last I knew right up in the Horton Plaza on its north side, and many of the hotels will accommodate you for a price.

Another strategy is to decide in advance with great discipline exactly what clothing you need and show up in San Diego with room built into your suitcase. If you realize from years of experience that you won't be working out, for instance, you can save space by leaving that extra pair of shoes at home. (Advanced class: get a workout shoe designed to slip comfortably into luggage -- they make them.)

Because my con trips are for business, not for finding happiness or experiencing a version of it at the show, I pack my six worst pairs of underwear. Most underwear should be disposed of once a year, the way any dried spices should be dumped a week before Christmas. By tossing your underwear in the hotel room wastebasket on getaway day, you can usually make just enough room for a healthy pile of comics and/or book items and/or a toy or two. If you have a sleeping shirt that you can say goodbye to as well, every little bit helps.

If you do this, please tip your sure-to-be concerned cleaning person. Also, and this may be the most important tip of all: don't tell anybody, or face censure.

*****

photos by Whit Spurgeon (the nice ones) and me (the awful ones); for those of you wagering at home, the Evanier/Sergio is from 2004.

*****

Comic-Con is an advertiser here at CR so you just wasted your time reading compromised nonsense. Sorry. Also, no one has ever called it Mouthbreather Sundance. That's not even funny.

*****



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*****
*****
 
posted 1:35 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Erin Nations

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posted 1:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Bundled, Tossed, Untied, Stacked: Publishing News

By Tom Spurgeon

image* whatever this project of Alex Degen's is, it sure is handsome.

* speaking of handsome, that also describes the cover to the first volume of La Pasteque's 13e Avenue. I don't know Genevieve Pettersen but I've long been fond of Francois Vigneault and am happy to see him working.

* just so you know, I will try to encapsulate as much publishing news from San Diego Con as I can into a recurring post to roll out early the next day. I expect it to be a big show for such news, at least in volume. I will also try to facilitate some comics-related news myself through the site and collect the links into one place with the others as we go.

* finally: I keep forgetting to mention that The Nib is headed to print.
 
posted 1:25 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

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posted 1:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This

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posted 1:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Forthcoming Comics-Related Events, Through August 2018

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*****

July 18
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (CCI Preview Night)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

July 19
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (CCI)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

July 20
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (CCI)
* If I Were In SF, I'd Go To This (Comics In The City)
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (NVS Panel At CCI)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

July 21
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (CCI)
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In DC, I'd Go To This (DC ZineFest)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

July 22
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (CCI)
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This

July 23
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

July 24
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

July 25
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

July 26
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

July 27
* If I Were Near Arlington, I'd Go To This (Blerdcon)
* If I Were In SF, I'd Go To This (Comics In The City)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

July 28
* If I Were Near Arlington, I'd Go To This (Blerdcon)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Brooklyn, I'd Go To This

July 29
* If I Were Near Arlington, I'd Go To This (Blerdcon)
* If I Were In SF, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

July 30
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

July 31
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

*****

August 1
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 2
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 3
* If I Were In SF, I'd Go To This (Comics In The City)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 4
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 5
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 6
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 7
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 8
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 9
* If I Were Near Urbana-Champaign, I'd Go To This (CSS)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 10
* If I Were Near Urbana-Champaign, I'd Go To This (CSS)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 11
* If I Were Near Urbana-Champaign, I'd Go To This (CSS)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 12
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Edinburgh, I'd Go To This

August 13
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 14
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Sacramento, I'd Go To This

August 15
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 16
* If I Were Near White River Junction, I'd Go To This (Comics And Medicine)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 17
* If I Were Near White River Junction, I'd Go To This (Comics And Medicine)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 18
* If I Were In Las Vegas, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This (Flame Con)
* If I Were Near White River Junction, I'd Go To This (Comics And Medicine)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 19
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This (Flame Con)
* If I Were In Minneapolis, I'd Go To This (Autoptic)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 20
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 21
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 22
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 23
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 24
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 25
* If I Were In Boise, I'd Go To This (Boise Comic Arts Festival)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 26
* If I Were In Boise, I'd Go To This (Boise Comic Arts Festival)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 27
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 28
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 29
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

August 30
* If I Were In Atlanta, I'd Go To This (Dragon Con)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

*****

Events For September 2018 Onward Listed Here

*****



*****
*****
 
posted 1:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: I Was Fired For Criticizing Trump

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posted 1:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Sean Gaffney on Sweet Blue Flowers Omnibus Four.

* bundled extra: BOOM is on board with BEN 10 graphic novels, a sneakily super-successful animation and licensing property for several years now, created by comics people. Kids publishing icon RL Stine -- whose prose market presence was so dominant at one point that the first couple of Harry Potter books were reviewed in relation to Stine's work -- will also be working on a horror line with the LA-based publisher.

* what is the best kind of summer reading? Comics and graphic novel summer reading!

* Hollywood Reporter works the DC/Vertigo WW2 graphic novel announcement Six Days, spotlight writer Robert Venditti's family connection.

* finally: a profile of an Ian Knox retrospective.
 
posted 1:05 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 43rd Birthday, Jeffrey Brown!

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posted 1:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 42nd Birthday, Brian K. Vaughan!

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posted 1:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 67th Birthday, Ned Sonntag!

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posted 1:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 80th Birthday, Hermann!

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posted 1:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
July 16, 2018


Frank Giroud, RIP

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posted 11:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
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