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July 16, 2012

Notes From The 2012 CCI Floor


By Tom Spurgeon

The following are notes and observations gathered on the floor of Comic-Con International 2012 in San Diego, California. For immediate reactions to what's going on from hundreds of people, I recommend an appropriate search or multiple such searches on Twitter. For mainstream comics and panel coverage in general -- this being a key event for publishing news announcements -- I recommend Comic Book Resources ComicsAlliance and The Beat.


* on Sunday my own time management foibles began to catch up with me, and I missed the first two hours of the show.

* two of the more important tips offered in the CR Preview Guide came into play this morning. The first was signing up for your hotel's points/rewards program, because doing so allowed me to check out far more quickly than I could have if I hadn't joined up. The second was allowing time for processing bags at the hotel desk if you're doing so. I'm going to change this next year to add a suggestion that you check your bags early in the morning if possible; my group ended up carrying around bags when our hotel failed to provide speedy processing of this task.

* had one of the fancy hotel brunches. The dearth of con-goers in venues that used to be jam-packed is really noticeable this year. I've sat in at least three only halfway full restaurants this weekend where I rezzo-ed up because in previous years they had been stuffed to the rafters.

* I know it was Sunday and I'm dead tired because one of those poor security guards asked me if I wanted to enter the convention center three doors down and I said, "No," and went in the door I selected. I mean, it seemed a totally stupid, arbitrary request, but I usually try to make those guys' job as easy as possible. That's got to be one suck-o gig.

* no idea why beyond a general bargain-shopping assumption, but the comics-dealers end of the floor was super jammed-up Sunday morning, to near-intolerable levels. I hope that in a year where a lot of comics pros have decided they're not getting out of San Diego Con what they need, that various comics retailers that have stuck it out at the show.

* I found myself missing the Lee's Comics spinner rack.

* it's also worth mentioning that a lot of folks in other areas of the floor were reporting some lightness in sales, too. I'm not sure exactly what's going on there. My hunch is that a certain kind of consumer may have been greatly diminished this year, but I'm not certain.

* one thing I didn't see that I thought I might was a lot of physical-location targeted digital sales -- like if you stopped by the Fanta booth you'd have available for download right there or receive a code or whatever to download a specific comic related to their announcement that weekend. Or whatever. Maybe that was going on and I didn't notice.

* it was nice to talk to Matt Fraction, Ed Brubaker and Shelton Drum briefly at the Fantagraphics booth during a Los Bros signing. It's nice in general when pros come out for other pros, and I wish we saw more of it. It strikes me that rather than a focus on grousing over who's criticizing whom in what fashion that doing things like showing up for anniversary panels and key signings could become a bigger part of what industry folk do. I mean, it's mind-boggling to me that if you were a cartoonist and had a chance to meet and purchase something from Gilbert Shelton you wouldn't have done that this weekend, no matter how busy you were. I mean, I get that there are always going to those few that aren't interested and that everyone is a special, unique flower with passions and beliefs not my own, but you'd think it'd be more people than not that would want to meet one of the Rushmore underground cartoonists.

* Matt Fraction upon meeting Eric Reynolds for the first time: "You look just like Peter Bagge's drawings of you."

* my impression is that Jaime, Gilbert and Mario had a good show. I sure hope so. The t-shirts were a hit, too.

* "I gotta go pick up this one toy for my kid" is the new "I gotta go find this person I met last night."

* talked to a very confident Mark Siegel -- confidence in First Second, I mean, he wasn't challenging people to arm-wrestling contests or anything.

* I shared a cab with Eric Reynolds to the airport. He told me funny and slightly distressing stories of BEA. My usual strategy of jumping in the cab line at the Marriott was foiled by people just parking on that driveway in the most spectacularly self-indulgent and rude way, but there were plenty of cabs nearby.

* best geeky/funny story I heard all weekend was from Scott McCloud. He knows the one.

* saw Kiel Phegley at the airport, and we compared notes about on-line publishing. I hadn't known they'd had some beat reporter shake-ups at CBR recently. Phegley is apparently now engaged, so congratulations to him. He has less than a year in the writing program he's doing; I hope comics doesn't lose him.

* I am grateful that my brother Whit was in attendance, with his friend Dawn Alden, even if he had to find out the hard way that Comic-Con swag is never as fun the moment you get home.



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