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July 21, 2017

News & Notes From The San Diego Convention Floor



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.

* my brother and I took an early Amtrak down to the show: a full train full of baffled commuters and people already in costume. LA's mass transit doesn't cover everything, but in terms of certain neighborhoods to certain landmarks, it's aces. The vast majority of people stepping off of the train in San Diego used Lyft to ride the rest of the way (we could see the still-used-but-not-as-much taxi stand from where we stood).

* we passed about four outside events with more than a block-long line, way more than I ever noticed before. The line at the Netflix thing right up near our hotel rarely diminished all day, and then only for a half-hour or so before surging back into lunacy. Most of the people there seemed from the show, although there was a lot of talk of people without badges hitting those outside things to do.

* I think this maybe the year where that element became one of the most real things of the show, if only because it changes traffic pattern both inside and outside the convention center. There are people to negotiate up next to the show everywhere and all the time. I have memories of walking up almost abandoned streets near the convention center not even 10 years old.

* had a bad registration experience, my first in a dozen years, maybe, that failed to go off without a hitch. Bottlenecked line and a lot of pushing and line crashing -- all dudes, of course. I'm told the floor was light early on, perhaps because so many folks remained outside at first.

* my brother took some terrifying photos from the press preview of the Netflix thing. The lack of substantive word/material on the fantasy cop thing Bright made it the non-comics thing most people I know mentioned, when they mentioned that kind of thing at all.

* ran into Mimi Pond, who made observations about SDCC in contrast to her report from the TCM Film Festival, mostly about who was at each and what role the medium in question played in their lives.

* saw the relatively recently health-assailed Batton Lash at a distance, who looked dapper and pleasant as ever.

* a lot of talk about the cartoonist deaths of the last three years.

* Jeff Smith announced two picture books from Scholastic on Wednesday night, and has four or so pages from his forthcoming return to Tuki at his booth. They are gorgeous, and there's a clever reformulation in there that I think should really work.

* saw the Bernie Wrightson memorial panel. There is a difference between telling a story about someone that passed and telling a story about yourself, and that difference is usually what side of the age of 50 you're on. Scott Dunbier on Wrightson's second half career was the most passionate statement there, and Dunbier recommended the Captain Sternn material as something less obvious to explore, as I would have done. Listening to the panelists it occurs to me there's a great oral history to be done on comics in 1970s New York, or at least a really fun A Nervous Splendor non-fiction novel.

* as rumored Tom Devlin was indeed selling the Marvel Benefit issue of Coober Skeber at $40 a pop as a "20 Anniversary Edition" or some other hand-selling technique which sounds unsavory.

* there are a lot of creators kids at this show, mostly at the insistence of the kid. One thing that's nice about that is the confidence it shows in the convention in terms of security and safety, which while a big subject in the days and weeks leading up to the show has barely been mentioned at all on the floor or at the parties.

* my hunch is that the broader publishing story for the show will be strong moves by the two major into non-traditional (in the absolute sense) formats: DC into OGNs, Marvel into on-line only books.

* looming convention-end story: potential of storms in the midwest could conceivably mess with anyone flying out of here that direction Saturday night to Monday morning.


photos and additional reporting by Whit Spurgeon and Chris Hatfield



posted 1:25 am PST | Permalink

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