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

July 20, 2018

News & Notes From The San Diego Convention Floor



* the first thing about which most folks have talked to me is the intensity with which security and staff are after people to have badges, to wear them correctly and to keep moving in those aisles above all things. It was noticeable to me as I can't remember having anyone give me directions like that for years now.

* closing the road right up next to the convention center is a big hit. Also there are kudos with how responsive and engaged the security and staff people tend to be. People got their questions answered. If it was appropriate, they got one called down from upstairs.

* I did talk to three writers that were discombobulated by the move to one registration line leading upstairs, as the longer initial wait time was more than they thought when scheduling their Thursday AM. Not a big deal to any of them.

* I somehow failed to register for the show as press. That's right. Laugh it up. Since I could show the person manning the panel participation booth that I was in the program for interviewing Noah Van Sciver later today I was able to score a pass. A press pass was offered to me, too. Pretty embarrassing. Everyone was nice.

* the D&Q booth was humming with the Doucet collection and the Lutes book. It was great to see Jason in front of that colossal effort.

* it felt busy in the aisles for a Thursday early afternoon although a lot of the smaller booths I talked to told me it was initially slow, and had been for most on Preview Night as well. It does strike me that the energy of the show in terms of what gets bought is very different now.

* at one point I saw Paul Karasik walking down the aisle, comfortable in his own skin, about two full rows away. I realized I might not see him again this entire trip and wished good thoughts and positive outcomes in his direction.

* my I don't really get fandom moment of the day was a guy playing the Star Wars lone-trumpet ending scene music on the way down the escalator and this performance's wild response.

* saw recently departed Team Billy Ireland member Amy Chalmers and the cartoonist Noah Van Sciver looking for the convention center's back porch to have lunch together -- "we heard you can see the water" -- and it was adorable.

* i made a comment about my regret at not having registered and a friend thought I was saying I regret I didn't register for a movement assistance device so I'm guessing I look pretty damn fat.

* there is a lot of walking, though, and walking that feels more tiring than normal walking because you're always negotiating bodies, backpacks and baby carriages. Only one person noted that the comfortable shoes I brought had holes over the big-toe toenails because I am a disgusting old man now with unicorn horns sticking up from each toe.

* Silver Sprocket's set-up looked great, and they were attracting a lot of young-people attention. I think they're a pretty ideal exhibitor in terms of their being able to do a show like CCI but also every small-press show and arts festival you can think of. Best t-shirts.

* four people mentioned to me how unfortunate the new NCS show was to use rhetoric that made it look like they will be inventing use of the festival model in North America, although everyone also noted their May 2019 show has a strong line-up.

* Sammy Harkham and Kevin Huizenga were there. Brannon Costello. Stéphane Beaujean. The latter two there are newbies and looked slightly stunned and maybe even a tiny bit dismayed. It's not an unfamiliar look there. Miriam Libicki. Larry Marder. Carol Tyler and I walked around looking for Last Gasp; Tyler expressed concern that the convention floor carpets were at different levels of thickness. Rob Salkowitz.

* saw a really fine Robert Williams spotlight panel moderate by Eric Reynolds. About 100 attendees. Williams deflected praise and spoke matter-of-factly about shifts in his own skill set and how complacent he thought American progressives become. Great hour.

* dinner at an impressively crowded Italian restaurant. Hit the party circuit afterwards. Brian Fies sounded gracious and moved in a few minutes of discussion about he and his family losing their home to California fires. Dana Simpson, Andrew Farago and the great Nat Gertler were some of the other folks at the GoComics party. Great to see Nat after about 13 years, and congratulations to him on 20 years of About Comics. Saw Gina Gagliano and a couple of other folks at a lively and high class Scholastic party. The CBLDF was Zander Cannon, Kiel Phegley, Chris Butcher, Brian Hibbs, Alex Cox, Jacq Cohen, Tom Neely, Denis Kitchen. I sat in a chair next to Scott McCloud for a while, but I'm too tired to remember what was discussed except a panel description he thought was the saddest of all time.

* Bed at 1:17 AM. I was very tired.


photos and additional reporting by Whit Spurgeon



posted 1:25 am PST | Permalink

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