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

July 16, 2005

San Diego Update

1. Most people I talked in the most scientifically inaccurate way possible felt that Friday sales were "fine" to "down". One person wondered out loud if enough money would be made to pay for the booth.

2. Fantagraphics co-owner Kim Thompson noted that this was the first time in five years his company didn't have to sell a certain amount just to make it back to the office and make deposits so that checks didn't bounce.

3. Patrick McDonnell sported a very clean-shaven face.

4. I was lucky enough to get to interview Gary Panter on a panel, and that was the most fun I ever had interviewing someone on a panel.

5. I ran into Jay Kennedy, and we talked about King Features' new strip "Franklin Fibbs." It sounds like it's in that netherworld between doing okay and doing really well, but it sounds like Kennedy is really, really behind that feature. He also seems really fond of their latest strip acquistion, the one about a lawyer, a doctor, and a cop (forgive me not being able to look it up) which featured Kennedy's first non-North American cartoonist hire.

6. I went to the Eisners last night, and they were actually pretty well done compared to previous year's editions. I will try to do a minute-by-minute write-up when I get home, but the themes of the evening were sincerity and brevity. It was still abominably long, but the awards themselves fairly clipped along. There's just a lot of stuff there.

7. As for the awards themselves, Michael Chabon said, "Have you seen the McSweeney's?" when his Escapist anthology won, which pretty much sums up my feelings on a lot of awards. It's not that what I feel is the best book as a critic never wins Eisners, but it's more like it seems that the Eisners are always given to whatever comic brings the most pleasure in any way as opposed to the one that reaches excellence, which is a perfectly fine standard to have as a reader and kind of a sad one to project as an industry.

8. Best scene of the night came early on as Arnold Drake sang his made-up Comic-Con song. He has a voice just like Henry Fonda's father in "The Lady Eve," and the song carried this hilarious out of left field slam about Stan Lee taking credit for stuff he didn't do.

9. I note that Jeff Smith is probably one of three cartoonist who can start jogging for the stage and not have everyone worried for him.

10. I've already lost the one piece of original art I bought. I usually avoid buying these things here for that reason -- it's hard for me to keep track of everything and I end up putting something down for a second and just losing it. I feel awful.

11. Ivan Brunetti promises that Schizo #4 will come out very soon.

12. Three people communicated to me variations of "Johnny Ryan is surprisingly normal!"

13. Congratulations to the Lulus of the year.

14. There's a Henson/Tokyopop/Gaiaman deal worth tracking down through the feed below or other news sites if you're a publishing news junkie.

15. Tony Millionaire is working on an adventure story somewhere between Maakies and Sock Monkey in tone. It shoudl be 100-plus pages long. He did very well with the original art sales.

16. I saw the new Calvin and Hobbes book. They look very nice -- I like it better than the Far Side set. There's a lengthy written piece by Bill Watterson in the first volume. The Andrews and McMeel representative told me they're considering a few other properties for a similar book treatment, but damned if I can figure out what might be a viable candidate. Of course, after selling this Calvin and Hobbes things, maybe they can make a list in solid gold ink on diamond tablets.

17. Steven Weissman says he's going to work with his set of characters in a way that's less narrative-driven and more gag driven.

18. What happened to all the Klingons? The Lord of the Rings costumes were a passing fad, too. Star Wars endures. Manga is rising.

19. Mario and Gilbert Hernandez are collaborating again.

20. What was up with George Perez having his Bob Clampett award received by some guy with two floor models? It was a weird, not-amusing and slightly depressing way to start winding down the awards program. The women were also included in the publicity picture taken of winners left of stage right after they're awarded.

21. Hey, I found the art!

For those interested in following the avalanche of publishing news coming from San Diego via panels and related announcements, I would recommend the special San Diego Con News Feed from Jeffrey Stevenson.

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