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July 22, 2013

Notes From The 2013 Comic-Con International In San Diego Floor


By Tom Spurgeon

The following are a few notes and observations gathered on the floor of Comic-Con International 2013 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.


* it struck me on the train that this is the first San Diego Con I ever attended where I never went to the Hyatt. I can't tell if I'm old, the Hyatt is dead, people don't go to bars as much as they used to or all of the above. Or I might be increasingly lazy.

* I have a sense that more and more people are just kind of squatting where they are, so that when it comes to late night they're drinking in the various hotel lobbies rather than all making their way towards one or two of them...? Does that make sense? Like all the late-night options for drinking seemed stuffed with people, not just one or two.

* I enjoyed staying at the Hilton Gaslamp. Staying that close to the show is indeed super-nice, although as I recalled (it's been a while since I scored a room at any of those hotels) it makes leaving the immediate convention center area that much more daunting. My room was a good one, too; I could see the run of the convention center from my windows and it was freaking huge. I'm also fond of the breakfast buffet concept maybe once during such a weekend for speed rather than the ability to punish my body with hash browns. Although, as far as punishments go...?

* I still miss Rory Root.

* Larry Marder had this great description of why he does more business on Sunday than any other day, calling Sunday the day for "kids and shy people." Marder was set up in that small press section that's on the south side of the show nearer the alt-indy section, and if you stop and think about it it's pretty amazing someone with his small-press pedigree is set up over there. He's selling a lot of craft items now, and they're all pretty fun. I'm not sure I've seen the latest run of trade collection on those books, either.

* Marder seemed perfectly sanguine about his audience becoming younger, kind of a mirror response to something Jeff Smith pointed out in his panel -- neither man intended their work to be seen that way, but it is, and well, that's sort of cool.

* the one mainstream comic about which I was asked "Is that actually good?" more than any other: that Batman '66 one. Second place: Saga.

* I never notice Kids Day in terms of what it's like to take a kid to Kids Day. People ask me about this, too. My one memory of kids from the show was a family where the mom and the dad had wrapped their arms train style around the kids in the middle to battle through the Saturday crowds, more of a terrifying than heartwarming image. But I do know that kids go there and enjoy it. Something to look into. If anyone does this and wants to send me an e-mail, that would be awesome.

* stopped by a lot of booths and talked to industry representatives about their show. I don't remember doing that before. Both what I heard and the fact that I've never done that before are something I'm thinking about today for my final, brief report tomorrow.

* literally nothing that happened in the show business end of the con penetrated into discussions in the comics world... I can't remember that ever happening before. I guess a Superman/Batman announcement and that fun actor that played Loki showing up in character were the two pop-culture moments from the show...? I'm not entirely sure. Maybe the fact that Avengers 2 will feature Dickish Robot Overlord Ultron in a verison of that latest Marvel event series. It does seem that 2015 is shaping up to be the movie year that sprang from my 11-year-old head Lathe Of Heaven style.

* talked to some folks in the train line on my way to Los Angeles. Talked to a guy who works with something called the Art Directors Guild; they had either three or four panels at the show, I don't remember. There are worlds within worlds within worlds within worlds at that thing.

* also talked to two people who had come down for Comic-Con but didn't have tickets and didn't attend any of the show. They just went to parties and outside exhibits and had a couple of meetings. For a watcher of that con, this is like finding a mythical woodland beast.

* the funniest thing I heard from a vendor on Sunday was one who told she did extremely well at the show but felt like she couldn't tell everyone about it because she didn't want to make them feel bad if they had done less well.

* no one ever smiles and tells you you can't enter a restaurant because it's been shut down for a private party and they're sorry for the inconvenience. It's like they're instructed to let you know that you're not invited to this thing you just heard about three seconds ago and you should definitely feel bad about this. Which I guess is part of the point of having a private party.

* it was great to see Steven Grant and I hope you're enjoying what might be his final run of columns.

* can't remember if I mentioned this, but I caught Steven Weissman reading a comic solely because it was autobiographical and he heard some of his friends appeared in it. Now that is a very specialized reading strategy.

* I was going to make a joke about stopping buy Publisher X to do my yearly introduction to the new PR person, but I think that company has really only had like three PR people in their entire existence so that would be unfair. I like the shape of that joke, though.

* talked to Chip Mosher briefly Sunday, who made a couple of very funny jokes about how not to write press releases for the comiXology European initiatives that use the phrase "conquering Europe." They are doing very, very well that comiXology.

* talked to Ed Chavez at Vertical. San Diego is an odd show for them because, well, it's an odd show for everyone right now but also because they have a different "season" than other folks displaying at cons and San Diego comes right between two really heavy traffic-and-interest shows for them.

* I really enjoy the part of my Comic-Con weekend that allows me to see a whole bunch of panels in succession, or at least parts of them, but that tends to come way early in the show weekend now.

* okay, on second thought entering Comic-Con weekend by staying up the entire Tuesday night before hand probably wasn't the best strategy.

* I am still wearing my Supernatural cape.

* it was good to see folks like Sergio Aragones and Robert Williams looking healthy and happy.

* it was good to see everybody, really.



posted 12:20 am PST | Permalink

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