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July 15, 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.


* breakfast of a bagel with cream cheese and coffee in my hotel room while I type... I think it's an insult to actual hard work to call writing about funnybooks hard work, but con coverage for everyone is a bit more labor-intensive than it used to be, for sure.

* one thing that intrigues about Comic-Con this year is how adaptable the participants have been in terms of what they can expect out of the show -- for instance how publishers constantly adjust the stock they have on hand from year to year as the profile of the consumers change. It's been weirder for press to do this because of the emergence of so many organs, the changes in the kinds of news provided, and the sweeping technological issues.

* speaking of adaptations, one of my favorite moments in con history took place on this day when a longtime retailer/publisher showed me the support hose he wears at long shows like this one, declaring that and the arch supports he has in makes all the difference. For some reason this seemed like a fish-has-feet moment.

* I have a half-baked theory based on mostly empty restaurants of the over $15 entree kind and the kinds of customers certain folks said were visiting or not visiting their booths that we may have a slow bleed-off on a kind of customer a bit more devoted than the old, now long-gone "I think I'll go to Comicon today" person with tons of random cash and "I have to be there" devoted fan of a specific genre or movie. I've had no surprise encounters with folks I know down here, which is really, really odd.

* another thing I heard from a few publishers is how important having creators on hand can be to a booth entire, how it drives traffic to backstock for those creators and makes people linger over books offered more generally

* I went to the panel for the 30th anniversary of Los Bros Hernandez. I made fun of Gary later on for covering the hell out of 1982-1984, and he laughed, so I guess he won't mind if I say the panel didn't get too deeply into the L&R run but mostly concentrated on the early material. Fantagraphics made their comiXology announcement at the end of the panel. It was a good panel generally, though. The questions from devoted fans ranging from Mike Allred to a girl named Maggie seemed to embody something I've heard all weekend: that the Hernandez Brothers have made art the last three decades that have made any number of lives better.

* I'd say well over 200 people at that Los Bros panel, in one of the rooms in the boonies.

* I never knew that Rand Race was based a tiny bit visually on Johnny Comet. Makes sense, though.

* it was nice to see Mario Hernandez win an inkpot. That's a fun award because I can't imagine another opportunity exists for many comics folks to share an honor with Osamu Tezuka.

* I was completely unable to say "Osamu Tezuka" in the bar at 1 AM this morning.

* I did a spotlight panel with Brecht Evens. He's very articulate and funny. The new book is due in August, and I'll hopefully run that interview then. I liked hearing about how some of his artistic leaps came from getting practical advice from mentors and peers.

* Evens has been a hit all weekend: fun guy to have around. Like most European cartoonists that visit the show, being at a show like this one holds its own fascinations -- Evens mentioned, for instance, this was the first time he'd ever been in a sizable convention facility of this type. I don't know why that comment stuck in my head, but it did.

* the crowds were insane. It was a typical Saturday that way.

* had a dinner with a large group of people and it actually worked out well. So don't always take my advice.

* I still don't understand the costumes thing, either the people wearing them or the desire to take photographs of them. I'm grateful for the Silver Surfer with the mini, five-year-old Silver Surfer I saw, though, as I could make my "his villain is Dr. Child Services" joke.

* Zander Cannon is the only guy I think may be here that I know into whom I haven't run yet. I think I missed Rob Goodin, too. I talked to Jeffrey Brown, which to my regret I almost never do. He expressed a lot of gratitude over some of the gigs he's been getting lately. I'm happy for him.

* ran into Eric Shanower and talked a bit. That guy is always super-nice to me. Ran into Darwyn Cooke as well.

* I guess the CBLDF auction went well; it did not get over until well after midnight. I think they're having a good show. I forgot that Ryan Matheson was at the con until typing "CBLDF" for the first time this morning. Crap.

* another thing I did today was stop by the Best Of/Worst Of Manga panel, which I adore because I know and like all the participants but mostly because it's people talking about comics while other people are eager to hear them talking about comics. Shaenon Garrity is quite good on panels like that one.

* I think I could spend a few hours talking to Conrad Groth and getting his impressions of various cartoonists. That just sort of sounds fascinating to me, given that he's literally grown up in that milieu. Plus he seems smart. Everyone I know likes seeing him interact with his dad at this show.

* ton of folks were nice enough to say something positive about this site's Eisner win. I appreciate the sentiment. I saw James Kochalka holding his on Saturday; he had a broken one replaced, apparently. I think there were a few broken ones. Most of the folks to whom I spoke greatly appreciated how quickly that show unfolded.

* in a brief conversation, Chris Schweizer strongly endorsed this year's Trixter site as an eating destination.

* got to talk to Mike Baehr a bit Saturday night, and noted that it's nice to have that weird, Fanta-shorthand for certain things that with other folks have to be explained.

* I think this round of Image-related announcements is strong enough you could argue they'll win the mainstream-comics momentum element of the show. Matt Fraction and Howard Chaykin on that kind of project is an interesting pairing.

* I'm not sure that comics people know all the way what to do with Comic-Con and other shows like it, but I thinking they're sort of rounding in on it. With fewer comics people than ever, it almost seems like a smaller show than in previous years. Like you pay attention to fellow travelers with other groups because you don't have as big a group of your own.

* embarrassing moments made a run at blissful ones today, but we're still ahead of the ledger on the latter.


these reports will continue all weekend, unless you're reading the one that rolls out on Monday in which case it's the last one; maybe skip a close reading of these photos, as they're from a previous show

posted 5:00 am PST | Permalink

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