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

July 15, 2005

San Diego Update

1. The crowds were pretty heavy for a Thursday, although I'm not sure if people don't just automatically say that anymore. I talked to a few guys in booths and in the small press area who felt they had done well, but I heard from a couple of alternative publishers and artist's alley folk that indicated business had been kind of slow.

2. A potential breakout book of the show for alt-folks, for being new (both in terms of the artist and the book) and just generally sharp-looking: Douglas Fraser's Mort Grim, from AdHouse Books. There was a really nice piece of James Sturm art at one booth, but the booth sold out of all of its Dan Clowes pages by 3:00 pm.

3. Although I said I wouldn't buy comics, I bought some 1970s Kirby comics from a spinner rack utilized by Lee's Comics. Damn you, appealing and nostalgic manner of presenting comic books!

4. The comics weblog panel was odd, even though I very much appreciate being invited as I probably have the smallest readership of anyone on the panel. A few of the exchanges -- about the personal-diary nature of blogs, about the use of political statements to excite or agitate readers, and about times the blog has been used to help their creators find information or rally support -- were so outside the realm of my experience that I felt bad I was taking up the space!

5. If Eddie Campbell's book from First Second is any indication, that line will sport some really lovely-looking work.

6. The David B. panel was really laidback but extremely interesting, with an audience that seemed engaged with the artist's Epileptic, and asked question about metaphor and visual language. There were 45-50 people in attendance.

7. It's funny to hear people from Europe talking about the Transformers where "the Transformers" is the only English phrase they're using.

8. I guess the big publishing news of the show is that DC will be reviving Will Eisner's The Spirit in some sort of new adventure comics. Personally, I'm not too excited about that; I think we have the perfect number of Spirit comics already. I'm sure some of them will be good, and some of them will suck. Mr. Eisner's life will be celebrated in several points at tonight's Eisner Awards, with some videotaped testimony in hopefully an upbeat manner. Marvel and Microsoft signed a development deal intended, I think, for the Xbox.

9. Harry Potter bought a large group of comics folk free food and drinks from waiters at a restaurant location rented by Scholastic atop Horton Plaza, in a repeat of last year's Bone launch with a lot of the same people. The CBLDF function at the Westgate featured a very nice balcony location, and a seemingly large number of people, even late. I had it pointed out to me how astonishing it is for a movie studio to use the Fund as a way to reach people at the show. At the Fund's event I saw Zander Cannon, and after I stopped being frightened by his hair we recalled meeting at either a CBLDF or Fantagraphics party from 7-8 years ago in a parking lot you had to step over sleeping bums to reach -- all of that neighborhood seems to be condos now. There were six cranes viewable from Petco Park -- it looked like War of the Worlds.

10. The special issue of Variety throwing a spotlight on the show quote Mike Richardson as saying that Dark Horse moved 180,000 Sin City books in one week around the time of the movie's release.

11. Jeffrey Brown will be doing some comics about a Transformers parody called The Changebots. Dean Haspiel is illustrating a Harvey Pekar story for The Escapist about a suicide attempt during the filming of American Splendor. He said that drawing Harvey Pekar was sort of like drawing DC's mega-baddie Darkseid.

12. I saw no actor-people except two guys from Reno 911, and I had to have those guys pointed out to me.

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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