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July 27, 2007


Your 2007 San Diego Con Update

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Notes and Observations About or Caused by Comic-Con International, Taking Place July 26-29 (With a July 25 Preview Night) in San Diego, California

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1. Friday single-day passes are sold out as the con increasingly fills. I had two people ask in my general vicinity why anyone would buy a Thursday-only pass, and I think the scarcity of passes later on would be the answer.

2. I don't get a sense from anyone I talk to that the con is an unbelievable burden or that survival is the main factor. Quite the opposite: this seems to be a a show populated by savvy old-timers. Also: not a ton of traffic at the comics end of the hall. Lots, but not unbelievably awful or anything.

3. I hadn't heard that Juliette has left Last Gasp again several months ago.

4. The Fletcher Hanks book I Shall Destroy All Civilized Planets is Fantagraphics' top seller, and there was a line of people waiting for editor Paul Karasik during his signing.

5. The gentrification of downtown San Diego near complete in a very noticeable "wow, look at all the coffee shops way," a lot of stories of old-time San Diego are starting to leave people's lips. The most strange: one longtime con guest and his then-spouse witnessing a street person stabbing a block away. I think there's probably a Starbuck's there now. I did see 1-2 homeless people in the street the way there used dozens starting one block away from the Gaslamp; this time it was over at about 10th or 11th and Market.

6. Joel Meadows of Tripwire says his book of in-studio photographs from various cartoonists may see the light of day at Image. He's using the time to get a few more cartoonists in there, including hopefully Moebius.

7. The cartoonist Darwyn Cooke is wrapping up his Spirit run at issue #12 rather than a previously committed-to 24 issues I think from what he was saying because he won't have the same support team in place for a second year. His next project takes the cartoonist out of mainstream comics altogether -- two original graphic novels over the next two years. One is a fable-like science fiction story that should be readable by all ages; the other is a sex and violence romp with an ordinary-man protagonist and a lot of paranoia. The books haven't been sold to a publisher yet by Cooke's choice, and sounds like they may not be until considerable headway is made.

8. Cooke's panel had a long line for a comics spotlight event and was mostly packed. Guy Delisle's panel had about 50 people, which is twice what I've ever seen for a cartoonist of similar skill in that particular time slot. The questions from the audience were mostly about the political implication of his Pyongyang book, translated in the US by Drawn and Quarterly. I thought the most fascinating thing he said was how he was dedicated to his publisher despite their rejecting a new book he then took elsewhere. I can't imagine a North American cartoonist having the same attitude about a publisher that just rejected a book. Also it was interesting to hear him describe how he masked or did not portray a lot of the confidences between himself and some of the North Koreans with whom he interacted.

9. Jeff Smith's RASL preview cuts a startling profile tucked underneath arms on the convention floor.

10. Brendan Burford of King Features seems genuinely and particularly excited about the first strips he's rolling out. A new one from a New Zealand cartoonist comes out first, a few weeks after the show. That would be only the second non-North American cartoonist in King's long history. Burford split time over the weekend between Los Angeles and San Diego, and expressed a desire to one day try living in Canada.

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For coverage of general comics news outside the convention and for differing views of the convention itself, I recommend my peers at ComicMix.com, Publishers Weekly, Journalista, The Beat, Newsarama, Comic Book Resources and The Pulse. Groups of photos from the show can be found here.
 
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