Sunday, July 23, 2006

Less Comic... More Con

Went down to the big show in San Diego yesterday. Had a great time catching up with old friends.

Every year I am amazed at how much bigger the event gets and how much less it has to do about comics. The first time I went to SDCC was back in 1987, before the organizers moved it to the Convention Center. I remember it was in the back conference rooms (not the main ones) of some hotel I forgot the name of. At the time, I didn't think it was all that big... certaintly no bigger than some of the other conventions I had been to. I think the only difference was that the Big Two actually came out to represent themselves.

Things I remember from that Con:

- The generosity of Kevin Maguire. He had come out of nowhere and had started doing Justice League at the time. In the days before the internet, he politely answered my questions that nowadays would draw bored eye-rolling from less humble artists. A true gentleman.

- ...contrasted with the punk rock attitude of Bill Sienspellcheckwicz, who gleefully sneered as he ripped the cover of the comic I handed to him as he signed it. Does that make it an art object?

- Harlan Ellison taking over the PA system. Jack Kirby had received a lifetime award the night before (may have been an Inkpot... I'm unsure) and someone had swiped it from his table as he was doing signings. Ellison proceeded to exhort the crowd to essentially beat the crap out of anyone found to possess the award. Apparently, the award was returned anonymously later that day.

- The anime viewings. Long before cheaper multimedia systems were available... it was basically a darkened room with a few rows of foldout chairs around a small TV/VCR cart (like the kind you find in public schools nowadays).

I miss that ComicCon a bit. One was free to wonder around and browse the plethora of bins and wares, to discover new things and chat leisurely with creators and other geeks. Yesterday, in contrast, felt like spending a few hours in a mosh pit.


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