Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My San Diego Comic Con experience

I'll have a few other things to blog about the con, but as my first time to see SDCC, I was awfully happy; from the Thursday to the Saturday, each day seemed to be better than the previous. My personal highlights were:


  • Collected some autographs from Brent Anderson and Bill Sienkiewicz!
  • I met Ron Lim; more about that in a later post.
  • I bought a copy of Stan Freberg's autobiography, It Only Hurts When I Laugh. I had tried to buy it off last month but Amazon cancelled the order after two weeks after deciding it wasn't in stock after all. Thank goodness it worked out this way because it meant I could get it autographed by Freberg himself!
  • I had Scott Kolins & Aaron Lopresti autograph the Marvel handbooks they'd done covers for.
  • I attended the Marvel: X-Men panel which was okay.
  • I attended the Gold & Silver Age Creator panel which was very interesting but the guests had to be constantly reminded to speak into the microphones; when I could hear them, I heard some interesting tales. Jerry Robinson carried himself nicely.
  • I attended a panel on Graphic Novels in Libraries which turned out to be different than what was on the label. It was a panel about using graphic novels in library programming which was a little interesting but not relevant to my own work.


  • Visited Steve Lieber to collect an ashcan of Underground#1; luckily Jeff Parker had blogged about it.
  • I met two posters I knew from the message boards: Rad Chipmunk & Evil G:DR.
  • I also met Chad Anderson, one of my co-writers from the handbooks. It turns out that he's a terrific being in person and we had a great time visiting.
  • The That 70's Panel was one of the best panels of the weekend; I knew I wouldn't be able to attend Doug Moench's own panel the following day so it meant a lot to me to see him in person and witness how quick-witted he was; he and Marv Wolfman dominated a fair bit of the panel with their lively recollections and at one point Moench brought down the house with two words: "Jim Shooter." Gene Colan was late arriving but it was nice to see the enthusiastic response he elicited from the crowd.
  • I attended the Cup o' Joe panel which had that neat Marvelman news, though no one seems sure how big the news really is.
  • I wanted to attend the Rifftrax panel but the line was ridiculous; disheartened, I walked into another hall just to sit down and found myself attending a Peter Jackson/James Cameron panel. How does that figure?
  • The Eisner Awards were not exactly the Academy Awards in terms of spectacle, but I was pleased to see several of my picks win and Jeff Smith & Terry Moore were great presenters. The highlight of the evening was easily Russ Heath accepting his induction to the Eisner Hall of Fame by saying (paraphrased): "I'm glad to be alive to accept this." With just those words he got off the stage to a thunderous standing ovation.


  • I went to Russ Heath to congratulate him on his award; he was perplexed at the response to his "speech" the previous evening but recalled one person telling him it was memorable because it was short and funny. I bought a print from him.
  • I went to the Marvel: Dark Reign panel and met up with Rad, G:DR, Chad and another handbook writer, Anthony Flamini. This worked out brilliantly and allowed Anthony, Chad and I to dish on the handbook experience with each other over lunch later. The panel itself was overshadowed by a single young fan, Christian, who won our hearts and minds by flooring Quesada with statements like as "Norman Osborn, you're not the man--Obama is!"
  • I went to the Ray Bradbury panel and ducked in on the last minutes of the Green Lantern panel to ensure I had a seat. Geoff Johns closed the Green Lantern panel by leading the audience in the Green Lantern oath. It turns out, I know it by heart. This may not sound like a big deal coming from a huge comic book fan, but as someone with maybe two Green Lantern comics in my possession, it did surprise me.
  • Ray Bradbury was simply wonderful; he didn't say much (his agent did most of the talking), but I hung on each of his words. His passion for life and art amazed me.
  • Bradbury was followed immediately by the Human Target panel which included a preview of the show's pilot. It's not bad, but Jackie Earle Haley is too interesting to be a minor character and it can't be good that so many people like him more than the star. The same room held the special Watchmen: Director's Cut about 2 hours later. About the only way I could have seen it would have been to stay in the room but I forfeited it so that I could catch up with people on the exhibit floor. And so...
  • With only minutes left in the day I met Jim Steranko. More on this later.

Overall, I had considered SDCC to be something I should do once in my life but the experience had me pondering a return visit. There was no doubt in Ron Lim's mind: "You'll be back." he said repeatedly. Time will tell.

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