I did it again. I subjected myself to rubbing elbows, hips, and other body parts with nearly 130,000 perfect (and imperfect) strangers for the 38th Annual San Diego Comic-Con International (my 34th and possibly last.) The huge exhibit hall, the massive media presence, the recreation of the Bataan Death March (courtesy of the Fire Marshal.) Yes, it was the best of times; it was the worst of times. I did it; I survived to tell the tale, so here we go.
If you’ve never gone to Comic-Con (hereafter referred to as S.D.C.C.) and you have any interest in comic books, films, or television, go. It’s as simple as that, go. S.D.C.C. is an E*X*P*E*R*I*E*N*C*E*!
If you haven’t been to S.D.C.C. since it’s moved from the U.S. Grant Hotel, or Muir College, or the El Cortez Hotel, or the Sheraton on Harbor Island, or back to the El Cortez, or to the Convention and Performing Arts Center, or back to the El Cortez, or back to the Convention and Performing Arts Center, or to the San Diego Convention Center (its present home since 1991,) give serious thought to what you are about to undertake: Crowds in the thousands, hotel costs nearing six Benjamin’s (and that’s for a crummy room,) inflated food prices, transportation nightmares each day, and other issues too numerous to go into. However, if you want the opportunity to see and hear the movers and shakers from a multitude of industries, if you want to bear witness to the pioneers of comic book history, if you want to encounter the new wave of artists and performers, then there is nothing like S.D.C.C.
As for me, I was able to manage (just able) this year by staying away from the massive media events in Halls H and 20: Lost, Heroes, The Simpsons Movie, Battlestar: Galactia, The Bionic Woman, and Zachary Quinto and Leonard Nimoy for Star Trek XI. I’m sure that Lee Whiteside covered many of those events (he seemed to be reasonably healthy and sane when I saw him at the Spotlight on Joe Straczynski.) As long as you didn’t need the use of a lavatory, food, or drink (it is all interrelated, you see) you could easily campout in a single room all day, since the committee doesn’t clear the room after each program.
Even so, limiting my program attendance to programming rooms 1-8 still involved entering the room through one door, exiting the room through another door, entering a hallway from the East side, exiting down and around the hall on the opposite side, and spending more time then I cared for to plot the shortest route from Room 8 to Room 1. It wasn’t until Sunday when I heard that restroom re-entry passes were available (the pass let you re-enter the programming room after you’d gone to the restroom, you silly goose.)
One nice thing about the convention is getting together with old friends. Granted, most of my friends who used to attend S.D.C.C. have given up on Comic-Con, but some of them are forced by their employer to attend. I was able to get together on Friday evening with John Clark, Gemstone Publishing's editor-in-chief for the Disney comics line, (and since I hadn’t seen John in about a year) spending time with him was the highlight of the convention.
However, I was able to listen to Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnell, Cory Doctorow, Syd Mead, Gary Owens, Andrea Romano, Mark Evanier, Mark A. Altman, Robert Meyer Burnett, Daren Dochterman, Jeff Bond, The Pixar Story: To Infinity and Beyond, Harry Turtledove, Peter David, R.A. Salvatore, Paul Dini, Orson Scott Card, Richard Christian Matheson, Wally Wingert, Kathy Garver, Joe Alaskey, Max Allan Collins, David Morrell, Scott Shaw!, Maurice LaMarche, Joe Straczynski, Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, Bill Corbett, Alana Ubach, Carlos Alazraqui, Tom Kenny, Michael Bell, April Stewart, and Gregg Berger.
Oh yes, I lived and I mostly enjoyed it, but I’ve been asking myself if it’s all worthwhile. I’ll have to let you know.
Comic-Con International 2007
J.M. Straczynski at Comic-Con 2007
“Heroes” at Comic-Con 2007
Tim Kring at Comic-Con 2007
Tom Spurgeon’s comments on attending Comic-Con
Mark Evanier’s comments on Comic-Con 2007
Publishers Weekly – The Beat – 2007 Eisner Awards
Comic-Con 2007 Interviews
YouTube videos of Comic-Con 2007