Ok, so things have slowed down enough to gather my thoughts about the SDCC. Truthfully, it was a lot of awesome, a lot of aggravation, and a lot of amazement. If I ever went back again (doubtful, but you never know) I would have such a better game plan than this time around.
First off, I got to meet my favorite artist of all time: Neal Adams. I brought around about a dozen comics over the course of the weekend for him to sign, and will keep them all as treasures. My kids couldn't understand who he was, so I told them, "Think of him as my Alex Ross." Then they understood.
Last year at the Dragon-Con in Atlanta, Joel, Trace, and Frank from Cinematic Titanic were there and I got to see some of the MST3K cast live. Unfortunately, they didn't riff a movie live, which would have been a major highlight. However, at the SDCC I got to see Mike, Bill, and Kevin do a live riffing of a hilarious short called "Shake Hands with Danger", featuring some of the most gruesome construction accidents you could imagine in a training video. I had to keep reminding myself to watch the guys rather than the screen because this was a chance to see poetry in action. The next day my wonderful wife waited in line for me for almost 2 hours so I could slip in to take her place right before the guys started signing autographs (thanks, honey!). I got to meet-and-greet my favorite MST3K team and watch them riff live...major highlight!
To top it all off as far as the lectures go, I got to see my all-time favorite author in person: Ray Bradbury. I had no idea he was coming or I would have brought a book for him to sign as it ended, which would have been the pride of my library. Still, it was amazing getting to see him in person. His body is obviously giving out, but his mind is as sharp as ever when he speaks.
I got to meet my favorite Doctor Who: Colin Baker. That was a pretty nice treat. He signed the SDCC exclusive Doctor Who figure I had purchased. At the same time, there was some guy there with him that had something to do with Lord of the Rings, but I didn't recognize the name. The people around me were freaking out though with "Lord of the Rings meets Doctor Who! How cool!". I get the feeling I missed something important there. He's in the picture with Colin so if you recognize him, please tell me who I missed.
I also got to meet Adam West, who was just as cool in person as he seems on TV. I literally ran into Wesley Snipes and Joe Morton on the exhibition floor (fortunately, Wesley didn't go all "Blade" on me, but was really a nice guy). Lou Ferrigno was there looking just as big (if not bigger) as he was in his Hulk days. Gil Gerrard and Erin Gray from my old 80's "Buck Rogers" TV days were there (Erin looked the same as always, but I could have eaten lunch with Gil and never recognized him).
As far as shopping goes, I managed to find the Holy Grail of comic books that I have been searching for as a gift for my wife: Peanuts comics! Those things are harder to find than you'd think, but we managed to grab 3 issues from out of all the sellers there. It was like an Easter egg hunt for me.
I found out something equally important though: sellers will drastically reduce prices as time goes by. Day 1 everything is expensive. Day 2, it gets a little cheaper. Day 3 they're trying to cut each other's throats to get you buying stuff from them rather than the booths around them.
Finally, I ran into the CGC people and gave them 4 comics to be graded. It's my first time doing something like that (I've bought a lot of graded comics, but never turned any in from my own collection for grading). The pearl of the group I turned in is an old Deadman comic that I had just had Neal Adams sign. It'll be a month or so before they come back home, but that'll just give me something else to look forward to.
And finally...Things I Don't Understand About Comic-Con:
1. $20 for an autograph???? Your studio flew you there, put you in a hotel, paid your expenses, and you're charging people $20 to sign a book, comic book, or toy???? Guess what...the fans are the only reason people give a care who you are and they're the only thing separating you from the rest of the mob just milling about on the exhibition floor. Without the fans you're just that lonely guy sitting behind the booth trying desperately to get someone to read his "independent comic" or buy his "independent film". Treat people with respect and just sign your stinking name for free!
2. $6 for a hot dog???? If I were in a starving country trying desperately to conserve food, I could see this. But that's just wrong.
3. A line for everything???? You want a shirt? Get in line. You want a toy? Get in line. You want a $20 autograph? Get in line. You need to use the toilet? You get the idea. The only booth that gets real props from me for their "exclusive" toys sales was Entertainment Earth. The booth was always open and the line never got above 20 people because they kept it moving and had plenty of stock. I managed to get the Minimates, the Flash "Giants of Justice" figure, the Halo figure, and a couple of Twilight Zone bobble heads with no hassle. Thank you, EE!
4. How much for that artwork???? I understand you are an artist. I understand that a page from a comic book is considered art. What I do not understand is how anyone can say "Yes, that page is $12,000" with a straight face and expect anyone to buy it. I know Alex Ross is awesome, but please! And he wasn't the only one trying for those prices. It seemed like every artist there felt a baseball-card-sized drawing of Batman was worth at least $500. I definitely went into the wrong line of work.
Looking forward to Dragon-Con in September. It's a lot closer to home and to be honest it just seems more laid back. At SDCC you could feel the tension in the air as the crowds got so bad you couldn't even stop to look at anything, and there were surprisingly few people dressed up this year (at least where I was). Last year we walked into our hotel lobby for Dragon Con and saw the entire Justice Society standing there for pictures. Stormtroopers everywhere, major and minor superheroes galore, and a few rather imaginative costumes in there too. While I'm still not ready to dress up or anything, it's fun to see the time and effort others put into it. Great stuff!
So the SDCC was a wonderful experience all around. We really enjoyed it and are glad to say we had the experience, but I doubt we ever do it again.
Tune in Monday as we take a very special look at our "Blackest Night" Wish List!