Last week was the San Diego Comic Con. This is the largest comic book convention on the planet, and has grown over the years to be an all-purpose media expo. I don't have exact figures for this years attendance, but the total numbers including attendees, pros and exhibitors is probably somewhere between 93,000 and 97,000 folks. I've heard rumors that it was 10% larger than last year, so maybe we're closer to 100k to 110k. In addition to all the major players in the comic book industry, the convention regularly attracts Hollywood filmmakers (who debut their upcoming works as well as scout out new projects), video, card & role playing game producers, toy manufacturers & licensees, and a growing number of publishers. This year saw Del Rey, Simon & Schuster, iBooks, Bantam, and Scholastic, among others.
The convention itself was insane. Top Cow had Buffy & Austin Powers' star Seth Green signing his new comic book The Freshman on Friday and Saturday, so I spent two days staring across at him whenever the sea of people let up. For some reason, Showgirl's Elizabeth Berkley was hanging around there on Saturday too. I have a good friend in Los Angeles named Stephenson Crossley (pictured left) who had volunteered to drive down from LA and help out. A few weeks prior to the show, he got a gig working on a film in Baton Rouge, but he wanted to keep his word, so he flew at his own expense, arriving Thursday night at 1am and departing Sunday at 9pm. The poor guy had a red eye back, arrived at 7am, and went to work on his film set at 9am. I am immensely grateful and absolutely could NOT have done it without him. The aisles were constantly thick with people and there was never a moment when someone wasn't asking questions or looking at books.
Highlights of the con for me included evenings spent with artists Stephan Martiniere, Jon Foster, and Dave Seeley (all of whom are contributing covers to Pyr's third season) and Tor art director Irene Gallo, as well as Monkeybrain's Chris Roberson and Allison Baker, and artist John Picacio. I also got to see old friends Mike Colbert, Paul Silver, Eric & Jill Frederickson and Eric & Karen Forsberg, whose daughter, Lola, is pictured here on the right receiving a signed copy of Fiona Avery's novel The Crown Rose.
Finally, I was impressed with how many people from Alabama, both on my flight out and my return flight, were heading to the convention. It really pulls from everywhere and is not just drawing from California. On Sunday, I bumped into Ed Cunningham from my local comic store, Empire Comics. As Stephenson had to leave at 5pm to catch his flight, Ed kindly helped me break down the booth and cart it back to the hotel for shipping. I couldn't have done it without him either.
Oh, and while I mostly resisted the cornucopia of merchandise for sale, the geek in me has come home with 6 diecast metal Corgi Batmobiles. They have a whole line of them, from the 1940s roadster through the classic 60s open top to the weird manga cars of the late 90s and the rocket-like car of the 2000s. Heaven.