Monday, July 29, 2013

The Last San Diego Comic Con Review

No, this was not the last San Diego Comic Con and it may not be the last I attend.  It is however probably the last review of the Con to be posted, since other folks are more on the ball and able to get these things up within a few days.  Last week was crazy at work and other things happened so the review I had been planning was put on the back-burner. It's certainly not going to be as long or as in depth as most of the reviews you've already seen, heard or read online. Also, if you are looking for breaking news you should have already read that stuff on The Beat  and Bleeding Cool .  Heidi and Rich are much better at keeping up with stuff than I am or ever was, even in the day when I knew a lot of folks actually working in the industry.

To be truthful I probably spent less time at this Con, at least in the convention center, than ever before, especially given that I was there for four days. My main goal this year was to catch up with some folks I haven't seen in a while and to spend evenings with Kristina, Sarah & Dan. While it would have been nice to meet up with some other people who were in attendance the chief folks I wanted to see were The Tony Isabella, Bob Ingersoll, Randy Renaldo and anyone I knew from Capa-Alpha.  I was fortunate to meet up with all three of those guys, as well as speaking for a few minutes with Jeff Gelb (who I met through K-a).

I didn't see any movie or TV stars, at least nobody I recognized.  First off, I wasn't going to spend hours standing in line for Hall H or Ballroom 20 and those celebs on the floor were generally surrounded by either fans or security folks. Seeing Neil Gaiman and Leonard Maltin on a couple of panels was cool, but those were probably the only folks who might be known outside of fan circles.  I was introduced to Jerry Ordway, which I thought was pretty cool.

I attended over a half-dozen or so panels, including Mark Evanier's annual QUICK DRAW, with regulars Sergio Aragones and Scott Shaw.  The third artist this year was Neal Adams who showed he really could get something down on paper in less than a few months.  Peter David played along, which has become a pretty regular event and he was joined this year by the aforementioned Leonald Maltin and British television personality, Jonathan Ross.  I thought they were all good sports and the surprise appearances of both Maltin & Ross certainly got the crowd even more enthusiastic.

I also caught several other of Mark's panels, including the Spotlight on Tony Isabella, where Tony received a well-earned Inkpot award; "That '70s Panel" with Marvel & DC writers of the '70s; both the Joe Kubert & Jack Kirby tributes and Superman: The Julius Schwartz Era.

Among the non-Evanier panels I hit was "The Monsters of Alternative Comics" with Ted Rall, Keith Knight, Shannon Wheeler and Steven Notley. Nice discussion of politics, how these guys get their stuff out there and a cool slide show running behind them with photos of them at work, panels from their comics and pictures of classic horror movie monsters.

Somehow I was able to sneak into the end of the line to catch a few episodes of AVENGERS ASSEMBLE, which featured the Squadron Supreme character, Hyperion.  Looks like fun, with some good voice work, plus I'm glad that the Falcon is a member at this point.

I went to other things and walked the hall for hours.  Lots of really nice cos-players, both male & female, many who obviously worked a long time on their outfits and some that appeared to have hit Costume City a few days prior to showing up. It stood out that there were less Batmen and I didn't see a single Klingon (OTS or feature film/TNG version), but the place was packed with Wonder Women and Supergirls.

Outside the con a popular location was the huge ENDER'S GAME tent, the news down there the fact that the LGBTG activists weren't making a big deal of the thing.  They were low key and using it as a teachable moment and a chance to speak to folks about the issues.  On the other hand, the well-known yellow & black signs of the 'Christian'' "You're going to Hell" picketers were present across from the center, and on Wednesday night they even had a van with loud-speaker proclaiming the same message traveling through the Gaslamp District.  Pretty sure they had come down the weekend before for "Gay Pride" and had stuck around to save the rest of us sinners. :-)

One cool presence throughout the convention was the Despicable Me 'minion' blimp that flew overhead everyday.  A few days we had some pretty heavy marine layer hanging over the city, so the blimp was pretty low which made it even more noticeable.

A quick rundown of my nights: Wednesday was La Puerta, in the Gaslamp, where we hit for 'Happy Hour' margaritas and Mexican food; Thursday night, after getting my first tattoo, we went to Hodad's a local burger & brew chain which was pretty good, but I'd stay out of the restrooms until after dinner (if you know what I mean) and Friday we drove to Darband/Fifth Avenue Grill for some really good Persian/Iranian eats.  Saturday Donna drove down and we had a nice home-cooked Italian dinner with plenty of wine.

There were other things I saw and enjoyed, but those were the highlights.  I say every year that this will be my last, but I have a feeling (considering that the girl's place is so convenient) that I just might make it down for another day or two next July.  Hope to see more of you down there!
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