I should start this out with an admission. It was never my initial intent to try for a pass to Hall H. That was an idea that Dan and Kristina decided upon, then bringing poor Sarah into the project. Steve had no intention of sitting for hours in the weather hoping for a chance to sit in a room for 8 or 9 hours. No way! There were so many panels and so much stuff he wanted to check out. Of course, as Donna will tell you, this guy can be talked into just about anything by his step-daughter. It began as a promise to get me a pass and eventually I found myself signing on for the long-haul.
Things were off to an early start on Thursday morning. As usual with Comic-con there are always lines to get into for just about everything from panels to restrooms and even the overpriced food court and food carts. Sadly, this was a year I lacked the forethought to pack any munchies or time to head into the Gaslamp, so the carts and Food Express (or whatever it's called) were pretty much my only option. I stopped going to Starbucks at the convention center years ago, as they do not accept the Starbucks card, plus the coffee at Mrs. Fields is better and the cookies outstanding. Also, back at the food court, FIVE BUCKS for basically half a corn dog? Seriously??
To be completely honest, most of the coffee I was drinking over those days was from the Pro Lounge, which as usual was a great place to get away from the crowds for a bit. Free coffee, hot water for tea, and even lemonade, plus outlets where you can recharge your devices make the place an oasis in the convention center. Thanks again to Comic-Con for offering this to us.
Anyway, any chance to get into Hall H means at least a half-day in line. So we all took time during the day standing and sitting down by the water hoping to gain entry on Friday.
I was able to jump into a few panels. I caught the "Wrath of Con Bloggers" where Tony B. Kim (Crazy 4 Comic Con), Megan Gotch (The Nerdy Girlie), Leonard Sultana (An Englishman in San Diego) and Alyssa Franks (Friends of CCI) talked about what had gotten them started in blogging and gave tips to folks just starting out. It seemed that over half the attendees had either already begun blogging or were hoping to start. It's hard to believe that I've been doing this for so long. In some cases almost twice as long as those on the panel. I started my first blog back in 2003. Still it was entertaining.
My next panel was by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fun (CBLDF) called, Spinner Rack Revolution: The Secret History of Free Speech in Magazine Comics. Alex Cox, Deputy Director of CBLDF, gave a quick history of the censorship movement that led to the development of the Comics Code Authority (CCA) and its impact on the industry. Fans know a lot of this already, about how the crew at EC comics (basically, all but pushed out of the industury by the CCA) began putting together MAD first as a four-color comic, and eventually turning it into a B&W magazine to avoid the code. He then quickly covered the B&W magazines from Warren and others, including Marvel.
It seemed that the '60s were changing comics and in spite of the CCA, artists were working to improve them. The creators of this period allowed to do things without the restrictions imposed on the four-color monthly pamphlets many of them had been working on for years. Eventually some of the artists and writers from those publications going out on their own to develop what came to be known as the 'undergrounds'. As publishers and creative types saw what they were capable of they began pushing the boundaries of what they could get by the Code. Eventually, as companies began dropping the CCA stamp from their books it was inevitable that it would lead to the elimination of the code and greater freedom we see in today's mainstream. Sadly, a technical glitch cut the presentation short and wouldn't allow many of the graphics to be displayed. Even so it was an interesting presentation and the CBLDF deserves our thanks for all the great work they do.
Sorry, about that! Didn't mean to digress, as they say.
I had planned on hitting a few more panels, but I had to get to a CVS as I had run out of Tylenol and also had promised to pick up other stuff for folks. As usual at Comic-con my left ankle (injured first playing soccer in Jr. High and later in the Navy when a charged hose got loose, hitting me in the same ankle) was hurting. Even without the constant walking and standing it goes out on me on occasion. Plus I had to be back to meet up by 3:00 pm as Kristina was going to be my moral support when I went to get my second tattoo.
This is going to take longer than I thought, so I'll try to get back tomorrow to finish up at least Thursday and get a start on the big events on Friday.