Tuesday, July 23, 2013

San Diego Comic Con 2013 Write-Up

Looking back at the show and it all seems like a crazy blur. I’d hard to believe it’s over as I was waiting for it to happen since late January.

Nice and smooth direct flight to San Diego. I was very impressed that when we got to the hotel around 1pm and were told our room was ready. We headed downtown using the extremely convenient shuttle system, which we took advantage of throughout the con. We picked up our tickets with relative ease and had to wait until 6pm for the show to open.

Unlike the Toronto Fan Expo, the SDCC is better organized and allows entrance to its exhibitor area through multiple entry points. It wasn’t long before the floor started to get really busy. I was lucky enough to get my hands on some LEGO exclusive sets. I also passed along some of my daughter’s art to Art Baltazar who draws Tiny Titans and Superman Family Adventures. He was a great guy with an infectious spirit of fun. He really liked Claire’s drawings and drew a cool Raven sketch for her.

That night, much to my chagrin, I discovered that my two travel buddies were snorers. I’m a terribly light sleeper, so that didn’t go well. By about 3am, I pulled a chair and ottoman out onto the balcony. The next handful of nights, I was smarter about it and we actually put the cot on the balcony and so I lived like a rockstar under the stars and the swaying palm trees.

The official day one began with joining the masses as the show opened. After weaseling our way in, I ran over to the Del Rey booth and signed up for the last spot on the open pitch session. Then over to the IDW booth for a ticket for the Chris Carter signing on Friday, but they were already gone. Then I got into the line at the Dark Horse booth to meet Kazuo Koike, legendary co-creator of Lone Wolf and Cub. He was a kindly, gentleman with a translator, who smiled when I addressed him as “Koike-San”.

From there it was off to Artists’ Alley, where I commissioned two sketches from Ron Lim, one of Galactus and one of Silver Surfer, both interacting. I had told my friends about the idea and they wanted something similar, but we had no idea we had just both placed our commissions moments apart. We regrouped to tell each other about it and then walked back over to Lim’s booth, wondering if he thought we were crazy, but we had a great laugh about it.

I then made my way back across the floor to the Boom! Studios booth to meet Steven Grant and he autographed a few Punisher comics that also had Mike Zeck’s signature.

I then proceeded to pace around for then next four hours, waiting for and practising for my pitch. I buried all the doubts and worries that had suddenly manifested and had my pitch session with an editor from Del Rey Books at 5:50pm. My pitch ran just over 3 minutes and I think I answered all of her questions. I walked away with a good feeling and felt that my story idea had withstood a legitimate test.

To wrap up the con evening, I attended the Creator Connections event, which was basically speed dating for artists and writers. Unfortunately, I didn’t really find a suitable artist, but it was a great experience and another opportunity for me to test another idea. Most of the artists, even though they weren’t necessarily good fits, really liked the story idea, so it was encouraging.

We then went over to the Tin Fish restaurant for a late dinner and to go over our stories from the busy day.

Raced over to the IDW booth and got a ticket for the Chris Carter signing. Then made my way over to the Random House booth and got in line for the Chuck Palahniuk signing. He was incredible cool and laid back. He signed my copy of FIGHT CLUB with a clever “To The Best Parole Officer”.

Then went over to the Heroes Initiative book and got a couple of Marvel Masterworks signed by Roy Thomas. Also met Klaus Janson who autographed my copy of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and a few other comics.

One of the highlights of the trip was attending the Superman: The Post-Crisis Era panel which was a great panel reliving that incredible era. I never really appreciated all the work that editor Mike Carlin did. The event was capped off as I had the entire creative team (Dan Jurgens, Mike Carlin, Jerry Ordway, Jon Bogdanove, and Louise Simonson) to sign the cover to the Death of Superman Omnibus.

Then I raced down to the IDW booth for the Chris Carter signing. It turned out to be quite the media storm as Gillian Anderson joined the signing chain, which included Chris Carter, Joe Harris, one of the Lone Gunman Dean Haglun, and Gillian Anderson. I told Gillian that I was really enjoying her role on Hannibal and got to shake Chris Carter’s hand.

We headed back to the hotel early to chill before going to the Balboa Theatre for Amy Schumer. We had dinner at the hotel and enjoyed a fine locally brewed beer called Saint Mission Blonde.

We eased into our last convention day and I attended the Urban Fantasy panel with Kevin Hearne, Jim Butcher, Richard Kadrey and others. Some great research stories, like Hearne’s day-long struggle to determine if a ghoul is alive or dead while trying to sympathize with his wife who had a brutal teaching day!

I snagged a Beta Ray Bill sketch by Walt Simonson and got a lovely Superman sketch by Jerry Ordway at the Heroes Initiative Booth. We had a great chat with him as he sketched and was really impressed with his humility and thoughtfulness.

I tried to get an autograph from Neil Degrasse Tyson, but didn’t have any luck as the ticket raffle was held at 6am. I was able to see him as he left the Fox booth.

We then attended the Sandman 20th Anniversary panel with Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean, Sam Keith, and J.H. Williams. It was a great panel with a lot of insight into the creative energies that went into this comic. It was also nice to see Gaiman give Sam Keith a lot of praise.

After getting comics signed by Gerry Conway, I did a final loop around the exhibitors area, picking up some minions from Despicable Me 2 for the the kids.

We closed off the SDCC events by attending the HP Lovecraft’s Necronomicon panel, which was a cool examination of the fabled text, led by Cody Goodfellow.

We headed over to The Strip Club for cook-it-yourself steaks. While waiting for our dinner table, we had a beer at Dick’s Last Resort and watched the cosplayers stream by. I saw a shark and called out “SHARKNADO!” and she circled a few times before heading at us and devouring Andy. The funniest part was that my buddy Andy is genuinely terrified by sharks!

I was thrilled that I had accomplished pretty much everything I wanted to do on my Top 10 To Do List, except for personally meeting Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Neil Gaiman. The line-ups for the convention exclusives were crazy, especially the LEGO booth which was completely overwhelmed the first day and had the line moved outside for the rest of the con.

I don’t know what I’m going to at work this since I don’t have to check the SDCC twitter feed! I think though that I may just start forming random lines in place like the printer room or cafeteria, looking for exclusives!


  1. Thanks for the update, Jason!

    By the way, if you ever get around to posting that Beta Ray Bill sketch from Simonson, I wouldn't complain... I love BRB, and I love Simonson, so I'd just love to see what he did for you!

  2. Thanks David. I'll scan the BRB sketch tonight and post it up!

  3. That was a helluva week! Glad you got some swag and met some of your celeb list. Good luck with your pitch, I wish I could pitch a few stories! My wife would be jealous that you were in the same room as Neil Gaiman. And I'm jealous you talked to Gillian Anderson!

  4. Hey J, what's the story on the Doom statue it looks amazing!

  5. I was never the biggest Ron Lim fan back in the day, but I have to say that those sketches are really nice.

  6. The Doctor Doom statue is an upcoming release from Sideshow Collectibles. It's about 3 feet tall and absolutely stunning.



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