Monthly Archives: August 2007

San Diego Sunday

Last day of the con, and it started with a bang. The annual Jack Kirby Tribute Panel was held at 10:30, and featured Neil Gaiman, Darwyn Cooke, Erik Larsen, Kirby family lawyer Paul Levine, and moderator Mark Evanier. Mark took the first 30 minutes of the panel introducing Kirby family and friends, giving them the opportunity to mention upcoming Kirby stuff, and there was a really nice, touching letter about Jack written by Joe Simon, which was read by Steve Saffel (who’ll have something really, really exciting to announce soon for Simon & Kirby fans).

Darwyn Cooke had one of the most moving comments about Jack, discussing The King’s integrity, and just his human side. Neil Gaiman referred to the (aforementioned) Steve Ditko documentary by Jonathan Ross, and a comment made by Stan Lee where he basically comes out and says he doesn’t consider Ditko to be the co-creator of Spider-Man (which of course leads me to think he feels the same about Kirby as a co-creator). Lot of food for thought there. Erik Larsen hit a real personal note for me, commenting on how his favorite work in Kirby’s “Klik-Klak” saga in Kamandi (which is the first Kirby work I discovered as a kid). It was a rousing, funny, and touching 1.5 hours, and it’ll all be transcribed in an upcoming issue of the Jack Kirby Collector.

The remainder of the day was spent saying goodbyes to our friends, and then hectically packing up all our leftover booth stuff at the end of the show, and getting it shipped out. Some went to Chicago for our booth at Wizard World: Chicago, and the rest back to Raleigh, NC.

Comic-Con continues to grow each year, but I’m not seeing any real growth in the “comics” area. It’s mostly movies, gaming, etc., etc., and it’s gotten to the point where they could almost spin off the comics stuff into its own, solo con, and I don’t think we’d see any real difference in our readership’s attendence. Maybe other retailers would, but as much fun as the con is, it’s gotten so huge, that a lot of the fun of years past is missing. We’ll be back next year I’m sure (already paid for our booth), but this thing has gotten to be a monster. They’ve run out of hall space and hotel rooms, and the traffic’s ridiculous. But it’s in San Diego until at least 2012, so we’ll just have to see where it goes from here.

Saturday at Comic-Con

Saturday was a blur of activity, as it’s usually the busiest day of Comic-Con, with the largest crowds and most panels. This year, Saturday sold out months in advance, so there was no on-site ticket sales. This made for no long lines surrounding the convention center, and the crowd seemed to flow much more smoothly than in years past. (In fact, the crowd seemed to be not as large as the last couple of years’ Saturdays; I suspect the Con set a lower number of ticket sales than were allowed in the last two years; supposedly the Fire Marshall almost shut the con down last year, due to overcrowding.)

Spent the day pressing the flesh with people at our booth. It was nice seeing our regulars; guys like Jerry Boyd, Carl Taylor (who we hadn’t seen here in a few years), Clayton Moore (not the Lone Ranger), Dr. Mark Miller, Michael Zuccarro, Glen Gold, Pete Von Sholly, and so many others who we only get to see once a year in San Diego. Got to meet John Lowe (author of our new book Working Methods) in person for the first time; we know so many of our contributors only through phone and email correspondence, so this is my favorite part of Comicon. Also, Roy Thomas was on hand (as he was Friday and Sunday) to meet a sizeable line of people wanting his autograph, so it was fun to get to speak to him in person, instead of always by phone and computer.

All in all, just a crazy day. I was supposed to have dinner with Lisa Kirby, Mike Thibodeaux, Rick French, and Rand Hoppe, but after figuring the logistics, plus having two small kids that needed their sleep (and me not having had much the night before, because of the Eisner Awards ceremony), I had to opt out. The extra snoozing did me a lot of good, as I was much more awake on Sunday. More soon!

Comic-Con Day Two wrap-up

Comic-Con’s a distant memory now, but what an experience it was! The Image Founders Panel went off without a hitch, with all seven founders graciously showing up for the hour-long, jam-packed event that was their first time appearing on a panel together (they’ve done panels before of course, but never with all seven on the same panel). George Khoury did a fabulous job moderating the extremely high-profile shindig, and it’s nice to know that these seven guys could take time out to reminisce, even though they weren’t plugging anything for themselves personally. (And despite a lot of fans thinking there’d be major fireworks—evidenced by the noticeably louder roar when Rob Liefeld first entered the room—these guys all respect each other, and have done a lot of growing up in the last 15 years.)

The Eisner Awards on Friday night were great. Despite an overly long ceremony, there were some memorable moments. Two actors from “Reno 911” got the house rocking with their presentation, but the best had to be the very last presenters, British TV celebrity Jonathan Ross, and writer Neil Gaiman. I won’t go into all the details of it, but Jonathan’s amazing ad libbing ended with he and Neil kissing, and Neil overall very flustered (in a most hilarious way). At one point, I was laughing so hard tears were streaming from my eyes, and I was having trouble catching my breath. (Sidenote: Jonathan and I spoke by phone a couple of months ago about his new documentary called “Finding Steve Ditko”, and was kind enough to drop a copy off at our booth while I was off at lunch. So while I missed meeting him personally, I’m really looking forward to viewing it. From what both Rand Hoppe and Neil Gaiman said about it, this is something comics fans are definitely going to want to see.)

Of course, the Eisner Awards are extra fun when you actually win one, and it was a delight to see Roy Thomas accept an award for Alter Ego as “Best Comics Related Periodical”. The category had us up against both magazines and journalistic websites this year, so the competition was fierce. Roy was one of Comic-Con’s guests of honor this year, so I’m glad he was on hand to accept personally (or I’d have had to go up there and make an idiot of myself). Kudos to everyone who helps with the magazine, including Jim Amash, PC Hamerlinck, Michael T. Gilbert, Bill Schelly, and designer Chris Day. I know firsthand how hard you guys work on the mag, and it’s a well-earned honor.

More on the remaining Comic-Con days when I get a minute; it’s time to take the kids to visit a big Mouse in Anaheim!