Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Lessons Learned from Comic Con

Let me start by appologizing for the delay in getting this stuff posted! Blogger has been giving me fits trying to upload photos, so I was at their mercy. I do have more photos, so I will get them posted as I can and when Blogger is working as it should.
I figured it would be more informative for me to write about the things I learned at Comic Con, rather than simply give you the standard "ooh and ahh" report. Maybe this will be helpful for anyone planning to attend Comic Con in the future, as this was my first time there. I definitely learned some good stuff from the trip, so I will approach my story telling from that point of view. Here we go!
WEDNESDAY JULY 19th - PREVIEW NIGHT: I was totally wired. I had been looking forward to this day since early January when my wife and I decided to make the trip to Comic Con. We drove from Utah to Las Vegas the day before, and we got up early and headed to San Diego from Vegas early Wednesday. I spent the day in Vegas trying to get my sample portfolios all spiffed up, so I hit a local Office Max and bought a 3 hole punch and some clear binder covers. Spent a fair amount of time getting the folios all squared away. This was lesson number one. 99% of the time, comic book pros DO NOT want you to submit your samples to them in a binder. You are better off making photocopies of your work (8.5 x 11 size is fine!) and stapling them together, making sure to include your contact info on top of all the pages.
Alright- back to the big event. We rolled into San Diego around 4:30- we made our way to the convention center and parked there. Lesson number two- Preview night will likely be the ONLY night you will be able to park at the convention center, unless you plan on waking up very early to get to the center to park. It cost $8 to park at the center, which is actually cheaper than most of the places in downtown San Diego. Parking is a major pain in the butt, so my recommendation on this is to BOOK YOUR HOTEL EARLY - i.e. NOW for Comic Con 2007, and make sure the hotel is within walking distance of the convention center, or check to see if the hotel offers a shuttle service to the con. We booked our hotel on Priceline like 2 months before July, we ended up staying in Chula Vista which is about 15 minutes away, and the hotel had no shuttle service. Removing the headache of trying to find a parking place is a BIG bonus.
After parking, we headed upstairs to get registered. This was very easy, and after seeing some of the lines through the rest of the week, I also recommend buying your 4 day pass in advance. We had to wait around for a good hour before the doors opened, so we milled around in the back, outside of the center, checking out the harbor and the boats. Gorgeous scenery for sure. There were actually a lot of people there on preview night, but nothing compared to the crowds later in the week! Once the doors opened, we walked in for our first glimpse at the showroom floor. Unreal! Trust me, this is a visual overload- there is way to much stuff to comprehend- and it was all like a giant showroom of my ultimate dream store. Comic books, original comic art, toys etc... as far as the eye can see.
Next lesson? If you go with a group of people, it would be well worth it to bring along some walkie talkies or talkabouts or whatever they are called. If you separate your group, it can be a mjor pain to get everyone back together! Make pre-arranged meeting points and make sure everyone is on the right time- the one hour time difference caused a problem when trying to re-group with my father-in-law.
My son Christian and I were a couple of drooling fan boys- every turn of the corner yeilded some sort of fantastic new treasure to be discovered. I was on the prowl for anything monster related, and Christian was on the warpath for all things Star Wars. There was plenty of both to be found! We stumbled into the booth of one of my lifelong heroes, the amazing Sergio Aragones of MAD Magazine fame. I spent a few minutes talking with Sergio, and I bought a copy of his "Boogeyman" book- he was kind enough to sign it as well as doodle a cool little sketch on the intro page. Unbelieveable!!! I also found my way over to David Hartman's "Sideshow Monkey" booth. David is a top notch horror artist, who has done work with Rob Zombie. I got to check out David's amazing art book, which I wanted to buy but had to hold off until later. Cool stuff for sure- check out his work via the link here on my blog. We ended up checking out a lot of the toy companies, as well as the sweet booths for Sideshow collectibles, Master Replicas, LEGO, DC Comics and more. It was really too much to absorb- sorta like drinking out of a firehose or something. The 3 hours of preview night went by in a blur, and I hadn't seen but a small portion of all the booths.
Before this turns into a novel, I will end here, and post more later. As for the photos I have posted here, they are: TOP- The king of colorful horror art, BASIL GOGOS, signing a copy of Famous Monsters of Filmland for me. NEXT- Forry J Ackerman, the longtime Editor of Famous Monsters of Filmland, signs the same copy of the magazine for me. NEXT - Casandra Peterson, AKA ELVIRA, stops by to say hello to Forry. NEXT - Forry shows his approval to see ELVIRA again. NEXT - Basil Gogos and Forry J Ackerman conclude their panel on 75 years of the Universal Monsters.


garth bruner said...

Wow! So you went from going alone, to taking your whole family! HOW COOL! Wish I could have gone with you, just for the experience. Oh, the company would have been awesome as well. Glad you got to go!

scottra said...

Man am I jealous... After I missed Monster Bash this year I've been worried that I won't get the chance to meet Forry. Wow, what a treasure Forry and Basil.

The Warden and I are talking about taking the boy to the Con next year. Hopefully we'll make it.