Whenever I walked into the convention center at this year’s Comic-Con International, I felt completely overwhelmed for about fifteen minutes. After that, I relaxed and just sort of went with the flow. It never seemed to fail, even when I left to grab lunch, or to catch an event in a nearby hotel. The first fifteen minutes back? Crazy. After that? Normal. (Katie, on the other hand, felt completely at home with the crowds everywhere but the main floor and just outside the main lobby doors. Not sure whether the latter was more a reaction to the wait for the train, or the rampant smoking.)
Neither of us had anything early or popular that we were trying to catch on Friday, so we slept in — which I’m sure really helped after the exhausting first day. Katie went for the design panels, with talks by TV costume designers and TV & movie production designers, while I roamed the middle of the floor where all the comics publishers had their booths.
I stumbled onto the tail end of a Brian Lee O’Malley signing with only about five people in line, and still had Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour with me. Then I made it to the Studio Foglio booth just before Phil and Kaja Foglio left for an event, so I was able to get them to sign the new Girl Genius books that I picked up.
On the shuttle ride to the convention center, I’d noticed a building with comic-book themed window art all over its first-floor windows. I wanted to get back to it for a closer look at some point during the con. I also wanted to drop off the new and newly-signed books so that I wouldn’t be carrying them around the rest of the day, so I figured I’d try to find the building while walking back to the hotel.
I also found some more window art at the Gaslamp Garage across the street from the Old Spaghetti Factory (one Flash and one Wolverine), a souvenir store flanked with Green Lantern and Sinestro, and, eventually, the building with all the drawings: Batman, R2D2, Scott Pilgrim and Ramona Flowers, The Monarch and Dr. Mrs. The Monarch, etc.
Strangely enough, the con had even spilled into the historic Davis House: Alienware had set up a demonstration tent for their gaming systems on the lawn.
At some point during this trip, I stopped in at the Chuck Jones Gallery on 5th Street. In addition to Looney Tunes–inspired art, they also had quite a bit of superhero and Disney-inspired art on display, including several Alex Ross pieces. I’m not sure what their usual exhibits are, but it’s worth stopping by if you’re in the area.
Originally I’d planned to return for the Francis Manapul/Whilce Portacio art demonstration, but as I wandered downtown it became clear that I wasn’t going to make it back in time. So I stopped hurrying, grabbed lunch, and when I reached the convention, checked the schedule to see what I might do instead. I settled on the Comics Arts Conference panel on action heroines, specifically: where are they? It was an interesting lineup of female fans, scholars, actresses…and JMS, who was there because he’s just started writing Wonder Woman. (He and Cindy Morgan both left early for other commitments.)
From there I visited the art show. The wide range of both skill and subject really struck me this time for some reason. Also, there were a few pieces I recognized from Westercon. From there, I decided at the last minute to catch the second day of DC Nation. I’m glad I did: Geoff Johns announced a second Flash series to launch next year (though considering I watched him announce both a Kid Flash series and a Wally West co-feature, neither of which actually went into production, I’m not letting myself get too excited).
Meanwhile, Katie had spent the afternoon first watching an artist’s presentation on drawing animal anatomy, then waiting through Teen Wolf (yes, they’re remaking Teen Wolf…as a TV series) for Falling Skies with Moon Bloodgood and Noah Wyle.
We left the convention center a bit earlier than the day before, hoping to avoid the closing crush, and met up with my parents (who were also attending the convention) for dinner at Sevilla, a tapas restaurant on 4th. Great food, but very dim and very noisy. It’s the one with the suit of plate armor in front of it. It was on the way to dinner that I lost my badge briefly; fortunately it hadn’t fallen too far back, and was still there when I looked.
Afterward, Katie and I returned to the convention center to make use of the wifi for some internet catch-up. We were aiming for the tables and chairs in Sails, but they had been put away for the night, so we settled in on a bench in the Ballroom 20 lobby. The Batman: Under the Red Hood premiere had already started, so the area was mostly empty.
It’s always strange to see the convention center when it isn’t crowded, especially after a full day of Comic-Con. It was quiet, the windows were dark, and most of all there was space. A few small groups were scattered around the lobby like we were. Stragglers wandered through, including three guys singing “Masquerade” from Phantom of the Opera. And over near the corner was a group of twenty or so people in costumes dancing the Macarena. Katie looked up from the computer and wondered if there was a world record for that.
If not, there should be!
This was Friday, July 23, 2010.
Next up: Saturday! Leverage, Harry Potter, No Ordinary Family and more.
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