Tuesday, April 20, 2010

San Diego

The madness begins anew for me. I've stayed away from San Diego for a number of years, and for various reasons, most of them personal and petty. Now I find that if I want to get anything done in the industry, I have to go. So, cue that Al Pacino impression that they all did back when the Sopranos was good, and let me vent just a little bit.

I'm not telling any tales out of school when I say that Comicon International is now misnomered. It's not about comics. It's about the periphery of comics. It's about popular culture, movies, anime, costumes, and just about everything else, and oh yeah, there are comics there, too. That's the reason why it's so big. If it were just about comics, it would be a navigable experience.

I used to love going to conventions, back when I was sixteen, and then again when I was twenty-one and just trying to get into the business, and again when I was twenty seven, when I was back in the business again, and then something happened when I turned thirty. I got fed up to my eyeballs with conventions. Not all conventions, to be sure. Just the really big ones, where the room was so large, and so full of people that it was impossible to hear yourself think. Where "participating" in the panels and special events meant standing in line all day so that you'd have a chance of actually getting to see something.

For the fans, this may be a great thing, and as spectacle goes, it's one of the few places where you can affirm that comic books and super heroes are indeed an indelible aspect of our culture, for what it's worth. But for professionals (and I'm not just speaking for myself now) it's akin to the Bataan Death March. Long lines, long hours, crowds of people grouped around, and virtually impossible to get anything done on a business level unless you plan for it in advance like a Hogan's Heroes mission. But, the other side of that coin is this: with business tight for everyone now, the only place you can see everyone at once is at San Diego. For many companies, it's the only show they go to. So, for better or worse, it's the one show you can't afford to miss.

Conventions like World Fantasy Convention and ArmadilloCon are more my speed, now. They are smaller, much more personal, and usually centered about the hotel bar, great conversations, and easy access to the people you need to speak with to keep your career on track. This year's World Fantasy Convention is in Columbus, Ohio (one of my favorite cities, I kid you not) and it's going to be a blast. I've just got to survive San Diego, first...


  1. I just attended my first fantasy convention as a vendor. It was slightly overwhelming but a lot of fun. I agree that the smaller ones are where it's at.

  2. I say this a lot, but smaller is better.


    I mean you get more time to interact with the fans in a one-on-one basis. It's kind of the difference between a stiletto and a grenade.