Comic Con 2008: The Review
August 2, 2008
Con was excellent. I was concerned about an unresolved idiopathic arthritis flare-up, idiopathic in this case meaning I hadn’t done anything to cause it like overexerting myself, or lifting/carrying heavy items. It wasn’t just the run of the mill aching either, it was the alternately dull and sharp throbbing pains that would either keep me from sleeping or wake me in the night. Of course, lack of sleep is a trigger so I feared a vicious cycle that would ruin Con. I made myself rest for a solid 12 hours from Tuesday night through Wednesday; believe me, it’s hard to do on the eve of 8 days of travel with some packing and cleaning left to do. Still and all, rest was the only thing I could do for myself and by Wednesday morning the pain receded to a manageable level.
Vacation! After a semi-leisurely start, interrupted by spates of panic from colleagues, I was on my way. The calls continued well into the afternoon, but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle via phone or email. Annoying, but there it is.
It cost $41 to fill up my tank. And I’d still had a quarter tank when I stopped at the gas station. Thank goodness for the gas cards. Arrival in San Diego at 12:30 pm was thrilling: I was back! It’s the sole pleasure and luxury I’ve allowed myself since college, a yearly pilgrimage of sorts. I stay at a friend’s parent’s house, and for four solid days, we are spoiled terribly. Good food, good beds, good company. His parents provided a bounty of sandwich fixings, fruit, and snacks for our lunches, his mama cooked breakfast foods every morning and dinners as well. Absolute heaven for a piggy at table like me.
It balanced the intense days we spend backpacking our lunches and comics through the San Diego Convention Center, walking miles upon miles through the throngs of fellow geeks and nerds, scouting the booths and deals. And my, there were deals to be had!
The news outlets were putting the attendance count at 125,000. My Con has become so much more mainstream, that on my drive back home, I felt a wee bit possessive. I could almost wish it weren’t so enormous now, but I think that that kind of attention, attendance, and interest should be good for the industry. Obviously, the money flowing in stimulates that economy, but more than that, the level of quality has been increasing, the bar has been raised. For example, who’s seen Sin City? Or the Dark Knight? Those films were built on the backs of truly terrible films like Batman and Robin or X3. (I’m sorry, I’m a X-fan and the last of the X movies was a sore disappointment.) But out of those beginning struggles comes a push for better storytelling, stronger plotting, pacing and creativity. Sure there’ll still be money-motivated flops but we’re already seeing that the filmmakers with a passion for the original medium are able to bring their skills into the film medium.
Anyway, not to rant. It was truly an impressive crowd there. A Comic Con staple is waiting in line. There are lines to get your badge, lines to get into the convention hall before it opens, lines to have your books signed and get sketches, lines to get vouchers to get into other lines. Lines, lines, everywhere! The fun part about having a posse at Con is having company during those seemingly interminable waits, but you can just chat with the folks you’re in line with. Yep! I’m advocating talking to strangers. It’s best not to give them your number, and every once in a while it’s best they don’t even know your name, but generally we’re all semi-normal and just there for fun. There’s a bit of a high I get walking through Con alone, too – I love hanging out with fellow geek friends and family, I love having BF hang out in my world for a bit, but there’s a time I need to be alone and soak in my surroundings. No matter how bad things have been all year, being alone at Con, in that moment, takes me out of all the pettiness, all the anger and frustration and confusion to a different place. I love it. We’re calling it Condorphins..
My financial overview comes next!