Friday, July 30, 2010
I'm going to give you a pretty quick overview of my San Diego Comic-con trip this year. Hope the pictures come out and they shouldn't need a lot of explanation. I'm going to save my raving about two things I did (both movies) for SHOT'S SHACK, so if you're interested those should be posted in the next few days.
This year I took Thursday off, so I could be there for most of the event. It was already too late to get the 4-day reservation that included Preview Night, but I wouldn't have been able to attend that at any rate. I also took the train down this year, hoping to spare myself the additional fee that all SD hotels charge for parking. This, over and above your room rate (plus several state & city taxes), is just ridiculous and little more than gouging, IMHO. To start off I'm not going to recommend the Holiday Inn San Diego Downtown (which, of course, really isn't) at over $280 per night. The place looks in need of a serious renovation, the coffee shop overcharges for everything and three times Dan (a friend from Brooklyn and con-mate the past three years) or I had to go down to the lobby since our room cards did not work. Apparently we kept them either too close to our ATM/credit cards or cellphones. Seriously??? I think next year we will accept Michael's invitation to stay at his place, as we did two years ago.
The train ride from Mission Viejo to San Diego only took about 90 minutes. It would have been more enjoyable if one of the world's most annoying fan boys had not been in the same car. Holy crap! The entire train car had to hear his opinions on not only comics, but movies and politics. Naturally, as it is with this type, he knows everything about anything. He mentioned several times that he was getting into the con as a 'professional' but I'd hate to think he was somebody I actually read. I probably could have moved, as several people did, but turning up the volume on my MP3 player drowned him out enough so I could read.
By the time I got to SD, dropped my luggage off at the hotel (since it was too early to check-in) and went to the convention center it was after noon and there was almost no line for registration. Something to keep in mind for next year and another reminder of how well organized the con is when things are running as they should. I was leafing through the 'freebie' table and down on the Exhibition floor in short order. There were only a couple of items that I had planned on picking up, so I just wandered around for a couple hours. Then went out, grabbed a bite to eat and checked into my room. My only plan for Thursday was to meet up with Dan and get back to the con in time for the showing of Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated that night.
It seems that Dan and I had actually been at the con at the same time, but since we didn't text each other (bad planning on both our parts) we didn't know the other had even arrived. Fortunately, when he came back to the hotel, around 5:00pm, I was in the room and they gave him the room key at the desk. We caught up for a bit then walked back to the con, which was about a mile & a half straight down First Ave. Since the closest shuttle stop was at the Doubletree several blocks away, it was generally quicker to walk down to the hall and then take the shuttle back up the hill when we had a haul.
I decided, when we went back, that the smart thing to do was to catch an earlier program that was going to be in the room where NotLD was going to be shown. I've learned from past experience that the staff generally won't clear a room after a program and it sure beats standing or sitting in the hallway for a couple of hours. This may not hold true for some of the big 'star-studded' presentations, but it is something you might consider even at other conventions.
Oh, speaking of "stars" I didn't see any of the Biggies that were there. Most were secreted in via back ways and I wasn't about to stand in the lines snaking around the hall just to catch a trailer. There were enough previews for some of these in the exhibit hall and now most are on YouTube, so why waste my time. I did see Malcolm McDowell (who looks great), Gil Gerard (who looks old) and Noah Wyle (who looks cool in a beard). McDowell & Gerard were there signing autographs, while Wyle was promoting a new Stephen Spielberg television project, FALLING SKIES. I'll have a few comments on that over on SHOT'S SHACK, as well.
I did grab a couple of autographs over the three days I attended. Stan Saki's in a Dark Horse signing book; Max Brooks signed The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks book and told me about his writing G.I Joe at IGN; Randy Reynaldo (who I enjoy chatting with every year) signed a color reprint of one of his B&W ROB HANES books. If you aren't reading Randy's books, do yourself a favor and check them out at his website.
Each year I try to attend the QUICK DRAW! panel, hosted by Mark Evanier, along with artists Sergio Aragones & Scott Shaw! The third artist this year was William Stout, known for his amazing dinosaur covers for books, album covers, etc. It is always fun and often truly laugh out loud funny. Peter David, as usual, along with Len Wein, were good sports trying to guess a word from the drawings by the three artists. Mark's Voice Actor panels are also a treat, with the Saturday event generally right after the QUICK DRAW. Veteran voice actor Chuck McCann was there again this year, along with a half-dozen other performers and it was wonderful as always.
Unlike last year I didn't attend a single panel presentation by either DC or Marvel. There was one on self-publishing that was interesting, even though I have no intention of doing such a thing. It was just fascinating to hear how five people went about getting their creations out there without a major publisher behind them.
The other good things involved the three programs I'll talk about in the other blog. I'll not bore you (if you haven't been already) with other things I did to waste my time on the floor. No getting strapped into an electric chair or photographed for a Village ID this time around. I did sport a pretty cool skull & raven tattoo, promoting THE EXPENDABLES for a week, but who hasn't?
Apologies to Bob Ingersoll, Jeff Gelb, Mark Verheiden and several other folks for not joining them for a breakfast or dinner this time. Completely my fault for not doing the whole e-mail thing before hand. If things go as planned maybe we can try again next time!