Tuesday, July 28, 2009

San Diego Trip

After roughly ten days out on the West Coast, I’m back in New York, and have successfully made it through my first comicon experience. San Diego was pretty much what everyone said it would be, jam packed with people, a grueling trip and also a lot of fun. We were out there shooting stuff for the Grant Morrison project, and wound up doing twenty six interviews over four days, which is a lot tougher than it sounds when just walking people up to the interview site can be a fifteen minute round trip.

But, I think we got a lot of great stuff, and were able to talk to the vast majority of people that we wanted to talk. Some of the people we talked to were Geoff Johns, Mark Waid, Cameron Stewart, Chris Weston, Jill Thompson, Frazer Irving, Matt Fraction, Jason Aaron and many more. I’ll be posting clips of these interviews over the course of the next few weeks, primarily stuff that won’t end up in the film, but is interesting on its own merits.

Because we spent so much time doing these interviews, there wasn’t that much time to spend on the show floor. I wound up buying only two comics the entire show. Wednesday was the day I spent the most time on the floor, and that was insane with people trying to snap up free stuff. I got a free copy of the first JH Williams/Rucka Batwoman issue, and Flash: Rebirth, both of which I wanted to check out anyway, so that was good.

The floor, and show in general, reminded me of basically a double sized New York Comicon. The major difference was the much more significant film presence here. At New York, there were a lot more comics sellers, and the floor felt a bit more manageable. Here, there were basically two cons. On the left side of the floor was film stuff and video games, while the right was more typical comics sellers and random vendors.

Because of the huge crowds, I wound up not making it into any panels at all. Work meant there was no time to line up that early, so I missed getting into Avatar by about five hours, and Lost by probably about a half hour. I’d have loved to see both, but ultimately it was probably not worth the wait.

The weird thing about being at the con is that you don’t get any of the buzz or news that’s covered in the mainstream media. I didn’t hear about the Marvelman announcement until I called someone who was still on the East Coast, I got very little buzz about any of the films, and am just now catching up on which films “won” the comicon buzz war. And, I think that there’s very much two cons. Comics haven’t disappeared from the con, they’re just one piece of a larger spectrum. It would still probably be the largest specifically comics focused convention, it’s just even that huge comicon is dwarfed by the Hollywood presence, or the random anime fans or whatever else is going on.

But on the ground level, it’s the comics stuff that sticks with me, and because it’s a more limited social scene than New York, everyone clusters in one place and by the end of the weekend, you’ve got a very singular scene of comics people hanging out, and that was a lot of fun. It’s tough to go out until two every night, then be up at 8 or 9 to get back to the con, but it’s definitely worth it.

So, where does comicon stand today? It’s still getting bigger and more crowded, but I had a really fantastic time.

I topped it all off yesterday with a trip to Imperial Beach, the town where John From Cincinnati was filmed, and took place. It was pretty amazing to go along and recognize locations from the series, and feel the vibe that the show had. The beach was great, there were a ton of people surfing, and it definitely felt off the beaten path, not the kind of touristy area that much of California is. If you’re in the area and a fan of the show, definitely make the trip. It’s the closest you’ll get to a second season.