San Diego Comic-Con: But enough about me… by Martha Thomases
Being the conscientious sort, I thought about writing my column early in the week so it would be finished before I had to leave for San Diego. That way, I’d have one less thing to worry about what with the packing, the schlepping, the hob-nobbing, the drinking.
At the same time, because I feel a responsibility to you, my readers, I thought you might appreciate my keen insights into the event that has come to define not only comics fandom, but also pop culture in America in the early parts of the 21st century.
Eventually, I decided my responsibilities as a journalist were more important than my personal desire for efficiency. (Also, I ran out of time before I left.) As I write this, the first full day of the show has ended, and the evening’s parties lie ahead.
What have we learned?
For starters, Wednesday night, which used to be the Preview night, primarily (it seemed) so exhibitors could check out the show, is now so crowded with people that it makes Times Square look like the dark side of the moon. Getting to a restroom was impossible, much less getting across the floor.
And while television and movie and game and toy folk have used the show for ages to promote fantasy, science fiction and action-adventure stories to fans, this year such distinctions are irrelevant. The Office has a booth. There are giant posters promoting Dexter everywhere. I think both of these shows are great, but they have nothing to do with comics.
ComicMix has a booth this year, a space we’re sharing with the charming and attractive Insight Studios. The last time I worked a booth at San Diego, it was for DC Comics. Even though the show was much smaller then, people knew what DC was, and that Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman were among their characters. The booth was enormous and loud, and there were people walking through by the thousands. Our booth this year is on a corner, across from Graphitti Designs and next to Abstract Studios. It’s small enough that we can have actual, non-screaming conversations about comics. It’s fun.
We also get a great view of the passing parade. It’s only the first day, so there aren’t as many costumes as there will be on Saturday, when you read this, and my trend-spotting may be off. However, it seems to me that there are far fewer anime characters this year, and a lot more super-heroes of all ages. The number of toddler girls dressed as Supergirl and, surprising me, Wonder Baby, continues to expand.
One can also actually see people closely enough to recognize them as they walk by. I’ve been able to leap out from behind the table and smooch Denis Kitchen, Grant Morrison, Mark Badger, Gerry Jones, Steven Seagle, Kyle Baker, Maggie Thompson, David Gallaher and Peter Kuper. I met Jon Cryer and Dan Mishkin.
Tomorrow (which is yesterday as you read this, but I’m going to pretend I don’t know this so my verb tenses don’t have to contort themselves), when I’m doing my signing stint at the booth, Margaret Cho is supposed to come by for our podcast.
It’s only the first day, and I’ve already talked to people about my breast reduction surgery. This is going to be some show.
Martha Thomases, Media Goddess and Booth Fairy of ComicMix, could really use a massage about now.