Ed Catto: From the Front Lines of Comic-Con

denialle-von-fitch-oblong-box-150x135-6833162blues-brothers-bluesmobile-150x113-5204680As I write this, the Annual Nerd Prom is underway. This year the San Diego Comic-Con seems to be a little more relaxed and a little more joyous. There’s an upbeat mood and every attendee I’ve spoken with is just thrilled to be here. Exhibitors and the professionals tend to be a little more world-weary.

A part of the exuberance might be the novelty of it all. I was surprised to learn that one big domestic comic convention has an incredible churn; over 50% of their attendees are first timers each year. I’m not sure how that shakes out at SDCC, but it bears further investigation.

Everyone Grabs Their Chance

alan-and-jay-150x138-9009685green-lantern-daffy-duck-300x292-1163689I don’t think the Romans used the phrase “shameless promotion,” but the Latin equivalent to that should be emblazoned on every San Diego Comic-Con badge. There are so many ideas, brands, companies, retailers, and creators all elbowing one another to get in front of consumers. And there’s a lot of money behind many of these efforts.

On the other hand, not everyone has the big budgets. And that means that many creatives get by with just a little grit and cleverness. Here are three determined and impressive entrepreneurs I met:

  • Alan Truong is a young cartoonist working hard to break in. His strip is called The Missing Digit. Alan attended First Comics News annual “How to Get Press Panel,” where I was a panelist, and made it a point to chat me up afterward. I was impressed with his clever self-promotion. Along with his business card, he offered a comic bag & board (I can never find ‘em when I need ‘em at a comic-con) with his strip printed on the board.
  • Jay Latimer from TomCat comics is excited about his new graphic novel Burrito Apocalypse. He’s meeting as many folks as possible and offers a firm handshake and a great smile. His book is a humorous look at what might happen in the world of politics and society if Aliens came to visit Earth. Chapter One is up on his website, along with other free comics.
  • The Oblong Box is an online retailer, but during the week of the convention, owner Denialle Von Fitch tried something different. It’s obvious that she likes to sew and has a creative vision. Booths on the exhibition floor at San Diego Comic-Con are hard to get. In fact, there’s a waiting list. So Denialle opened up a pop-up apparel store right in the Gaslamp district.

sdcc-superman-car-150x113-8552979sdcc-batman-car-150x113-8386748Car Cosplay

One more thought: I didn’t know Car Cosplay was a thing. I probably should have known when I saw that Captain America on his motorcycle at Cosplay Invades Auburn earlier this summer.

But Car Cosplay is alive and well on the left coast. The first morning of SDCC I was treated to the Bluesmobile blaring the Blues Brothers soundtrack from their trademark oversize speaker. (I wish I caught them playing She Caught The Katy; that’s my favorite song on from that movie). Later I saw a Superman car and a Batmobile.

Both were stuck in traffic.