Yeah, it's over. My fifth San Diego Comic-Con, under the belt. What did we learn this year?
That it's great to do the hard work before the show. We had already locked up Push (licensed six-issue series from Wildstorm, out starting this November) before the con even started. Same with with another Top Cow book. And, contracts willing, another mini with a promising upstart publisher. It made for a pressure-free show, comics-wise.
I love funny people. The panel I hosted—in Hall H—might've been a clusterfuck had it not been for Kevin Smith and Judd Apatow. Moderating a single-topic panel (say, for Battlestar Galactica or Ghost Whisperer or Watchmen) isn't easy, but at least everyone on said panel has the work in common. ("Who's the last Cylon?" "How are you dressing up Jennifer Love Hewitt's boobs this year?"). There's only but so much that Frank Miller, Zack Snyder, Kevin Smith, and Judd Apatow have in common besides being awesome. (And I gave serious thought to doing the whole panel like Chris Farley: "Remember that time, in Dark Knight Returns, when Batman beat the snot out of Superman? That was awesome.") So I had to lob a whole mess of general-question softballs over the plate, and hope someone would step up to the plate. Kevin and Judd are fucking sluggers. Zack gets on base more often than not. And Frank's the dude who surprises with a clutch double just when you think he won't.
The secret to getting people to attend your panel is in the name. We were on an AiT/Planetlar panel, hosted by Larry Young. We thought it was gonna be, like, AiT's 2009 lineup—and he asked us to be on it because we had the Disney deal to announce. Instead, Larry called it "So, You Wanna Make a Graphic Novel." And the room was standing room only. Hundreds of people. Because, while people might be mildly interested in the AiT slate, they're overwhelmingly interested in being in the OGN business. And it was an hour of very lively Q&A. Smart man, that Larry.
Liquid courage works. I met a bunch of people this year who've I've long been interested in meeting, and probably wouldn't have without a couple of drinks in me. (Yes, it helps that EW can open a few doors, but still.) Damon Lindelof, Tahmoh Penikett, James Callis, Darwyn Cooke, Josh Friedman, Felicia Day, Javier Grillo-Marxuach (god, I hope I spelled that right), and I reinforced the bond of brotherhood/man-crush with Nathan Fillion. But, damnit, Joss still eludes me. He tasks me, but I will have him.
I am an old man. My hips hurt. I've never said that before. And I didn't even walk the floor until Sunday. Most of my con was going from booth-signing to booth-signing, with off-site meetings tucked in there. And is was staying at the Hilton, right across the street. And my hips are funky, my calves are sore, and my dogs are barking. When did 36 become the new 50? Egads, I sound like Warren. But it's true.
One of these years, and probably soon, I think I'll skip it. It's fun and all, and I really like the people, but if we can continue the trend of locking work up before the show, there will come a time where it's not going to be entirely worth the time away from my family and the roughness of the reentry back into the real world. Plus, I didn't see a single panel that I wasn't involved in either the planning or moderation of. I'm a geek, and I missed 95% of the geek crack. I know there's no way I'll be able to do this show as a pure fan again and, while I'm not saying there aren't some perks to being a pro, I do kind of miss that innocence. The weird thing is that while I'm well aware that I gave some of that innocence up willingly, the show is responsible for some of it vanishing as well. Just five years ago, you could run from a panel in Hall H to something in Ballroom 20, hit something in Room 6A, and then back again, and get seats in all of them. Not any more. Having fun shouldn't be this much work. It is, as they say, what it is.
Oh, and flight-delaying weather systems that strand a fella in an airport for hours suck. I'm just saying.