I'm home from an extraordinary Comic-Con International in San Diego, with its usual mix of crushing crowds, overpriced food, overpacked panels, power-mad security, wonderfully creative people, old friends, new friends, and exhilaration, spiced with a bit more heat stroke than usual for this mildest of climates. It was great.
As I explained last Monday, the Comic-Con folks asked me to be a Special Guest this year, and they treat their guests well. I took along my daughters Laura and Robin--my wife Karen has been to a few Comic-Cons and thought that was plenty, thanks. I had three commitments: draw to help raise funds for the Cartoon Art Museum on Thursday afternoon, take part in a "Peanuts Family Album" panel Friday at noon, and race to another building to do my Spotlight Panel an hour later. In addition, I had a list of about 30 other activities and people of varied priorities to get to if I could.
I memorialize every Comic-Con I attend with a much-too-long photo essay. Gotta keep up tradition. The short version: it all went splendidly. Even better.
|Unto the breach. Me, Laura, Robin.
|An overview of a little tiny slice of the Comic-Con exhibition floor. This is just a fraction of it.
|Early Thursday morning Starbucks line, I was welcomed to Comic-Con by a Dinothor. Or perhaps a Tyrannothorus Rex. I didn't ask.
|The Rocketeer's helmet, Indiana Jones's whip and hat. Real ones.
|Believe it or not, this is a serious business meeting. Almost every important conversation I’ve had at Comic-Con has happened tucked into a quiet corner sitting on the floor.
|For just a moment, I held the universal power of life and death in my grasp. Then it was a 5-year-old kid's turn.
|I did this for a girl who wanted a drawing of a photo she had on her phone. It's not her cat, she just thinks it's cute and her favorite picture of all time. She liked my interpretation.
|I asked Charlie to interview me for my Spotlight Panel, a format that works very well because it keeps me from droning on about myself for an hour.
Before my Spotlight Panel got started, Comic-Con organizer Gary Sassaman took the podium to present me an Inkpot Award, which was a complete dumbfounding surprise. It's basically Comic-Con's lifetime achievement award for excellence in comics, science fiction, or entertainment. So now Steven Spielberg and I have that in common. They like to surprise awardees with them, and though I've seen it done to others I had no idea it was about to be done to me. Luckily, my daughter Robin had been tipped off and captured the moment.
|The big news of my Spotlight Panel: as I said in my previous post, Abrams ComicArts will publish a full-length, full-color hardcover of my Fire Story graphic novel in March 2019. I'm working on it now. I think it could be special.
I saw some old friends and met some new ones. Some I was happy to see but just didn't get a photo of (hi, cartoonist Dave Kellett!) I also missed some people I'd hoped to see, but was just never in the same place at the same time. My apologies if I missed you (sorry, cartoonist Carol Tyler!), but that's how Comic-Con is.
|MAD magazine caricaturist Tom Richmond and his wife Anna.
|Sunday Press publisher Peter Maresca, who prints the prettiest books this side of Abrams (which is an in-joke because his booth is right beside Abrams's).
|Maggie Thompson, editor of the late and lamented Comics Buyer's Guide.
|Which is also where I had a nice conversation with "The Comics Reporter" Tom Spurgeon . . .
|Edison Lee cartoonist John Hambrock's wife Anne is a Facebook friend of mine and told us both that we had to meet. I wish I'd had more time to talk, but next time. See, Anne, we did it.
|I've been a big admirer of cartoonist Eddie Campbell (From Hell and much more) for years. His book The Fate of the Artist is one of my all-time favorites. Eddie and his wife, bestselling author Audrey Niffenegger, seemed singularly unimpressed.
|I turned a corner on the floor and literally ran into my friend Joyce Farmer, an Underground Comics great whose Special Exits is a very special book about her parents' aging and deaths.
|This is Karen Green, librarian extraordinaire. A comic strip about her by my pal Nick Sousanis won an Eisner Award this year.
|I also just happened to run into Juliet McMullin, a professor at UC Riverside and leading light in graphic medicine. She's one of my favorite people.
My daughters and I agreed we didn't see as many people in elaborate costumes as in past years. There are still a lot of them, but as a proportion of total attendance their numbers seemed low to us. Robin and Laura theorized that tighter ticket policies are discouraging cosplayers who in years past might have been able to hang out in front of the Convention Center or in the Lobby. Now you need a badge to even get on the same block. Could be. In any event, here's to the creative dreamers who add a little color and whimsy to life.
|Avengers avenging while the Grandmaster grandmasters.
|Doc Brown just hit his head on the toilet.
|The Vision was more than a sentient android; he was also an omnipresent videographer.
|Impressive Hawkwoman and Hawkman costumes, but I hope they never tried to go through the Exhibition Hall.
|This Scarlet Witch rode up the escalator behind me and I asked her to pose when we got to the top.
|The Less-Than-Infinity Gauntlet
|I've seen Tall Spock at just about every Comic-Con I've been to, but never paired with Portly Kirk before. Tall Spock is really tall, well over 7 feet. I thought they looked great together.
|Happy, Tired Dad and Daughters.
What an extraordinary several days! I know that's a metric ton of photos but I didn't even talk about the great people of Abrams who took me out to dinner on Saturday, or the giant Sta-Puf Marshmallow Man and giant Nathan Fillion, or our excursion to Old Town San Diego, which I'd recommend. Sometimes Comic-Con is a little much; sometimes it's a LOT much. I lost my voice on Day Three, and my toe blisters will take days to heal. But there's nothing else like it. Thanks to everyone for hosting me so graciously and showing us such a great time!