So after a long hiatus, what would it take to finally get me back on this blog again? My annual trek to San Diego for 5 days of pop-culture based geeky goodness: San Diego Comic-Con International 2008. Of course!
I try to explain to folks how this convention (the Con) is more than just comic books. That’s its core, sure, but there is a lot of media represented here. TV and movies have a huge presence, as do traditional print publishers. And so this event has a diverse mix of people, from costumed fans to Hollywood fashionistas to poorly dressed geeks <raising my hand> to New York suits. This year, the Con has completely sold out, so the expected attendance is 125 000 people.
I drove down to the Con today (Wed.) because I have a full event pass. That includes all 4 public days (Thurs. through Sun.) plus a special Preview Night on Wed. evening. After logging into my hotel (and one other task I’ll mention at the end of the post), I got in line for the special 6 pm to 9 pm Preview Night.
Traditional long lines start the evening with a sudden rush when they open the door (or as much of a rush as you can muster when tens of thousands of people are being herded into the exhibition area). There are no other events happening during the preview night, so everyone is here just to see what’s in the exhibition hall (and gather up lots of free stuff!).
I’m not terribly organized on Preview Night – other than having a list of booths I want to hit first because of limited amount of swag. So, I let events pull me in one direction or another. I find that a crowd reaching out to get something tossed out for free is like a flame to my moth. I stick out my hard for whatever free thing comes my way.
Or, I get distracted by some movie or TV prop. There’s an NBC presence with displays for Heroes as well as The Office. I saw the slick new car for the upcoming James Bond movie Quantum of Solace as well as the Nerd Herd car from the TV show Chuck. Movies currently in theaters had a presence (Hellboy II) as well as those still in production (Watchmen). For those in the geeky know, I included pictures of the Owl’s flying craft which was here on display: both the interior and the exterior.
There are plenty of traditional Con events: authors and artists signing their wares and models in costume promoting one thing or another. And there was lots of lots of stuff being given away. I was trying to avoid hauling back as much stuff as in the past, but I still came away with a bag full of free books and knick-knacks, as well as stuff I had to buy since they were “Comic-Con Exclusives”.
Usually, I don’t see anyone I know at these events. But this evening I was accosted by my friends Wayne and Jed. Wayne has a game he plays every year that I’m going to join in on. What’s the best T-Shirt slogan and what’s the most grotesque (or inappropriate) item for sale. There should be plenty of contestants.
At 9:00 pm, I was one tired (but happy) camper. It’s a lovely evening in San Diego, and even though it’s a moderately long walk back to my hotel, carrying a heavy bag-o’-swag, I’m here with “my people” and it’s all good.
I found a Mongolian Barbecue at the Horton Plaza for dinner and I’ll try to catch up on some sleep tonight (well, that didn’t happen. It’s 5:30 am as I work on this post).
So, here’s what’s made this 2008 event different for me from previous Cons, and why I came down to the event a little early. For the first time, I’m publically displaying (and selling) my wood-turnings. There is an amateur Art Show that’s part of the Comic-Con, and tables are available to rent. I’ve been enjoying my Script series of bowls and other turned items, so I decided to really let my geek flag fly and use a variety of genre-related, fictional alphabets to illustrate some of my work. The picture shows my space all set up. For a more detailed view of the individual items, you can check out my website at www.alanirwinart.com. It’s still under development, but the items are there for viewing.