• From what we’ve seen, this year’s show is running very, very smoothly. The improved security has led to a slightly more mellow mood, or at least not increased the misery factor. This year’s crowd, from the bit we’ve seen of it, seems to be composed mostly of professional freebie scoopers, sometimes whole families of them. The ALIEN face hugger mask, Galactus helm, and CLASH OF THE TITANS shield are frequently seen, along with the ubiquitous oversized bags which EVERYONE is giving out. Seriously, how are you supposed to humanly drag all that stuff around? On a person of The Beat’s stature, the bag all but drags on the ground.
• We sort of avoided the show floor yesterday. Maybe today, after our stomach settles. Kind of mixed word of how things were selling — some said it was gangbusters like usual, others said it was slowing down. Guess we’ll have to get down there and find out ourselves.
• The panel with Van Jensen and Dusty Higgins which we moderated yesterday had a very modest attendance — yes, there are still open spaces at Comic-Con — but provided nice insights into what it’s like to be at the indiest end of the comics spectrum. Jensen and Higgins talked about the sequel to the book, Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer and the Great Puppet Theater which spins off of the Collodi original with a whole world of magical wooden puppets and the vampires they hunt. Jensen also mentioned briefly his earlier career as the homicide reporter for Little Rock. “I was really glad to leave that job,” he summed up.
• The Hyatt is really weird this year. It’s all set up for the healthers, with registration booths, signage, and all, as if Comic-Con wasn’t even taking place. (Something they surely wish.) In early evening the place is dead. Sadly, despite the Hyatt’s poor track record and sometimes surly staff, and the availability of a far superior alternative, everyone still goes there every night for wee hour shenanigans. People, do the Hilton!
• The douchey movie parties continue to be douchey. Even high ranking people at Image couldn’t get into AMC’s Walking Dead party at the Omni. That’s ultra lame, people. Similarly, there was a distinct lack of passes for the big SCOTT PILGRIM party to comics types. Oh, well.
• On the other hand, the CBLDF terrace party was all kinds of awesome and full of the kinds of creative, smart people that everyone likes to hang out with.
• Also cool, the Ape Entertainment party at the San Diego Children’s museum. Fresh from Vegas, Cheap Trick played a short set that included “Surrender”, so you can check that off the bucket list. The Museum itself is a very cool venue that isn’t much used for Comic-Con events, so if you’re looking for something a little more unique next year, put it on your list.
• Having a broken toe isn’t slowing us down too much, it’s the awful blisters from the (oops) new shoes we bought to protect the broken toe that are the problem.
• THE NUMBER ONE TIP ABOUT GOING TO COMIC-CON? Forget about all that drink water plan ahead crap. The #1 rule about Comic-Con is NEVER EVER LEAVE THE HALL AT 7 PM ON THE DOT. The buses don’t move, the people don’t move, and it takes an hour to get anywhere anyway.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.