SD09: Saturday is FUN day!

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Will everyone stop moaning about how bad Saturday will be? EVERY DAY of the con has been sold out thus far and from the folks we talked to, Preview Night was actually the most crowded time on the floor.

Last night’s Eisners at the new Hilton venue were more a tighter show — the elimination of several categories and a bit brisker format had the show come in 20 minutes shorter than last year. This still left time for a lot of amazing speeches, including MAD writer Frank Jacob’s memories of Bill Gaines, Sergio’s Antonio Prohias tales, and Mike Royer recalling Russ Manning’s brisk manner.

Big ups to ALL the winners, but a special shout out to Rantz Hoseley for the COMIC BOOK TATTOO win and Jonah Weiland for CBR. While all the contenders in the Best Comics Journalism presentation are great, Weiland has been at it a long time, and his win was definitely a popular one.

The after party was better, as well, although most people still split quickly to get to the various industry/agency bashes. There were, by all accounts, a bunch of fabulous, star-studded parties but we ended up staying at the Hilton for the duration, talking of Russ Manning, Alex Toth and Frank Frazetta with the likes of Steve Leialoha, Mark Buckingham, Paul Power and the aforementioned Royer. We also got the REAL story of those Michael Jackson & family photos from Sharon Liebowitz of the Golden Apple. We finally got to meet Gerard Way, and it turned out we had been at DC at the same time, which was kind of funny. Other fabulous folks chatted at/learned from: G. Willow Wilson, Jacq Cohen, the 5 crew of Cloonan, Bá, Moon and Lolos, Rick Parker, J.C. Vaughan, Chip Mosher, Jim Pascoe and of course hostess Jackie Estrada.

Elsewhere, it was a fantastic night of faboo parties, with wrestling, the Mighty Boosh, PetCo Park, and the casts of just about every TV show at the con wandering around one rooftop or another. We had many entreaties to go to the Hyatt scramble, but sensibility compelled us to stay put at our own hotel.

Before that, it was the usual scrum. On the way back to the hotel for the Eisners, we couldn’t resists popping into the line-less Hall H for the Peter Jackson/James Cameron conversation. Both these visionary gentleman occasionally lapsed into tech talk — with one punch line about a 16-millimeter camera going kinda flat to the crowd. Even more disturbingly, the panel was interrupted when some yahoo jumped on stage and poured himself a glass of water and drank it! Video here. At first it seemed that this could be, say, Steven Spielberg or George Lucas or Jerry Lewis in costume for a surprise visit, but apparently it was a real goober. (We haven’t googled everything, however, so it is possible that it was really Ashton Kutcher or some other Punked type stunt.)

It struck us as more than a little ironic that this came after we (and everyone else) had spent the day being prodded and poked and “move along now”-ed by security. It seems that there are only three things you can do at Comic-Con:

* stand in line
* wander dispiritedly to another line, guided at each step by security
* sit glumly on the floor in a state of exhaustion

If you are an industry professional, there is a fourth activity:

* stand around yapping about how many people are waiting in line, walking around and sitting on the floor.

Of course, all the security is for the safety of the huge crowd, and it’s an absolute necessity. However, while law abiding citizens are being hassled about standing in one place for more than 10 seconds, a complete gonzo was able to breach the stage of Hall H while two of the greatest directors in history were talking. Nobody’s perfect.

UPDATE: Apparently the crasher was Keith Apicary, some kind of professional crasher. Whoop te fucking do.


  1. mark coale says:

    I guess the best thing is to be hidden in one of the secret green rooms or at worse hide in the pro lounge, assume they don’t run out of lemonade.

  2. Steven R. Stahl says:

    I’d like to know what people will wind up spending on SDCC, whether they’re there for two or four days, on the basics: hotel room, travel expenses, food.


  3. How soon before we see “I drink your water!” t-shirts?

  4. “UPDATE: Apparently the crasher was Keith Apicary, some kind of professional crasher. Whoop te fucking do.”

    Uncool. If you’re going to crash something, here’s how you do it:

    “DUNEDIN, NEW ZEALAND – JULY 12: (EDITORS NOTE: NUDITY) A naked ‘policman’ helps players deal with a fully clothed streaker during a nude rugby game at St Kilda Beach on July 12, 2008 in Dunedin, New Zealand. The nude rugby match on the beach is a traditional prelude to a New Zealand All Blacks Test match in Dunedin against a visiting team. (Photo by Ross Land/Getty Images)”

  5. Rhuw Morgan says:

    Not so much professional gatecrasher it’s actually ‘professional’ comedian Nathan Barnatt and Apicary is one of the characters he plays who is supposed to be a really nerdy video game fan. He actually advertised that he would be part of a panel at San Diego too on his website and ongaming forums; guess he forgot to mention he would just be tasting the water.

  6. At least we didnlt have bruno end up ass-first on top of gaiman or willingham.

  7. I finished up Comic Con on Saturday and defiantly ended on a higher note than I have in a long time. Dave Gibbons and I talked about teaching art. I gut to hang out with John Higgins and his lovely wife (at least I assumed she was his wife, maybe I better check on that) Sally Hurst, for some very stimulating conversation about color, printing, and yes again, teaching. I’ll also highly recommend his book from Com.x called RazorJack. I interviewed AtomikA’s Sal Abbinanti (who also heads up Bongo comic’s Bill Morrison, David Mack, and Camilla Derrico. I also say my friends Batton Lash, Jackie Estrada, Billy Martinez, and Alex Chiu. Dan Brereton and Ben Templesmith agreed to by in future issues of my art magazine, and Andy Runton signed a copy of Owly: A Time To Be Brave to my three year old daughter. She loves it. Outside of comic con, I’m working on an interview with J.H. Williams III for our next issue. Yes my friends, life and Comic Con are great.

    As much as I love movies, they really played no part in my comic con, aside from some cool photos I took on the floor.

  8. Tom Spurgeon says:

    SRS, I think I spent just a little over $1100.

  9. Steven R. Stahl says:

    SRS, I think I spent just a little over $1100.

    Thanks. That’s not bad. If I was employed in the comics field, going to SDCC would be easy to do; I’d consider attending panels and such continuing education. The absence of any real comics news coming out of the con is a downer, though, and I’d guess that the “other media” domination of the con is likelier to increase than to stay steady or decrease.


  10. Our hotel was almost $600 for Wed to Sunday morning.

    We bought most of our food from Ralphs and ate out about 5 or 6x . About $400 I think for 3 of us. That’s what I pay in a month for our grocery bill.

    Gas to and from was about $50.

    Parking was $10 a day Wed-Sun so $50.

    All money that wasn’t spent at the Con.


  1. […] THE BEAT » Blog Archive » SD09: Saturday is FUN day! […]

  2. […] This year’s worst mess was at the IRON MAN 2 panel, as mentioned. Even people with studio passes were denied entrance – we heard a rumor that was because studio passes had been forged. But here we come to the most surprising part of my amateur investigation. A veteran news guy with a legit pass told us that after he was thwarted getting into Hall H by normal means, he instead used a back way that any veteran media type would be able to figure out – and was, in a few minutes, sitting in the green room next to Robert Downey Jr. I’ve already mentioned the Nathan Barnatt/Keith Apicary incident during the Jackson/Cameron panel. If security is really that worried about a crazed fan taking out Corey Haim, they need to tighten it up where Corey Haim hangs out and spend less time ordering around law abiding fans and exhibitors. (Barnatt had been on a panel earlier in the day so he probably had a green room pass and getting on stage wouldn’t have been that difficult from there.) […]

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