It’s windup day here. All the glittering art displays and carnivals are being taken down; everyone has gone home but the poor cast of Fringe, who were left behind to cover the retreat. And the comicos are also joining the caravan to the north and east.
We’ll have a lot more to say in the days to come but today is a crucial day for the future of comics at Comic-Con. Most everyone we talked to among the comics publishers and artists told us this has been a slow show for sales. People who were sold out by Saturday at HeroesCon are sitting on stacks of books. We don’t doubt that some people are doing well, but whereas in past years SDCC was definitely the biggest sales show of the year—justifying the enormous costs of attending—if booth sales slow, the exodus of comics talent may continue.
As we just reported, Bill Willingham has announced he won’t be back in 2013. At Tr!ckster last night, Mike Mignola told me this is the last time he’ll be setting up a booth here. To which Matt Wagner, standing nearby, said, “I did that three years ago and it was a great decision.” Another well known artist also mentioned he was giving up his booth for next year. Of course Wagner was still at the show, and Mignola said he would come for a few days to see friends and do business perhaps, but it is beginning to feel like an exodus.
Speaking of Tr!ckster, it was jammed last night. It’s been SRO every night. The vibe was something like a nightclub as dubstep blared out and people came in whirled through and dashed out, making the comics scene. Apparently sales were brisker there for comics than on the floor.
The Hyatt was a riot as usual, although security guards weren’t always allowing drinks outside as they did in past years. There seemed to be a general air of fearfulness from hotel staff that a full on donnybrook would break out at any minute. In reality,. people seemed more set on enjoying one last night of name-dropping and talking about future projects in development.
Still lots of good times here and lots of comics. Just different, as always.
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.