Well, here we are live blogging from Hall H. Although we never received our fabled pass to the hall, there also wasn’t any line to get in, either. So we’re stuck here for an hour listening to fans behind us quoting lines from Venture Bros.

The Warner Bros. booth and its bag giveaways continues to be the biggest logjam on the floor. When they give out bags, there is a feeding frenzy reminiscent of the fire ant scene from the last Indiana Jones movie. When the bags are gone, people continue to mill around waiting…waiting…

Whatever the mayor says, it’s clear the con has engulfed the city. At least one of the elevators at the Marriott is tricked up like a cloud to promote some Disney movie. Cardboard Spirits peep from hotel cornices around town. The plaza in front of the Gaslamp Hilton has been filled with ceramic Chinese warriors. Nearly every bar and restaurant has a sign welcoming the Con, proving the nerd dollar is still strong in this place.


  1. Dear Beat,

    I cannot believe that I had to learn about Hugh Jackman being a surprise guest at SDCC from sources other than you. On this one subject, I am particularly disappointed.

    Otherwise, I hope you and the Future Mr Beat are having a wonderful time.

  2. I havent been to San Diego since 2000. Is there less dealer space now that the studios and publishers displays seem to be getting bigger and bigger? Just curious.

  3. FTR, I’ve been going to the con since 1999, when I went on just Saturday, realized I’d made a horrible mistake, and started going for all four days every year ever since.

    I havent been to San Diego since 2000. Is there less dealer space now that the studios and publishers displays seem to be getting bigger and bigger? Just curious.

    Grant, this is a mind-bogglingly complex question you asked because the convention center itself is so mind-bogglingly larger than it was the last time that you went. The convention center itself is about twice as large as it was back then and four-to-five-times larger in attendance.

    Proportionally, IMO, the movie and TV studios take up about twice as much of the dealers’ room as they did back then. The movie, TV show and toy booths (more on the latter next) are so huge in physical size given the physical size of the convention center that they cause entirely unnecessary traffic jams due to the sheer number of freebies that they give out (I mean you Fox, Warner, Mattel, Hasbro and anything Star Wars.)

    The larger problem is that the toy manufacturers have grown about tenfold in proportion to the rest of the dealer’s room, as have the toy dealers, leaving comics-only dealers a proportionally smaller presence even though there’s roughly the same number of dealers there.

    I think the proportion of comics dealers and publishers has stayed about the same — but Image, Slave Labor and Dark Horse’s booth spaces have doubled in physical size. However a pernicious drift by the smaller dealers to also carrying toys has greatly diminished the dealers’ room as a destination for trying to fill holes in your collection that are more than three years old.

    I should write an essay on how, being curious about the Plan 9 From Outer Space of superhero comics — namely, the Clone Saga — prompted me to buy about 110 of the 160 or so issues of the various regular Spidey series and spin-off miniseries for cheap from an acquaintance at my LCS just so that I could see how much of the rest of them I could complete at the con. The answer by my checklist is “all but five.” But of those, about 90% of them were from one dealer (most con-goers know which one — it was the biggest back-issue dealer at the con) and it was virtually impossible to find anything else from that era from any other dealer at the con. I suppose it could be due to the simple fact that very few arcs within the Clone Saga were ever published in trade paperback form — and Marvel still refuses to release it in TPB form due to the sheer size of the storyline more than the story’s notoriety. But the search to complete the storyline brought to my attention the dealers’ inability and/or lack of interest in back issues.

    I also wanted to complete my collection of the various later Elfquest series and miniseries. I ran out of money before I was able to move on to that quest, but “window-shopped” it anyway — ie: took a look-see everywhere to see if I could have completed that search of 80 or so comics if I had had the money. The con was even worse regarding trying to complete that task. The same large dealer who had 90% of the Clone Saga stuff that I needed to get had only about half of the Elfquest stuff.

    FTR #1 — I know, I know, try eBay and comics store websites such as Mile High. But that’s totally beside the point — which was to measure how useful Comic-Con is to comics collectors and the answer is: it really isn’t useful anymore.

    FTR #2 — I know, I know, Elfquest could qualify as a bad example as except for the Marvel reprints and the current DC archives and manga-sized reprints (neither of which I needed), it was and is small press, which means that it’s going to be scarcer. Except that I don’t think that it’s a bad example as, along with Cerebus and TMNT, it’s one of the landmarks of independent comics.

    FTR #3 — Yes, I know there were a few dollar boxes around (what, no quarter boxes?) but these boxes were generally in random order). Perhaps there were a few more of the Elfquests on my list in those boxes — but I doubt in. HOWEVER, in any case, I might have been able to fill other holes from the mid-80’s to early 90’s from those boxes had they been alphabetized, even if only each individual box were alphabetized. As a potential customer, I have to say this to the comics dealers: if you don’t want me to find them, then I don’t want to buy them from you. And even though I’m really picky about condition, I wouldn’t complain about condition if reading copies were the only way I could get them *as long as I could find them.*

    Which is why I generally only get Trade Paperbacks at Comic-Con rather than try this hole-filling experiment with the Clone Saga, thus freeing up my comics-searching time to go to Movie and TV panels instead. I mean, if you can’t find every issue of Spider-Man you could possibly need for your collection or reading list in one form or another at Comic-Con, what exactly is the point of even being in the mindframe to *want* to buy floppies — much less new or recent floppies — there?

    — Rob

Comments are closed.