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.