Steven T. Seagle:
“I attended my first Comic-Con in 1988 with my high school/college buddies. We stayed in a single room in the San Diego Hotel. There was a sweaty Captain America in my elevator. I walked the floor of the show in the San Diego Concourse. And I went to a party at the Holiday Inn where some small press comics creators had made a solid Jell-O shot out of their entire bathtub. Nowadays I hit Con with my fellow Ben 10 creator buddies, Man of Action. We have our own suites at the Hard Rock. A not-sweaty Colin Farrell was in our elevator last year. We have front-row seats for the wildest show on Earth at our booth (#2007). And the parties are everywhere from the rooftops of swank hotels to Petco Park — but the shots, sadly, aren’t in bathtubs these days.”
But by the time he made his pilgrimage with Star Wars, the actor — who’d by then guest-starred on shows like Eight Is Enough and One Day at a Time — had turned a childhood love for comic books into an obsession. He was a convention-cult geek who, pre-fame, expertly haggled dealers from $40 to $20 for a 1958 Adventure Comics #247. (It’s the debut of the Legion of Super-Heroes.)“Now it’s worth north of $10,000,” says Hamill, who throws nothing away. “The conventions were tiny. It was not mainstream at all.”
But what about Superman’s missing red trunks? DiDio had an answer for that.“He hasn’t lost them,” quipped DiDio. “He’s just wearing them in a different way.”
Charity is in the blood of many convention-goers, and last year they gave 1,413 pints of it to the San Diego Blood Bank over the event’s four full days. Comic-Con’s Robert A. Heinlein Blood Drive started as part of a deal to bring the bestselling science-fiction author to the convention in 1977, and has continued every year since.Phlebotomist Suzie Lopez has been drawing blood at the Comic-Con drives for more than 25 years. Amid the costumed crowds rolling up their sleeves for her — the Marios and Luigis, the occasional barely dressed Poison Ivy — she’s noticed a trend of unlikely donors: “We get a lot of vampires.”
The CBLDF, which offers signed books from top creators and more at its booth and puts on a number of educational panels, last year raised $55,000 at Comic-Con. Its fundraising activities this year include a welcome party on Thursday night with special guests including writer John Layman (“Chew,” “Detective Comics”) and writer-artist Paul Pope (“Batman: Year 100,” “100 Percent”) and an art auction on Saturday with items from Pope, Lee, Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, Jill Thompson and more.
Hero Initiative, which has granted more than $500,000 since its inception in 2001, brings comics talents including Dan Jurgens and Darick Robertson to its exhibition floor booth, where they will sketch for fans and donate all proceeds to the organization. And on Thursday night it and sponsor comiXology are putting on the Blank Page Project, in which an array of comics pros will fill in a giant 12 foot by 8 foot page behind the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel for later auction.
(Click the link on the Blank Page Project for a lonnnng list of creators participating!)
The made-to-order polyester-Spandex leggings are hand-printed by the artist himself. The print features exposed wire and metal along with colorful armor plates. A reticulated steel pattern runs down the back of the leg.
And how did we construct this ruler of all giant robots — this Jaeger-meister, if you will? We went to the Stan Winston School and Legacy Effects, the studio that built armor for Pacific Rim and Iron Man, and we asked for something special. They came up with an aluminum and urethane behemoth, and invented an innovative control mechanism to let the robot arms replicate even the smallest movements of the pilot’s. Except, you know, with a 12-foot wingspan. (A more in-depth look at the Mech’s construction will be part of YouTube’s Geek Week, August 4th to 10th.)We brought in a buddy to help us introduce the Mech to the world: Mythbusters and Tested.com icon Adam Savage, no stranger to elaborate costumes and sci-fi heavy weaponry.
“Note,” she says, “the smiles.”
It’s true. This is a convention, the largest convention of any kind I have ever attended. I do not associate exhibit floors with inner peace. I’ve been to trade shows where even the booth bunnies are po-faced. But everyone here is grinning. I’ll get into the demographic breakdowns of attendees later, but for now I’ll just say: Lots of teeth.
A local web-cartoonist describes his experience (and that of others) at CCI’s small press zone.