Y’know, when I was recently asked by the boys over at Ka-Blam (Thomas and Barry, great guys and run the ever awesome POD comic site as well as Indyplanet and ComicsMonkey) if I could write up a quick reaction to my experiences at Comic-Con, I thought it’d be fun! Having to collect my thoughts on so chaotic and event-filled experience, however, was daunting.
This year was my first year at Comic-Con (or San Diego Comic-Con aka SDCC to the rest of us). Oh, I’ve done countless other conventions and signings all over North America, from Chicago to Orlando to Toronto to Charleston and back again—but SDCC is the monster—the big show when it comes down to it. It’s the con that they always tell the big stories about— the crazy stars of big stars getting into fights or urinating on others, the absurd tales of furries getting frisky, the lines that form the night before and go for miles down the road outside the convention hall… How could I pass that up?
I’ve always wanted to do the show, but hadn’t had a great opportunity until this year, when things just… clicked. A good friend, Pat Loika, runs a booth there every year and offered to take care of my hotel preparations and all that if I’d share space there. I immediately agreed and it was smooth sailing from there.
My wife (and sometimes inker) Kelly and I arrived in town Tuesday night so we could set up the room for our other roommates. Joining us would be Bryan JL Glass (of Image’s Mice Templar and an upcoming Thor miniseries for Marvel) and the dynamic duo of husband/wife team Adam Withers and Comfort Love (of The Uniques and now Rainbow in the Dark). We’ve known our SDCC roomies for some time now, having hit it off a year or two ago and really enjoying one another’s company. It may sound like a packed room, but we keep hearing of rooms with 10-20 people crammed into them for this show, so we actually had room to spare.
Tuesday was a breeze. Kelly and I had dropped off our stuff at our booth on the convention floor before the others arrived in town, and most of the mad rush we’d see later hadn’t even begun. We were right around the corner from DC’s mammoth set-up, and they were mostly set up already. It was cool seeing Marvel setting up the Asgardian Throne that night as well—little did we know until the end of the show Sunday that they had the Destroyer armor hiding behind the throne. VERY cool.
As a SDCC first-timer, the show was just… mind-numbingly large. Easily three times larger than any of the other shows we’ve done, and truly exhausting to walk from one end to the other. At its busiest, there were long periods of waddling step-to-step as the masses of people were literally packed shoulder-to-shoulder. A little tip? Learned this from Todd Nauck—if you need to get somewhere fast, exit out the nearest doors to the lobby. It’s a LOT less packed, and you can actually walk a nice pace, getting you to your destination tens of minutes faster.
And guys? Comic-Con isn’t for comics. There may be loads of comic guys set up, as well as publishers, small press, independent press, big signings, etc etc—but this show at its basest is now about the media companies. The biggest clogs in traffic were always around the toy companies and movie studios, where endless mobs blocked aisles and aisles around their massive statues, displays of action figures and video games, and movie star signings. Selling comics, prints, original art, sketchbooks, and sketches was a mighty bit harder (especially at first) than I’ve ever encountered, though it righted itself over the course of the long week there. Remember, most people aren’t looking for you, your comics, or ANY comic in general. They’re looking for the swag, the free stuff, and the crazy situations that only SDCC can deliver. Like, you know… the stars.
The stars showed up in droves! Walking by our booth ALONE we saw Felicia Day, Nathan Fillion, Harry Knowles, Jerry “The King” Lawler, several cast members from NBC’s Chuck, and far too many more for me to mention here. It was kind of cool to see them at times just wandering around, enjoying the eye candy all around them as well.
Really, though, the best part about this show for me as a creator was just how natural an environment it was to network and chat it up with other pros. I’ve never experienced such a fascinatingly easy set-up to walk right up to the guys you need to talk to and talk shop, get work, and more.
I premiered my new series, SKYWARD, at the show—and the reaction was overwhelmingly positive! I showed it around several companies as well, looking to see if anyone wanted to take a shot on it, and most or all seemed very interested. I should have more news on that in time, I’m sure.
Looking back over my concerns early on during the event, I have to smile. At first I was overly concerned about making back all my expenses for the show and making a decent profit (which I did and then some, but that’s not the point). I was so focused on the dollars and cents that I couldn’t see the show for what it did the best. As Bryan Glass and I were discussing at some point later on Saturday or Sunday—even if we lost a few hundred bucks at this show on expenses, wouldn’t one pay that much anyway for an opportunity to reach such a large number of people, talk it up with the guys that can help get you work, and do so on the grandest stage of all?
Absolutely I would… and I would again and again.
I’ll be back next year, San Diego. I’ve learned a lot about what to do and what not to do, and I’ll have a better plan of attack before we meet. You may have beaten me up, blistered my feet, walked all over me, worked me 20 hours + a day… but I’ll be back.
And I’ll be ready.
Bring it on, Comic-Con…
- Jeremy Dale
Skyward, GI Joe, Popgun
What more can we say about Jeremy? Above the fact that he’s a super COOL dude, he’s a GREAT artist! I seem to remember meeting him and Kelly (OK! She’s SUPER-SUPER cool also) before, but I know for sure we spoke to him back in ’05-’06 at HEROES Con about us starting up Ka-Blam. Secretly Barry and I had a plan- You see, from the beginning we loved his art and we hoped he’d use our services at some point, not entirely, but mostly so we could see more of it. That meeting worked out GREAT because he signed up quickly (one of the first 50 signups) and everybody at Ka-Blam has enjoyed everything he’s sent our way. Thanks Jeremy and Kelly for giving our start up a try and passing on the word!!!
To see some of Jeremy’s fantastic art, go check his site: www.jeremy-dale.com. But if you’re ready to dig in and get “JEREMIZED”, you can pick up his art books and comics over at IndyPlanet: www.indyplanet.com/store/index.php?manufacturers_id=1095. You can’t go wrong.
Thomas @ Ka-Blam
Below are some of Jeremy & Kelly’s personal pic from the SDCC’10 show- Enjoy :)