Monday, June 29, 2009

Comic Con International

It is that time of year again. Comic-con International will be in lovely San Diego from July 23-26. For the first time in several years, I will not be attending, but I had to mention it anyway because it is the biggest event of the year. This is IMO the biggest and best show of the year for Entertainment, including comics, games, movies, tv, sci-fi, toys and more. If you can afford to go, I could not recommend this show enough. San Diego is THE BEST location for this kind of show. Last year, if I'm not mistaken, attendance was over 100,000. Chicago Wizard World last year was in the range of 30,000-40,000. SD blows away the competition. It is extremely well organized, for the attendee and for the exhibitor. I have never experienced a show like this. We've gone to our share of cons over the years, both as Amazing Fantasy and as Moonstone. There are small shows, medium shows, and then the BIG boys like SD. Nothing can compare, NOTHING. If you find a couple extra thousand bucks in your bank account or you win the lottery, you NEED to go! Last year I think there was over 400 panels that you could attend as a fan. I think Wizard World Chicago last year had like 30 or something like that. (These numbers are approximate, I have not verified, I'm relying on my memory here). The panels are a great attraction and well worth the price of admission. Last year, I think Comic-con cost something like $5-$10 more than Wizard World Chicago. (Again, I am just trying to remember). The wonderful thing about the panels are the sheer scope of options available, there is literally something for EVERYONE, I am not exaggerating. I haven't really looked at this years list of panels because it will just depress me since I am not attending, but check it out when you get a chance:

Last year was the one an only year I was able to attend panels at the show, at any show for that matter. Working various booths over the years at various conventions all over the country, there is little time for frivolity. Last year was golden. So many movie and tv panels to attend, you can literally see just about every one of your favorite Hollywood stars at any given Comic-Con, which is nice.

You can also find just about every artist or writer of note in attendance. I remember running into David Mazzucchelli several years back. I of course had to stop him to tell him what I big fan I was! He wasn't on the official list of artists showcasing at artist alley, I think he was just there because he is a pro. Really, you NEVER know who might be there! Every year, walking the floor, or grabbing a bite to each, you just never know who you will see. Last year, I ran into Bruce Campbell having dinner at the next table over from where I was sitting. He's a super nice guy! A few years ago, I ran into Joss Whedon, literally several times. I'm sure he thought I was stalking him. I just happened to see him walking the con floor several times (he's pretty easy to pick out) and at one of the bars one night after the show. And how could I forget the first year we exhibited for Moonstone as the SD show: Dominic Monaghan (of LOTR and Lost fame) attempting to walk down the aisle in front of our booth. Needless to say HE had lots of folks swarming him!

SD is a beautiful city for a con, and the convention center is lovely and centrally located within walking distance of tons of hotels and wonderful restaurants. Of course that is part of the problem if you want to attend Comic-con. Getting a room that's close is tough, and not spending a fortune on it, is even tougher! Food in SD is expensive mostly because there are SO many great restaurants to choose from! It's a gourmet's paradise! And the shopping is also great, many cool little boutiques to browse, but who has any money left after browsing the HUGE con floor? You must wear comfortable shoes or you will be very sorry. I did that for at least 3 years in a row. I wore stylish shoes and ended up with blisters all over. The pain I was in was excruciating. Comfortable shoes are a MUST! You can easily walk 5-10 miles a day without realizing it, the place is that big, and of course there is the walk to and from your hotel every day, oh and walking to and from various restaurants scattered all over the area and all the bars after that, again scattered all over the downtown area. I think I lose a couple of pounds every year just from walking!

One of the new announcements about Comic-Con 2009 is Hayao Mizazaki (anime and manga master) will be there. Oh I would love to meet him! This is his first appearance at Comic-Con. He will be there to promote his new movie Ponyo. And David Tennant (current Dr. Who) will also be on hand. I would love to meet him too!

It's funny, every year that I do attend, I have to read about the con when I get home because I am SO busy at the show to know what the heck is going on where. There are always TONS of announcements that come out of the Con: new comics, new companies, new movies, new tv shows, new books, you name it, it will be announced there with much fanfare. They will be announcing the sequel to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies there this year too! Oh it's a fangirl or boy's dream come true!

For those of us that can not attend, we have C2E2 to look forward to in April 2010. That will be the closest thing Chicago has ever had to a con similar in scope to the "International Comic-Con". C2EC will take a few years to grow and find it's own legs, but I expect BIG things out of it.

So rock on those lucky folks that are able to make the trip to SD this year!

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