It’s less than a week until the annual San Diego Comicon, and you can feel the pending anticipation among publishers, creators, retailers and fans. Heck, even the mayor of San Diego is excited, and why wouldn’t he be? Here’s a round-up of programming highlights, creator signings, con tips and other information that might be helpful to con attendees … if you have anything to add, please email me!
Some of the highlights:
–While the “big movie” presence seems a little lighter this year than in previous years, two “can’t miss” panels are the ones involving Iron Man director Jon Favreau and Snakes on a Plane star and all-around comic fan Samuel L. Jackson.
–While programming may seem light on the movie front, the TV front seems to be going strong. Of note, at least for me, is the preview of NBC’s Heroes that will be shown. Go check it out and let us know if it’s worth watching.
–Cars seem to be hot for this year’s con … Mazda and Spacedog will debut a new graphic novel called Revved, while Fear Agent will be featured on a Yaris. It kind of reminds me of the car show at the Texas State Fair. Ah memories.
–On Thursday afternoon, DC and Marvel will play against each other in a charity softball game benefiting ACTOR. What’s even cooler is that they’re giving fans the opportunity to play, too. If this becomes a tradition, as it used to be in years past, it could put a whole new spin on who each company targets with exclusive contracts. Can Barry Bonds draw a good Hulk?
–Jim Steranko is making a “surprise” appearance at the con, although I’m not sure how much of a surprise it will be if it’s been announced in advance.
–Impact Books, the how-to write and draw comics, graphic novels, manga
and fantasy art imprint of F+W Publications, Inc., has a star-studded lineup for their “Impact University” panel on Friday that includes writer Peter David, writer Marv Wolfman, editor Jim Salicrup, writer and columnist John Jackson Miller, artist Tom Nguyen and CBG editor Maggie Thompson. If you’re interested in becoming a pro, this is a great opportunity to learn how.
– And I’d be remiss if I didn’t put in another plug for the blogging panel, featuring our own Graeme McMillan, on Friday. Stop by and show Graeme some love.
Product releases, exclusives and free stuff
Many publishers will have upcoming products out early in San Diego, or even exclusive variations for the show. NBM, for instance, will have early copies of Dark Labyrinth by Luis Royo and Ted Rall’s Silk Road to Ruin. Atomika will debut God is Red. DC Direct will have secret free stuff if you know the right password. Shocker will be showing off toys from their cool new line of independent comics action figures. Viper will have special editions of A Dummy’s Guide to Danger by cool cat Jason Burns, while our friends at Citizen Press will debut Johnny Repeat. Track down Newsarama’s own Chris Arrant and buy his new book.
Company booths and creator signings
One of the great things about cons is the interaction fans and pros, whether it’s getting a book signed, having an artist contribute to your sketchbook or just chatting. Josh Howard talks a little about this in his column for Wizard:
I love comic conventions. I really do – the hours of traveling, the uncomfortable hotels, and the complete lack of sleep. I’m not kidding. I really do love the entire experience, the good and the bad. Comics are what I’ve wanted to do since I was 12 years old, and the fact that I’m able to travel across the country, meet new people, and sit at a table and sign copies of a book that I made really is a dream come true.
Just don’t ask him what his book is about.
Several creators and publishers have announced the signing schedules for their booths, or in some cases at least the names of who will be there, including:
–AiT/Planet Lar (.pdf)
–Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
–Diamond (Jeff Smith, Moebius and more)
Portfolio reviews and other opportunities
Slave Labor will be making appointments at their booth for portfolio reviews. Marvel and DC Comics are also doing the portfolio review thing. And Avatar, AiT, Oni and Harris. DC Comics and Todd McFarlane are looking for sculptors.
Need extra cash?
Guides & other stuff to do
–Tom at the Comic Reporter has a nice exhaustive guide going of tips for con attendees, from simple-yet-important tips on remembering your watch to things to do in San Diego.
–Comic Foundry offers tips on San Diego restaurants to check out while in town.
–If you need to get away from the con for a few hours, head for Coronado Island or La Jolla, if you have a car. Driving to Coronado means you can take the bridge that Logan’s mom jumped off of on Veronica Mars. You also can take the ferry to Coronado Island; in fact, that’s my usual method of transportation to downtown San Diego when I stay with my aunt on Coronado. In La Jolla, the Birch Aquarium is worth checking out; it’s conveniently located at the University of California at San Diego campus and the beach.
I’m sure I missed something … a lot of something, actually. If you have anything you’d like to report, email it to me.