Comic Con 2013
The countless Comic Con reportage over the past few days has
invariably contained a lot of bitching--bitching about the generic
Hollywood fare showcased in Hall H, the crowds in Hall H, the $10 nachos
served in Hall H, etc. Here’s a suggestion: when attending Comic Con,
look outside Hall H! It’s a fact that the Con has several dozen
presentations occurring on each of its four days in addition to the
overall Technicolor craziness of the event, which I’d say provides
plenty of enjoyment on its own.
I attended the 2013 Comic Con
as I do every year,
and didn’t set foot in Hall H. I did however check out quite a few
presentations held elsewhere in the convention center, and spent a fair
amount of time in the jam-packed dealers’ area. I can confirm many of
the complaints you’ve been hearing about the Con--it is indeed too
crowded and overly Hollywood dominated--yet as usual it contained
something to keep most everyone occupied, if not always edified, such
- A panel for the comic book publisher Red Giant, notable for some
disquieting statistics disclosed by an RG honcho: apparently only
100-200 thousand people in the U.S. read comic books, and only 3-5
thousand comic book retailers currently exist, a number that’s down
considerably from the 12,000 that existed a decade ago.
- A slovenly dude exiting the convention center bragging that he
“had to shit so hard,” and left the bathroom “a fucking
- A screening of a new TOM & JERRY cartoon, albeit an extremely
shitty one set in someplace called “Storybook Town” where a plucky
kid convinces T&J to put aside their differences. Phooey!
- Lou Ferrigno signing autographs at the Mile High Comics booth,
and shooing con-goers away from a standee of him in his INCREDIBLE
HULK days, of which he was apparently quite anxious for everyone to
have an unobstructed view.
- A guy handing out flyers five or so blocks up from the
convention center shouting “this is my corner!” at his
- Marvel Comics scribe Brian Michael Bendis describing his work on
the Marvel Creative Committee that consults Hollywood about Marvel
properties: “Imagine the angriest, longest message board
fight…that’s what every Creative Committee meeting is.”
- At least one rival nerd-skewering convention taking place near
the Comic Con:
- A panel about mainstream comic book authors working in the indie
sphere that disgorged such pearls of wisdom as “Having a project
with panels and captions is a better way to sell your product than
having nothing at all” and that when networking one should “wear
- A “Monsters of Alternative Comics” panel in which the problem of
plagiarism in editorial cartooning was breached. Apparently there
are “no ethical standards whatsoever” in the newspaper cartoon
world, with artists shamelessly tracing over others’ drawings and
recycling their own art over and over.
- The Hall H line:
- SPIDERMAN writer Gerry Conway on the changes in comic book
writing from when he started back in the seventies to the present
day: “Back then we were writing for kids 13 to 18, now we’re writing
- A couple mini-amusement parks set up in parking lots adjacent to
the convention center to promote upcoming movies like SMURFS 2 and
KICK-ASS 2, the latter of which was co-sponsored by Playboy, and
featured scantily clad babes rubbing shoulders with young children.
- Storyboard artist Vera Brosgol screening a funny and macabre
animated short she made in 2005 involving a young girl and a frozen
corpse. It was good enough to make me wish Ms Brosgol had made more
animated films, but she conceded that “animation requires a lot of
drawing, and I’m a bit lazy…”
- A massive pirate ship docked in the bay behind the convention
center to promote some movie (I’ve forgotten what) that on Sunday
fired off several ear-splitting cannon shots.
- Bible thumpers stationed outside the convention center shouting
at us that we’re all going to burn in Hell, joined by a prankster in
Darth Vader get-up with a message of his own…
- A guy nonchalantly changing a baby’s diaper amid the Saturday
afternoon crowd streaming through the convention center halls--and
fitting in disconcertingly well with the never-ending flow of freaks
and weirdoes that make up the Con.
- A series of elaborate medieval sword fights performed outside
the convention center by an organization calling itself the “Society
for Creative Anachronists.” According to the society’s spokesperson
they also do art and embroidering, but found that Comic Con
audiences are more interested in seeing people fight.
- A “Women of Marvel” panel, two of whose participants admitted
they got cushy jobs at Marvel after they participated in employee
sporting events, and another of whom shocked her fellows by claiming
that “I feel really sorry for Caucasian dudes” (to which another
panelist snapped “I don’t!”) because it’s difficult for them
to stand out.
- A mini-rant by STRANGERS IN PARADISE’S Terry Moore about
America’s puritanical streak, and a retailer in Georgia who
allegedly placed a SIP issue in the XXX section because it contained
an image of a girl in a tight sweater.
- Waiting a half hour for an upstairs grill to be replenished with
pulled pork due to a woman’s claim that the pulled pork sandwiches
served at the convention center are “amazing.” I’ll have to say I
wasn’t too amazed.