SDCC 2008 aka I survived Nerd Prom

So San Diego Comic Con 2008 is over, and I had a really good time.

It’s gotten so huge, and it is much more than just an average comic con. I can see why some comic fans can be resentful that comics are no longer the sole focus of the con anymore. They feel that what once was theirs is now gone. They feel that was once the pinnacle of comics fandom is now being overshadowed by other media. And the way the hall is sectioned even reinforces that with the right half of the hall being comics (publishers, dealers, creators) and the left half being other media/pop culture.

But I don’t really mind the shift from a comic focused con to a overall pop culture one. For one, SDCC could have never gotten so big and attracted such huge crowds if it was mainly just comics. Comics still are somewhat a niche media. A good percentage of the people coming to the con now don’t really read comics regularly. They may enjoy comics related media, but they really never got into reading comics.

And here is where I think a lot of comic supporters may be missing an opportunity. Sure there will be some people who will never pick up a comic and just stick to what they already enjoy. But then there will people who come for the left side of the hall and wonder by the right side and find something that they would have never thought of buying before.

I think SDCC can be used as a really good place to find new readers and different kinds of readers that comics normally can not reach. But to do that comics publishers and creators need to have a diverse number of product at the show. With the sheer number of people coming, there needs to be something for everyone. There needs to be comics that appeal wide ranges of ages and genders. There needs to be stories of every genre and style. And for the most part, that is what was on display this year.

So before I really start to ramble and bore people, I’ll shift to what I enjoyed and bought at the con..

Things I enjoyed this year:

The Josh Whedon/Dr. Horrible panel
I’m not a rabid Josh Whedon fan. I only watched Buffy from time to time and never really watched Serenity or Firefly. But I do enjoy his work from time to time, and Dr. Horrible was one of those times. It combined some of my favorite things: super-heroes, goofy humor, music, and the internet.

The panel was a really great time. It had tons of laughs and great moments. And was really worth the over hour wait in the hot sun to get in (by the time I got there the line waiting for the panel to start to be seated was out the door).

I really liked that Whedon is getting behind the self-publishing model. Part of the reason he did Dr. Horrible was he wants to have a venue for him and his collaborators to have free reign to do things as they want without having to jump through the hops for the big studios and give up control of his creations.

Meeting people and geeking out with them
I think the majority of my time at the con was just going around and talking to people. By not exhibiting, I had a lot of time just to spend time with people I really enjoy talking with. I’d like to thank Scott Shaw, Jim MacQuarrie, Gary Buechler and the Comic Outpost crew, Benjamin Ilka, Neil Kleid, Debbie Huey, and everyone who I meet from CBR. Special shout out goes to my Pirate Penguins guildmates. Hanging out with them is part of the reason I decided to attend SDCC this year.

Things I bought:

North World by Lars Brown (Oni Press)
I’ve being thinking of buying this book for a while. The art is nice and cartoony and the story looks my kind of thing.

Prince of Persia by Jordan Mechner, A.B. Sina, LeUyen Pham, Alex Puvilland (First Second)
The art really is what caught my eye on this one. It has an old school animated cartoon look to it. Plus the color pallet of the book is really nicely done.

Too Cool to be Forgotten by Alex Robinson (Top Shelf)
I’m a big fan of Robinson’s other books (Box Office Poison, Ticked). Plus he was there when I bought it so I got it signed. He even did a quick sketch in the book.
Oh yeah, Top Shelf’s 2008 Seasonal Sampler that was given out at the show for free is really nice. Its a perfect bound trade paperback that is over 100 pages and features some really nice preview art from new and upcoming titles.

Mouse Guard Fall 1152 by David Peterson (Archaia Studios Press)
I’ve been meaning to pick this up forever. When I saw they were having a con special on the hardcover, I quickly picked it up.

So all in all, I had a really great time. I saw a bunch of really fun things, I hung out with a lot of great people and bought a good number of books.

The most telling thing about this year’s con is that I saw more smiling faces this year. It seems there is something for everyone at the con. And I for one like that.

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