My eyes ache. Okay, probably not as much as that dude’s from Hall H, but they're pretty sore. More than a week after returning from SoCal (as any good Geek would call it), I’m still digesting the five-day, all-things-comics, all-things-movies, all-things-television, all-things-toys, all-things-gaming, all-things-cosplay festival that is SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON!
Now, although Capstone Publishers has sent several representatives every year, this was my first pilgrimage to the Mecca of Nerdness. Of course, several veteran Con-goers had already told me all about the good (swag), the bad (long lines), and the ugly (Slave Leia costumes . . . for men!). And, after experiencing it for myself, I’m here to tell you that everything is true. Yes, even the He-Leias!!
In fact, this “everything-ness” has become somewhat of a controversy to Comic-Con insiders. Many hardcore comics fans are quickly becoming skeptical of the event, stating, “Comic-Con? More like ‘Culture Con’! Hollywood has taken over!” Conspiracy theories aside, the movie and television industry has definitely invaded the Con. Giant, billboard-size banners for ALIEN, SALT, SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD, IRON MAN and even HBO’s TRUE BLOOD dominated the central corridor of this year’s convention floor. As for comic sellers, creators, and small presses, many of them have been banished to the fringes — stuck between lines for the over-used restrooms and under-stocked concession stands.
And the Stone Arch booth? Somewhere in between. Standing in our eight-by-eight plot between media moguls and comic book insiders was overwhelming, to say the least. The first day, I stood in awe as 130,000 people (and some very convincing aliens) swarmed the convention floor, and I wondered, “Where do we fit in among all this everything?” However, faster than a speeding bullet, I got my answer. Not from bird, not from a plane, but from a tiny Man of Steel. A seven-year-old boy, wearing a custom made Superman uniform, sprinted up to our booth, yelling, “Mom! Mom! Look!” He leaped into the air like a real caped hero and snatched a DC SUPER HEROES book from our table. His mother followed closely behind, and, before I could even ask her name, told me how her son had checked out “EVERY one of these books from the library!” Then as quickly as he came, the boy sped away, probably to investigate other booths filled with Superman movies, video games, comics, and television shows.
That boy got it. He understood that Comic-Con isn’t just about comics anymore. And, it’s not just about movies or television either! Comic-Com has become a place for fans to meet their heroes in ALL forms, face-to-face, eye-to-eye. During the next three days, I met my own heroes. I met authors, creators, illustrators, licensors, a whole lot of fans . . . and few more He-Leias. These interactions rejuvenated me and inspired me to create better books for that tiny Man of Steel. And now that I’m back, yes, my eyes still ache, but they ache for more.
Managing Editor—comics and licensed properties