Photos © Todd Klein.
This year I decided to travel to the largest U.S. comics and media con of the year on Wednesday rather than Thursday, and the travel went smoothly. At around 5 PM San Diego time I was on the approach to the convention center. This corner, which is often mobbed on the regular con days of Thursday to Sunday was still relatively quiet on Wednesday, when the con is only open in the evening for Preview Night.
It’s also when many con-goers pick up their entrance badges, and there was quite a long line for Pro badges as well as regular ones. I’m not sure how many professional badges the con gives out these days, but it must be thousands. I was hungry, so before getting in line, I walked across Harbor Blvd and up Fifth Avenue to a Japanese restaurant for some sushi.
Along the way I noticed a growing trend. In addition to many restaurants and typical touristy shops there are some comics/animation ones. This Chuck Jones gallery was there last year…
…and it was joined this year by this Archie-themed makeup store, and another called “Bettie Page” featuring clothing in 1950s styles, among other things.
Back at the con, I got in the pro line, which despite being long, moved quickly.
Along the way I was asked for a photo ID and my online registration form. I was given the green check of approval.
Inside my form was scanned, and my badge printed instantly by this helpful person, one of many doing the same job, keeping things moving right along. The process was handled well, and actually more quickly than in past years. I picked up my program schedule and headed into the exhibit hall.
The con floor was already quite busy and crowded, in fact jammed with folks in a few places I had to skirt around. Interesting, considering only those with full-con badges were allowed in to Preview Night.
As often happens, nearly the first person I know that I met here was Danish comics fan and friend Henrik Andreasen. We met at the con in 1993, and have renewed our acquaintance here every year since. Henrik has some things for me to sign, and I’ll do that today.
I made my way to the DC Comics booth, where I had the first of probably many chats with editor Shelly Bond, and said a few words to the FABLES creators, who were there signing. I also enjoyed an exhibit of some painted MAD covers, including this one by Alex Ross…
…and this by Dave Gibbons. I haven’t read MAD in a very long time, but these covers are great.
Wandering further, I ran into another old friend, artist Don Rosa, who was buying some old TV-related comics like these featuring Gerald McBoing Boing. Don and I had a good talk. I thought he, like me, had given up collecting old comics, but it’s not so. He still loves searching out obscure titles like these and adding to his collection.
One booth (not Mile High, as it might seem here) has a fabulous collection of large and small movie props that are up for auction. Here’s a model of The Nautilus from Disney’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” along with an Edward Scissorhands costume, and part of the motorcycle from “Ghost Rider.”
My favorite piece is this Marlon Brando Jor-El costume from the first Superman movie. In normal light it’s a dull gray, but being covered with reflective material, when shot with a flash, as here, it glows just like in the film! Very cool. I might take more pictures in this booth later.
I stopped at the booth of an original art dealer and was allowed to photograph a few old covers with logos I need for my “Logo of the Day” feature on Facebook. Not ideal lighting conditions, but I think I can still use them.
Preview Night ran to 9 PM, but by 8 I was ready to leave, it being 11 PM my time, and I’d been up since 5 AM. I managed to get a good night’s sleep last night, not always easy here, in a fine hotel room overlooking the bay. Now that I’ve written this up, I’ll finish going through the program schedule to see what I might do today, then I’ll head back to the con for today’s adventures. More tomorrow.