Photos © Todd Klein except as noted.
My San Diego Comicon began with a flight out Wednesday, but a later one than usual, putting me in town at my hotel too late to get my pro badge, so I turned in early for once, and got a good night’s sleep. Thursday morning I walked down Fifth Street from my hotel to the convention center. Started out quite ordinary…
…and as I approached the convention center, things got progressively weirder. As in recent years, the massive promotional campaigns for movies and TV shows dominate the area across the road from the convention center.
Outside the convention center the usual crowd of comics fans was beginning to gather. I lost no time getting my badge, which took only a few minutes.
The main hall was not yet open, so I took the two massive publications, the Events Guide and the Souvenir Program Book, and looked through them for a few minutes until the doors opened.
This very clever riding Hobbit costume caught my eye, marred only by the clear disconnect between the man and the fake legs, but otherwise I liked it.
Two of the first familiar faces I found inside were Mark Buckingham and his wife Irma, her first San Diego con. I had met her once in England, and of course see Bucky here often, so it was great to renew the friendship.
Visiting the DC booth, I was pleased to see this large banner promoting the new SANDMAN: OVERTURE series that I’m lettering, written by Neil Gaiman, art by J.H. Williams III.
Inside the DC area, in celebration of Superman’s 75th Anniversary, some of the film costumes are on display. Here’s my favorite, from the first Christopher Reeve film.
The costume from the new film is made from a woven plastic material that reminds me of wicker. It looks strong, but also constricting, and not as appealing to me as the Reeve one.
The convention floor was already pretty busy, and will get busier over the next two days. I was on a panel at 11 AM about the 25th anniversary of the Eisner Awards. I didn’t have a lot to add, but I enjoyed being part of it. Other participants like Jackie Estrada, Denis Kitchen and Maggie Thompson had more to say of interest.
Remember when the word Geek was a pejorative? (And way back, meant someone who did things like bite the heads off chickens in carnival shows.) Apparently not any more, though I didn’t see many folks interested in this dating service.
Here I am with longtime letterer Janice Chiang, and terrific artist Jerry Ordway. I’d met Janice only once decades ago, but we’ve become Facebook friends, and it was good to see and chat with her here. Didn’t really get to talk to Jerry, but I hope to catch up with him later. I did talk to other friends in Artists Alley, one of my favorite areas to visit at the con. I’ll probably have more of that in the coming days.
Another thing I enjoy these days is looking at original art, especially older art from comics I read as a child. Heritage auctions had some fine work on display. Here’s two panels from an early GREEN LANTERN with great lettering by Gaspar Saladino on the fine Gil Kane pencils (not sure who inked it).
A detail from a classic Carmine Infantino FLASH cover that I remember well. I always loved the way he drew Flash’s speed lines.
And didn’t Wally Wood have the best signature ever? From a beautiful EC cover that has an auction estimate of $100,000. Tried photographing the entire cover, but it didn’t come out well.
Heading to another panel upstairs, I noted the always beautiful weather in San Diego (if you have to ask, it’s 75 degrees and sunny most days, 65 degrees and clear most nights, with occasional fog or clouds moving in off the ocean). I made sure I got outside a while later. I attended Dave McKean’s panel, which was largely a slideshow of Dave’s work, with his comments. I don’t think of Dave as a prolific artist, but this program showed that to be true. He paged through cover after cover, page after page of story art, music album art, book illustrations and covers, personal art, and photos of sculptures, gallery exhibitions and film projects, much of it I’d never heard of, let alone seen. Amazing and definitely prolific! The most eye-opening panel of the day.
Later I attended J.H. Williams III’s panel, where most of the images he showed were more familiar, since we work closely together, though I did see some of his recent album art for the group “Blondie” for the first time. And everyone loved the new SANDMAN art he showed.
I hadn’t seen Neil Gaiman yet, but waiting in line for the Williams panel were these familiar figures. As you may have heard, the lines at SDCC are Endless… (sorry)
Back on the main convention floor, I found this artist working on a huge touch-screen made to look like a giant iPhone fascinating. No idea how they do that.
And one more pair of costumes I found entertaining. Someone finally figured out a way to make a Dalek appealing.
Thursday evening I was invited to a dinner party at Nobu, a Japanese restaurant in the Hard Rock hotel near the convention center. It was organized by Shelly Bond, and the guest list was impressive. Beware, I’m going to name-drop even more than usual here. It was meant to be a SANDMAN gathering, so included Neil Gaiman, J.H. Williams III and his wife Wendy, Dave McKean and his wife, and DC executives Diane Nelson, Jim Lee, Geoff Johns, Dan Didio, and Hank Kanalz. I sat between Diane and Geoff, and enjoyed talking to each of them at some length. I asked Diane about working with J.K. Rowlings, and Geoff and I talked about his comics writing, which I enjoy, and a little about my own long-past comics writing. I didn’t get to talk to Neil and Dave much, as they were across a wide table and it got noisy, but I did tell Neil how much I enjoyed his recent novel, “The Ocean At The End Of The Lane,” and asked him what he, Jonathan Ross and Steve Ditko talked about in their famous meeting a few years back. (Nothing earth-shaking, but very Ditko, sounds like.)
Here’s a photo I grabbed from Jim Lee’s twitter feed of J.H., Neil, and Dave, with me looking “really blue” as one person said, and also looking photoshopped into this august group. I really was there, honest! And the one time I forgot to bring my own camera when I really could have used it. Am I really the tallest one here? How did that happen?