Today I’m going to offer a more general tour of the Con center, mostly on the inside. From my hotel, the Marriott, there’s a direct walkway from the parking garage to the Hall A end of the very large convention center building, that’s how I get there every morning.
Here’s that entrance. When I started coming here in 1993 there were Halls A to C, I believe. Now it runs from A to H, and the entire building is about a half mile long at least. Lots of security here in the yellow vests.
Inside is the front hall or foyer running the length of the building, and usually less crowded than the main event halls inside, so when you need to get from one area to another, a good plan is to come back out here and walk along to where you want to be. This is particularly helpful if you need to get around the film/TV/media/game area running from the beginning of Hall D to the beginning of Hall F. They’re usually the most crowded and sometimes impassable. All the comics stuff is either side of that, with Artist’s Alley and many other artists in F and G, and the comics companies in B and C. You can also get around the roadblocks by going upstairs.
Inside Hall A, and in all halls, are a wide range of vendors, with the largest concentration in Halls A and B, but plenty elsewhere. There are some groupings by type, but it’s pretty mixed. Here’s a vendor dealing in animation art.
Used, rare and specialty book dealers are in decline, sadly, there are only a few this year. One of the best is Bud Plant, I always enjoy looking at his offerings, but his space is smaller than it used to be. Still good to visit, but I didn’t find anything I had to have this year. I’ll probably look again.
Some vendors specialize in comics and comics art, of course, and I love looking through their booths, especially at old comics art. From a vendor dealing in old comics-related items, here’s a membership certificate for in the first Superman fan club, and I know this is the original version from the early 1940s, maybe even late 1930s, because it uses one of the earliest Superman logos by Joe Shuster. Later versions used the revised logo by Ira Schnapp that first appeared on SUPERMAN #6 in 1940.
At the other extreme you have exhibitors/vendors like special effects and costume designers WETA with a massive booth and huge exhibits of their work for the upcoming film “Warcraft.”
Up close, every detail is impressive.
Here’s another vendor dealing mainly in items relating to the horror writings of H.P. Lovecraft. When I discovered Lovecraft in the late 1960s, his work was largely unknown and nearly forgotten. Now he’s way more popular than Edgar Allan Poe, and perhaps nearly as well-known as Stephen King.
They had this Annotated Lovecraft book which I had thought about buying, but after looking through it, decided not to. First, it doesn’t have nearly all of the man’s work, just a selection. Second, it takes you out of the stories to read notes about them, so kind of kills the chills. I have other annotated editions I’ve enjoyed, but decided not to get this one.
Animation companies and TV channels usually have very large booths and exhibits. Here’s one for a show I hadn’t heard of, and wouldn’t be likely to watch, but the display is interesting.
Warner Bros’ booth had displays for the upcoming Supergirl TV show. I saw the promo for that, and it looks promising. These booths also have the actors and actresses in the shows doing signings, one reason this area is so crowded. Sometimes they give things away, too.
Interrupting the tour for a moment, I went over to the Bayside Hilton, near the Hall H end of the con center, for a planned lunch arranged by my DC editor Shelly Bond with the creators of the iZombie comics and the writer and executive producer of the show, Diane Ruggiero. Here are Allison Baker and her husband Chris Roberson (Chris wrote the comics), Laura and Michael Allred (colorist and artist of the comics), Diane Ruggiero and myself (I lettered the comics). Three DC staffers were also there, including Shelly Bond, but this was the group that was still present when I thought of getting a photo. Diane’s husband took the picture for me. It was a fine get-together that I enjoyed immensely. Oh, and that problem I had with the credits on the TV show? Diane promised to fix it. How cool is that?
Back in the con center, some exhibitors are groups of writers or artists. Steve Seagle, a writer I’ve worked with in the past, is in a writer’s group, “Men of Action,” and I enjoyed chatting with him. He works on the “Ben 10” cartoon show currently, and occasionally on comics.
In Halls F and G are the largest sections of artists, with some in groups. The Fantasy Illustrators group is one I always enjoy, so much wonderful painting work to see. Not something I can afford to buy, but I love seeing them.
Sometimes you can even see them at work. Here’s artist Donato Giancola working on a painting of Daenerys Targaryen and one of her dragons from George R.R. Martin’s “Game of Thrones,” or in this case perhaps the TV version. Wonderful skill.
Costumes are everywhere and prevalent. I don’t take pictures of many because that’s what most Comicon articles and posts feature, but here’s a Penguin one I liked.
Many of the artists and writers I’ve shown in previous posts are in or near Artist’s Alley in Hall G. Here’s Eric Shanower, an artist and writer whose work I’ve enjoyed since the 1980s, with his Eisner Award for writing a new series about Winsor McCay’s turn of the last century newspaper strip creation LITTLE NEMO: RETURN TO SLUMBERLAND. Little Nemo is having a major resurgence these days, another project I worked on, the huge book LITTLE NEMO: DREAM ANOTHER DREAM also won Eisners for Best Anthology and Best Publication Design. I did the logo for that one, and some story lettering.
In the afternoon there was one panel I wanted to attend, so I went upstairs and walked through the Sails area to get to it, finding these THOR cosplayers on the way.
The program was a slide show and lecture by Arlen Schumer on the work of one of my favorite letterers and designers for DC Comics, Ira Schnapp, based on Arlen’s show about Schnapp currently at the Type Director’s Club in New York City. I haven’t seen the show in person, this was a good tour of it, as well as lots of information about Ira. I’ve researched Ira Schnapp myself, along with my research partner Alex Jay, and have published several articles about him on my blog. I admire Arlen for championing Ira’s work, and getting his little-known career out to a wider audience, even though I don’t think he has all the facts right. New research I’m currently doing on Ira will lead to more articles from me in the future that may help clarify some of that, I hope. Arlen was entertaining, and as comics historian Carol Tilley said to me during the show, “I should get a cape like that for my lectures.”
Late afternoon I headed back to my hotel for a rest, taking another route, out the back of the convention center, down many steps to the harbor promenade, then along to my hotel that way. All the big hotels have these gigantic advertising installations on them, I can’t imagine how they do that, but I’m glad my hotel room window doesn’t have one over it, though it may be hard to see from inside.
I did a bit more later, but that’s all I have time to write about today, so I’ll include that in tomorrow’s post. Time to have breakfast and get back to the show!