The San Diego Comic-con was huge, crowded, a site to behold, and above all, a lot of fun. Sean Jr. and I have recovered from our whirlwind Thursday only tour and I have a few minutes to write the review.
My son and I took an early flight from Sacramento down to San Diego. It went smoothly, Sean Jr. said he couldn’t nap because he was too excited. Once we arrived we had a quick breakfast while waiting for the bus. He’s never had breakfast at McDonald’s so we opted for the cheap and quick. After “sugaring him up” we were ready to start the day.
There are no at the door ticket sales for the con, so everyone who held Thursday only tickets or didn’t come for the Wednesday night preview (4 day holders only) was in line for their badges. The line was long, but went very quickly. The organizers had it together.
After getting our passes we bypassed the “freebie” line and headed straight for the convention floor. On the way in my son noticed the people in costume. He started counting and I told him there will be so many you’ll lose count by the end of the day. We joked later when I asked him how many people were dressed up. He said sadly, “I lost count.” When I asked him the the last number he remembered he said 191!
I went to the con for fun, not to make any major comic scores, so my agenda was very loose. The best part of the day was going to be watching my 9 year old take it all in.
When we walked into the hall we spotted the large Star Wars displays so we went right over. After snapping a couple of picks in front of the life-size Lego Stormtrooper, we turned around and saw a real Darth Vader and companion. Another picture taking opportunity.
At this point it was a little after 10:30 AM, and the convention hall was already mobbed. Within an hour we could hardly move. The hall was roughly split into video game companies, movie/toys, an artist area, then comic books and comic art dealers. There weren’t any hard lines drawn on the floor, but this was the basic layout. In the largest central portion of the hall, the movie studios and toys, movement was difficult. The companies had freebies and exclusives so there were lines. They all did a good job with crowd control, but at a certain point there are just so many people you can hardly move. I held Sean Jr.’s hand and we made it through most of the displays (at least the ones we wanted).
Lucas Arts and Studios were there with a big push for the upcoming Clone Wars movie. My boys like Star Wars so this was a hit. We picked up a few freebies to take back to little brother. They both like Pokemon so we made a stop by that display also. They had hosts teaching you how to play the card game so we sat down and old Dad learned the ropes. As I mentioned in the Twitter, I was victorious! Score one for the old crowd!
After seeing the movies and games we made a run through the artist section. Unfortunately the people I wanted to see weren’t there yet so we moved on to see what dealers were around.
I stopped by Heritage Auctions to say hello and see some of the books I was looking at in the upcoming Auctions. There are some beautiful high grade gems in the August Auction. Check it out online if you get a chance. The folks, as always, were very friendly.
At this point we decided to take a break and head into the Gaslamp district for some lunch. It’s not exactly a place for kids, but we made do. I looked for a place that served burgers for my some and something different for me. We found the place and after a very short wait we were seated. Sean Jr. had a hamburger and I ordered a couple of fish tacos. When out meals arrived I laughed when I saw the size of the burger! I think Sean Jr.’s expression says it all.
After lunch we were ready to hit the crowds once more.
The Afternoon Highights:
Stopped by the Star Wars display again to see if they uncovered any more mini remote controlled R2-D2s. No luck, sold out.
Said hi to Brian Peets from A-1 Comics here in Sacramento. Great guy running a couple of great stores.
Tried to make my usual stop by Mile High Comics to say hello to Chuck Rozanski, but he was eating and I didn’t want to bother him. We stopped by later but he was out. Maybe next year. Anyway, look who we saw at the end of the Mile High setup.
The Guys from Metropolis had a great setup, awesome high grade books and they were busy.
We then stopped by Worldwide Comics to say hello to Matt Nelson and Stephen Ritter. Matt did some work fixing amateur restoration on an All Winners #1 I picked up in a collection a few years ago. He does amazing work! He’s working on a book about comic book pedigrees (Mile High, Larson, Allentown, all of them!) with Stephen. Look for it this fall. I also wanted to meet Stephen since he is a recently retired Air Force Lt. Col. and I’m a Lt.Col. in the AF Reserve. Turns out it’s a small world and we had a mutual acquaintance from when I flew U-2’s on active duty. Check out their websites.
We then finished a run through the rest of the convention center and decided to head out. Sean Jr. was a trooper through the whole thing and did great for a 9 year old. On the flight back to Sacramento I looked over and he was sound asleep!
San Diego is an “event” of massive size. It is definitely something to behold at least once. If you are there looking for specific high grade or valuable rare books, you have a great chance at making a score. I wouldn’t count on a good/great deal though. In years past there were a lot of $1 a book places with thousands upon thousands of issues. Didn’t really see that this year – things have changed and continue to change. The con has grown too big and too expensive. If you’re looking purely for comics and great deals, you’ll probably be disappointed. But if you want to see the largest Pop Culture Extravaganza in the country with some amazing comics thrown in, it’s the place to be.