SAN DIEGO!

1. I think I might have lost my cell phone… Either that or it’s with my checked luggage. Or Tom Devlin has it. Or it’s gone forever, I’ll let you know.

2. Today was much more productive than yesterday. Yesterday a combination of exhaustion, a summer cold, and drinking too much on Friday kept me away from the show the whole day. I actually have to say, I don’t feel like I missed much, actually.

3. Steven, I did not pick up those comics for you. I think I ordered them from her anyway, I’ll check when we get home.

4. I’m actually in Las Vegas, using their free Wireless Internet. God Bless Las Vegas and their free wireless internet for distracting me from worrying if I lost my cell phone.

5. The big talk Thursday and Friday was BEST SALES FOR CON EVER! Apparently, like me, a great number of people were scared away from Saturday at the show. The annecdotal discussions amongst most publishers/exhibtors I talked to seemed to indicate that Saturday was a slower sales day than Wednesday (now a full-fledged day of the show) or Thursday or Friday. Reasons for this? Well, like I mentioned, FEAR! The Saturday of the show was SOLD OUT IN AT LEAST TWO DIFFERENT WAYS! That’s craziness. If you’re a fan that wants to spend money, are you gonna go on the day when it’s “the busiest”? Probably not. The other annecdotal evidence presented was that the three biggest panels of the con, the HEROES panel and… the other TV/Media ones, were all held in the same space, back-to-back. That pulls more than 5,000 people off of the show floor for three solid hours, and then those people will probably have to eat a meal. Sorta kills your sales momentum.

6. Still, in my rounds today at the show, more-or-less everyone I talked to said that the show was a sales success, and perhaps most importantly, everyone FELT really good. High spirits abounded in the small-press/indy-island, in the various comics publisher booths, and even in artist alley. Honestly and truly, I heard not even one negative feeling about the show as a whole.

7. In the San Diego Airport, Terminal 2, at La Salsa, an employee was screaming at the top of her lungs in the back room for better than 20 minutes. Screaming and crying about… something. In Spanish. She was a mess, to the point where security was called. It was really, really disconcerting. This is why I like McDonalds. At McDonalds, if an employee starts screaming and crying and freaking out? They just take’m out back and ‘solve’ them with a big long bolt to the skull, they same way they ‘solve’ the cows. It’s very efficient.

8. …which isn’t to say that everything was coming up roses. There are still huge logistical problems with the convention. The Thursday-morning check-in was apparently a free-for-all of thrown elbows and naughty words. I can’t believe those guys haven’t built a foot-traffic bridge over the train tracks. The convention centre is too small for the event. The city feels a little small for the event, now. The pretzels made me thirsty. Etc. But 100,000+ people all in one place and no one dies? V for Victory!

9. Apparently, heh, the scuttlebut is that large-scale exhibitors are being asked very nicely to scale back for 2008. Apparently booth sprawl has gotten out of hand, and in order to accomodate more attractions, exhibitors (and we’re talking the people getting more than 20×20′ spaces here) are being asked to plan for a more compact outing next time. I… can’t see this happening. Have you seen the exhibit hall? It’s all about who’s got the biggest dick (to use metaphor for a moment) and Hasbro won this year with their sprawling multi-media complex. Do you think Hasbro is seriously going to say “Oh, our biggest promotional opportunity of the year? Yeah, sure, let’s just leave Star Wars out next time. That’ll do it.” Not happening. I can’t wait to see if the Comic-Con organisers just decide that exhibitors are getting less space.

10. Chris Pitzer told me that he and Adhouse books were just… done… with San Diego. He said he was 40 and tired of sweating and lugging around boxes. This is a guy who had three outstanding debut books that all sold really well, and looked great. The show is going to be poorer for his absence, but as I’m in the midst of lugging a ton of heavy shit home with me myself, I totally understand where he’s coming from. With Mocca, APE, SPX, oh and TCAF, all much more focussed shows less interested in the established comics fan, I can see a number of legitimate art-comics publishers starting to pull back their appearances in the next couple of years… Of course… any publisher that’s trying to play the Hollywood Properties Game isn’t going anywhere.

11. Carla Speed McNeil brought up an interesting point at the end of the show–What’s going to happen to the Cold Cut sponsored Indy Island next year? This is the first year I can remember where Cold Cut was sponsoring the space and providing some sales assistance, it looked like, but they weren’t actually selling any of their own stock. With their future currently undecided, and with the rumoured… disappearance… of Artist’s Alley next year, the landscape of the show could be considerably different next year.

12. Oh yeah, I heard several people saying that there won’t be an Artist Alley next year. No official corroboration though. Tom? Dirk? Heidi?

13. Speaking of which, I didn’t see Tom or Heidi.

14. I did see a lot of hot guys though.

15. Heh.

16. Now, here is some special guest blogging from Peter Birkemoe, my boss and the owner of The Beguiling, while I go to the washroom. Take it away, Peter:

Now that I have hit the ten show milestone, I too am ready to stop coming to comicon.  How does Chris convince me to come back each year?  He reminds me how happy the artists we represent [for original art sales] are when they get cheques in the months after comicon.  We sold almost no art Thursday or Friday, and it looked as if he would not be able to convince me for 2008.  Saturday, however, Paul Pope laid some trully amazing pieces on us, something for most budgets too, and we were visited by one of our best regular customers (She not only likes the artists we do, and have chosen to represent, but she always picks the pieces that I am thinking about keeping for myself, thus making me money and saving me money at the same time, gotta love her!) 

After this, I was able to be much more enthusiastic about the show, and throw more energy into upselling those people who came to the D&Q booth [our wonderful hosts] and tried to get away with buying only one book.  Jamie, Rebecca and Tom weren’t able to sell down to a bare table this year, but they did a pretty fantastic job. 

Being able to be behind their booth makes all the difference at the show for me.  Even though I’m still on my feet all day, that sense of personal space, however illusory, not to mention a place to put down the stuff we are buying for the shop,  preserves my sanity.  I can’t imagine navigating those aisles all day.

The weather in San Diego is beautiful, but the convention centre, particularly before it opens and is filled with radiant nerd joules, is like a meat-locker.  This does however,  let you keep yoghurt in the booth for the weekend without any risk of spoilage. 

The costumes are always good for a cheap shot at fandom, but I’ve never brought a camera.  This year, the saddest thing I witnessed, was the middle-aged tank girl — somehow even if it wan’t as disturbing any of the age/body inappropriate wonderwoman/harley-quinn costumes, it feels, that if I had any ‘punk’ in me, I would be crushed.

17. Peter asked me what the saddest costume I saw was, and I was gonna say those dudes Cosplaying as their online video game characters (they just seemed so lonely) but actually? I didn’t really see a lot of costumes this year, so I had no complaints. It takes something truly heinous to really shake me now, having done so many shows, and luckily I didn’t see anything that bad this year. LUCKILY. I’m sure middle-aged Tank Girl would have upset me too.

They’re calling our flight now, so I’m gonna have to say goodbye to their lovely, lovely free internet. I’ll blog next time I can form a coherent sentence.

Best,

- Christopher

 


8 Comments on “I’m in a Las Vegas State Of Mind…”

You can track this conversation through its atom feed.

  1. Jonathan Ellis says:

    Guest blogging from Peter?

    Careful Chris, you might get upstaged if you let that continue

  2. MangaBlog » Blog Archive » SDCC wrapup says:

    [...] And if you’re afraid you missed something, ANN has gathered all their SDCC reports onto a single page, and ComiPress has a comprehensive roundup of links to SDCC coverage. Manganews has a wrapup and comments as well. At Comics 212, Christopher Butcher has some thoughts on his way out of town. [...]

  3. zach worton says:

    we need more pictures, chris.

    if the middle aged tank girl is as good as she sounds, the ol’ wife may just get the heave-ho!!

  4. matt says:

    middle-aged tank girl. that is a comic waiting to happen.

  5. Bart Croonenborghs says:

    No more ADHOUSE at the con? That’s a shame. Their booth was really small but they had Paul Pope signing and everything. They got all my dollars!

    ________________________________

    Bart Croonenborghs .
    Graphic Designer
    http://WWW.BARTCROONENBORGHS.BE
    Staff writer
    http://WWW.BROKENFRONTIER.COM

  6. Brian says:

    Saddest costume was totally fat Namor.

  7. Chris says:

    Brian- I think we’re going to need some sort of picture link.

  8. Blog@Newsarama » SDCC: Lots of linkage says:

    [...] –Tim Leong’s Comic-Con, A-Z. –TV Squad has a report from the Smallville panel –Action Figure Insider has a ton of photos of action figures from the con –Tom Spurgeon’s report and his Collective Memory post –Tom McLean’s wrap-up report –Bully buys Starman original artwork –Javier Grillo-Marxuach’s report and video –Peter David’s report –Neil Gaiman’s Eisner kiss –Poster for Sweeney Todd, starring Johnny Depp –Carla has more to say about her trip over on her personal blog. So does Tom. –IGN’s end of con report –Marc Bernardin’s things I learned in San Diego –Sean Galloway talks about the animated Spider-Man panel –Mark Evanier’s report –Jason Aaron’s report –Jason Rodriguez’s report –Queerty’s report –Greg Rucka’s report –Chris Butcher leaves the con early for Vegas –joystiq talks about video games at the con –Russ Manning award winner David Petersen’s report –David Gallaher was heckled at a Marvel panel by other fans for asking if the company was going green. Read his full con report here. –The Christian Science Monitor says a San Diego In-N-Out Burger was short help at the counter because everyone wanted to go to Comic-Con. Now things ahve really gone too far … –The Legion Omnicom’s report –Comic-Con 2008, coming July 24-27. [...]

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