Thursday, July 30, 2009
Comic Con: Quite Possibly the Best Week Ever
Master Chief holding a Pink Master Chief...
Well, I'm finally back from San Diego Comic Con 2009 and somewhat recovered, at least well enough to be a productive member of society again. Noticing how negligent I've been on posting recently, I felt it only fair to break the bad habit with an entry covering some of the highlights of the week. I should warn you that this will not include any major panels (except one) or events as I spent most of my time being all exhibitor like, and thanking the stars I wasn't stuck in any Purgatory style lines. Seriously, Twilight, did you have to gum up the entire center of the Exhibitor Hall?
Certainly, Comic Con was full of the usual (or in some cases, highly unusual) parade of Costumes, Fans, Geeks, Collectors, and Misc. (my favorite demographic). I was pleasantly surprised by how many members of the female persuasion where there, and I would like to publicly state the the rise of the mythic female geek is about damn time. I've been waiting for years! YEARS!
Anyhoo, this was my first time visiting SDCC as an Exhibitor as I was down helping Todd Lockwood at his booth this year. That's right, Todd Lockwood...I couldn't stop giggling like the fangirl...er...boy that I am for days, believe you me. Being an Exhibitor (armed with a pink badge no less) meant I could get into the Con at pretty much any time, and bypass all the entry lines. That was nice, and I have to admit a big ass grin was plastered on my face that first day when I stared at the "normal" badge holders. Yeah.
The biggest perk, though, was being able to see all the behind the scenes of the Con itself, and getting the chance to talk with the other extremely talented exhibitors as one of the gang before the doors where open. The 4700 and 4800 avenues where we were were just chalk full of great art and artists. Indeed, I a spent a great deal of time making Brian Rood (located across from us) put up with me for sure. His fortitude was truly a credit to the species.
Not wanting to go into a day by day report, I will say that the days where filled with getting to meet all sorts of interesting (and often lovely...wink, wink) people coming to see Todd's art. There was one couple who I couldn't help but tell the husband what a lucky SOB he was because his wife was extremely attractive and an even bigger geek than he was. I then proceeded to ask if she had a sister. Chuckles all around. Overall, I loved getting to tell visitors the interesting stories and context behind Todd's work, and so filled the daylight hours with the sound of my own very happy voice.
This picture makes me look fat...guess who I am.
Occasionally, I would make myself useful. The best part, aside from getting to chat it up with Todd, was running into all the artists who would stop by. Such notables included Chris Burdette and his lovely wife (I still don't know how he recognized me), Patrick McEvoy (of Ninja Mountain fame and who gave a wonderful digital painting demo), and Shizue Harrison who I was delighted to discover was a fellow jellyfish lover! Somewhere in there I was also able to snag myself number 1 of 1000 of the limited edition stealth VF-1S Stealth Veritech exclusive to SDCC. Yay!
Of particular note was the visit of Dragon Dronet and Oberon Selicio as both Todd and I had a total geek out moment (well, several moments actually). If you haven't heard of those two names, please take the time to look them up. Both Dragon and Oberon have been in Hollywood for a long time, and believe me, you've probably seen them or something they've designed or made several times in your movie viewings. Needless to say, they were men with the stories, and more importantly, they were just good, genuine people.
Who like swords.
Also, they saved Saturday for us.
Dragon, Todd, & Oberon...never thought "Todd" would be the odd name out.
The greatest highlight for me, though, among the sea of awesome was the chance to meet, hang out with, and get to know so many incredible artists, many of whom I've both admired and out and out worshiped for years. In no particular order (and not already mentioned, mostly): Todd Lockwood (duh), Greg Manchess, Allen Williams, Iain McCaig (he was a surprise stop by that lasted till 3:00 am!), Scott Altman, Brian Rood, Rick Berry, Donatos, John Stanko, Jeremy Jarvis, Martina Pilcerova, Jim Nelson, Chris Burdette, Patrick McEvoy, Brom (who's really skinny), and many more whose last names escape me (several Scotts, a handful of Jeremies, an Aarron, and one Tony...gah, damn my sleep deprived mind!)
After the convention, the Artists would congregate at the same location every night and proceed to go well into the wee hours talking, sketching, drinking, reviewing, drinking some more, and generally having a jolly good time. Indeed, on Saturday (I think), Todd, Jeremy Lassen, and I closed the bar down around 4:00 am or so, and I will admit having art directors offer to buy me drinks was very nice. Much, much fun was had, and I think over the course of 5 days I may have gotten 11 to 15 hours of sleep. Yeah, those early 8:30 mornings got harder and harder to be sure.
Leaving Comic Con was, to be honest, an incredibly sad thing for me as time seemed to enter an almost Brigadoon like surrealism that the only truly joyous moments in a person's life can invoke. Everyone, and I mean everyone, was so wonderfully kind, understanding, supportive, and open, and Todd and his family especially were the very epitome of open arms. Whatever help I was for them could never be enough to express and repay the generosity of spirit they showed me, and I think it may very well take me a lifetime to find the proper words. I started Comic Con feeling that I was walking among giants (and I was to be sure) with the air thinning and leaving me giddy. However, I left Comic Con knowing them as the good people they truly were, each gifted with an enormous amount of talent. That they gladly made a place for me...well, I won't even try to sully such with my clumsy word play.