We're back from the Comic-Con and just as I thought, my camera is definitely broken. I just off-loaded the few salvageable shots. Strangely, the only pictures that turned out were shots my husband took from the ninth floor balcony of our hotel. I shot only a few at the convention so, I didn't actually lose very much. I had a feeling this would happen, so I didn't bother to take may since I was pretty sure they wouldn't turn out anyway. So, sadly, no pictures of men in colorful spandex to post. Based on our very critical assessment of cosplayers, what's hot this year seems to be Naruto, Bleach, pirates, and Star Wars, (well, Star Wars is always hot with this crowd). There will probably be some photos at the official website though, www.comic-con.org and elsewhere online.
The convention was fun as usual. After attending four prior years, we've gotten pretty efficient when it comes to scouring the exhibit hall. We kind of know what we're looking for and more or less where to find what we want. I bought a couple Charles Vess illustrated books which are very cool, but I have to say my purchasing highlight this year was three French import books that we found at Stuart Ng's booth: A La Recherche de Feerie, Tomes 1 & 2 by Jean-Baptiste Monge and Erle Ferronniere and Carnet de Croquis (more of a sketchbook) by Jean-Baptiste Monge.
They are absolutely beautiful books. The two Feerie books are essentially the French answer to Faeries by Brian Froud & Alan Lee - very similar. Import books = $$! I think they may be the most expensive books I've ever bought for myself. I wouldn't normally do something like this, but I thought it's possible that I'd never find these books again and if/when I do they could be even more expensive. So, I broke down and bought them and I'm so happy I did! They're arguably one of my best Comic-con finds so far - like uncovering buried treasure! After this purchase though, I forbade myself to buy anything else. I saw a very tempting copy of Golem by Trina Schart Hyman and an old unicorn picture book by Michael Hague, but I resisted.
The art and used booksellers are definitely my favorite stops in the exhibit hall. I usually send Chris off on his own while I'm browsing because I meticulously comb through the shelves and this can take some time. My favorites sellers - Stuart Ng, Anne Hutchison who appears to sell through www.abebooks.com, Bud Plant Comic Art (a lot more than just comics), and Margaret Mannatt Fine Books to whose website I can't seem to find any working links. I always strike gold at one or more of these booths every year.
Comic-con has grown so much and so quickly over the last couple years that it seems like the massive convention center in downtown San Diego can barely manage it any more - although I can't imagine a facility any larger than this convention center. I heard last year there were 100,000 attendees. So I would guess that this year was similar especially since tickets were sold out so quickly. With such huge attendance come problems - namely, lines. Last year was the first year we ever had to wait in a line to see a panel, but we did manage to get in. This year was all about waiting in lines for panels we never got to see (and we were in line an hour before the panels were set to start!). I had really wanted to see the panels for Heroes, Joss Whedon, and Supernatural, but we couldn't get in - very disappointing. We did get to go to some panels featuring various comic artists and those are always interesting, so that was good. I'm hoping the good people who put together the Comic-con can come up with some sort of solution to all of the line issues - perhaps a ticket system... I'm not the sort to wait in a long line just to buy or watch something. It just seems a shame to sit around for an hour or two for nothing when there are so many other things to do. Frustrating...
Frustration aside, we did learn our lesson from past experience and now we make dinner reservations in advance and we've had some truly memorable meals in San Diego. They have really great restaurants in the Gas Lamp Quarter right near the convention center. This year the highlight was Confidential which had kind of a Vegas atmosphere - way over-the-top dramatic setting. Sometimes the atmosphere of these kinds of places overpowers the food or serves to disguise that it's not really that great, but the food was really good. Small plates. Very eclectic. Just a really good experience all around. Last year, it was Chopahn which serves Afghani cuisine which, of course, I'd never had before. It was quiet, kind of off-the-beaten-path with really good food too.
I should get paid for all the advertising I just did! Or at least a store discount or something, don't you think?!
So now, we're back in the real world and back to work. I love taking this little mini-vacation. Seeing all of these working artists really helps to energize and motivate me. They make me want to work faster and be more productive. Hope to have some art to post later this week...