Written by Shawn Bourdo
For years now, I've come back from Comic-Con International in San Diego and reported on what I saw and heard. As each year has passed, I felt the pressure to find all the "hot" panels and report on the things that seemed to excite the greatest number of people in attendance. I've realized that going to the latest and greatest Hollywood panel is just one way to experience this gathering.
Everyone has their own "experience" of Comic-Con. Some people wait in line overnight or for hours upon hours each morning to get into just one panel for the day that features their favorite show of all time. Others spend their week dressed in costume, wandering the hall to meet others in costume and get their pictures taken. There are true comic book fans who search for one comic to finish a collection, gamers who want to see the next release of their favorite property, autograph hounds who will spend a day in line to get a single signature from a hero, and there are even people now who show up to San Diego and have a full weekend with all the outside activities and never set foot actually in the Convention Center.
And then there are people like me. I like all kinds of things that happen here - I'm a comic book fan, I like unique art and toys, I love classic TV from the '70s and '80s and new TV shows, and I'm a fan of movies of all genres. After reading last year's summary, I decided to skip the really huge panels - you can't scoop anybody on anything said in them because people are blogging them as they happen. I wanted to maximize my time there and also explore some of the fringe elements of the Con (which meant skipping things like Fringe).
Arrived in San Diego once again about noon. It's such a comfortable city and leaving behind 100-degree temps and stepping into 70-degree temps feels like coming home. You take care of business early in the day - get the pass, get the snacks and booze for the week, check in the hotel, and grab a taco downtown (thank you, yummy Baja Tacos). Then it's Preview Night.
In previous years I've complimented Preview Night as a great night to walk the Convention floor. I used to say that. This year's Preview floor was more crowded than any other of three days I would hit the floor. I made a beeline for the places I knew would sell out of product I needed to bring home as presents (glad I got there early, Charles Schulz booth). I'm mostly out of the loop on comics from July to the next July and this is where I catch up with the latest trends and releases that I'll need to read in the next year. The trend I love is the care and love being put into collected editions. The archival editions - from IDW's Daredevil to the collections from Fantagraphics and publishers I love like Top Shelf and Dark Horse are getting better each year and worthy of shelve space in the personal library.