28 July 2008

Comicon 2008 San Diego

This past weekend, Jane and I packed up the Scion and headed for San Diego to attend the International Comic Book Convention in San Diego. If anyone has noticed, they are blessed with the absolute greatest climate on the continent. Hands down. The place looks like an urban tropical jungle: palm trees, beaches, fruit and flowers, highway overpasses dripping with leafy vines, yet there is always one of those cool breezes hitting you. As I get older, I appreciate a cool breeze. "That's a one out of hundred cool breeze." You know the ones. Yeah, I caught a bunch of top ten cool breezes.

Can I sum up Comicon quickly? Let me try. Although it might have started with comic books, it's not just that anymore. It's an entertainment nerd mecca. Comic books, magazines, video games, movies, televisions shows, celebrities, action figures, t-shirts... It's also an industry networking event as I eavesdropped on many conversations involving programmers and gaming, script writing, artists working deals, and copyright. Basically the mile long first floor of the convention center is a giant shopping mall and the second floor is special rooms dedicated to seminars and sessions by famous artists, television stars etc.. In two days, we never made it to a scheduled event on the second floor. People would line up for hours to get into those rooms.

Celebrities? I saw: Marvel comics originator Stan Lee, Lori Petty aka Tank Girl, Wilma from Buck Rogers, Lou Ferrigno aka Hulk, Peter Mayhew aka Chewbacca, Jonathan Frakes from Star Trek Next Generation, Avery Brooks from Deep Space Nine, Robert Picardo the holographic doctor from Voyager, Bill Ward of Playboy magazine, and Mad magazines's Al Feldstein. Most of them we found by just wandered into the wrong place turned around and they were there! Or suddenly there was a group of photographers and you looked to see who they were taking photos of.

I can describe San Diego as cool and moist but I'd describe the Comicon as crowded. There were sooo many people. Stats are really bad on the website but 125,000 for the weekend? Seemed like 125,000 a day. If I wanted to take a picture of something, there were 5 other people doing the same thing. If I said, "Hey Jane, look at that," we'd have to wait for the people standing in front of "that" to move and then we could see it for a brief second until someone else jumped in front of us.

Costumed people really take the cake at this event. Storm troopers, Boba Fet, Bender, Steam Punkers, Manga, Japanese schoolgirls, Zena, everthing.. I can't complain about the bevy of young ladies willing to paint there bodies and bare next to nothing to approximate their favorite comic book hero. Geeky ladies and men obsessed with getting laid apparently. They will stop to pose and the cameras collect like bees to honey. One group put on a vigorous protest concerning some villain/scientist in a fantasy world domination thing. Maybe you can explain it to me. They marched in costume all around with signs shouting "down with blah.." I thought to myself, all this energy directed to fantasy... There's a war to protest!

Did I have fun? Yeah! We had no idea there was so much art there. Vintage everything, original artwork, and posters galore. We picked up some great vintage movie posters and some prints by original artists.

My mission was to find my perfect comic book and I found it. But it's not published yet! I bought two limited edition prints from him which I will frame. He's an absolute master. If you've ever seen an old illustrated edition of Alice in Wonderland, or Wizard of OZ, or ever wavered over some of that older etched scientific illustration and loved it, well this guy does it in 2008 with the same feel. And he doesn't reduce his art, he does it actual size without a pen. He uses a 2 hair brush in ink. Looking at one of his panels is like looking at lines drawn with a needle. It's so exact and so perfect and it seems like he's traveled through time to visit us. I love the steam punk movement but this guy has that era of illustration down.

He's Jeremy Bastian and look at his blog. I bought the small walruses and a giant version of the armored bat faerie.

For the most part, I can conclude that there are segments of our populace that are "Over Entertained." Junkies of it. I'm not there yet.

Check out my FLICKR pics.

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