San Diego 2004, Day 1


There is a change coming. This con is the reason everyone comes out here, but not everyone can stand to stay in the hall all day long. Frequent hotel breaks and meetings outside of the con center are becoming more normal. Cell phones make scheduling this very easy. A cell phone is an indispensible tool of the serious modern convention goer.

The con floor is becoming more and more unmanageable. Heck, I've been considering the zoo on Saturday. I'm turning into an old man. It's great to have everyone here, but who can stand being on that floor all that time? On some parts of the con floor today, it looked like Saturdays usually do. One thing's for sure: I'm making a list of booths I have to hit in advance tomorrow. I want to know where I'm going before I get there. No more wandering around in circles, hoping to find what's interesting.

On the other hand, it does point to the new wave of comics fan. That manga section of the floor is the most trafficked area of the con. The large displays from Manwha and TokyoPop and Comics One and Viz and all the rest are magnets. Any one of them have more table space than Marvel. And that's a topic for a future Pipeline photo parade... Stay tuned for that next week.

I started off the day on the far end of Hall G and worked my way back, but it's all a blur. There's a strong comics presence in the one corner, a glistening oasis from the rest of the crap over there. Artists Alley is at the other side of the hall, and has a strong lineup. I've heard Pete Woods has a stack of ROBIN original art over there that I need to investigate further tomorrow. Jeff Parker and Steve Lieber have dropped anchor, themselves, but I haven't had the chance to stop and chat yet. Parker is doing audio con reports, and must be using the same audio recorder I am, judging by the sound quality.

Disney Comics has a big booth. I'm amazed by it, especially given their "Hide Us With Diamond" booth placement of the past. With a number of panels at the show this weekend, it's obvious that this is their book push. DISNEY ADVENTURES Magazine had a large display on one side. The Disney Duck books stood front and center, with plenty of Free Comic Book Day books for the taking. A couple of upcoming books are being imported from Europe, too, for the American audiences. They'll be excellent comics for tweenie in your house, I'm sure. I just haven't figured out who's going to publish these things in America, yet.

After that comes all the progressively larger manga and pop culture exhibits, until you get to the mother of them all, the STAR WARS Pavillion. The highlight there is the life-sized X-Wing that's set up on the con floor. It's impressive. Next to that is the autograph area. Most of that is business as usual, except: Carrie Fisher is signing for $35 a pop this weekend. Kenny Baker and Peter Mayhew and all the rest are old hat by now on the con circuit. But Carrie Fisher? Wow.

Just down the hall is Daisy Duke. Catherine Bach has a booth and she's signing, boys. I haven't seen her yet, so I can't say if she's wearing her namesakes.

The Image Pavilion area is the hive of activity for me this year. Caught up to Jim Valentino and Jim Krueger there this afternoon. Valentino has a SHADOWHAWK ashcan preview. Met Jason Rand, writer of SMALL GODS, two issues of which are out now. Said hi to Scott Kurtz, and picked up a very cool PVP t-shirt which I'm wearing at this very minute. Skull is celebrating his victory on Connect 4 by shouting, "I beat Tetris! Whoo!"

Robert Kirkman has the most impressive display in the Image Pavilion, I think, with two or three tables filled with copies of all his Image books. It's impressive to see them all laid out like that, including the trades of INVINCIBLE and THE WALKING DEAD. He had with him the cardboard display of Invincible that was used as a prop this past season on one of my favorite TV shows, THE SHIELD. I had to get my picture with that. Kirkman, of course, couldn't let such a silly thing go without extra goofiness.


Met up with Nate Piekos of Blambot fame, and picked up this year's con-exclusive font, a nice all-caps dialogue jobber. It would probably make a decent display font, too, with a little work.

Spent far too much money at Ronnie Del Carmen's booth, where I grabbed his sketchbook and the two issues of Enrico Casarosa's THE ADVENTURES OF MIA comic.

Brian Haberlin's booth does not have copies of the forthcoming CDs showing new coloring techniques. He still had last year's on sale, though, at a decent $20 a pop.

More importantly than anything else, though, I created a new verb this weekend that's sweeping through the con. (Pardon me while I pat myself on the back.) If someone screws you over or does you wrong, they just "dibnyed" you. Or should that be "dibnied?" I don't know. I'm making this up as I go along.

Don't dibny your fellow man, either way. Be nice.

If you have no idea why all of this is funny, lucky you.

Overheard on the con floor:

"Can I go inside?" - 10 year old boy"Just keep your cell phone on so I can get ahold of you." - his father

One teenaged girl to another, as they find themselves lost in the aisles: "I'll specialize in numbers; you take spatial relationsips."

"Dude, Marvel Dibnied Bruce Jones." - I said it, just so I could quote it here

Tomorrow: I buy more original art. I attend panels, such as -- well, there are a bunch of potentially great panels from the viewpoint of my tired feet getting a rest. Saturday is the day of more great stuff like the Quick Draw!, Cop O' Joe, the SIN CITY presentation, and (yes) the reality tv show contestants. Even with such an odd assortment of potential activities, the magic of San Diego survives.

Ah, San Diego, where the sight of Amber Benson on her cell phone rushing through the restaurant to get outside attracts nary a second glance... This town is still pure magic.

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