Yo CHU! Last week was SDCC, the Pop Culture Superbowl! Nearly every comics publisher under one roof. An epic list of artistic talent. Not to mention a slew of celebs and major movie studios. Until I figure out how to clone myself, here is merely one person’s perspective of the 200K in Downtown San Diego last week:
-For the first time ever, Netflix had a big spectacle booth on the floor! They brought tons of footage from their upcoming movies and shows, so much excitement for the Defenders. Netflix already has an overwhelming amount of quality content and it’s only growing.
-The 90’s are back in full swing with variants everywhere. The hottest SDCC exclusive comics on the floor were most definitely the DC foil variants at the Graphitti Designs booth. Last year the booth workers trashed many of the variants, but this year the books were in polybags and were treated ‘slightly’ better.
The foils were allotted daily and Batman 24 was sold out by Friday morning, 5 minutes after the doors opened. Wonder Woman and Justice League foils were sold out on Saturday. I have never had any competition getting the DC variants at Graphitti in years past, but the game has changed.
-The Gifted panel included 20 minutes from the first episode, and it looks pretty good. The production quality was great for television as it normally is for Marvel shows. It takes place in the X-Men Universe but the X-Men are gone. Why they are gone will be explained in the show. The first episode looks like it will focus on the powers of Blink (played by Jamie Chung) and Polaris (Emma Dumont).
-The Justice League trailer prominently displays Wonder Woman and looks awesome. Shazam is the next DCEU movie to enter production so look forward to seeing the hoopla at next SDCC, pick up the keys now.
-The Off-sites were plentiful but many long waits. Waited hours for the Game of Thrones offsite but it was worth it. They walked you through several amazing interactive displays, and emailed you the videos and photos afterwards via RIFD technology in a slap wristband given to you upon entrance. On the way out, you are given an exclusive Night King Pop, a shirt, a poster, a pin, and a tote. WOW!
The strangest offsite was Ninjago. They had some awesome swag to giveaway, the only catch is you had to do a 30 minute yoga session in the direct sunlight. 30 minutes! July in San Diego? No thanks, they should have thought this through better. If I really need the swag, I will hit eBay.
-Competition for toy exclusives like Funko, Hasbro, and Mattel is rough, very rough. Comic Con International and the Convention Center security still can’t seem to control the shenanigans on the back side of the convention center. People linger by the marina boats and cut in line when the crowd is let inside for the morning lotteries. People camping overnight in the designated tents get let into the convention center early morning and led in an orderly fashion by security to the back side and in the mad rush, lines get magically longer than they were out front. Hope CCI can resolve this next year and find a tighter system.
-Speaking of Funko, Funko Fundays blew my mind again! Hard to put into words, but it’s basically a night of food, dancing, screaming, prizes, and entertainment. I haven’t been to anything else like it. The energy is infectious, it’s definitely an evening adrenaline shot when I should be fading. Tons of surprises throughout the night including guest appearance by Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes. The crowd is a really nice group too. Funko knows how to put on a fan appreciation event. Cultivating these lifelong fans is a key to their success.
-So much talent at SDCC! I went to signings by Marjorie Liu/Sana Takeda, Scott Snyder, Donny Cates (Redneck), Chris Pasetto/Christian Cantamessa/Lukas Ketner (Kill The Minotaur), Josh Williamson, Adam Hughes, Frank Cho, Terri Moore (Tank Girl). I spent so much time talking to talent over the 4 days and barely scratched the surface of who was in attendance.
While I had so many great experiences, there were a few interactions that I found disappointing. I won’t name names, but sometimes I am surprised how artists and writers don’t consider their bedside manner at conventions. Some are wasting their time being there since their personality isn’t going to win new fans, but more likely to lose existing ones. Please note this is a minority, but sticks in your memory when you are disappointed meeting someone you are a fan of.
-Side Show Collectibles has one of the most amazing booths on the floor. The detail on their statues are mind-blowing. They are on the premium side for good reason. One day I will be able to afford my own collection! The most eye catching are their original creations – Court of the Dead. https://www.sideshowtoy.com/brands/court-of-the-dead/
-I did see a reduction of mystery box booths on the floor surprisingly. Perhaps the general public has caught on that these are filled with bargain bin items. As usual, the exhibit hall floor is lively and packed with comics, here are some prices:
Rachel Rising 1 – $70
Monstress 1 – $40
Amazing Spider-man 361 -$75 to $100
Note: Many exhibitors had this year’s DC foil covers displayed without prices, likely so they didn’t get in trouble by CCI.
Batman 24 – $15
God Country 1 – $40
Dark Days The Forge – $8-10
-Artists Alley is top notch at SDCC and great place to discover world class talent. Only a small taste but here are a few highlights:
- Gerardo Sandoval (Venom 150 cover artist, his variants previously offered on CHU) was in attendance offering prints and sketches. https://www.facebook.com/Gerardo.Sandoval.Art/
- Such a fan of Sho Murase, her art is so distinctive and jumps off of the wall. http://shomurase.com/
- David Mack is a surreal and attention grabbing artist, his water colors are gorgeous. He has done covers for American Gods and Fight Club. He had a few prints he made with Neil Gaiman that had to come home. Superheroes end up in my office, but my wife will have these framed and hung in our living room! https://www.facebook.com/David-Mack-21231086294/
- Had a great conversation with Kraig Rasmussen, he knows his science fiction and it’s reflected in his work. He hosts a podcast (Storycraft – in depth talks with storytelling professionals) and and is currently working on a comic called Digits which is in early negotiation to get published by Image. https://monkeygong.com/
- Met Felipe Smith who created Marvel character Robbie Reyes, he has a Kickstarter going to launch the first issue of Death Metal Zombie Cop! The name alone has my attention and the art looks wild and awesome. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/felipesmith/death-metal-zombie-cop-issue-1
- Not normally a fan of black backgrounds and overly dark portraits, but Emanuel Andrade has a very unique and eye catching style. Whether established characters or his original work, his style is fascinating. https://angar2.com/
Back to coping with my con withdrawals! Please checkout the cosplay gallery!