Wil and I made you a Sparks McGee T-Shirt!
Big thanks to my friend David for both creating Vampire Dog and not protesting too much when I told him I was stealing his idea and using it for a comic that he would also be in whether he wanted to or not. Here are some of David’s Vampire Dog tag lines:
- This dog is man’s best fiend.
- Vomits up your blood, then eats it again.
- This dog really knows how to roll over and play UNDEAD.
I have lots of complicated feelings and opinions about San Diego Comicon. I recently did a write up on my Tumblr called “Everything I know about North American comic conventions.” Here’s what I had to say about SDCC:
SDCC (San Diego): Creators avoid at all costs. Fans? Go for it. Stand in line for 12 hours to see a panel and have a great time. This show is 100% about Hollywood blockbusters and 100% NOT about comics. Every artist I know hates it and threatens to never go back, but the first time you don’t go you lose your booth forever. And I do mean FOREVER. There is no space left and the waiting list is hundreds if not thousands long. It’s a deplorable mess for a guy like me. Sales aren’t as good as ECCC or Pheonix but costs are more than twice as high. It’s a status thing. I kind of hope it goes away or at least individual artists just stop going. Let Hollywood have it. That’s all any of the fans are spending money on anyway. The only reason to go to SDCC for me is to see my friends (All of whom dont want to be there), and for the offiste activities like w00tstock, Geek and Sundry and Nerd HQ, etc. The rest is a fucking nightmare.
I should add to that, the readers and fans I’ve met at SDCC have been some of the most supportive and gracious of any show I’ve ever done and I REALLY don’t want to diminish how special it is to get to meet them face to face, do sketches for them, talk about geek stuff and carve out a happy little shared experience in the midst of the geek world’s most unbearable “clusterfart.”
COMMENTERS: What’s the longest you’ve ever waited in line for something? A movie, a book release, a video game, a concert, a con panel? Was the wait worth it?
Zelda: Ocarina of Time pre-order.
I was the first person in the store. But the delivery wasn’t unpacked yet. They told me to come back in a half hour. (I came back in 15) to a store with 20 customers. Apparently, they never organized the pre-sale slips and they were just tossed into a box. The store continued to fill up so quickly that they had to from a line outside. So they grabbed a random slip from the box and called out the name. If there was no answer, they grabbed another slip.
This went on for four hours and I was one of the unlucky ones that was one of the last ten called. >:(4 hours for a Jonathan Coulton / Paul and Storm concert at Union Chapel in London, last year. Met some great people in line, played a nine-player game of Cards Against Humanity (while sitting on church steps, so that’s my spot in hell guaranteed) and got a front-row seat.
So worth it.My husband (then boyfriend) and I waited more than 4 hours to see the original Batman (with Michael Keaton). We arrived around 6pm for the 9pm show, waited two hours, but it was sold out. The movie was sold out through midnight but the theater added more showings, so we scored a 3am ticket. We went for a break then came back to the theater around 1am for what turned into a 3:30am showing. The sun was rising as we left the theater. Good times.While this is a post where I’m going to say “Well I’m not like that” I want to be clear that I am NOT saying that what you say about comic-con is wrong. My Anecdote != Data. What this post IS trying to say is “Hey all you other comic-con go-ers… why not try to attack the con this way… you’ll have more fun! I promise”
I avoid Hall H and ballroom 20 like the plague. Truth is they’re just not worth it. Do I love Sherlock? Absolutely. Am I super excited for Agents of SHIELD? Oh you bet I am. Would it be a blast to see Matt Smith’s final con as Dr. Who? Oh you betcha.
But if I am to see any of those things I have to give up a huge chunk of my life in line, and even more watching panels for bad teen romances from the CW. All to get maybe 10 minutes of sneak preview footage, 20 minutes of honest to goodness awesomesauce, and 30 minutes of awkward questions from the fans promptly dodged by the folks on stage.
Friends, Neighbors, fellow con-goers, let me tell you that this is NOT worth it. At a certain point the OMG I AM IN THE SAME ROOM AS ROBERT DOWNEY JR wears off and you realize he’s just another dude. An awesomely cool dude who is charismatic and fun, but he’s a dude. You miss out on SO MUCH in order to ‘see’ him. Let’s be honest, more than likely you’re watching him on projected screens above the room. You lose out on so much to get those 20 minutes of awesome.
And then the convention floor… holy god is it crazy on the Hollywood side. My wife won’t even go. If we want to go see artist’s alley we leave the floor, walk down the front of the convention center, and come back in to avoid the massive flustercluck that is the hollywood booths. It’s so insanely crowded and people go so crazy over the chance to get a free sharpie that they’ll run you down… again, not worth it.
Here’s what we do: We hit the small press pavilion. HARD. We’ll wander up and down those aisles 4 or 5 times through the week. We hit the webcomics guys. There’s your chance to meet a real person. You’re not watching them on a screen while they’re 100 yards away surrounded by thousands of other people… they’re right in front of you making awkward small talk with you directly. You can buy something where your purchase MEANS something.
When we want to see a panel we look for something we’ve never done before. Something we’ve never seen before. Something way outside of our sphere.
The magic of the Con is experiencing your passion AND being exposed to someone elses’. There is SO MUCH passion at the con and none of it is to be found in the Hollywood panels. Those are carefully crafted commercials. Find something you have a passing interest and check out the amazing passion some people have for it. Learn some new detail you’ve never even thought of before. It’s a TON of fun and only costs you 1 hour none of which is spent in line.
If you must get the hollywood experience, why not check out some of the unique events they create outside of the con. The offsite Godzilla event looks pretty cool. The Tron arcade Disney put up was far superior than any panel they ever did. One time Adult Swim put together a skate party (with busses to take you to a roller rink to skate with Seth Green).
I can’t tell you how many friends of mine I have had fly in from across the nation to stay at my place and go to Comic-con and how many leave disappointed because they kicked and clawed and scratched to get into Hall H or Ballroom 20 and in the end came out frustrated, annoyed, and underwhelmed.
comic-con is what you want it to be. Every single kind of nerd passion is there. You don’t have to single out the big ones.
Oh and to answer the question, I once waited 3.5 hours to ride “Batman the Ride” at Six Flags Magic Mountain right after it opened. Totally wasn’t worth it. I also waited an hour for Star Wars Phantom Menace on opening night. That was worse than getting my head banged around by a gigantic metal contraption.You speak the truth, but having been to so many cons I can assure you and everyone else that “The magic of the Con is experiencing your passion AND being exposed to someone elses’. ” is available at MUCH better, MUCH less insane, MUCH less hollywood focussed cons all over the country. Emerald City in Seattle is a great place to start.
HikingViking · 101 weeks agoI camped out overnight for Star Wars Episode I. That’s right. I spent the night waiting to see Jar Jar Binks. Was it worth it? Meesa don’t thinkie so.I don’t. I’m over whatever shame or disappointment watching the prequels may have induced. The key is just not watch them for a few years, then ease yourself back in, one scene at a time.Vampire Dog is actually a thing. But you knew that. (I knew that because I have kids, and kids have no taste.)The longest I’ve waited for something was a 4 or 5 hour wait to get into Ballroom 20 at SDCC for the Community and Firefly panels. But do you know what I also did that year? I went to a spotlight panel on Becky Cloonan (after which I bought two books from her). I went to an Image Comics panel where they announced a bunch of new books (two of which I’ve already bought, a third which I’m buying once it comes out). I went to the Fables panel (which I haven’t missed in years) and the Locke & Key panel (as a relatively new reader). I bought Amanda Conner’s new art book and a print from Jim Cheung.Hm. My last line got cut off. Let me try again:
I get that SDCC is rough for small, independent artists. But when you tell me my hometown convention is no longer worthy, it just reads like a giant “fuck you”.Seconded. I know HE had a rough con last year, but a serious part of that had to do with Blind Ferret’s booth layout. Please tell me that this year you’ll have it set up so that more than one person can get ‘inside’ and look at the merch? I gave up trying to see your stuff after 3 times passing by.I went to FanExpo last year in Toronto (Sorry I never worked up the nerve to visit you! I was going to!) and ironically enough, we spent most of our time in the artist alley, not going to big panels. I think we need to find some smaller conventions in the Toronto area to go to because the big ones are so dang expensive. We did get some really awesome art from the alley though. And met some really cool content creators. So, I guess it worked out.Three hours on for the openi9ng of a store at midnight on greedfest 2012 aka Black Friday. It was cold, boring, people on the verge of fighting, and there was nothing good on sale._The worst part was I wasn’t even there to shop, I wanted to hit up other stores and needed a ride!I hope it will be a bit better in that (a) all the webcomics are together; (b) you’re near the Small Press Pavillion for synergy; (c) you should be out of line up range of the long lines for video games and autographs; and (d) you’re not in the path to any cafeteria line.
Good luck!Mummy + Tumbler = MumblerSo ummmm…I camped out for over a week twice to get group tickets for sporting events in college. I went to VT and the first event was the first time Miami (FL) came to play at our field. Later that year we went one step further and camped in the snow to get tickets to see Marcus Camby and UMass come to play our defending NIT champs.
They were both completely worth it, mainly because COLLEGE.
Neph Sy · 101 weeks agoI waited and slept in line on cement for 19 hours for the yearly opening of the student employment centre, and it snowed (this was May 1st!).
It was worth it, as I got first crack at a government job (they only let a small number of people apply for these government student jobs), which I kept for 3 years while going to school. I should never had admitted that I was going to graduate.
Other than that, can’t think of anything beyond standing in line outside in the heat for 1 hour to but tickets for Return of the JediI used to go to SDCC long ago, first for fun (before it became so crowded) and then for work (I was in animation).
I miss aspects of it, but the crowds, inability to see panels because of said crowds and the crowds drive me nuts.
Really if I think about it, I miss lunch with friends I never get to see otherwise and meeting creators LIKE you Joel.
Then again, if I got off my ass for say NYC CC or whatever it’s called when you were there, I could take care of some of that.I waited 5 hours in line to see quite a few movies at their midnight premieres. Well, “line” a loose term, because the waiting areas outside the cinemas weren’t very organized. If there’s time and someplace is still open, you could grab a bite to eat somewhere in the shopping center (all the cinemas where I live are attached to a shopping center or mall, so your dinner is just a short walk away). Strangely, it’s cheaper than theater snacks!
anxiety.junkie · 101 weeks agoWhen my husband (then boyfriend) and I lived in Reno, we spent over 4 hours waiting inside a club with no chairs to see Loverboy. (Yes, Loverboy.) I didn’t want to be there. After the 2nd hour I tried to get him to leave but he wouldn’t. At one point I saw a 6ft, 300+ lb woman in a full body fishnet stocking and a giant blond wig walk by.
They were 4 hours late, and then didn’t apologize or anything, just started playing. As I hatehatehate Loverboy, it was not worth it. (And I still married the guy…)
Chaucer59 · 100 weeks agoFour hours in the Texas sun saving places for my (step)daughter and her friends so try could get in to see Lemony Snicket. The girls were all eleven and twelve and I really thought I was just holding their place. My wife’s little Ariel had read all of Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events. I’d read a couple of the books to see what the brouhaha was. They were okay–nothing all that funny IMHO, but I was over 40. When the line started moving, though, Ariel gave me that baby seal look and said “But, Dennis, aren’t you coming in with us?” *Sigh* I’m easy. I was also surprised by the show. The man put on a hilarious show. He had the adults laughing as hard as the kids. So, yeah, definitely worthwhile.
PowderMonkey · 100 weeks agoVampire Dog? Definite contender for 2013 Unfortunate Initals of the Year. Especially if you’re going to use the word ‘panel’ in conection with him – or is this all a thinly veiled public health initiative for the over-enthusiastic cos-players (“Yeah! Waited 6hrs for the V.D. Panel! You want to swab up my what now?!”)