|COMIC CON INTERNATIONAL - THUR. JULY 26, 2007
July 2007 and Comic Con International was upon us again. After last years great event, we could only wonder how they would top it. But they did. Although the attendance numbers were arguable (depends on what kind of accounting you do), the official report was around 120,000 people at the Con, while off the record stated closer to 150,000 or more total people including fans, artists, booth people, et al. Well, at least that was the given estimate. Either way, it was a madhouse, but a mellow-crowd type of madhouse.
Comic Con International has become a bit of a conundrum. It has its blessings and curses. It is now officially legendary - both in size and charisma - which also leads to the problem of how to both entertain everyone, and yet fit everyone in the venue. Truth be told, the San Diego Convention Center is splitting at the seams every July around this time - all with artistic fan-fare.
Now that the week is officially finished, I will say this. Last year, the 2006 CCI had some troubling issues with, what I will call Newcomers. CCI had become so popular that finally more people understood that this wasn't the geek fest title that comic book conventions generally garner in the typical eye. Comic Con International has truly become an entity that offers something for everyone - Film, TV, authors, collectors and traders, fine arts, chance meetings with celebrities, masquerade balls, and more recently a film festival has begun. And much, much more. You definitely do not have to be a comic book collector to get a hoopla of enjoyment out of this venture. In a way, it's almost like Halloween, Christmas shopping, a giant flea market, and a big reunion (for all the friends that people meet) all wrapped up in one.
To finish the thought about the Newcomers - There seemed to be a bit of people who didn't get it, but came to gawk at the convention that all their friends were talking about. That ended up showing a lacking of respect by leaving garbage (mostly fliers) floating around the walkways. It struck me odd that that would have happened, but it was understandable that as people might not be aware of the etiquette involved, it takes some adjustment.
The good news is that this year, everything seemed to go smooth as could be. The crowds were limited in a way, as this was the first time that Comic Con International was officially sold out. It's true, after almost 40 years - and starting in a tiny hotel basement - the crowds actually had to be turned away. CCI got what they hoped for, true recognition, and much respect.
I'm still not sure if the City of San Diego understands what they have on their hands here. CCI really packs them in. This has to be one of the biggest money-making ventures for the City at large. All the hotels and restaurants are packed for almost a whole week. The crowds are many, but very mellow while enthusiastic. This is the type of congregation that any city would dream of having on a regular basis.
What makes Comic Con International so cool -
This is a chance to see the arts in all their forms, meet the creators, and especially make new friends with similar interest. But the best part is - no judgment. You can be as normal or as creatively wild as you like. Everyone comes to love it. No matter what your interests, you can undoubtedly find it here. And if you're coming to people-watch, there is no better place to be. And, not to come off on the more shallow guy thing attitude, but I'll be honest - there are more hot girls to be seen at Comic Con International than at all the Van Halen shows I ever saw in the 1980s. That's something to be mentioned. Booth babes and art fans alike. No joke. Comics and arts aren't just for the young pimply boys anymore. No, the graphic art form has definitely made it's mark in many areas, and is attracting an ever-growing popularity base.
Back to mentioning celebrities -
This isn't just about meeting your favorite inker of Green Lantern or some such. You can definitely meet all those guys here. In addition, past guests have included wrestlers (Diamond Dallas Paige, Undertaker), authors (Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, Deen Koontz, Ray Bradbury), and even astronauts (Buzz Aldrin). Plenty of film and TV stars attend both to meet n greet with fans and chat at panels, as well as attendees and collectors themselves. Such almost obligatory names such as William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy along with other members of old and new Star Trek franchises, as well as more recent legends as Lost creator J.J. Abrams, Chris Carter (X-Files), and Peter Jackson (Lord Of The Rings), along with actors, such as Kathy Griffin, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Kristen Bell, and many more. The aisles have even been walked by the infamous Gene Simmons of KISS fame. Not to mention who one could meet in the autograph area upstairs.
In addition to the entertaining side -
One important aspect to remember about CCI is that it promotes Literacy In The Arts. The main goals to achieve from CCI are to get more people to read, and to generate more interest in the art form of comic books. Aside from the more entertaining aspects of CCI, there are many things to learn from. For starters are some new daily programs such as Comic Con Film School, and Legal courses in the protection of copyrights for the creations of up and coming artists (Comic Book Law School). Many jobs have been gotten through CCI as some of the major companies (DC, Marvel, etc.) have time slots reserved to meet with new artists and writers to review their work, offer suggestions and advice, and sometimes hire new talent. This year even featured a Goal Setting seminar for creative types. And there have been different talent tryouts and searches as well, such as the voice-over for animation seminars held by Rocky & Bullwinkle voice talent June Foray.
The scope of what to expect -
Bring your most comfortable walking shoes, as the convention center is (seemingly) almost 1/4 mile long, and over half million square feet of space to cover. This ain't going to take one day, that's for sure
And now... what did we see while at Comic Con International 2007 -
Clicking on the links below, let's start with our ever-entertaining adventures as we trek down south to San Diego. Following that are the day-by-day excursions.
Written by Philip Anderson
- Stories / Events
- Thurs. July 24
- Fri. July 25
- Sat. July 26
- Sun. July 27
- Comic Con 2008
- Conchita Campbell ("4400")
- Megalyn Echikunwoke ("4400")
- Ira Behr / Craig Sweeney ("4400")
- Jeffrey Combs ("4400" / "Reanimator")
- Rafael Navarro (Artist "Scooby Doo" / "Sonambulo")