Nine years ago this week, I attended my first and only San Diego Comic-Con.
I had a one-year internship on the West Coast (just outside of San Francisco) and my wife Anacoqui and I decided to take the trip down to San Diego. We didn’t know if we’d ever get another chance to go (and so far, we haven’t). We had a great time. Comic-Con was everything I wanted it to be. It was one of the best vacations of my life. I have fond memories of the CrossGen booth. This was 2001 and CrossGen was still on the rise. They had a wide open pavilion and fans could walk right in. We stopped by a couple of times during the week. On the Wednesday preview night, we talked to several of the CrossGen luminaries. We met Tony Bedard, who had just been added to the writing staff. We talked to Mark Alessi (though he was kind of over-bearing). I fulfilled a lifelong dream in meeting George Perez. I also inadvertently insulted him- I made him feel old by telling him that my mom used to buy New Teen Titans comics for me. We came back throughout the week for autograph sessions. We scored small posters for every CrossGen title and Anacoqui won a drawing for a large Scion poster signed by Ron Marz and Jimmy Cheung. It was great. The CrossGen people made us feel like family more than fans. It helped that Anacoqui was seven months pregnant. We were pretty recognizable.
I have fond memories of several panels. One of the best panels that I attended was with Mark Waid. It was a fairly small crowd and Mark simply took questions. He was very open and honest with us, and even cried a couple of times. He cried once when we asked him about his favorite story that he had written. He mentioned Flash #0 when Wally West is displaced in time and gives advice to his younger self. That was a very personal
story for Mark. We also dragged up some painful memories by asking about the fallout he had with an editors that led to his early departure from one of his dream projects: the Legion of Super-Heroes.
We also attended a JLA/Avengers panel with Kurt Busiek and George Perez as they teased the upcoming project. We attended a women-in-comics panel that included Amanda Conner. I remember Amanda specifically because one of the other women who was working in independent comics made a disparaging comment about “who wants to draw superheroes beating up on each other” and Amanda raised her hand to say “I do.” We attended a Farscape panel with Anthony Simcoe (D’argo) and series creator Rockne O’Bannon. Anthony was hilarious. It was especially funny to hear D’argo’s deep voice coming from this blond Australian.
And we unintentionally attended a Battlestar Galactica panel. We were trying to get early seats for another TV/movie panel (Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, I think) and caught the end of BSG. This was 2001, however, well before the second series hit the air. Instead, the actor who played Apollo was pitching his idea for a new BSG project. He complained that someone else was sitting on the rights and asked fans to support him
instead. He showed us his ideas for the series. Honestly, it didn’t look very good. But it all worked out in the end. The rights holders ended up putting a very good project together. And Apollo made peace with them, even showing up in a recurring role as a revolutionary.
I also have fond memories of walking the floor. I was overwhelmed at first. Everything I ever wanted was for sale. I contented myself by buying several Silver Age Teen Titans, including a few that had been part of the infamous IRS collection, and finishing my collection of George Perez’s Wonder Woman.
Yet Comic-Con wasn’t the only highlight of our stay in San Diego. I took Anacoqui to the world famous zoo. We had a great day, though we spent the afternoon on the double decker tour bus because there’s only so much walking a seven-month pregnant woman can do. We bought tickets to a Padres game and lucked into a double-header when the previous night’s game was canceled due to lightning. We got two games for the price of one. We watched Randy Johnson set a record for most strikeouts in a relief appearance (the first game technically picked up in the second inning) and Trevor Hoffman close out the second game with a save. And we discovered quite a few great restaurants in the downtown area including an Italian cafe, an English pub, a pizza place and a seafood joint.
Yeah, it was a great time. Someday, I’ll maybe even get to go back.