Jul 23, 2006
San Diego Comic-Con '06
a handful of the 80 billion people attending the San Diego Comicon on Saturday
I didn't think I would be there, but at the 11th hour I went, by car. My mission: look for hard-to-find, self-published artist's sketchbooks, out of print art books, maybe acquire some original art. I hadn't been to this event in almost a decade, and while I expected it to have changed, nothing prepared me for the insanity of tens of thousands of frantic, hot and bulky attendees (nearly everyone had multiple luggage attached) at this year's Con. I had a prepaid admission, but the unprepared(which I nearly was myself) waited for hours in the hot, hot sun. This after a commute that took 4.5 hours from Los Angeles(usually about half that). In any case, I was ready and eager to hit the floor of the massive convention hall, packed as it was with thousands of sweaty bodies.
The most obvious difference is just how consumed by all pop culture the Con has become, and how few of the booths had a direct association with what we generally think of as "comics". Not that that's necessarily bad--it's a treat to see so many artists(many from animation) selling their own sketchbooks, art, and crafty goods.
I was there from 3:30 til they kicked everyone out at 7, yet barely scratched the surface. I never met Floyd Norman(who I was told asked after me--where were you, Floyd? I'm sorry I missed you!), never found the Chronicle Books booth OR the booth of my online buddy Jenny("sewdarncute"), and missed countless other goodies, I'm sure. But thanks to the homing device attached to Dave Pimentel, I did locate the Stuart Ng booth, where I pretty much spent my allowance:
Modest in number, but choice! Among the titles here shown are:
Animation Blast issue 9
Chris Sanders Sketchbook 1b
Mucci Time/David 'Mucci' Fassett
Frogg's Lament, a Paper Biscuit book by Ronnie del Carmen
Enrico Casarosa's Sketchcrawling
Paul Brigg's PBCB Studios Sketchbook, vol. 3
Pierre Alary, Carnet de Croquis Sketchbook
Entre Chats, a compendium bandes dessines by 22 different french artists all riffing on cats; I was wowed in particular by Severin and Franquin
a great book reproducing some Joseph Clement Coll drawings
...and some wonderful stuff from Conduct Happiness: tshirt, buttons and a flipbook animated by James Baxter
Dave Pimentel listens to Pierre Alary, a superb artist who had several wonderful bandes dessines and a sketchbook available at Stuart Ng's booth
Dave and his longtime pal Clay Kaytis--in addition to browsing, buying and chatting up dozens of friends--were producing a microphone from time to time and doing Animation Podcast interviews on the spot--a great idea that also seemed insane, given the decibel level in the hall and the general ambience of a Tokyo subway car at 5 o'clock, but if anyone can make a good show out of that cacophany, it'd be Clay. Yours truly was cruelly ambushed by Pimentel and offered the most stilted remarks imaginable--one can only pray that judicious editing reduces any Blackwing Diaries presence to a "Hi!". here's hoping.
More fighting(I'm not kidding--at various points I was holding my arms elbows out just to make it, inch by inch, cross the aisles), and an hour later I found the booth for Conduct Happiness, a fun and charmingly designed line of kidswear(and adults, too)run by Disney and James Baxter animator/designers Joe Moshier and Chris Sonnenburg; I've long admired their work and was glad to have a brief chance to chat with Chris, a huge Fred Moore fan(aren't we all!), who told me a bit about a touching visit to Ollie Johnston's home he'd made recently, accompanied by a small group of dedicated animation artists...he said some mighty nice things about this blog, an all I can say is to repeat my debt to James Walker, who's provided virtually 100% of the Moore artwork and much of the facts I've been able to post here. It's an honor to be associated in any way at all with such names as Moore's. if only to pass along the work, which was James' intent--what generosity. I find all afficonados of such great animation and drawing are also swell people...must be a connection there somewhere. Wouldn't Fred be surprised, though?
While at Conduct Happiness a general hoohah greeted the arrival of a guy someone called "my old director!": John Sandford. One of my favorite artists by virtue of his Chippy & Loopus comics, and all his drawings in general. However, as I was fast sweating into a puddle, and he was surrounded by hailing pals, I didn't get the nerve to introduce myself...by then it was almost 7pm, closing time for the hall. I saw the Mach 5, a gaggle of Predators, the usual storm troopers and snow troopers, one Jack Sparrow and a few other types...I probably missed ten thousand other cool exhibits and people and books. Even with the crush of bodies, the waiting everywhere and the unbearable heat I had a swell time, and the hours flew by. But next year, I think I'm going on a Thursday. Whaddya say, fellas?