Where I Won’t Be: San Diego Comic-Con International

Yeah, I know it’s a bit weird to post an update about where you won’t be able to find me, but I’ve already been asked a few times about whether or not I’ll be attending the 500-pound gorilla of comic book/pop culture fan conventions this week, and the short answer is … no. Is there a long answer?

Kind of.

Not by design, but by providence or something likely less divine, I’ve attended San Diego Comic-Con International only every odd-numbered year since 2007. The first year, I went as media, ostensibly covering the convention for Racket Magazine, but really just so I could see what all the fuss was about. I found it overwhelming, only slightly interesting, and bearable for about an hour or two at a time. But, I did get to see Kevin Smith live, I did get to meet Henry Rollins, and I did find the model for my most recent tattoo (has it really been five years since I was last inked?), so it wasn’t a terrible experience. And I got this rad picture of Elvis Stormtrooper posing with a copy of Racket:

elvis stormtrooper comic-con 2007

That was also the occasion where I basically fell back in love with comics after our 15-year breakup, which directly led to me polluting the interwebs and comic store shelves with the junk comics I’ve been making the last few years, so … sorry?

Anyway, by the time I returned in 2009, it was as a “professional” attendee, as I’d launched The Utopian earlier that year. It was even more ridiculously crowded, and aside from meeting some cool people, attending a sweet rooftop party (thanks Oni Press!) and distributing free Utopian ashcans, I didn’t spend too much time at the con, nor did I have that great a time.

Not long after that, however, I started dipping my toes into the West Coast convention circuit as an exhibitor, doing Emerald City, Phoenix, Long Beach, Wondercon, Stumptown, and of course,  the Vegas Valley Comic Book Festival. But I eschewed the big daddy of ’em all, because I kinda figured I’d just get swallowed up in/lost within the morass.

I did drop into SDCC (as the kids affectionately refer to Comic-Con International) again in 2011, pro badge in hand, but I think I literally spent about two or three hours total there, mainly to buy some stuff from my friends, bug some editors, and high five a few people. Otherwise, the trip was spent eating fish tacos and drinking margaritas.

So … this being 2012, I’m not going to San Diego for the “geek prom.” I was just in America’s Finest City a few weeks ago anyway, remember? Plus, I don’t really feel like exhibiting at SDCC until I have a really good, new project or two to feature — either by myself or from Pop! Goes the Icon. And if things go as planned, 2013 should be a more appropriate time for that.

However, if you ARE attending, I implore you to set aside some time (and money) for the lil’ guys and gals plugging away in the small press, artist alley and main exhibitor fringe. Not only will you discover cool, new comics, books and art that’s not the same stuff the Big Two or Three or Whatever have been recycling for X number of decades, but you’ll also be supporting directly creative people who deserve your moneys. Allow me to personally recommend visiting the following Pj-friendly people/entities while you’re there:

  • Paul Horn of Cool Jerk, who will be debuting his first collaboration with his adorable and talented wife Darlene, “The Girl with the Donut Tattoo.” Booth K-10. (Paul also recommends checking out Audra Ann Furuichi of webcomic nemu*nemu at booth O-14, and Jose Cabrera of Crying Macho Man at booth K-11.)
  • Just Jenn Designs – Jenn makes super-cute stickers, stationery, and other printed goods, but if you’re lucky, she’ll have some of her nerdy baked goodies available. Booth N-10.
  • Keith Knight – You might know Keith from his syndicated comics The K Chronicles or (Th)ink. He recently celebrated the successful funding of his upcoming autobiographical graphic novel, I Was A Teenage Michael Jackson Impersonator. If you buy one of his books, maybe he’ll moonwalk for you. Booth K-15.
  • World Famous Comics – Both a comics/pop culture news website and a loosely-defined collective of comic creators/artists/fans, World Famous is partially based in Las Vegas, and is co-run by my pals Ed and Jeff. It’s very likely Ed will have copies of Tales from Fremont Street there, and I wrote a story in there, so you should stop by and buy many copies. Booth 5560.
  • Oni Press – Yes, the Portland-based publisher responsible for bringing Scott Pilgrim into the world. But they also publish lots of other rad indie comics and books, and my friend Jill is like their bitchin’ist editor, so swing by and meet their creators, buy their books, and feel free to remind Jill how brilliant of a writer I am.
  • Denis Caron, aka Joenis Norac, is the creator of the L.A.W.L.S. universe of webcomics, and will have his usual mix of t-shirts, prints and books for sale. Booth 1230 (with Two Lumps).

If I forgot anyone, it’s not because I don’t love you, but because I have a terrible memory.

There you have it. If you’re attending in any capacity, have fun, drink lots of water, get plenty of fresh air, and remember: It’s all in fun. No need to stab anyone in the eye with a pencil.

Oh, and if you want to help me decide which comic conventions I SHOULD exhibit at next year, there’s a poll for that on my Facebook page. Go vote!

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