Comic-Con 2012: There Are No Words to Describe How Great it Was

A column article, Manifesto by: Jason Sacks


Well, it's come and gone once again, our annual pilgrimage to the place from whence so many dreams emerge, so many fan and friend legends are born, so many secret Only-in-Vegas tales are birthed, so many painfully dull waits to get to watch the cast of The Big Bang Theory hold court in Hall H are experienced: yes, the 2012 San Diego Comic-con has come and gone for yet another year.

If you were there, how was your Con? If you weren't there, you missed yet another epic year of madness and excitement and thrills and an almost indescribable sense of most everybody enjoying the tremendous insanity of the event. We all put up with the crushing crowds, the endless noise from the video games and movie and TV sections, the lack of focus on comics because, hell, this is where it's all at. It's overwhelming, it's intense, it's surreal and insane and pretty much every adjective you can find in your thesaurus.

It's Comic-con. And that simple phrase kind of sums it up.

The Con is what it is.

And while I heard friends like Jim Valentino and Jill Thompson lament the fact that Comic-con had gotten a bit too large, a bit too separated from its roots, with comics just a small part of an enormous and overwhelming entertainment machine, it's clear that this is a con that needs to be embraced for what it is, lest you be consigned to eternal frustration, wishing you had bought a housecat rather than a horse.

What makes Comic-con special, what makes it stand out from all the fantastic regional conventions around the country (including Emerald City Comicon, which is very focused on the individual creators and Stumptown Comics Fest, which has kind of a Farmers Market, meet-the-maker kind of feel to it and GeekGirlCon, which is all about empowerment and acceptance) is precisely that overwhelming feeling, the sense that fans of all kinds of entertainment are al gathered together to embrace a kind of geekgasm about all the material that they love most.

Mark Hammill with Comics Bulletin vodka

For me personally that dichotomy is precisely why I had such a magnificent time at the Con. I got to meet and interview a slew of my pop culture heroes this year - William Shatner, Roger Corman, Mark Hammill, Ron Ely, Bela Lugosi Jr., and John Landis. There's a line-up to accelerate the heartbeats of any fan of geek culture, and none of those people would have been available to speak to if Comic-con wasn't such a polymedia explosion of pop culture thrills.

Incidentally, we have interviews with all but Mr. Landis and Mr. Lugosi completed, and all of those interviews should be posted to the site shortly - with Shatner and Corman in video form - and all with exclusive content that you will not find on any other website.

Other members of our staff were able to be part of other unique content around material that you care about, including a special press-only panel with the stars of Firefly and the press conference for Iron Man 3.

Joe Keatinge

While all that happened, though, we were excited to create tons of content around the kinds of comics material that we're proud to champion here at Comics Bulletin. The same day that I met John Landis, I was delighted to conduct a video interview with the wonderful Nate Powell, who's about as perfect an exemplar an independent, idiosyncratic and supremely talented creator as you can hope to find. We were delighted to do more video interviews as well, with Joe Kelly, the Chew Crew, Andrew WK (YES!!!!), Joe Keatinge, and the inspired writer of the Space 1999 and Planet of the Apes comics. We also have a ton of interviews that will appear in print with some of the coolest and most interesting cartoonists in the world coming up on the site, all conducted while in the vortex of Comic-con.

You'll come to see our idea of Fair Trade Comics more and more in the next year, and we're tremendously excited by the vision we have around that idea. We here at Comics Bulletin are intensely proud of that initiative and are hoping to extend it in ways that you will find exciting and extremely helpful.

For me personally, though, the Con comes down to all the friends I get to see and meet each year. It was a thrill and delight to get to meet and talk to the sublimely talented Trevor Von Eeden, who was at SDCC for the first time ever and legitimately overwhelmed to receive a special Eisner award for his work in the fiend. Trevor is a real gentleman and incredibly grateful for his work in the industry and you should buy his terrific original GN The Original Johnson as soon as you can.

The comic industry is full of wonderfully generous and nice creators, so please don't hesitate to talk to them if you meet creators at a Con. The John Byrnes of the world are few and far between; much more common are wonderful people like Whilce Portacio and Ted McKeever and Greg Espinoza; Steve Seagle, Jim Zub, Liam Sharp, Batton Lash, Dave Gibbons (with whom I had a nice half-hour conversation talking tech and software of all things) and Neal Adams, who was gracious and kind with his time despite my making a major faux pas with him. And it's always a joy to see some of my best friends in the industry, including Dave Elliott and Jimmy Valentino, and catch up with them.

Mel Caylo of Archaia

Our thanks to all the folks at the comics companies who are as cool and gracious as ever: Jacq, Jen, Eric and the rest of the folks at Fantagraphics - hope to do lunch with you soon!; Mel Caylo at Archaia, a true friend and supporter of CB; Jennifer, Sarah and the other awesome folks at Image who are a total pleasure to know; the incomparable and important Charles Brownstein at the CBLDF - let me know what we can do for you as always, Charles!; Leigh Walton at Top Shelf, as generous and helpful as any publicist around; Carr and Susan from Earth-2, who show why they run one of the best comic shops around; the indefatigable and eternally helpful Aub Driver at Dark Horse; John Fleskes of Flesk Publications, a real inspiration who creates some of the most immaculate art books in the industry while always putting friendship and honesty above profit; and all the other folks in the industry who help this little website stay fiercely independent.

The Con's also a great place for CB's staff to get together and conspire about upcoming events on the site and visit with those very cool and interesting people. Nick, Danny, Kyrax and our other staff members scoured the long and winding halls of the Con to find great content for you, and as always we'll be presenting it with our own idiosyncratic takes on these issues.

Jason and con pal June - look at that view!

And very special thanks as always to my convention buddy June-bug, who always makes these cons a special experience. Let me know how your friends like the vodka, and I really hope we can do it again next year (remember, San Diego is kind of on the way to Japan!).

I love Comic-con. It's my favorite five days of the year - a nonstop, intensely wonderful adventure each day from 7am to 2:30am. Please share your stories of your Comic-con trip below. And if we missed you at Con, please let us know so we can hook up with you soon. We still have Skype.

Next up for me and several other CBers is Geek Girl Con in just a few weeks. Hopefully my feet will be sufficiently recovered by then. I hope we'll see you there - the CB staff will be out in force to take in one of our favorite cons.

Only 360 days till we do it all again!

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