My personal highlights of San Diego Comic-Con 2013 Part 1
Since I had so many people “like” my random FB pre-SDCC status, I felt somewhat obligated to give them an opportunity to “live vicariously” by doing this write up. Of course, details and longer stories will have to wait for a face to face hang out. Oh, and for the record, this was my 26th year of going to SDCC and yes, they were all consecutive trips.
As usual, my guy pal Nico was my SDCC vacation companion in that we shared a room at the Seven Seas Best Western in hotel circle. And yes, we act very domestic because of it, in that old jaded married couple sort of way in that we know each other’s routines and our separate interests. Plus, last year we FINALLY discovered the value and convenience of the SDCC complimentary shuttle system. This allowed us to have completely separate schedules (which means letting me sleep in on days boring for me and vice versa.) Unfortunately, it also worked like an intense public transportation system in that if you forget something critical, it’ll take at least an hour to make the round trip before you can continue on your way.
I admit I was very much looking forward to this trip from a vacation and mental break perspective. Last year’s SDCC trip was incredibly stressful with things that went wrong and a Friday night conflict in Orange County that I had to drive the one and a half hour one-way trip to an event (A Conversation with Sondheim.) This year was looking forward to a genuine vacation and doing things that were of interest to me, and not as much out of obligation for press or promotion purposes. Though ironically, I should have been ready to do a lot of networking since my sword & sorcery book “Creatures of Grace” will be released next month and I want to launch a companion comic book series. But I just wasn’t in the mood. The internet has proven to be a saving grace for networking opportunities.
Wednesday is badge pick up day for us and we’ve learned over the years that the quickest way to get through the horrendous lines is to show up when after the badge pick up process had already been underway for a couple of hours so that if there is a line for us, it would move quickly. I admit I love the SDCC badge pick up process because it has been wonderfully smooth and quick in the past few years, unlike other mega conventions I’ve attended.
For the first time in several years, Nico and I actually had 4 Day badges with preview night. Preview night is where the SDCC exhibit hall is opened for a few hours the Wednesday night before the convention. This is key for people trying to get convention-only exclusives before they’re sold out when SDCC is opened for real. Since my shopping method is to buy things that I can only buy at SDCC (or would be incredibly convenient to do so) or to buy things at extremely discounted rates. Luckily for me, I’ve gone mostly digital in the past year but I do have a thing for hardbacks of some of my favorites works.
“Omaha The Cat Dancer” (NBM): My first thrill purchase was to get the 8th and final volume of this series that I had been a fan of since its introduction in comic book form about twenty years ago. Created by Reed Waller and Kate Worley, it was well known and critically acclaimed series that featured anthropomorphic characters in “Mipple City” that not only depicted complicated relations including fairly graphic sexual presentations. Unfortunately, the series had a lot of struggles in finishing its soap opera story, including the passing of the Worley as its writer. Even though the team had gone their separate ways personally, Worley did eventually script out the end of the series and Waller has been trying his best to finish it, by publishing installments in “Sizzle” magazine, an adult comic anthology magazine which featured a lot of she-males. Let’s put it this way, the handful of “Omaha” pages had more dialogue than the rest of the magazine. And since I wasn’t about to subscribe to “Sizzle” it had been my previous SDCC trips to pick up the handful of issues that came out in the previous year. So yes, now that “Omaha” is finished, I don’t think I’ll pick up “Sizzle” anymore.
Sleeeeeep: Due to several days of crappy sleeping habits, I slept all morning, and well into the afternoon. And I did not feel at all anxious about it since it meant I missed most of SDCC’s first day, which could be a sign of being a jaded SDCC attendee, or (as I prefer) just practically smart about my trip. I did finally crawl out of bed in the afternoon to go the panel for the sexuality spectrum anthology book “Anything That Loves”.
“Anything That Loves” (Northwest Press): This anthology book of people’s experiences as being people in the middle spectrum of the sexual orientation had a panel for its debut. Though I was a Kickstarter contributor, I hadn’t yet picked up a copy when I attended the panel but it was interesting to hear some of the contributors/panelists speak about their pieces as well as publisher Charles “Zan” Christensen talk about the history and intent of the anthology. Though with any project that covers diversity, there will be opinions expressed by panelists that were not always something that were popular with the audience. (Anyone who attended should know what I’m referring to.) But the biggest thing I got out of it was becoming interested in a Friday spotlight on contributor Ellen Forney which I decided to attend both as support and interest in her work.
Spotlight on Ellen Forney: Openly bisexual artist Forney talked about her Eisner nominated book “Marbles: Depression, Michaelangelo, and Me”. She acted out most of the first two chapters, which focused on her unexpected diagnosis of bipolar disorder and how that would affect her perspective and work as an artist. Being someone who was a psychology and sociology double-major in college as well as an appreciator of the creative process, I thought her presentation very interesting and educational. Of course, being the smart ass that I am, I did ask her the question during Q&A when she “came out” about being (bipolar) to the people in her personal life if any of them were genuinely surprised. She did comment that she thought that was funny but also gave a genuine answer, which was no except one person that she had limited and controlled exposure to. I left the panel with plans to pick up her book (which I did.)
“The Passion of Gengoroh Tagame: Master of Gay Erotic Manga”: When I browsed through the exhibit hall, I stopped by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) booth to see if there was anything I could buy to support their fight against U.S. censorship in comics. To my surprise and delight, I saw that the Tagame book was for sale with the translators available for signing it. Due to my manga exposure during my intense Japan-file days, I became aware of Tagame’s work and respect his skill though his focus in on gay male erotic bondage. I even own a couple of volumes of his work in Japanese and I was willing to buy a copy of this new book to show support, especially since Tagame provided a new original story for the volume. Though it was weird to have one of the translators thank me for purchasing it and to “enjoy it”. I didn’t feel compelled to clarify that I was a lesbian and that I just collected LGBT work in general as support.
“Husbands: The New Marriage”: Nico and I finally met up to wait in line for the show. Or more accurately, he had arrived early to sit through the debut of the BBC’s “Orphan Black” which was scheduled right before in the same room. However, it turns out OB was unexpectedly popular in that the room was packed and there was still a monumental line outside that staffers were trying to shoo people away. When we admitted that we were there for “Husbands” they let us get into line and wait.
The “Husbands” panel itself was fun, with all of the main cast and creative folks talking about their third series now being supported by the CW web hub. We were shown a cute preview clip of the upcoming ‘formal’ wedding our two leading men will hold, with families and exes abound. Lots of actor name teases that we were told we’ll just have to wait and see the episodes to find out how they all fit together. The new episodes are supposed to be available in August.