Comic-Con: Days 3 & 4: Beat Surrender

There were a few musicians on various corners at the Gaslamp Quarter Gate this Comic-Con weekend. This Princess Leia violinist – brilliant concept.

All good things must come to an end. Especially Comic-Con.

Saturday is always the climax of this annual event. The most panels occur on this day and then there’s the Masquerade, the grand costume contest held in the evening. I missed this event because, unfortunately, I had a previous engagement. There was the Art-Jazz-Poetry event at Saint Paul’s Cathedral. I have been part of this even for the past few years, so I should have been more mindful when the Arts Committee set the date. However, they have been careful not to schedule on Pride Weekend. That would have also been a nightmare for me. I went to the Cathedral, I helped set up, went to Comic-Con for a few hours, went home to change, and then back to the Cathedral for the event. I was able to enjoy myself at Comic-Con with only one minor disaster.

I went to one panel – one that focused on China Miéville. I’m glad Comic-Con has the literary events because it gives readers a chance to see their favorite authors in their genres or blends of genres, and introduces others to writers they haven’t read before. I’m in the latter category regarding Miéville, but I’m definitely intrigued. I’m definitely attracted to writers who defy neat categorizations, such as Jonathan Lethem, Neil Gaiman, and Ursula K. Le Guin, and I expect I’ll find Miéville to be a challenging but satisfying read.

After leaving the Mieville panel, I tried to get into the V panel, which was in Ballroom 20, which is the largest room in the Convention Center. The line was so long, going to the south-east end of the hall to wrap around on the outer balcony of the bayside hall. The line showed no sign of letting up, but I decided to give it a try. Thirty minutes into the panel, I figured it was time to go as the panel would be over by the time I got into the Ballroom and I didn’t really want to stick around for Vampire Diaries. I accepted my loss of time and went back to the Expo downstairs. There, I’d see exhibits, vendors, and costumed people. But, my time got cut short because of my obligation to the Cathedral and the San Diego poetry community. There was a late afternoon panel that included Samuel Delaney, but I’d have to miss it.

Somehow, before getting to my evening event, I got roped into lending my Comic-Con identity to my friend. But, I did get my badge back by the end of the evening, but I was exhausted!

Oh, and I was finally able to get a picture of the guys in the Spartacus costumes.

If Saturdays are the climax of Comic-Con, then Sunday is certainly the coda. Once again, I had some obligations with the Cathedral, taping the sermon. After the morning service, I went to Comic-Con for a few hours. In times past, I was often over Sundays because everyone was wrapping things up. Though, the feeling for me has often been that I’ve seen and done everything at Con or had a full several days of it.

The truth is that I’ve never been able to do everything I wanted at Comic-Con. It’s just not possible. Sometimes the panels run back to back. The ones where bona-fide published novelists are actually very easy to get into, even Charlaine Harris with her large audience. For those who bitch and moan that no one’s reading, how many of them have actually produced exciting fiction. The people I did see over the week were the ones writing stories people actually wanted to read, and the general public’s reading apathy was my gain. TV shows and movies drew the crowds. There are Comic-Con attendees who detest this, like they did Twilight’s appearance last year, but this trend seems to be here to stay, even if Con moves to LA.

I did get to attend a panel on multi-media collaboration. This was done by some freelance industry professionals who took an hour to impart the wisdom of their experience to people who are trying to pursue writing, art, etc, or having a creative collective that utilizes everyone’s talents. Much of the advice, such as being able to agree on the group goals, are seemingly common sense on the surface, but how many people actually apply the simple and obvious to their situations? The panel was also a reminder that despite the spectacle that Comic-Con is, networking is one of the things that the convention is able.

The past few days Comic-Con held a preregistration for next year. I’ve heard rumors through Twitter and a few other sources that the 4-day tickets with preview night for 2011 were all sold out. While I can do without Preview night, I really hope this is not the case. I just want a 4-day ticket because I’m never sure what panels are done on what day until the schedule is finalized. Next year, I might just take a few days off because I want to have time for whatever events strike my fancy.

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