LIVE from B.L.A.R.D. 2

 LIVE from B.L.A.R.D. 2
Wow, sorry for late updates but we’ve been busier than a boxing ring here at Beat Local Action Rapid Deployment HQ. Deadlines schmedlines.

This morning, we had to check out of our room and check in to the same room (long story) and the desk clerk handed us normal, unadorned room keys.

“Awwwww, you don’t have any more of those cool Comic-Con keys?” we said.

The reply came stone-faced and grim. “Comic-Con is OVER.”

And it is. But effects will linger for a long, long time. Some good, some bad.

We went to the traditional Graphitti Dead Dog party last night, which served as a 53rd birthday for Dave Stevens. I found myself missing Dave a lot at that show. Because the art was everywhere, of course, and Bettie Page was everywhere, but also because he represented so much of the best of Comic-Con — a world-class cartoonist who showed a lifelong devotion to craft, and crossed over to other mediums without ever losing his dedication to his chosen field — comics. Of course, I missed Dave’s matinee idol presence and gentlemanly ways and sly humor as well, but he was so much the spirit of the OLD Comic-Con, the El Cortez and the crossover of people who made comics, cartoons and movies that inspired the con for the first few years.

Now of course it’s something else, for someone else.

In years past, we’ve had some complaints about ways the con is run, but this year we have to salute Faye Desmond and the entire Comic-Con crew for running an event bigger than the Super Bowl with astonishing smoothness. With at least 60,000 people moving, milling and posing each and every day — from movie stars to studio heads to cartoonists to kids in costume– keeping them all safe and satisfied is a herculean task. No one can be entirely happy, but the people running the show made a tremendous effort to make it work for the most possible people. We’ll have our detailed assessment and rundown a bit later tomorrow, but suffice to say for now that the people running the show have our utmost respect.

Plus, better them than us.

More later.

Comments

  1. I’d agree with your praise of the con staff up to a point Heidi. The Friday afternoon/evening panels were a complete and utter mess. It was basically a scheduling perfect storm if you were up there around that time. The line to get in for the Adult Swim/MST3K reunion/Stargate panels in 6A went outside and ended up at the front of the building. I really don’t know how they can continue down this route with no signs of a convention center expansion coming nor any other space to place large panels like these that really need the extra space unless they start looking at having more events in the hotels or something.

    Being my first year to stay at the Marriott next door; I have to say it was a rather nice hotel, even if there always seemed to be a lack of washcloths in our shower. For some reason the housekeeping staff must have thought only 2 people were staying in the room. Being that close to the convention center was a really nice perk though and I felt rather star struck a few times when I saw who was staying there. The lack of an airport shuttle was a little disappointing as well. I really don’t get the logic behind that.

    It’s going to be a hard choice next year between returning to this hotel or going back to the Embassy with its huge rooms and delicious free breakfast.

    One thing I do hope they finally decide to do is have some sort of stroller or kids under 3 ban. The parents are really doing a disservice bringing these kids to the con due to the everything going on, plus trying to maneuver their sometimes tank-like strollers amongst the aisles and who really wants to hear a crying child in a panel?

  2. I have to admit – I wasn’t fond of all this online ticket reservation last year but surprisingly enough, it worked out real well for me this year. I didn’t have to stand in some long sweaty line to pick up my pro badge. Just handed my e-mail confirmation letter to a volunteer, scanned it, and bam! out pops my badge – ALL in less than 3 minutes!

    Way faster than the line I stood to buy my Amtrak seat at a ticket kiosk.

    ~

    Coat

  3. So that’s what the convention center looks like without thousands of people milling about. I had a much better time this year. I drove in for only one day, it was a 27 hour day but one day just the same. I left at 8pm Fri. and was glad to see that the city hadn’t blocked off the streets this time so I could actually make it to I-5.

    I only went to one panel, a small one for web comics. I got there an hour early and it still filled up. I remember in the past having no trouble getting in to any panel especially the small ones. Those days are gone I guess.

  4. Heidi, great meeting you again.
    I had dinner with Colleen and heard the whole (long story) you alluded to.
    Yowzers, that’s just insane.

    Re: Comic-Con staff
    I give them credit, too. Seriously, a show that size could be a true nightmare. Programming has always been itchy. I don’t think there’s a solution to the cross traffic.

    Re: Embassy Suites free breakfast.
    I have yet to beat this deal. I mean… seriously, shuffle out of bed, still in pajamas and top off a tray of ready-to-go foods. Heaven.

    Re: Strollers
    I’d agree, but there’s no way to truly ban them – not to mention the disabled who really need wheeled support. Crying babies…? Infants, toddlers, and even some grown men have been heard wailing at the events.

  5. Kat Kan says:

    Re: Strollers and kids
    I’m a mom. I took my younger son with me to a small con when he was 7 years old; it was the only way I could go, taking him with me. It was not fun. He was bored very quickly, he didn’t want to stand around while I talked with people, I ended up not enjoying myself at all and we left very early in the afternoon. Unless one knows one’s kid is really into this kind of thing, one is really doing one’s child a disservice and making life miserable for oneself. Even this year, he’s now 13 and we went to a small local con (he did want to go); he was more polite about it but still got bored quite early. At least this time older brother and OB’s fiancee came with us and they helped keep him occupied so mom could talk with people. Now, older son loved going to some of the small cons we attended, from the time he was 8 years old. Each kid is different. Parents need to understand what their kids are like and work with that knowledge. But what I would never do – take a baby to the con. NOT fun.

    I keep saying I want to go to SDCC, but the 2007 NYCC was almost too much for me in terms of crowds. So now, I don’t know …

  6. I brought my two year old daughter to the con and she did pretty well. We didn’t plan on having her with us for the tree days that we attended, but our babysitter fell through and we had to make do. I was there to do business, and I couldn’t not go. Really though, with all the thousands of people there, strollers are a very small thing to put up with when you consider how much easier it makes things for a parent. I wanted to have my little girl there with me. She’s my buddy, and my constant companion. I want her to see what daddy does, as she grows up, and maybe even to want to be a part of it herself. All my other buddies that I don’t see all year, love to mark how much she’s grown. My pal Eddie Campbell did a drawing of her as she sat in her stroller and tried to pull down the entire Top Shelf booth, even. Ah, good times. It was what you would call, “Family Fun.” If people don’t like me bringing her, I’m sorry. Out of consideration for others, I have a small stroller, but other people need to not just think about themselves and how these things effect them all the time. They’re just going to have to suck it up, because I’m bringing her next year too, and we’re gonna have a great time of it. On a side note though, I do think that the con seemed a little over sold. If there were an earthquake or someone lit a fire in a trash can or pulled a gun (and there were some very real looking prop guns being waved around) and started shooting, hundreds would be killed in the rush for the door. Is anyone in charge thinking of these things?

  7. Hmmm.

    Haven’t been to the con since ’97, and these reports aren’t convincing me to return any time soon–not that there isn’t a good time to be had, but it sounds like so much buzz and people and work.

    When you remember what the con was during the 1980s (when I started to go), and you could have an impromptu conversation with a Harlan Ellison or an Archie Goodwin…well, I guess I’m nostalgic for a simpler time.

  8. Tony Lee says:

    DIIIIEEEE DIIEEEEEE KILL THEM ALLL KEEP THEM AWAAAAAYYYY FROM MEEEEEEEE

    Oh, is it over?

  9. Torsten Adair says:

    I rather surprised that the Con hasn’t started handing out tickets to the big events. Book Expo America does this, usually showcasing ten to twenty media authors who then sign in the Author area, where lines can still be quite long. Tickets are given out early in the morning until gone, limit two per person.

    At BEA, the tickets are free (there are other events which cost money, but usually no more than $25) and the books are free, which adds to the demand.

    Granted, with tickets, the rooms would have to be cleared, but that might actually be a good thing. It also encourages attendees to arrive early which helps traffic. It keeps lines low and manageable, as the Con predetermines how many tickets are given out. (Lines would form ten minutes after the previous event commences.) With set attendance, rooms can be locked into a schedule, and companies can better plan for free premiums. Fans are less disappointed by not having to stand in a line and then not get in. Disgruntled fans can be placated by placing each event online.

    Hall H can still be used for big media presentations, no ticket required. Unless the Con wishes to sell tickets for premium seating…

    Would be nice if the Eisner Awards were catered, like the Harveys, where a fan can buy a ticket, and be seated next to someone interesting. Although I hate round banquet tables, conversation is more difficult than with a long table…

  10. Mark Coale says:

    While strollers are annoying (said admittedly by a non-parent), they are at least understandable. I just wish cons would ban fanboys from bringing in those rolling carts carrying their boxes of books to get signed. Those are truly obnoxious aisle-blockers.

    I’m surprised the idea of cybercasting hasn’t gained more traction. Podcasting of panels has been around for a few years (I expect DC to have theirs up any day now, as they had a quick turnaround during NYCC) and cybercasting seems the next step. heck, just have someone grab their macbook, put it on the dias and have it shoot the panel.

  11. Al;l the DC podcasts for the con are already up and ready for listening at http://www.dccomics.com/downloads/

    I notice a few of them have explicit tags, do they do any sort of censoring or editing, or are they just as they were at the panels asked the boy who doesn’t have speakers to listen to them right now.

  12. Mark Coale says:

    I believe they have always had the explicit tag on them, going to back at least last year’s SD panels. They have always seen to be the raw feed, complete with cursing intact (hence the warning label).

  13. ~chris says:

    Something is amiss when Sarah Connor Chronicles and Pushing Daisies are in Room 6A, and Deepak Chopra is in Ballroom 20.

  14. Mark –

    The rolling carts are supposed to be banned from the dealer’s room.

    The staff should have been out on the floor enforcing that rule.

    ~

    Coat

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