News and notes: SDCC and the locals; Bluewater and Harryhausen; Fan Expo

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• Robot 6 reports that Ray Harryhausen has chosen to terminate his deal with Bluewater.:

• If you’ve been following along with the Saga of the San Diego Con, you will LOVE this transcript of a radio show that ran during the show. Basically, it shows locals arguing the merits of the convention center expansion, and sort of quantifies the attitude towards Nerd Prom as seen by local media and businesspeople.

PENNER: Okay. Tom, your comment on – Comic-Con is celebrated as almost an event of mythic proportions by a lot of people. Is it celebrated in the same way by downtown business interests?

YORK: I think they love the mythology of it because it translates into dollars. I would say one thing about an expansion of the convention center. Maybe it’s time for the city to look at specializing, coming into a niche rather than trying to go for every convention of a certain size, maybe go for certain niches. Maybe the limit is 126,000.

• We didn’t really follow along with the happenings at this weekend’s FAn Expo in Toronto, but by all accounts it was HUGE and busy. Did anyone reading this attend? Jamie Coville? Report in!

Comments

  1. This was the first time in several years that I haven’t been a guest at Fan Expo, but I happened to be in Toronto on Saturday and popped in to say hi to my industry pals. I lasted about 45 minutes. It was nuts, with the main aisles actually reminding me of how the congestion on the floor at San Diego. The Convention Centre was at capacity, resulting in around-the-block line-ups at both entrances, even at mid-day.

  2. Raffaele Ienco says:

    I was a guest artist/writer and several friends reported to me of disgustingly long waiting times of 2 or 3 hours for people who didn’t buy their tickets in advance.
    I have line-phobia myself because of a bad line-waiting experience in my early twenties in New York and as such I can’t wait in any line for more than 20 minutes. Forget it!

  3. We always urge people to buy their tickets in advance because of the time they will save getting into the show and our advance ticket sales this year were double what they were last year. Going into it we didn’t know if that was an indication of increased attendance or that people were realizing that this is a way to say time. We also sold out of the advance VIP premium pass about 1 week before the event.

    We are still waiting on the final attendance figures, but they were way up this year — 2007 and 2008 both had just under 50,000 attendees, but this year it looks like we exceeded the previous record and then some..

  4. I’m workin on it! I’m workin on it!

    There was no free wifi at my hotel or at the con, so I’m having to do everything now.

  5. Raffaele Ienco says:

    Great convention though. Who needs San Diego? — all East Coasters are thinking.

  6. David T. G. Riches says:

    Okay time flies while having fun. Hard to believe this was my 15th annual one.
    Friday was easier to get to guest and get things done. Shortest lineups of the show; greatest selection of items; easiest time to haggle on prices.
    Tony Curtis canceled as did Keenan Thompson and Matt Fraction postponed to 2010. Well who needs them when we had Mary McDonnell, Linda Hamilton, Lou Ferrigno, Billy Dee Williams, Beau Bridges, Emma Caulfield, Roger Corman, Bruce Campbell, Avery Brooks, and Leonard Nimoy. Reccession what Reccession people were paying $35 to $40 for an autograph and $60 for Spock. This year no free photos at the booth but there was professional photo ops for a very nice package.
    Gaming was split into four sections. Table top was where it’s been since they moved to the South building by the VIP entrance. Sparse on Friday it filled with Settlers of Cattaan and Chaotic and Battle Tech players. Magic players were almost locked out. No Clixsters at all which was a shame because they were selling lots of the figures on the floor. Free Plug #1 Cyber City Comics sold out of WizKids Horror Clix Hero Clix and Halo Clix Boosters early Saturday. Video and Online games was moved from the South of Table Top to the far Eastern side of the floor. The number of people playing guitar hero or Rockband that thought they were good and ended with FAILED on the big screen was almost a hundred each day. LARPers were forced to the evenings to another wing of the show. On another floor. The RPGers which this year seemed like a very close group of the same people over and over were confined to Room 717 by the escalators on the way to the main floor and across from the Photo Ops room. I will say that the Munchkin display for Steve Jackson Games in the Table top section was great Friday and Saturday and non-existant Sunday. Looking better than it has in years was also mostly unmanned for most of the show as people played the game too far away to know if they were with the display or not. No information whatsoever. No organization whatsoever.
    Now outside of the usual dealers on the Floor, (Warning) Free Plug #2 to #6 such as Silver Snail who was heavy with figures this year, Big B Blue Beetle Comics who rounded down on a great current selection of comics, One Million Comix who had almost every current comic associated with someone at the show, Anime X who had the BEST paraphernalia for gaming & anime, Harley Yee Rare Comics who had the selection for Golden and Silver Age comics, and The Comic Shoppe of Ottawa who had one of the biggest variety selections comic related. There was a tighter selection of small niche booths or tables on the floor (Warning) Free Plug #7 to #11 such as Twisted Toys who had teddy bears with fangs or the hundreds upon hundreds of TPBs at Grey Region or the classic VooDoo Baby dolls and manga at Hairy T West or even the selection of reprints collections at Dragon Lady Comics not to be confused with the gaming figures over at The Dragon, or the actual gaming supplies at Dueling Grounds. BTW special awards got to Silver Snail who on Friday hired models to be body painted like Green Lantern and Star Sapphire and walk around the show. Body paint and tape and a g-string. All Day Friday and Saturday.
    No this year was special because we had an actual pressence from several studios at the same time. (Warning) Free Plug #12 to #19 We had the typical Rue Morgue Magazine who sponsor the Horror side of the show and have the coolest display mannequins, we had Marvel return for the fourth straight year though no one let on about Disney they had the most fun artist line up. Disney had nothing but a video trailer and the Light Cycle on a revolving dais for Tron Legacy. We had DC Comics who had not been at the show with an actual display for a while, and made up with it with the most per pound freebies by far on the show. Udon was pushed to another corner with their Street Fighter IV display, while Aspen MLT did their best to entertain the little kids with their beach balls. Most current of the studioas and first time I recall them there was Boom Studios who had the writer of it’s Farscape comics straight from the airport. DK Books was here too with it’s line of coffee table hardcovers for all ages. Mirage Studios had shrank to one long table but kept pushing away at it and Avatar Press was like the Ennis Ellis studio except they had Max Brooks chained to a table autographing World War Z non stop all weekend.
    For something that started with Comic books it was easy to stray. We had the typical Artists alley of smaller players but not small talent from Legendary Playboy artist Doug Sneyd to all the people from Transmission X such as Ramon Perez to some independent press like Galaxion.
    Then there was signings in the special autograph areas. This year comics and anime were in the far South East corner while Media were against the cafe in the West wall and it felt like one of the few places you could meet your comics greats like Len Wein, Ivan Reis, J Michael Straczynski, Ethan Van Sciver, Mike Deodoto Jr, Terry Dodson, or Oliver Copiel to name a few.
    We had actual Media with Warners offering temp tattoos, Space The Imagination Station promoting The Circuit and it’s fall shows so we can say Hi to Ajay and Natasha and Mark. We had Alliance Atlantis doing free postcard pictures of you in a selection of upcoming film posters. We had G4 Tech TV giving away pens and showing off Viktor Lucas and Scott Jones of Electric Playground & Reviews On The Run. We even had the former WWE wrestlers the Iron Sheik and The Honky Tonk Man.
    We had Maple studios give some fine posters and Tobin Bell of Saw fame. We had Medallion Press doing temp victim tattoos and free ashcans of their latest books.
    Oh and don’t disparage the people from Sony Playstation 3 who were showing off God Of War III or the Nintedo DS and Wii people showing off the Wii Sports. I am sure they didn’t mean to run out of lai’s or posters.
    Speaking of running out, while Friday was the easiset day to access everything Saturday was the longest slowest line ups in history. I think one of my brothers may still be in one. The crowds got so bad that the Fire Marshal came down and said “NO MORE” so for two hours from 1pm to 3pm the lines were stuck and no one was allowed in as it was too crowded. It didn’t help that Everything upon everything was scheduled for around the same time on Saturday. For Example Noon Marvel Digital presentation, 1pm DC Universe editorial, 3pm Q & A Dave Thomas, 3pm Cup O Joe, 2:30 Q & A Avery Brooks, 3pm Q & A Bruce Campbell, 1pm photo op Leonard Nimoy, you get the point. Add to that that Saturday evening is the Masquerade and you have hundreds of people in costume on the floor sweating it out. As Oliver Copiel put it Friday Night it was like San Diego Canadian style. Just add a slight french accent.
    Now Sunday was like a busier Friday Night. Less costumes more bargains more running around for line ups. EXCEPT this year at 230 to 3pm autograph areas started to close down. By 4pm the entire celebrity medai autograph area was a ghost town. The Comicbook signing area was a trickle and some guests even knocked out the occasional free sketch. Artists Alley was begging for sales with everyone either looking for the last minute sale or bugging out early. DC Comics left the stand up but everything else was gone. Marvel left the stand and lots of free posters. Avatar Press unchained Max Brooks at 4pm. Chaotic was tossing cans of beverage to the public 40 cases worth. Anything before this was fun and fast. Anything after this was a bargain.
    Now the early ticket tallys put this show as the third largest in North America accord to the Toronto Star and the Toronto Sun. Someone swiped my Globe & Mail! Is it worth the hassle of the crowd? Definitely! Just don’t plan cheap and don’t plan for only one day.
    Now after five years in the South Building nest year they are returning to the North building but they are grabbing more facilities so smaller Floor space next year and bigger show as they take other halls.
    See you all next year.

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