So last week was the monster con of all monster cons: SAN DIEGO!
Now for those of you who have not gone to one of these monstrously monstrous cons here's a rough idea of what it's like. You have the beautiful convention center designed by none other than Arthur Erickson who realised some damn pretty buildings here in Vancouver, love his stuff. The original center was built in the late 80's early 90's, and just last year received a whole new addition so it's even LONGER than it's usual monstrous length. ONE MILE long from Hall A to Hall H. Now picture that enormous space full of retailers, publishers, Motion Picture pavillions, artist's alley and an art auction. And with that in your head stuff in a hundred thousand people all trying to get to wherever they're going in a big shuffled hurry, toss in a struggling AC system and a lot of B.O. and voila: SDCC.
My first SD con was back in 1990 when it was held in an auditorium downtown. Quaint, very shriners feel about it, had a good time. The following year it was held in the brand spanking new Convention center and only took up Hall A and B (maybe C?) and it just seemed enormous! Every year since the room has grown and grown right into the new wing! Just when you think it can't possibly get any bigger it does. It's mind boggling. The downside of all this growth is the reduction of intimacy this con used to have. San Diego was notorious for it's parties, big official bashes under the sails, cozy get togethers in hotel rooms or dingy basement lounges, raves in empty warehouses and one year a rowdy drink up at a driving range. This was a creator's paradise because it was so easy to approach other writers and artists and talk about anything from industry craft to cool horror movies. The majority of my development as an artist took place here as every year I'd collect feedback and critiques of my portfolio, gathering the advice I would take home to work on until the next year when I'd display the fruits of my labour. And as I gained a name for myself and started working as a professional I would in turn critique the newbies and give advice as it was given to me. For some reason I can hear "the Circle of Life" playing in my head right now. Hmmm.
But with progress comes change. SDCC is just too big now. There isn't a lot of time to talk to people. What parties there are have become too massive and exclusive to really make much of a connection and after the impersonal dinners at long tables all that's left is the loud huddle at the Hyatt that ends too soon with the 2am last call. It's become very frustrating.
Not that there weren't high points. Ian and I got to see Shaun of the Dead and meet Simon Pegg who is one of our favourite comedians. Out of a fantastic fluke I also met Joss Whedon and managed to snag an intro to the upcoming Y trade (the one with the Safeword arc which he had written to Brian saying how much he enjoyed it *beam!*). That was very uplifting!
Plus there's nothing like little toddlers dressed up as Spiderman and Darth Maul to make you feel great about being a working geek.