Fantasy Exists: Comic Con 2013

A few years ago I attended a medical equipment convention with some name like Med Con. Doc Con. The other attendees were doctors. Surgeons. Hospital reps. The booths — scalpels. Bone breaking tools. Cameras. Videos above the booths showed the equipment in action.

‘Look how easy this claw spreads the ribcage!’ ‘Our expertly designed skull saw gets you to the brain faster than the other guy!’

Real life horror show.

There was a bar. A cocktail party. Doctors vetted. I was purely an onlooker. A vagrant. The event lasted a weekend, then torn down and all moved on.

At its core, Comic Con is the same sort of beast. A convention to promote and sell popular culture.

‘Our toys are limited edition!’ ‘This TV show will be a huge hit if you watch it!’

A shopping mall of the up and coming — the latest. Greatest. Vinyl toys, posters, steampunk attire. Comic books and celebrities of all sorts. You have actors, writers, artists, designers, and models.

Comic Con is an environment that inspires — I want to see everything, touch everything. Be everywhere. Talk to everyone. Walk the floor alone, chat with strangers along the way. Find a spot at a bar. A restaurant. Let it all soak in until I realize my face is sore from smiling. My voice raw, gone from shouting over crowds. Laughing.

I’ve heard that a good portion of artists that have booths on the floor break even at best. With the cost of purchasing a space on the convention floor and lugging their gear from wherever they are based, the biggest benefit is exposure. Meeting fans, new and old. It’s a theme park, but the theme is a special reality that forms in San Diego as a tangible element. For those few days, fantasy exists.

San Diego is now free of superheroes and the sweaty mass of culture fiends. Everyone is home, tired and worn out. I’m already thinking of next year. Planning. What did I miss? Who didn’t I talk to?

Until then, I’ll have this recap to keep the memories safe and be warned — I give myself full license to proceed like the fan I am.

 

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The Matterhorn as seen from the freeway.

The Matterhorn as seen from the freeway.

 

First, the Matterhorn. A quick tip — if you’re in San Diego and have even the thinnest of Disney dreams, the drive is about 90 minutes to the Happiest Place On Earth. My plane landed Wednesday at 8am and Preview Night didn’t open until 6PM so I got in my rental car and drove up to Disneyland.

 

Your Humble Narrator, riding the Disneyland tram solo.

Your Humble Narrator, riding the Disneyland tram solo.

 

There was just enough time to park do one ride (Ariel’s Undersea Adventure) and drive back down to pick up my badge.

 

Ursula, possibly one of the greatest Disney villains with the second best villain song. (Number 1? Gaston you silly birds.)

Ursula, possibly one of the greatest Disney villains with the second best villain song. (Number 1? Gaston you silly birds.)

 

With my detour out of the way I was off to San Diego. Comic Con.

 

San Diego Convention Center - Comic Con 2013

San Diego Convention Center – Comic Con 2013

 

Outside of the convention center.

Outside of the convention center.

 

As usual, the walkway between the Hard Rock and the convention center was packed with themed pedi-cabs and various promotions for upcoming TV shows and films.

 

Bates Motel, downtown San Diego.

Bates Motel, downtown San Diego.

 

The Hollywood Reporter threw a party in conjunction with A&E’s show ‘Bates Motel.’ Red carpet was assembled. Booze and food prepped for celebrities and industry folk.

 

Reading Cinemas line for 'Escape Plan.'

Reading Cinemas line for ‘Escape Plan.’

 

Outside of Reading Cinemas a lined formed for the preview of the Stallone & Schwarzenegger action film ‘Escape Plan.’

 

Red carpet area for 'Escape Plan' preview.

Red carpet area for ‘Escape Plan’ preview.

 

The red carpet, all set for Mr. Stallone and Mr. Schwarzenegger. Somehow a red carpet loses its allure in the daylight.

 

Jerrod Maruyama's first trip to Comic Con.

Jerrod Maruyama’s first trip to Comic Con.

 

I was happy to see illustrator Jerrod Maruyama attend his first Comic Con.

 

Warner Brothers artist gallery for 'The Big Bang Theory.'

Warner Brothers artist gallery for ‘The Big Bang Theory.’

 

Jerrod was in town for a signing of the print he did for Warner Brothers’ ‘The Big Bang Theory.’

 

Martin Hsu (left) and Jerrod Maruyama (right) at the Huckleberry Booth.

Martin Hsu (left) and Jerrod Maruyama (right) at the Huckleberry Booth.

 

Your Humble Narrator (left) and Jerrod Maruyama (right)

Your Humble Narrator (left) and Jerrod Maruyama (right)

 

I picked up a signed print of his ‘Little Big Bang Theory’ print, an adorable homage to the hit show.

You may ask yourself, ‘Where do you go after you’ve walked the floor for hours?’ One major part of Comic Con is the act of taking breaks. It’s a must. Lunch. Drink. Sit. Chat.

 

My accomplice, the delightful Evan Scheingross.

My accomplice, the delightful Evan Scheingross.

 

Your Humble Narrator on a much needed beer break.

Your Humble Narrator on a much needed beer break.

 

This year my accomplice and I took more than a few breaks at the Tin Fish. Outdoor seating. View of the street. Short walk back to the convention center. I was also lucky that my shirts were done in time for the convention. Here’s my super cool Alaina Varrone designed Evil Tender Dot Com t-shirt. (Get your own HERE!)

Let’s move on to some cosplay, shall we?

 

Han Solo & his lady Chewie

Han Solo & his lady Chewie

 

I met these incredible cosplayers on the floor. Everything they are wearing was handmade.

 

Han's handcrafted blaster holster.

Han’s handcrafted blaster holster.

 

Han’s holster is all handmade. Hand dyed leather. Cut, stitched.

 

Banana Guards!

Banana Guards!

 

A pair of Banana Guards from ‘Adventure Time’ bumbled around downtown San Diego.

 

The Princessses

The Princesses

 

Also from the world of ‘Adventure Time’, Lumpy Space Princess and Princess Bubblegum.

 

Lady Archer

Lady Archer

 

The bad part about cosplay are those times when I don’t know who the characters are. This happens a lot. I’m not a gamer and I don’t read every comic, so most go unknown.

 

Policeman and Storm Trooper dance off.

Policeman and Storm Trooper dance off.

 

The policeman, he’s real. The storm trooper, he lives inside the imagination. But together, man can they dance.

 

Adrianne Curry - Blarney Stone.

Adrianne Curry – Blarney Stone.

 

After hours of walking around a strong thirst for a beer hits. I went to The Blarney Stone and grabbed a corner table. I heard a commotion behind me and turned to see the rump of Adrianne Curry. For those that don’t know, Ms. Curry is a huge gamer and cosplay enthusiast and is always at Comic Con. In fact, until you see Adrianne Curry downtown San Diego, Comic Con technically hasn’t begun.

 

Adrianne Curry outside of The Blarney Stone.

Adrianne Curry outside of The Blarney Stone.

 

She’s always generous with her time and poses for as many photographs as she’s asked for, and that’s a lot. I’ve never seen her turn down a fan. At this point in the evening she was having drinks with friends in the patio of The Blarney Stone, and still, when people approached from the street for a photo, she put the mask on and donned the pose. It’s that spirit that keeps Comic Con an amazing event. Enthusiasm. Spirited joy.

 

Daft Punk take in the Comic Con nightlife.

Daft Punk take in the Comic Con nightlife.

 

Boushh & Gandalf walk the Comic Con floor.

Boushh & Gandalf walk the Comic Con floor.

 

More cosplayers outside of Comic Con.

More cosplayers outside of Comic Con.

 

More cosplayers on the Comic Con floor.

More cosplayers on the Comic Con floor.

 

The lovely Megan with evil ladies of Disney.

The lovely Megan with evil ladies of Disney.

 

More cosplayers on the Comic Con floor.

More cosplayers on the Comic Con floor.

 

More cosplayers on the Comic Con floor.

More cosplayers on the Comic Con floor.

 

More cosplayers on the Comic Con floor.

More cosplayers on the Comic Con floor.

 

The costumes are great. Love ’em, but that’s not what I was there for. Nope. Let’s get to the art, shall we?

 

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The Mondo booth at Comic Con.

The Mondo booth at Comic Con.

 

Mondo was there with a bevy of fine posters.

 

Ash Thorp's 'Predator' posters for Mondo.

Ash Thorp’s ‘Predator’ posters for Mondo.

 

Ash Thorp signs his 'Predator' posters at the Mondo booth.

Ash Thorp signs his ‘Predator’ posters at the Mondo booth.

 

Ash Thorp signed his ‘Predator’ posters at the Mondo booth. These things are awesome in person. They have motion and a visual wetness that matches the film’s visual style.

 

Martin Ansin signing his 'Conan the Barbarian' posters.

Martin Ansin signing his ‘Conan the Barbarian’ posters.

 

One of my major events of the weekend was picking up my ‘Conan the Barbarian’ print from Martin Ansin. He’s a fantastic illustrator that I’ve been trying to contact with no luck. I thought this could be my chance to chat with him, but no luck. There’s always next year.

 

'Conan the Barbarian' by Martin Ansin.

‘Conan the Barbarian’ by Martin Ansin.

 

Seeing these posters in person makes you understand how completely poor a photograph is compared to the real thing. You lose the glow, the gloss — the texture and heft.

 

Kevin Tong Illustration

Kevin Tong Illustration

 

I stopped by illustrator Kevin Tong‘s booth more than once, I’ve also written about him more than once (interview HERE) so I figured I needed to introduce myself. Outside his talent he’s also a genuinely nice guy. I picked up a few things while I was there.

 

'Beyond Good & Evil' by Kevin Tong

‘Beyond Good & Evil’ by Kevin Tong

 

'Beyond Good & Evil' (detail) by Kevin Tong

‘Beyond Good & Evil’ (detail) by Kevin Tong

 

'Beyond Good & Evil' (detail) by Kevin Tong

‘Beyond Good & Evil’ (detail) by Kevin Tong

 

'Beyond Good & Evil' (detail) by Kevin Tong

‘Beyond Good & Evil’ (detail) by Kevin Tong

 

'Beyond Good & Evil' (detail) by Kevin Tong

‘Beyond Good & Evil’ (detail) by Kevin Tong

 

Besides his new print ‘Beyond Good & Evil’ (previously mentioned here) and I also bought the final set of his H.G. Wells posters.

 

H.G. Wells' 'War of the Worlds' by Kevin Tong

H.G. Wells’ ‘War of the Worlds’ by Kevin Tong

 

H.G. Wells' 'The Time Machine' by Kevin Tong

H.G. Wells’ ‘The Time Machine’ by Kevin Tong

 

He had his ‘Iron Man’ posters for sale and I was finally able to see those up close.

 

Detail of Kevin Tong's 'Iron Man' poster.

Detail of Kevin Tong’s ‘Iron Man’ poster.

 

Detail of Kevin Tong's 'Iron Man' poster.

Detail of Kevin Tong’s ‘Iron Man’ poster.

 

At his booth I found about 8 black envelopes, roughly 11 inches by 14 inches. $100 each. Four original drawings, one small print. You don’t know what you get until you open it.

 

Kevin Tong's black envelope from his 'Sights Unseen' show.

Kevin Tong’s black envelope from his ‘Sights Unseen’ show.

 

Of course I bought one. Inside, treasures…

 

'Conan O'Brien' by Kevin Tong

‘Conan O’Brien’ by Kevin Tong

 

Original drawing from Kevin Tong

Original drawing from Kevin Tong

 

Original drawing from Kevin Tong

Original drawing from Kevin Tong

 

These original drawings were the beginning pieces of larger designs.

 

Kevin Tong's original drawing for Chuck Palahniuk's novel 'Choke.'

Kevin Tong’s original drawing for Chuck Palahniuk’s novel ‘Choke.’

 

Kevin Tong's original drawing for Chuck Palahniuk's novel 'Choke.'

Kevin Tong’s original drawing for Chuck Palahniuk’s novel ‘Choke.’

 

And now, on to more artists doing stuff!

 

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Brandon Bird signing at Comic Con.

Brandon Bird signing at Comic Con.

 

Artist Scott C. about to sign stuff.

Artist Scott C. about to sign stuff.

 

Martin Hsu at his Comic Con booth.

Martin Hsu at his Comic Con booth.

 

Alex Pardee signing and doodling at the ZeroFriends booth.

Alex Pardee signing and doodling at the ZeroFriends booth.

 

That was fun, right? Now, let’s go to a party!

 

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Con of Darkness, Comic Con 2013.

Con of Darkness, Comic Con 2013.

 

I was invited to the Con of Darkness party put on by IFC Midnight, Shock Till You Drop and other horror genre film companies. The fine folks behind ‘Maniac‘ and ‘Grabbers‘ hosted drinks, a DJ, monsters, and blood splattered walls. Oh, and of course dancing girls.

 

Con of Darkness, Comic Con 2013.

Con of Darkness, Comic Con 2013.

 

Con of Darkness, Comic Con 2013.

Con of Darkness, Comic Con 2013.

 

Photographer Corey Ransberg at the Con of Darkness party.

Photographer Corey Ransberg at the Con of Darkness party.

 

I met photographer Corey Ransberg in the press line and we hooked up with Randy Jennings of The Arnold Fans to enjoy our horror themed evening.

 

Corey Ransberg (left) and Randy Jennings of The Arnold Fans (right) at the Con of Darkness party.

Corey Ransberg (left) and Randy Jennings of The Arnold Fans (right) at the Con of Darkness party.

 

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More happened. More always happens, but for now, that’s the show. Comic Con is over for another year and just like previous years, I’m left wishing everyday could be Comic Con. I packed my bags, my posters, and flew home. Done. Dunzo. Until next year, dear Comic Con. Beacon of popular culture.

 

Posters packed, time to fly my way home.

Posters packed, time to fly my way home.

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Wait! Not done just yet! Here’s a smattering of photos that had no other place to go. Poor fellas, check ’em out won’t you?

 

Kristen Schaal at the 'Bob's Burgers' signing.

Kristen Schaal at the ‘Bob’s Burgers’ signing.

 

Star Wars booth.

Star Wars booth.

 

Some sort of battle bird toy. Love the design. Quality work.

Some sort of battle bird toy. Love the design. Quality work.

 

Some sort of battle bird toy. Love the design. Quality work.

Some sort of battle bird toy. Love the design. Quality work.

 

Tara McPherson's booth.

Tara McPherson’s booth.

 

Marvel promoting outside of the Hard Rock.

Marvel promoting outside of the Hard Rock.

 

Michael Dorn (Worf) from 'Star Trek: The Next Generation'

Michael Dorn (Worf) from ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’

 

Karl Urban signing at the Warner Brothers booth.

Karl Urban signing at the Warner Brothers booth.

 

Outfit from 'Man of Steel'

Outfit from ‘Man of Steel’

 

Dr. Who costumes through the years.

Dr. Who costumes through the years.

 

Hasbro's big hit, their exclusive Metroplex figure.

Hasbro’s big hit, their exclusive Metroplex figure.

 

This gentleman is a bit too excited about his Transformers figure. Or not, maybe just the right amount of internal thrill pushed out through the face.

This gentleman is a bit too excited about his Transformers figure. Or not, maybe just the right amount of internal thrill pushed out through the face.

 

Cartoon Network's area for 'Adventure Time's Ice King.

Cartoon Network’s area for ‘Adventure Time’s Ice King.

 

Walking Dead.

Walking Dead.

 

Entering Hall E.

Entering Hall E.

 

Busts of the last three Doctors from 'Dr. Who.'

Busts of the last three Doctors from ‘Dr. Who.’

 

'Batman & Robin' figures.

‘Batman & Robin’ figures.

 

'Avengers' figures.

‘Avengers’ figures.

 

'Axe Cop's Ethan Nicolle's first portfolio from his visit to Comic Con 2002.

‘Axe Cop’s Ethan Nicolle’s first portfolio from his visit to Comic Con 2002.

 

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That’s it. No more Comic Con. We’re all back home, to Home Con. Work Con. Family Con. Sleep Con.

3 thoughts on “Fantasy Exists: Comic Con 2013

  1. Nice work, sir. Although putting Gaston’s song above Aladdin’s ‘One Step Ahead’ is a tough call…. What about ‘Les Poissons’? They’re all just so good! Can’t wait to grab a beer with you and talk about your experience here. I hope to go next year!

    1. I guess I don’t see ‘Les Poissons’ as a villain’s song, but it is a damn fine tune.

      So you agree that ‘Poor Unfortunate Souls’ is the greatest Disney villain song?

  2. Ohh, you said ‘villain’s song’ – gotcha. Hmm, I think ‘Poor Unfortunate Souls’ may just be… I am also a big fan of Scar’s ‘Be Prepared’ song, but yeah, Ursula is kick-butt. And I love when Gaston says ‘I’m especially good at expectorating.’ Classic.

    So my turn – best non-villain song then?

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