I think that this is the first year that I can remember pretty much everyone that I read on the web either telling their readership that they are a) going to San Diego, where they will be staying, what booth you can find them at and what restaurant reservations they already have, or b)that they won't be going, why they won't be going, how they won't be going and what excuses they already have lined up for future indiscretions.
Gone, clearly, is the element of surprise.
OK, here are my plans: I will be going down to San Diego to do a lot of the usual. and that usual is not sitting in Artist's Alley, as I was never able to secure a space, even when working at DC on Batman, but roaming around, talking to friends, looking at expensive artwork, and generally absorbing the zeitgeist of being around COMICS.
Lets face, even while the convention has been about becoming the popular media convention rather than comics, I appreciate that people are coming, still coming to what looked like a dying medium only 11 years. I love the little pieces of paper, but I love the books more, square-bound, prefect bound editions of things that I enjoy reading. Stories and art that fire my imagination. I'll be drooling over artwork that I can't possibly afford, but I keep believing that if I stare at it long enough, I'll figure out the puzzle of what makes the piece work and be able to apply it to my own art.
I won't be happy to be walking around on saturday, with the aisles full to the brim and making it impossible to actually get to some of the places that you had missed the first two days, but thats just the way that it is. 140,000 unique visitors last year? I doubt that they can hold any more.
I recall going to one of my first San Diego, perhaps my very first, 20 years ago, and thinking that this was an old man's game. And old and unwashed man's game to be sitting around behind these moldy old books and cheap rented folding tables. And it wasn't the San Diego that I thought I'd be getting. And then, while hanging out in front of Marvel's booth (yes, Virginia, they had a booth back then. And two folding tables.), Jack and Roz walked by. No one else went over to them, so I did. I'm so glad that I did.
For the record, this is year 20 for me. So, yes, 1988 was my first San Diego Comic Convention. Those oldtimers can say that I'm still a fairly new attendee, but I think that 20 years isn't too bad. I slept on the floor of the Westgate staying with my college friend Ron Lim, who had just started working for Marvel the prior year. He was kind enough to let me crash there for a couple days.
And it was good to be there. See you all down in San Diego. Come up and say "hello!" if you happen to run into me over the art tables.