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Full Review – San Diego Comic-Con 2018

Editor Note: Gini Koch was at Comic-Con International in San Diego and gave us a brief overview a week or so ago while she was putting this missive together.

She had to gather all of the links, you know….

Here is her full review:

 

Full Review – San Diego Comic-Con 2018


By Gini Koch

 

San Diego Comic-Con is like no other con. Or, rather, it’s like all the other cons, all put together. Whichever description you prefer, it’s big, fun, packed, and can be overwhelming.
So, I’m not going to try to describe all of it, just what mattered to me this year.

The Peeps

We did our annual pre-con get together and it was great to see people I used to see all the time but – due to having moved across the country from Hell’s Orientation Area (Phoenix, AZ) to ColdThenHotlanta (Atlanta, GA) – who I haven’t laid eyes on in person for months. The same held true for friends I ran into all throughout the con. It’s funny to look at a con that routinely has well over 125,000 people attending inside and 250,000 to a million outside as a place to catch up with faraway friends, but that’s probably the thing that I love about SDCC the most.

Going to attempt the shout-outs (most old but some new) and apologize in advance for everyone I inadvertently forget and for those whose last (and in some cases, first) names are currently escaping me. In no particular order of how much I love them, I got to see: Maryelizabeth Ytrallde, Gordon, Sharon, Constance, Darcy, Victoria, Kelly Orazi, Joseph Gaxiola, Edward Pulley, Terry Smith, Steve Pantazis and Peggy, Blanca and Oliver Bernal, Bryan Teague, Evan Ramspott, Bob, Antonio Malcolm, Mariann Asanuma, Ro Mo, Frankie O’Connor, Candace Bremond, Tanisha Glass, Alexis Nixon, Katie Hoffman, Seanan McGuire, Amy, Eunice Magill and her wonderful Sis and BIL, Scott Brown, Daanon De Cock, Jennifer Azantian, Donald Upton, Erica Singleton, David Boop, Shari B. Ellis, Charlotte Fullerton, Susan Lee, J.C. Vaughn, Tiege Dooley-Panko, Carolina Boretti, Sean Owolo, Steve Saffel, Henry Herz, and Tom Sniegoski.

Much love to all the fans, new and old, who got bookie wookies from me at my various signings – you know I love and adore you all.

Mysterious Galaxy Books

Mysterious Galaxy is one of the top independent bookstores in the country, and I’ve had the honor of being their SDCC Preview Night and Closing Author for the past several years, and this year was no exception.
The booth was always busy, but the staff always manages to be friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable. And pretty much if it’s in science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, horror, mystery, thriller, and suspense – or anything close to these genres – MG has it.

We sold out of Touched by an Alien and came close with several other titles, which is always great. Even so, the store has stock signed by moi, so if you want to get some signed bookie wookies, now’s a good time to call the store. If you just want a great selection of books, any time is the time to call.

Camilla D’errico

Camilla and I met on a panel some years back and became instant friends. She’s sweet and fun and funny. But what makes her special is her artwork. She’s an amazing artist, best known for her Helmetgirls works, but everything she does is beautiful, fantastical, and magical. Check her work out – you won’t be sorry.

Robert Roach

I met Robert at my second SDCC through a mutual friend and we’ve remained friends all this time. He’s a great comic book artist, a great artist in other mediums, and an all-around cool dude. I love his “Menthu” and “The Roach” comics, and you probably will, too. He’ll even sign them for you, if you ask nicely. ;-D

GraphicLab Tees

I call these guys The Two Robs – Rob One is the creative force, and Rob Two is the sales force, and together they’re a force to be reckoned with. (See what I did there?) If you look at their website header, Rob One is in the black cap and Rob Two has the blond hair and beard. (And how cool is that? I think it’s really cool.)

We met at Phoenix Comicon in 2017. They were in the booth next to mine and were incredibly nice and helped me get my booth set up right, endearing them to me forever. I got to see them immediately after at SDCC 2017 and we had a mini-reunion. They are great, fun guys, and they have great, fun shirts, and I and my nearest and dearest have a lot of them. I suggest you get a lot of them, too.

Gary Montalbano/Sarka Navon Design

Gary is the artist I’ve followed the longest – since my first SDCC. I love his artwork, and, should you visit my home, you’ll see just how much. After this year, Gary’s artworks will outnumber Michael Parkes’ on our walls. Yes, that’s how much. I also have all of his books.
Gary is super talented and super nice. I’ve gotten to watch his family grow and grow up over these past nine years and I look forward to making it a full decade next year. I think I’ll still have some wall space open… So, check out is beautiful stuff and get a signed limited-edition print, so you can be like me.

Joe Weatherly Art

Joe is one of the artists, right after Gary Montalbano, who I’ve followed the longest – since my second SDCC. Joe draws amazing animals and I have all of his books. I also have a great supply of t-shirts with his art on them, because I like to be well-dressed even when casual, and his artwork is fun and so well done.

He’s also a really cool guys, so check out his artwork and get yourself a book or a shirt, or both! As with the others, he’ll sign things if you ask nicely.

David’s Doodles

Like Joe Weatherly and Robert Roach, David’s Doodles is one of the artists I’ve followed the longest, since my second SDCC. They’re great folks, super chill, and super fun to chat with in the few moments when their booth isn’t being mobbed. I love the way David draws animals, and I own a lot of that artwork, since he puts it onto shirts. I encourage you to grab as many of these beautiful designs as you can, since the truly well-dressed geek wears original artwork.

Stranger Comics

This one came on my radar in 2017 at Phoenix Comicon due to them having Terrence, aka The Most Beautiful Man in the World, as their live model for one of the characters in one of their comics. But they’re more than just an amazingly gorgeous live model.

Wonderful books and comics that are beautifully drawn with great stories, books for children, comics for teens, and great people writing, drawing, inking, and selling. You can’t go wrong with anything you get from Stranger Comics, so I suggest you get a lot.

Ash Evans Art and Design

Ash is a new vendor for me. She has adorable cats in teacups artwork, as well as others, and I had to force myself to leave her booth and not buy everything. I mean, I bought stuff. But not all of it, which is what I wanted. If you’re into adorable, you have to check out her site.
All the artwork is her original work and she’s a total sweetheart, too. She was a first timer at SDCC this year, and I’m already planning what else I’m getting from her next year.

DAW/Penguin Random House

My publisher did a great job of promoting its authors and making us feel special. It’s always a highlight for me to see my publicity team at this event, and this year was no exception. A great party to start us off and a lovely dinner to end the con really made for wonderful bookends. Love to all the DAW/PRH folks, who work their butts off to make this con great for their authors – they’re truly the best!

Geek Geek Revolution Panel

This panel was so much fun. I was on it with Sylvain Neuvel, Delilah Dawson, Kiersten White, Natalie C. Parker, and Andy Weir, and our moderator was Heath Corson from Nerdist.

Heath is a hoot and a half and a fantastic moderator/emcee/game show host. Delilah, Natalie, and Kiersten should start a girl group, they all have such beautiful singing voices. Sylvain and I managed to get on the board and, based on the competition, that was totally a win. Sylvain had the least points and so he “won” the horse head and hooves. (Um, don’t ask.) And don’t be fooled by Andy’s “aw shucks” manner – he’s as sharp as a tack. He’s also really fun to sign with, and we had a good time chatting in between talking with fans.

PRH had this panel taped, so if you want to see it (and find out about that horse’s head), and check it out above! (The scorekeeper is our own Joseph Gaxiola and the guy forced to sit up front for no clear reason is our own Edward Pulley.)

Horror Writers Association San Diego Chapter Mixer

This is a yearly event that happens at the Hilton at a cool bar and isn’t ticketed, so we get to have friends who aren’t attending the con join us. As always, this was tons of fun, and it was great to get to see folks, including those who’d hung out with Joss Whedon the night before, just chillin’. As you do.

Kevin Smith in Hall H

A few of us dashed from the HWA mixer to see if we could get into see Smith in the biggest hall of the con. We could, and he was in fine form. Having just survived a massive heart attack, he’s on his “I’m Still Here” tour and he was both funny and inspirational.

He screened Hollyweed, a failed pilot he’s hoping to get funded through a system similar to Kickstarter. Most of my gang didn’t find this particularly funny. As Edward said, “I listened to the lines. The lines are funny. It’s the delivery that’s bad.” And that delivery comes from…Kevin Smith.
In every comedy duo, there is a straight man and the funny man. Traditionally, the straight man is listed first (Burns and Allen, Martin and Lewis, Abbott and Costello, Laurel and Hardy) because he or she tends to get the least laughs, but without them, the funny man’s lines don’t land. However and for whatever reason, Smith’s reversed that in how he describes the partnership – it’s always Jay and Silent Bob. But, the movies featuring Jay and Silent Bob, Smith plays the straight man Silent Bob to Jason Mewes’ Jay. Jay talks nonstop, Silent Bob reacts in mostly pantomime, and has about two speaking parts per movie. Which is great.

But apparently Smith has wanted to act in lead from the beginning and just felt afraid. All I can say is that sometimes that little voice telling you not to do something isn’t actually fear talking but is your common sense that’s evaluated your abilities and found them wanting. Basically, Smith should have listened to that little voice.

As it turns out, he’s a really great writer, director, and supporting character actor, but what he is not is a lead. Hollyweed may succeed, but it won’t be getting my support to do so, because I don’t think I can take another painful twenty minutes of watching Smith not be as good as every actor he’s helped launch. However, I can’t wait for the Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, where he will again be…silent.
We were also treated to a mini-Flash panel, featuring Tom Cavanagh (Harrison Wells/A Ton Of People), Grant Gustin (Barry Allen/The Flash), and Carlos Valdes (Cisco Ramone/Vibe). We got to see a short film written, directed, and starring Cavanagh with Gustin co-starring and Valdes in a bit part, and it was, frankly, hilarious. If you get a chance to see Tom and Grant take advantage of it. This short film worked in no small part because both Gustin and Cavanagh are trained actors who know their craft and both have great comedic timing.

So, basically, it was a typical SDCC – lots of fun, lots of friends, new things to do and see, lots of bookie wookies sold, tired in all the good ways, and can’t wait to do it again next year.


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Updated: August 6, 2018 — 6:13 pm

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