Well, this started out as a really poor time. In years past (way past), an upcoming ComicCon was about as close to the feeling I’d get waiting for Christmas when I was little. This has been steadily fading, with the expansion of the con making it too much to absorb and the slow weighing down of other worries on top of the con. This year though, I was somewhat scared.

Money isn’t exactly a new worry right now, but I was worried about not breaking the bank. The real worry generator was getting notified that I had jury duty – that same week. This left me uncertain as to whether I was going, and while I let it prey on my mind, I didn’t exercise some of my options, and ended up not finding out until the day before I left, that indeed, I could go. So I resigned myself to the inevitable and packed to continue my unbroken attendance of ComicCon since I started going in… 1989(?).

As Smudge reported, the van was in good shape and ready to go, with a new industrial-strength AC unit. This allowed for a really pleasant trip down and back. I napped pretty much the entire trip down, which says I must have been even more worn down than I had realized/suspected.

Loot-wise we did pretty well. One gaming store was trimming back its GURPS 3rd Ed stock and had a table piled full of $5 books. (I noticed a few copies of those same books on shelves for full price, so they really were just ‘trimming back’.) I spent more money for more RPG-product than I really care to at a comics convention but, hey, I always succumb to the temptation of a great price. So I got GURPS WWII, Arabian Nights, Traveller: Alien Races 4, and Traveller: Ground Forces as well as a little mini-supplement for WWII on the Italians ($2). I couldn’t really justify spending more money despite missing out on some other good titles.

So, other shtuff for those bored by the last paragraph: I picked up the final volume of Gremlin Trouble by the Bryans (great people), a couple of cute keychains for Smudge, and the third DVD of Giant Robo (so now we won’t leave everyone hanging in the middle on Thursday-night Anime). Smudge and Baron also got a couple Usagi graphic novels, Pervert Club (from our friendly publisher Radio Comix), Space Cadets (a new series from the Bryans), the latest couple of issues of The Dreamland Chronicles (which has changed publishers, and we’re wondering what happened to Astonish Comics/Herobear and the Kid) and the deluxe 1st DVD (with soundtrack CD) of Stand Alone Complex. Smudge also completed her quest for a new pocket watch (a fairly solid one based off of Full Metal Alchemist), got a couple of Full Metal Alchemist action figures, and a Usagi Yojimbo calendar for next year.

Our sales were light. We knew it wouldn’t be as good as last year without Lance’s GN or the Ebin & May DVD, but it was light even accounting for that. Last year we got several people seeking us out after seeing Smudge and Baron’s work in the art show and business cards evaporated from our panel there. This year, I don’t think we got more than one or two people at the table from the art show and the business cards moved slowly. However, it seems a lot of booths had problems with sales, and most of the time the crowd wasn’t as thick as you’d expect, unless you ventured into the part of the hall with all the big booths. It seems that Hollywood’s influence is starting to overwhelm the comics aspect. I mean I don’t blame them for coming here, I don’t blame them for wanting to show the fans what they’re doing better, but it’s getting big enough that it might be worth a spin-off convention.

But we did some important things. We did some hard thinking about the BackBreaker site. We got to talk to people we don’t see nearly enough of. We generally relaxed and took it easy. We saw the great masses of geekdom strain San Diego to its limits. (It really sounds like the Chamber of Commerce is trimming the leading ‘1’ off of the estimated number of attendees and tell the businesses numbers like 30,000 instead of 130,000.)

I only really attended one panel (on web comics), but it was a good panel, and hopefully Smudge will get good use out of it. I spent way too much of Sunday morning finding out that yes, Advance Wars is a game I’d like. (I need to find money for a GB Advance or DS… that’s three games I’d like to play on it.) Unlike the last couple of years, I actually managed to find the time to at least skim the entire
ComicCon floor.

Two weeks ago, I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to go at all. Now I can’t wait for next year!