I've figured out how to get very wealthy at the Comic-Con International: You just have to get everyone to give you one dollar when they
gasp and say, "I don't believe how big this con is." And to get very, very wealthy, collect a buck from everyone who wonders how it is that a
comic book convention can attract more than 65,000 people but most comic books can't sell a fourth as many copies.
Actually, no official number has been announced. 65,000 is just one estimate that's floating around the Internet and I've also
seen 75,000 and up. One site is claiming 125,000 which is obviously way over but indicative of how overwhelming the whole con felt.
Whatever the total, it's obvious that a lot of us just attended the largest comic-oriented convention ever held on this continent...and, yes, it's
still a comic book con, though just barely.
Among the many things I found amazing was that there was so much to do. Fifty different attendees could have, in effect,
experienced fifty different conventions. I just read a message from someone who apparently never strayed far from Artists' Alley but was still
busy for every moment of all four days. Others spent their time getting autographs, buying comics, previewing upcoming movies, etc.
Whatever you wanted, it was there...somewhere.
Me, I spent the time moderating panels and having a wonderful time. Yes, it was fatiguing but I wouldn't have missed any of the
dozen events on which I got to interview fine folks. One moment I will not soon forget is when I introduced Ray Bradbury to a packed house and
perhaps as many as a thousand people jumped to their feet and gave him an ovation that is probably still reverberating throughout the convention
center. Alas, I had to leave that panel halfway-through in order to host another one but, from what I could see, Julius Schwartz took over the
interviewing with terrific skill.
The game show was fun, interviewing Bob Oksner and Herb Trimpe was fun (and educational) and we seem to have a new annual event in the
"Quick Draw" competition. Four cartoonists — Scott Shaw!, Erik Larsen, John Romita Jr. and Sergio Whatzisname — drew instant silly
pictures as I prodded and poked them and solicited suggestions from the audience. All the program items went well and, sore feet and bad
concession stands aside, I can't think of a single thing I didn't like about this convention.
Which is, in a way, amazing to me. I've been attending comic book conventions since 1970. I've been to all 32 San Diego
gatherings and many others, and I'd started to get bored by them. I was even reaching the point where, halfway through the second afternoon of
a con, I'd go back to my room and get in a few hours at the laptop, rather than hang around, autographing issues of Groo and surveying boxes
of old comics I already own. But this year, this con, I really enjoyed myself.
I hope you were there. If you were, you probably had as good a time as I did...even though you probably attended a completely