Reporting From Comic-Con: The Recession

Well, there you have it. I made my first big mistake of parking at the mall for Comi-Con and after having drinks with my “Ghostopolis” editor I discovered I racked up a parking bill for 54 dollars. That’s because I’m too cheap to pay the surrounding lot fees of 20 bucks. Sometimes it pays to not be so cheap, crafty or to read the small print on the parking sign.

Doug TenNapel (L) and fan at Comic-Con 2009

I got to meet my pals who come back to my booth every year and it’s always a special time to go face to face with my graphic-novel audience. I also do portfolio reviews of folks who are just starting to break into the world of comics. I love seeing good art, clear lay out and epic story-telling from 24 year olds. 24 year olds who can draw circles around me. 24 years who aren’t half way to dead like me. 24 year olds who, ah, heck I hate 24 year olds.

While I got soaked on mall parking it was nothing like what I paid to take my family of six to Legoland. “Wow, 20,000 blocks to make THAT!” is about all one can say during a trip to Legoland.

I did a few on camera interviews for I-have-no-idea-what-outlet so if it shows up on the Penthouse Channel I’d like to apologize in advance to my church.

I’m also nursing a broken middle finger on my right hand from a quad accident I had in Colorado three weeks ago so my hand shake is extra-limp. I like giving a firm hand shake but now I’m reduced to a squishy wet fish of a grasp that would send a chill up most people’s spine.

Most fans I talked to were clamoring to buy BONE creator Jeff Smith’s new issue of RASL. I didn’t see any outrageous costuming since the Wednesday night show is just for professionals, the press and exhibitors. This is the lightest night of the convention.

I got to talk to a few fans who had lost their jobs and were barely able to make it to the Con. The recession is hitting everyone pretty deep and while most downturns in markets past didn’t effect floor sales by a lot this year is palpably different. Oddly, I think people are nicer, looking for more intimacy behind the purchase and are doing without big budget items to come to comics for some comfort food. Maybe I’m just reading into it all a little too much, but I don’t recall ever hearing my video game industry friends saying, “Hey, it’s great to just be working.”

It’s late. Tomorrow the San Diego Symphony is performing famous video game music behind the convention which was orchestrated by our musician on the original “Earthworm Jim” video game. I can’t keep track of the cultural 6 degrees of separation that’s happening at the convention. It’s like a great convergence of everything I’ve been stewing in for the last 20 years.

It was great to meet my Big Hollywood readers who swung by my booth. So come on by and I promise to provide the best hand shake I can manage.


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