Wednesday, August 6, 2014

San Diego Comic Con report

Sorry for the delayed report on San Diego Comic-Con.  On my return to New York, work was extremely backed up - my studio had no art or animation to color and composite, so I've been in overtime mode this whole week.  This is the first moment I've had to gather my thoughts on SDCC.

My son Lucas, dressed as Spider-Man for his first SDCC.  

                                             Lucas, a few hours later - he'd had enough!

                                  With David Slade, director of the upcoming "Powers" show.

                                    With Drew Friedman, illustrator of "Heroes of the Comics"

Financially, it was a good convention - the economy seems to have bounced back.  Although our DVD sales were down, we made up for it in art sales.  Also, for the first time, I offered caricatures for $10 a pop.  Boy, was that a mistake!  We had long lines, even fights over who was next in line.

Now, I love doing caricatures - it's a fun exercise for me.  But when I get asked to draw children, and they won't hold still, or someone asks me to do a group caricature, it's hard to produce a nice drawing.  The next day, we upped the price to $20 a drawing, and we still had a mob scene.  Lesson learned.  At the New York Comic-Con, maybe I'll charge $40 - that way I can really concentrate on the art.

                                           These great fans bought a lot of my animation art!

                                                  and then Power Girl even posed for me!

                                Sam Viviano from "MAD" Magazine dropped by my booth...

                                          and so did "Simpsons" director David Silverman!

                                 Things got a little slow on Friday, so I learned to play the ukulele...

Our panel was a huge success, mostly because Jim Lujan joined me on stage - he's a natural comedian.  We showed "Deep End" (big hit), "Footprints" (big hit) and then clips from "Revengeance" (very big hit).  Although the film is a long way from completion, Jim was able to put together a nice opening sequence from "Revengeance".

We also introduced Ken Mora's remake project, "Your Face Global Jam" - where anyone can recreate a part of my Oscar-nominated short, set to a new soundtrack.  It's going to be very cool!  You can find out more at 

                                                    Tom Sito also dropped by the booth....

Ron Diamond had a panel based on his "Animation Show of Shows", a selection of animated shorts that played in the mammoth Hall H.  He asked me to introduce "Drunker Than a Skunk" to a crowd of about 6,500 people.  That has to be the largest crowd ever to see that film!  The crowd there was mostly waiting for the "Game of Thrones" panel later on that day, but I'm still happy so many people got to see my film!

And then, right after that screening, I rushed over to the Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival screening of the same film, before a massive audience of 30 people - what a difference!

                                              with the Maestro himself, Sergio Aragones.
                                  and here's Rich Moore, writer/director of "Wreck-It Ralph"!

                                                 Holy Hellboy, it's Guillermo del Toro!

The only really negative part of the show was when Sandrine and I raced out of the convention center on Sunday to catch our plane, and three San Diego cops grabbed Sandrine as she was crossing the street, and they wouldn't let her follow behind me - they forcibly took away her bags of presents.  She screamed and I returned to help her - fortunately she was able to free herself from their clutches.

This brings up a very important issue with the San Diego Comic-Con.  The huge convention center is right next to numerous train tracks and highways that separate it from the rest of downtown.  So, it's like there's a giant moat around the building, and it's tough to get across.  They have to realize that 100,000 people go into this building every day during the Con, and the only access is two tiny crosswalks.  The whole design is a disaster.  Sometimes you have to wait 20 minutes or more for a giant freight train to pass just to cross over to get to the Convention Center.

Why someone in San Diego city planning doesn't build a convenient pedestrian bridge, or a tunnel to help traffic flow, I can't understand.  But the cops treat the convention attendees like cattle, and it's extremely frustrating and difficult.  There was talk of moving the Comic-Con to L.A. or Las Vegas a couple of years ago - I personally prefer San Diego as a nice city, but if these traffic problems continue, I'd vote to move it someplace else.  Anybody else have thoughts on that?

                                                         I got to meet Marky Ramone...

                                 and Judah Friedlander, star of "30 Rock" and "Sharknado 2"!

                                They even let me go to the WIRED Cafe and check out all the
                          cool techno stuff there.  They took my photo for Entertainment Weekly!

I had a great time, met a lot of fans and drew a lot of caricatures!  And I'll be back to do it all again next year!

--Bill Plympton

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