I think it’s safe to say this will be my official signing schedule for Comic Con:
THURSDAY, JULY 22
- 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm: Signing free copies of MAD at DC Comics Booth (#1915)
FRIDAY, JULY 23
- 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm: Signing free copies of MAD at DC Comics Booth (#1915)
SATURDAY, JULY 24
- 10:00 am – 11:00 am: Mad about MAD ! Panel discussion on both the magazine and upcoming cartoon Network show with MAD Magazine editor John Ficarra, MAD Art Director Sam Viviano, legendary MAD artist Sergio Aragones, me, MAD Story Editor/Producer Kevin Shinick and host, MAD Creative Exec Peter Girardi (room 7 AB)
- 11:-15 am – 12:00 pm: Signing free copies of MAD at DC Comics Booth (#1915) with other panel participants
- 4:15 pm – 5:00 pm: Signing something at the Warner Bros. Booth promoting the Cartoon Network show
SUNDAY, JULY 25
- 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm: Signing free copies of MAD at DC Comics Booth (#1915)
As I said before, I’ll also be selling MAD originals, signing stuff and drawing caricatures here and again at the National Cartoonists Society booth, schedules to be posted on site.
Speaking of Comic Con, here is an interesting article by Heidi MacDonald (hat tip to the Daily Cartoonist) about the possibility of it moving up the coast to L.A. or Anaheim after 2012, when the current contract with the San Diego Convention Center runs out. There have always been rumors about it moving but this time they seem serious. If you’ve been to this event anytime in the last 5 years, you’ll know why.
I love San Diego and love the convention in that spot, but it’s clear to me that this thing is just too big for that city. It has become impossible to enjoy properly with the ridiculous crush of humanity you have to endure to attend. Getting from one end of the main exhibit hall to the other is an exercise in major frustration. It’s nigh impossible to just drop by and talk to someone at a booth space without being jostled, banged into or just plain run over. Finding a hotel room at a reasonable price within walking distance is either impossible or ridiculously expensive. Getting a table at a restaurant in the surrounding area is a nightmare. Last year I took my teenage son to Comic Con with me, and walking the 2 miles back to our hotel one night we must have stopped at half a dozen places trying to find less than a 90 minute wait to get a table but no luck. We ended up eating at an incredibly expensive fancy restaurant that was only available because it was so pricey. I’d never consider going to the Con unless I had a booth of some kind where I could put a table between me and the rest of humanity when needed. I’m a reasonably patient guy (when necessary), love people and have no problem putting up with being physically put out a bit at events like this, but the SDCC has become out of hand.
It’d like to see the convention center magically double in size overnight as well as see about 4 major hotels with 600 or so rooms each grow like mushrooms within walking distance of the exhibit space… but that is not going to happen. It will take years and years and many, many millions of dollars for the infrastructure of San Diego to grow to accommodate the demands of this 4 day event, and that is not a realistic thing to expect anyway. As big as SDCC is and as many millions as it brings to the area it is still just 4 days and I do not think San Diego will be able to support all that infrastructure the other 361 days of the year. Maybe if 10 years ago the city and the hotels and restaurants around it had better embraced the Comic Con instead of rolling their eyes at it, things would be different today. Many of the local businesses do embrace comic con by welcoming attendees and doing their best to handle the crush of patrons, but in the several times I have attended the con, especially years ago, a lot of them seemed to turn up their nose at the con and had an attitude like it was a big pain in the ass for them. That kind of attitude is bizarrely still going on. Case in point- according to Heidi’s article linked above the Manchester Grand Hyatt… a hotel mere yards from the convention center, has scheduled a major health professional meeting featuring keynote speaker Al Gore at the SAME TIME as Comic-Con. That is beyond being indifferent and into the realm of a big F.U. Well, the Grand Hyatt and many others with similar attitudes may get their wish in a few years and that 4 days in July will have the quiet and peaceful tranquility they so desire.
I’d miss San Diego itself but I would have no problem attending the convention in L.A. or Anaheim. Hopefully there will be a way to figure out how to keep it in San Diego, but I am not holding my breath.
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