ComicCon 2007 -- Stories from San Diego

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There are many stories at San Diego's ComicCon. Printed stories. Movie stories. Artist stories. Patron stories.

They say every city has a thousand stories. In the last week of July, San Diego had more than its fair share. The grand-daddy of all comic and movie conventions, ComicCon, once again took over the beautiful southern California city with over 140,000 people, all with their own stories.

Mark Simon, author of Storyboards: Motion In Art, Facial Expressions, Your Resume Sucks! and co-founder of, shares his experiences at ComicCon 2007. Mark Simon's photos and streaming video of the exhibition floor at ComicCon may be seen online at

The first stories many heard was of trying to find hotel rooms. In a city with 29,000 hotel rooms and one convention with over 140,000 people trying to find a place to stay, rooms were hard to come by and those that were available cost a large fortune. Stories were heard of small rooms costing more than $600 per night.

Sharing rooms at ComicCon is becoming as common as standing in line. Simon shared a room with two other artists. One even bought an inflatable mattress for the floor to sleep on because no cots were available. That was fine until they had to switch hotels near the end of the show and their second room was so small that the sink didn't fit in the bathroom.

Others, like first-time ComicCon attendee Tom Bayer from Buffalo, NY, were lucky enough to have a friend in San Diego he could stay with. Tom left with lots of stories of the amazing things he saw on the exhibition floor and memories of movie panels for Iron Man, Hulk, The Simpsons and others. His favorite story is when comic legend Stan Lee walked past him while standing in line for the Marvel presentation.

Friends and fans were sharing stories as they waiting in line outside the convention center waiting to get in. They shared stories as they waited in lines inside the center to get into the exhibition. They shared stories as they waited in line for their free giveaways and to get into special screenings.

Artists in the Artists Alley were sharing stories on how this year was different for them. Many did not do well in sales this year, as compared to other years. With all the events, screenings and big stars telling their stories, fewer fans were buying sketches and original art. That's a sad story.

There were stories of accidental meetings. People ran into old friends and business contacts while walking the floor and standing in line. Others would run into famous artists and celebrities and share stories. Simon recognized a network executive from Nickelodeon he'd been wanting to meet for years when the executive walked by Simon's booth. Simon quickly pitched a few of his stories.

There were stories of unexpected opportunities. Artists and writers who met and decided to tell stories together. Some artists landed deals when they happened to meet the right person at the right time.

There were stories of men who were not as lucky as they thought. One publisher assistant was anticipating an amorous night with a beautiful woman who seemed to be lonely. He called his boss to be excused from a meeting and the intimate evening was progressing well ... until the bill came. (You know what I mean)

There were stories of recognition. Like the story of artist Mark Sparacio who studied under Will Eisner and only got into comics in the last few years. His current cover of the Comic Buyers Guide and his booth on the floor drew lots of new recognition to his work. That's a happy story.

Some stories had visuals. Thousands of photos were taken of the many people walking the floors in costume. Some costumes were elaborate, put together by exhibitionists who travel the country to all the major shows, just to have their picture taken for free by the masses. (Nobody understands it, but most enjoy it) Other costumes were not as nice, like the man who simply covered his body with all the free literature handed out at the event.

There were the beautiful visuals of Princess Leia, Catwoman and many, many anime characters walking the floor in skimpy outfits. There were not-so-beautiful visuals such as a man walking around in a box and a Storm Trooper who was so large that his armor didn't come close to surrounding his girth. (Think duct tape)

Some ComicCon stories did not have happy endings. Airtran canceled flights out of San Diego on the Monday after the show, stranding many attendees, including yours truly. Of course, there are worse things in life than having to spend an extra day in beautiful San Diego.

Ancient storytellers used to sit around fires and recant tales of action and bravery. History was preserved by oration.

Now, new tales are told on paper and celluloid and in chunks of digital bits. There are tales of horror, tales of humor and tales of the super courageous. Histories of entire planets are being created by those who can't contain the stories in their heads.

Be sure to be there next year for more stories.

ComicCon is the largest comic, sci-fi and movie conference in North America with over 140,000 attendees. (Check this number) The show this year was completely sold out. Find more information online at

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Mark Simon

Jeanne Simon
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