Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Con-Man: San Diego '15 Preview Night

Are you ready?! It's finally here! San Diego Comic-Con is upon us and all is right in the world! We arrived into Downtown San Diego aka The Gaslamp District aka Con Central, grabbed some Jameson during Happy Hour then moseyed on over to the Marriott to check in for Volunteering. Warner Brothers always has a heavy presence at SDCC and this year they're pulling out all the stops for...Conan O'brien? The funny host of late night is doing four show tapings and moderating a Hall H panel. Conan was plastered on the train and adjoining hotel. Next it was time for Preview Night, where you walk the exhibition floor with many less people than the rest of the week. It wasn't too crowded and I surprisingly made back and forth across the floor twice. I had no real plan in mind except to check out the Hollywood stuff first for any exclusive giveaways then walk through the comic and swag portion.

Mattel ended up being my first stop as they always have a great set up of He-Man and The Masters of the Universe. There's a semi-secret pop-up shop in The Gaslamp which requires a Skele-token for entry, which I was able to snag a few of. Lionsgate was promoting the last chapter of The Hunger Games but only had posters for American Ultra to hand out. Legendary was promoting the upcoming Warcraft movie and right behind them was the one and only Tim Bradstreet displaying his awesome art and manning the RAW Studios booth. Co-founder and kind of weirdcool Thomas Jane is scheduled to attend the show as well as a panel on his new SyFy series, The Expanse. The Brad is always a chill dude and RAW usually has guests, comics and art aplenty. Artists turned brands like Alex Ross, Jim Steranko, Frank Frazetta, Art Adams and Jack Kirby were all well represented on the floor. Speaking of artists, I ran into one of my absolute favorites towards the end of the night, one Mike Zeck! Zeck had a stellar run on Captain America in the 80's and was also responsible for some terrific The Punisher action and multiple memorable G.I. Joe covers. I picked up Raw Fury, his art book and told him how his Cap was the one I grew up with. All in, a nice enough guy that I wish I could express what his work meant to me as a comic book reading youth.

Neca always has an awesome display along with Con exclusives. This year you had a Pacific Rim set up joined by mother fudging Arnold in Commando, new Rambo figures and as always, the ever popular Predator. I grabbed their set of mini-figures from the surprisingly short line. Last year Mondo had some exclusive Batman: The Animated Series vinyls up for grabs and this year went Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with mini-metal pins. I grabbed Leonardo, the calm, cool leader who's always ready for a scrap. Lots of comics around going for a couple bucks up to a few grand. Vendors with 50% off graphic novels is always an alluring rat trap but I have enough comics to last me a while...Over by Capcom and Nintendo's video game exhibits I wandered upon Whedonopolis. Great folks I plan to work with in the future.

It was a great start to four days of chaos, walking, reuniting with friends, partying, panels and a diet consisting of turkey, swiss and spinach or bologna sammiches along with Jameson and the occasional pretzel dog. Thursday marks the start of SDCC officially with a multitude of panels on deck for your viewing pleasure. So far my day should consist of Peanuts, Street Fighter, He-Man & G.I. Joe, Jim Lee, movies from 1985 and the 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF MIAMI VICE! See you at the show!

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