The Beginning of the End

Thus, did con season end.

Well, no so fast, jack. There is still the mother of all conventions to get through but after San Diego that’s it for me for 2008. I don’t think that I ever imagined that I would get to a place in my life where I was attending four major comic book conventions in one year, yet here I am. It happened last year, too. Last year we hit WonderCon in San Francisco, New York Comic-Con in New York, HeroesCon in Charlotte, and Comic-Con International in San Diego. This year was all about WonderCon in San Francisco, New York Comic-Con in New York, Emerald City Con in Seattle and now Comic-Con International in San Diego.

Con season is difficult. It’s grueling to do so much travel and it’s really disruptive to your personal lives and to your professional one. It’s no wonder that so many comics are late when creators are losing weeks at a time in which they could be working. I know just from our experience that when we’re going to be losing three or four days (even up to a whole week) of working time it throws the well-oiled iFanboy production machine completely out of whack. We thought we had it bad here at iFanboy with five conventions but Josh and I were discussing the convention season grind with Chris Staros, the publisher of Top Shelf, and he told us that in 2008 he was going to be attending 25 conventions. I can’t even imagine that! That’s almost every other weekend for an entire year.

Why is it tough? Well, first and foremost travel can be hard on some people. Constantly criss-crossing the map and living out of a bag in cheap motels can take its toll. There is also the physical beating that you can take from a convention. Unless you have a booth, conventions are all about walking. Lots and lots of walking. You walk for days and for miles. Last year at WonderCon, Ron and I had a scale in our hotel room and we found that after three days at the convention we had lost 5-7 pounds. And let me tell you, it wasn’t because we were eating right. We lost the weight despite the food and alcohol pummeling we inflicted on our bodies that weekend. After a long convention it is not unheard of to feel like you never want to walk again. All of these feelings are enhanced in San Diego.

Oh, San Diego. The convention so big and so important that you don’t have to say anything more than the city’s name in which it appears. “Are you going to San Fransisco?” can mean a variety of things, but in the circles I travel in, “Going to San Diego?” can mean only one thing.

San Diego is bigger than anything I’ve ever been a part of. If you take all of the previous conventions that iFanboy has attended this year and combined them all you still wouldn’t have the floor space or attendance levels of San Diego. It is literally and truly insane.

And it is also amazing.

It might sound like I have been complaining about going to all of these conventions up until now. I’m not. Not really. There is a certain amount of trepidation involved in these trips, to be sure. I’m not a huge fan of flying. I’m not a huge fan of disappearing from my life for a week, and, as I type this at the JetBlue terminal in John F. Kennedy Airport, all I can think about is the work I could be doing right now back at iFanboy HQ.

But I’m also really excited.

There’s just nothing like San Diego. For all its miles of floor space and oppressive crowd sizes, it’s easily the most fun to be had if you’re a comic book fan. Nowhere will you find such a mass of like-minded people, so many accessible creators, and so many good friends. San Diego has become the only time of the year in which I get to hang out with my four closest friends. We get to revel in our geekery, and we almost always get into some kind of trouble. We’ve been telling San Diego stories now for seven years, and should we be lucky enough to live long enough we’ll probably be telling them for another 70.

Gordon wrote a bit about this earlier this year, but one of the unexpected benefits of attending so many cons is that you start to develop con friends. People you only get to see a few times a year for a few days at a time, but people you look forward to hanging out with every time. This year in San Diego, I think our iFanboy posse is going to swell to a heretofore unseen size. When you’re rolling through the Gaslamp District with 15-20 people, there is a lot of fun to be had. San Diego is also great because we always get to meet up with a large group of the iFanbase and that’s one of our favorite things. It’s so much better to be able to put a face and a voice and a personality to a screen name. It really fosters more of a sense of community when everyone gets to hang out in real space and have a laugh together.

At the end of the week, when I stumble into my apartment and collapse into bed, my legs feeling like jelly and my head groggy due to the lack of sleep from the customary red eye flight back to New York, I don’t think about the hundred of times I must have circled the convention floor, or the hassle of the air travel, or even of the guy who is right now snoring very loudly in the seat right across from me. I’ll think of the fun, and the laughs and the spectacle and the pure celebration of all it is that we love about comics.



  1. And you got to meet Unoob during the NY Comic Con! That in itself should have made it all worth it! I dont get out much so it was the equivalent of a bigfoot sighting!

  2. ps- Contest idea. Get an extra press pass and give it away to one of the fanboy faithful. This way we can trudge around with you all day. Heck! I’ll even carry a camera and mike around if you need it. And Im disabled!

  3. Unoob might be onto something there, Conor! You could use a new intern now Gordon’s a lofty writer.

    Great article, the only thing that deadens the pangs of not being able to attend these Cons is that the write-ups and video shows are so well done I feel like I was right there and didn’t missed it. Bravo!

  4. I’m really bummed that I can’t make it out to San Diego.  I’ve never been… but I know I’m getting tickets for next year.  I’ve only been hardcore into comics going on 2 years now (but I’ve read enough back issues and old trades to at least be counted for way more years than that.) but I’ve talked about getting out to Comic-Con since I started.  Talking about the iFanbase has got me wondering if I’m the only yungin’ wandering around here.  I’m only 17 and most of the guys seem like mid twenties and later.  Are there others out there? I only know like 2 other teenagers that read comics.  Its such a shame.

  5. @ Anson17

    not everyone out there is some 30 year old dude. i went for one day last year and there are guys, and some girls, who are teens. i’m 16 myself

  6. @ scoot

    I know that comicon itself is a little more diverse, I was more talking about this site, but it’s definitely awesome to know that there are other teens who are enjoying these books.  Most of my friends who read comics were at some point forced to by me and then got a bit addicted.  Too bad they’re all too cheap to buy their own books so they just mooch off me.  That’s stopping come senior year.  God, I can’t wait to be done.

  7. Conor- its isn’t over until you hit DragonCon in Atlanta over Labor Day weekend!