Comic-Con: Notes from the Preview Night Floor

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The official beginning of Comic-Con International San Diego is today, but the long-established tradition of “preview night” happened Wednesday evening for three hours or so. There’s not much in the way of programming on preview night–the show floor opens, and that’s about it–and the cosplayers and such don’t really turn up in force. Also, there are fewer tickets available for preview night than for the rest of the week, so the floor tends to be a little less crowded.

Operative words: “a little.” It’s still a raging insane mob scene–seemingly more so every year–and the fact that Comic-Con is now handing out enormous shopping bags along with badges just enhances the way the experience of being on the show floor is a combination of a cattle stampede, a war zone, and the best Christmas morning ever. A few notes from the floor:

*The Marvel booth has giveaways, signings, all that–but the unquestioned centerpiece of it is the freaking enormous golden throne of Odin. Small children seemed to be using it as a photo-op, which I suspect is the best possible use for it.

(More at Techland: Stan Lee’s Press Conference at Comic-Con)

*Unsurprisingly, there was quite a line for Bryan Lee O’Malley signing copies of Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour. A few people were taking bets on how many Ramona Flowers cosplayers there’d be this year; the first Scott Pilgrim cosplayer I spotted, though, was Scott McCloud’s daughter, who was a dead-on Envy Adams.

*Now that there’s a proper 2000 A.D. publishing line in America, they’ve got a booth, too–and Pat Mills is on hand for signings. Look for an interview with him here in the next week or two.

*Fantagraphics has a stellar lineup of signings and debuts this year–I’m particularly excited to see the new volume of Love and Rockets and C. Tyler’s Collateral Damage.

*An awful lot of books that are supposed to debut at Comic-Con have somehow gotten misplaced in shipping. At least half a dozen publishers wearily noted that they were really hoping they’d have their big-name debuts by today or Friday.

(More at Techland: The Guy Who Hates Comic-Con, Part III: Stormtrooper House Party)

*Artists’ Alley, formerly tucked away in the back-of-the-hall ghetto, has now been moved to an even more out-of-the-way location at the far end of things; you pretty much have to kung-fu your way through the loudest video-screen areas to get to it.

*Finally, back at the hotel late at night, it did my heart good to see old-school comics writer Marv Wolfman happily carrying a statue of Terrax the Tamer–a character he created more than thirty years ago.