5 years ago, my family and I visited San Diego for the first time. Our intentions were to see some friends and also experience the largest comic book convention in the world, the San Diego Comic Con. We had a really great time and every year since then I’ve been trying to arrange to go back. As it turned out, 2016 was my year!
This time, for speed and cost reasons, I went by myself and was only there for a short while. I flew into San Diego on the Wednesday afternoon, and I flew out on Friday night. For me, this trip was meant to be a buying trip, so I traveled very lightly.
For those who have never gone, but have heard great things about the SDCC, let me tell you, the show did not disappoint. The venue is massive; the crowds of attendees were seemingly never-ending. The show is so heavily attended that there is even a tickets lottery to get in, and another one for parking spaces at the venue! Once inside, there were aisles and aisles of vendors selling their toys, statues, plush dolls, pillows, t-shirts, costumes, tons of other collectibles, and of course, comic books. The corporate displays were immense and so very well planned and organized. It is the comic book show of all shows. If you have ever considered going to experience this show, I would highly recommend it. There’s nothing like it anywhere else.
Comic books have become a very small part of this show. With the attention now mostly on the celebrities, movies, toys and miscellaneous items for sale, comics are getting harder and harder to find at this “comic convention”. Now, for the ones that were there selling comics, they sure brought the good stuff! If you had the money, you could have bought 5 copies of Batman #1. For me, the buying trip was successful. I bought a number of CGC and CBCS graded comics for my shop, and a few Richie Rich comics for my personal collection.
The highlight for me was getting to meet legendary comic book artist Russ Heath. He is 90 years old now and still very sharp. Growing up as a huge fan of DC war comics, I was very familiar with Russ’ fantastic work and attention to detail. Being able to meet him in person was unbelievable. I attended a war comics banquet and Russ was the guest of honour. That was a great opportunity to have a very casual conversation with him. The next day, he was signing comics for fans at the show. I brought a few of my favourites and asked Russ to sign them. He was very humble and signed happily. I even got to hang out with him poolside for a little over an hour. What a chance of a lifetime!