Photo Album from the 2004 Comicon International (p. 1)

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Outside the San Diego Convention Center. Across the street on the other end of the facility is the new baseball stadium for the San Diego Padres.

(Note: Some photos in this gallery--such as this one--are courtesy of my brother's digital camera.)

The calm before the storm: a photo of the convention center during set up, prior to the opening on Preview Night. Though it looks quiet, in actuality forklifts were in operation and carpet was being laid down to the very last minute! The lights aren't fully on yet.

Many of the personnel rode bicycles to make it easy to get from one end of the hall to another.

My booth set-up. I modestly refer to the display as "a marvel of engineering design." It is constructed of PVC pipes and four pieces of foam board covered in felt. The blow-up art and foam boards hang in place thru the miracle of velcro. And believe it or not, they remain in place with virtually no additional maintenance or upkeep throughout the 4+ days of the convention!

Here I am, ready for business just before the official opening of the convention on Thursday, July 22, the first official day of the show!

The booth display was created and first used in 1998. Fortunately, I had the foresight to mark the various pieces and create a diagram of how they fit together. It had been 3 years since I last used the display, and it would have taken me a lot longer to put it together!
A long shot of my table in the Small Press Pavilion. My space is on the far left side of this photo -- you should be able to make out my display. As I mentioned in my report, I was on a major aisle, which is why it is especially wide.

A view of the exhibition hall from my table. Note that you are looking down the short end of the floor.

A shot of part of the DC Comics booth, before the opening on one of the days. To give you a sense of the scale of the booth, you can see people setting up in the foreground.
For those who were not in attendance, to give you a sense of the scale, below is a map of the floor. Going down the long side of the hall, aisles were numbered consecutively by the hundred from row 100 to 5200 (i.e., from the far right on the map, the first aisle was 100, the second 200, etc.) In other words, there were more than 50 aisles of exhibition space! This map does not include programming space in full use on the upper 2 levels, and a hall to the far left (off the map) that seated 7000 individuals. The show reportedly occupied more than 500,000 square feet of space. My booth was located in the middle-most section marked in green, in the Small Press Pavilion. The aisles noted in red are the major pedestrian aisles.


Another shot down one of the long aisles, from aisle 1300 to 100 at the wall.
My "support staff" at the show: my wife Sadina, daughter Peri, brother Rodney, and good friend Bob.

Many other friends have attended the show in the past, as fans, industry professionals, or just curious bystanders. In that sense, the show is often a reunion of sorts for me and my friends.

I have no idea what the yellow antennas are meant to promote, but I know that when we saw some people wearing them, we had to get some for Peri and spent some time tracking them down! Peri kept making a bee sound when she was wearing them: "Bzzzzzzz!"

For you  non-comics fans, I know this is what you wanted to see--fans in costumes! Here are the Joker and the Batman, stopping for a photo op.

I didn't take as many photos as I could have of people in costumes, but believe me there are all kinds and all sorts, ranging from the cheesy and real, to the obscene and profane! (See my galleries to past shows for more) There is surprisingly a lot of adult-oriented material at the show that the organizers try to control a bit since this is supposed to be an all-age
s convention.

As one can imagine, Star Wars is always a popular theme. This photo was taken BEFORE the floor opened on Friday morning. I call this photo "the marshaling of the  Empire"!  Darth Vader actually strode down the assembled row of startroopers "inspecting" them. (There was a crew on hand filming the proceedings--presumably a news show--which probably explains the "performance.")

Remember, these are FANS and, as this shows, well organized. I'm sure many of these people are the same group of people I see every year.

Yipes, I've been spotted for the Rebel sympathizer that I am! People in costume usually stay in character.

During the show, I did spot a stormtrooper on a break with his helmet off, with his wife and kids. Wow, storm troopers are real people too! (A friend got a picture of a stormtrooper pushing a baby carriage with his family!)

There is a masquerade contest on one of the evenings of the show, which is very popular and a longtime staple of the convention.

A photo of the Ghostbusters, taken by my brother in the convention center lobby. You'll note the gentleman at far right appears to be an Elvis Ghostbuster!

Here is a photo I WISHED I took--two attendees dressed as the title characters of Jeff Byrd and Alanna Wolff from Batton Lash's Wolff & Byrd, Counselors of the Macabre. (From left to right, they are Randall Kirby and Minnie Hatfield.)

They had stopped by my booth, and I didn't have my camera at the ready, and it is the one photo I regretted not taking. I thought their costumes were terrific, so I appropriated this shotfrom Batton's Exhibit A website because I did want to include them here.

BTW, when Randall was "off duty" and in his civilian clothes, he stopped by to pick up some books from me, and asked for a sketch of Rob Hanes too!

For comparison purposes, at right is a graphic of the characters...

The Lord of the Rings (LotR), of course, is now a popular theme at the convention. Their devotion is matched by a large LotR "pavilion" that has become a staple of the comicon the last several years. The pavilion is an umbrella for several LotR-related vendors, such as Houghton Mifflin, the publisher of Tolkien's books and fansite--all anchored, of course, by New Line Cinema, which produced the film adaptations.

One of the showcases of the pavilion was this display of the costumes from the film.

Sadina and I actually saw many of these costumes at a fashion institute in downtown Los Angeles that has an annual exhibition of film costumes right before the Academy Awards.

At the New Line booth, this group of fans--made up as elves--were mobbed by a group of people for a photo op. As I mentioned earlier, you can see how they stay in character--these fans were rather well "cast," effectively capturing the ethereal, haunting quality of the elves that Tolkien described.

The individual at far left below, dressed as a hobbit, kneeled down to to stay in scale with the elves in the photos!

Being the Tolkien fan that I am (dating back to the 1970s!), I was thrilled that my booth actually was located around the corner from the LotR Pavilion!

Here Sadina and Peri take a photo with scaled-to-size cardboard cutouts of the hobbits from the films. Peri's head is buried in Mom's shoulder because, understandably, she was scared of Gollum in the cardboard background! The poor thing ran off shortly after this photo was taken. (Peri, that is, not Gollum.)

Not to be outdone, LucasFilms--obviously seeing the success of the synergy of the LotR display--introduced their own Star Wars Pavilion!

Their booth included a full-size reproduction of an X-Wing fighter, seen in this photo. Peri poses in front of it with a couple of Jedi warriors. (No wonder the Republic fell, nyuk nyuk!)

One of the entryways to the Star Wars Pavilion. Again, the attendees give one a sense of the scale of the statues.

Another corner entrance of the Star Wars Pavilion.

For an evil dark lord, that Darth Vader sure likes to have his photo taken!

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Page created August 2004