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e-mail address: WCGComics@wcgcomics.com
copyright 2002
by Randy Reynaldo
WCG Comics at the 2001 Comic-Con International in San Diego!

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WCG Comics returned to the Comic-Con International in San Diego, held July 19 through 22, 2001, in support of the re-launch of Rob Hanes Adventures, after a two-year hiatus. As always, it was a positive, re-energizing experience. It was great to know that a loyal fan base for Rob Hanes still exists, and that new fans are discovering the series. Many people discovered the series for the first time at the show itself, stopping by because the art had an immediate impact on them.

The convention, of course, continues to grow, aided in large part by the physical expansion that the convention center has been undergoing the past several years. The convention hall is now larger and the comic-con uses the space to its fullest. As many people have noted, the comics portion of the show has become slightly diluted - not so much because the number of comics exhibitors is shrinking, but rather because so many other kinds of exhibitors are attending. The Sci-Fi Channel, movie companies, even several sword-makers (for collection purposes only, of course) were all present at the show.

As always, many professional artists came by to express their delight with the series. (As a self trained cartoonist, it is always heartening to me to receive such "validation" from fellow artists.) These artists included several cartoonists from a studio I admire immensely, storyboard artists including several from LucasFilm, and others.

On the first day of the show, I participated on a panel called "Self-Publishing 101," organized by the good people at Cold Cut Distribution. While I was initially reluctant to take part since I've participated in ao many panels on this subject in the past, I nevertheless enjoyed the experience and the opportunity to share my experience with other aspiring self-publishers. Given the state of the market (and despite the dire warnings of those of us who sat on the panel!), the number of people who are interested in self-publishing remains strong. I also enjoyed interacting with the other panelists, including Batton Lash.

As in the past, the Hollywood studios were in full force at the show. I can now say that I have made a pitch to legendary producer Jerry Bruckheimer -- a development executive from the company with a camcorder stopped by, filmed my booth, samples of my work, and asked me to pitch the series to him. I did about a one-minute pitch, and he laughed at all the right places. I don't expect anything to come from it, but it was certainly a memorable experience.

Unlike most years when I exhibit, I actually felt I saw most of the floor and had time to make purchases. (This was due, in large part, to the able assistance I received from my fellow WCG staffers, including longtime friend Bob Westal, my brother Rodney Reynaldo, and my wife Sadina, who was 7 months pregnant at the time of the show.)

One of my objectives at the show was to attend any panel about the upcoming Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. (I am a longtime LotR fan, dating back to my junior high school days in the 1970s -- see my published LotR pin-up page from the program.) New Line Films did hold a preview, but it was a bit disappointing -- an extended 20 minute preview had been recently shown at the Cannes Film Festiveal, which many people (including myself) were no doubt secretly hoping they'd show at San Diego, but alas the program consisted of trailers for other upcoming New Line Films, and existing LotR previews. They did show two behind-the-scene shorts that were released online shortly afterwards, with special San Diego intros from members of the LotR cast.

By coincidence, a special effects person from WETA (the company doing the LotR effects) did stop by at my booth to look at my work, and when I found out what he did (which was prosthetics for the film), I pumped him for what info I could get. I asked him whether he had seen a full cut of the first film; he replied that he was dying to do so, and the number of people who had could probably be counted on one hand.

Some people ask me why I choose the small press area, versus the main floor (i.e., the Independent Publishers' Pavilion in the middle of the convention hall). It's partly economics of course -- it's cheaper. The trade-off is that foot traffic is not as busy, so casual convention-goers may be less apt to come across the booth. Regardless, business was good and many people who came looking for me did find me.

Thanks to all who dropped by -- and hope to see all of you again next year!

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