Comic-Con 2014 Wrap-Up

July 29th, 2014 by Max Allan Collins

Sunday, the final day of the con, found the dealer’s room surprisingly crowded, considering how many people checked out of their hotels and were gone by noon. Signings and giveaways continued, and the great last minute deals of yore were few and far between. At a major t-shirt booth, a sleazy seller told me they were doing last-day deals, and proceeded to give me the same prices that had pertained throughout the con. Still, there was a feeling of letdown and even sadness on this last day, as if air had gone out of the balloon. My day began with a very good meeting with Nick Landau of Titan over breakfast, with plans for the futures of Quarry, Mike Hammer and others you would be familiar with. I spent most of the day buying books and looking at art, while Nate and Abby got away from the con for lunch with friends, and Barb took the trolley to Mission Valley for shopping, finding some great bargains. My signing at the Hermes booth allowed some hardcore fans to find me (since my usual signing in the autograph area did not happen) and I posed for quite a few pics, including some for an X-Files site where my having written X-FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE makes me a minor celebrity…emphasis on minor. Hermes Books founder Dan Herman and I spoke about possible book projects.

A few overall observations…lots of foreign languages being spoken on the dealer’s room floor – this really is an international con now; poor people skills run rampant, as attendees do not know how to move effectively in a crowd, stopping mid-aisle to gawk at a booth or to do something with their phone or to take a picture; costumes are almost the rule now, with the con turning into Halloween essentially, meaning those costumes have to be really something to attract attention now (and many of them are and do); lots of older fans and pros are just not part of it anymore, and I see fewer and fewer of my contemporaries and peers. Spotted only a small handful of celebrities. Still, I had a great time, though whether we go back next year is a cliffhanger. This is one expensive experience.

Comic Con 2014
M.A.C. with Hermes Press prez Daniel Herman

Comic Con 2014
Steve Leialoha and Sergio Aragonés at M.A.C.’s signing

Comic Con 2014

Comic Con 2014

Comic Con 2014

Comic Con 2014

Comic Con 2014

Comic-Con 2014 Day Four

July 27th, 2014 by Max Allan Collins

This was family day for us, with only a brief late afternoon foray into the packed convention center’s dealer’s room. On the elevator, I ran into an old friend, artist Jim Steranko, who looks terrific, like something out of one of his own drawings. Very nice man and always extremely gracious to me. On the same elevator, a fan told me how much he loved ROAD TO PERDITION the graphic novel and preferred it to the film – not a bad way to start the day. Barb, Nate, Abby and I spent most of the morning in and around the Marriott pool, before heading to Old Town for Mexican food at Casa Guadalajara and some fun touristy shopping. Then the con for just a little while, before going to a movie at Horton Plaza – unfortunately, the theater’s air conditioning was on the fritz and it was more like a sauna. The film, A MOST WANTED MAN, featured a dramatic performance from Philip Seymour Hoffman (one of his last), but was perhaps too leisurely and less twisty than you’d expect from John LeCarre source material. Tomorrow is our last full day here, with a business breakfast tomorrow with Titan before going over to the con, where I have a 1 pm signing at the Hermes Booth (#1821), signing till at least 2 pm. Officially it’s for the MIKE HAMMER COMIC STRIP book, but if you’re at the con, bring anything of mine around for inscription.

Comic Con 2014

Comic Con 2014

Comic Con 2014

Comic Con 2014

Comic-Con 2014 Day Three

July 26th, 2014 by Max Allan Collins

A memorable day at the San Diego Comic Con for the Collins contingent. We started off with a great breakfast at Richard Walker’s Pancake House, a tiny place with some outdoor seating and incredible food. We were seated by Richard Walker himself. Turns out the first of three Richard Walker’s Pancake Houses was and is in Schaumburg, Illinois, where Nate once worked and Barb and I frequently go on post-novel getaways. Fortified, Barb hit Horton Plaza for some shopping, while I did an art deal for a 1952 Buck Rogers strip from the Donnelly booth, where mindboggling comic art is for sale…pricey but great examples. In the afternoon, Leonard Maltin’s wife Alice got us into the very high demand panel (huge ballroom at the Hilton) announcing Triumph the Insult Comic Dog’s new TV show. Leonard moderated, good-naturedly taking feelthy abuse from Trimuph (and apologies from Triumph’s “trainer,” Robert Smigel.) This panel was crushingly hilarious, enlivened by the presence of Triumph’s new co-star, Jack McBrayer of 30 Rock (and Second City). This promises to be a classic duo, the sweetness of McBrayer and the sourness of Triumph. It should be a great show…”for me to poop on.” Then Barb and I (exhausted from laughter) returned to our hotel room for naps (yes, we are that old) before I returned to the convention center for a meeting with my producing partner, Ken Levin, about possible movie and TV projects. Next up was the Scribe awards, where I moderated a huge TV/movie tie-in panel (including one Nathan Collins) – there was just time for one question per panelist. I’ll provide all the winners later, but for now I’ll just announce that “So Long, Chief” by Spillane & Collins won Best Short Story, and that the panelists did just fine (and Barb helped greatly in what could have been a logistical nightmare). The evening ended with tropical drinks around the pool at the Marriott Marina.

Comic Con 2014

Comic Con 2014

Comic Con 2014

Comic Con 2014

Comic Con 2014

Comic Con 2014

Comic-Con 2014 Day Two

July 25th, 2014 by Max Allan Collins

The first full day of the con was just fine. After a delightful ocean-front breakfast, I headed for the convention center, Barb hit the trolley to go to the Fashion Valley Mall, and Nate and Abby began a day of standing in line to get things signed. I was on the prowl for bargain books – I collect hardcover collections of old comics – and scored a good number, and took in lots of original art that I can’t afford. Late afternoon, we went to Nate’s panel on translating Japanese into English (emphasis on manga) and that was, as usual, fascinating. Then it was off for an evening with Alice and Leonard Maltin, where Leonard and I impressed everyone with our vast range of knowledge about the Three Stooges, especially Shemp. Well, maybe not everyone was impressed, but Leonard and I were. Good food at the Harbor House, a restaurant we settled on when our original choice voided our reservation because a private party took over the place (Buster’s). But the Harbor House was excellent, and the conversation a blast. Beautiful weather to walk back in, cool but never chilly. Tomorrow – the Scribe Awards (see info below).

Comic Con 2014

Comic Con 2014

Comic Con 2014

Comic Con 2014

Comic Con 2014

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