San Diego Comic Con 2018 – Wrap-Up

July 24th, 2018 by Max Allan Collins

After skipping last year due to health concerns of mine, Barb and I returned to SDCC wondering if the changes we’d noted in recent years would have continued.

They had.

My interests in collecting original comic art remained well-served by the likes of Anthony’s Comic Art and Steve Donnely of Coollines, as well as random comic-book back-issue tables where a handful of art was on display. That alone made the experience fun and worthwhile.

And a number of books on offer from such esoteric publishers as Last Gasp and Vanguard also made me smile, and spend money.

But there’s no question that the booths that serve my enthusiasms are disappearing, if gradually. It’s all Hollywood and video games (my son’s childhood fave, Dragon Ball Z, was much in evidence, due to a new movie about to screen in theaters, albeit in a limited way).

The worst thing about the con, however, is the people…not individually (not always, anyway) but the amount of them, the sheer packed humanity. Often aisles were just seas of bobbing heads. Movement was hampered by cosplay folks posing, con goers freezing mid-aisle to gawk at a booth, parents with small kids who were understandably advancing with caution, and, uh, the occasional idiot.

On the whole, however, we really did have a fine time. I was on three panels, all of which went well. I was lucky enough to share the stage with Leonard Maltin in the nicely named You’re Wrong, Leonard Maltin! (his talented daughter/moderator Jessie’s idea). My job was to explain why Deadpool 2 is a cinematic masterpiece. I did this largely by quoting from the title song of Road to Morocco, which indulges in the same sort of breaking the fourth wall as the Deadpool films.

Perhaps the best one-on-one with me ever seen at a con came courtesy of Titan’s Andrew Sumner, who knows his Spillane inside out, which came in handy because that was the topic. Following the panel I did a signing at the Titan booth, and I’m glad to say we sold a lot of books, both Hammer novels and The Last Stand.

This was on Thursday. On Friday I hosted the Scribe Awards, and the panel of pros was excellent. I was slightly disorganized but everything went well despite that. The Will to Kill did not win, but I was in good company with winner Mike Black and fellow nominee Reed Farrel Coleman.

We had several nice business meetings. Barb and I met with our Hollywood guy, Ken Levin (who is from Chicago of course), and two smart producers who came down from Los Angeles to talk to us about the possibilities an Antiques TV series. And today (Sunday as I write this) we had a lovely breakfast with Nick and Viv Landau of Titan, exploring the next cycle of Hammer novels, as well as a possible series of Nolan reprints, a reprinting of the complete Ms. Tree and various Spillane non-Hammer projects, since I am nearing the end of Mickey’s MH material.

Will we ever attend again? Hard to say. It’s not the same without Nate and Abby along, and their growing little family makes their presence doubtful for a few years at least. But any year the con wants me as a special guest (which means they pay and I don’t, something you will not be surprised to learn I like very much) Barb and I will almost certainly be there.

I hope you enjoy the photos from the con that Nate has liberally sprinkled throughout this update.

M.A.C.

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4 Responses to “San Diego Comic Con 2018 – Wrap-Up”

  1. Mike Pasqua says:

    Sorry that I didn’t get a chance to meet up with you there. I picked up the Quarry graphic novel and The Last Stand at the Titan booth and was happy to get signed copies of both. Glad that you health improved to attend this year. Maybe, we can meet up next summer.

  2. Thanks, Mike. Fellas and girls, Mike was instrumental in the Spillane centenary getting some major play at the con. Thank you, sir!

  3. Raymond Cuthbert says:

    Great to hear that you had a nice time at SDCC International. I’ve avoided it because the crowds for several years now. The little nugget about “a reprinting of the complete Ms. Tree” is also especially good to hear!

  4. Ed Catto says:

    So sorry to have missed the panel. But I did snag one Hammer book and the first two issues of the new series that the Titan booth. Great stuff!

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