We're working our way through all the news from San Diego, but we've got a bunch of bits and pieces left over that aren't going to get into print unless we group them all together here. So without further ado, here's our News and Notes from San Diego 2002:
Hollywood Comes to San Diego
It seemed like the Hollywood presence was bigger than ever, both due to the growing connection between comics and film, and to the growing awareness among film and television companies that exhibiting at San Diego assists in licensing and promotion. Among the attending Hollywood types were Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lucy Liu, James Cameron, Brian Singer, Mark Steven Johnson (Daredevil), Ang Lee, Guillermo del Toro and many others. There was also a larger Hollywood display hall presence than ever before, with studios booths hyping upcoming releases to the attending pop culture cognoscenti.
Accident on the Five
Transit from Hollywood was hampered on Thursday by a massive accident that closed I-5, the main thoroughfare between LA and San Diego. One semi loaded with textiles burned; another, loaded with tar, tipped over and spilled its contents, closing all southbound lanes for much of the day.
LPC Waiting Game
Both Dark Horse and Image were expected to make announcements at the show as to their replacement distributor(s) to the book trade for the bankrupt LPC, which ceased operations July 31. Neither did. Both are technically without book trade representation as of the end of the show.
DC HeroClix in the House
WizKids was selling its DC HeroClix Starters and Boosters directly to fans from its booth on the floor. They were available on eBay and in various other places by the end of the weekend. WizKids has defended its sales as limited in scale and designed to create advance buzz on the project. Both DC HeroClix and Mechwarrior are expected to be on sale this weekend at GenCon. DC HeroClix is scheduled for release in September, Mechwarrior on August 21.
With three all-manga houses (Viz, Tokyopop, and Gutsoon!) mounting major exhibits, the anime companies also exhibiting large, and more retailers selling Japanese import goods than ever before, there was more Japanese pop culture at the show than ever this year, continuing a long-term trend (see 'Home to Roost' from 2000). Director James Cameron joined the trend by telling the T-3 panel audience that he was interested in doing live action versions of Battle Angel Alita and Neon Genesis Evangelion.
Videograme producers were another growing category this year, with Microsoft/X-Box the only major producer not exhibiting.
The Marvel Non-Booth
Marvel could have owned the show floor, riding the momentum from the biggest movie of the year, and showed that it was the big dog in comics once again. Instead it chose to run a modest signing operation with no booth, dwarfed by the displays of many smaller comic publishers. Although Marvel claims that it is achieving its goals by bringing creators for panels and doing comic giveaways (see 'Jemas: Read My Lips'), the visual impression in the display hall was of a company just emerging from Chapter 11, instead of a company now hitting its stride.
Small Press Rocking
The small press area of the exhibit floor, in the new 'D' hall, was expected by some to be a wasteland because of its distance from the main exhibitors in the center of the hall. Instead, it was rocking the entire show, with crowded aisles even when the main hall crowd appeared thin.
No Chaos BoothChaos was a notable no-show among comic company exhibitors, feeding rumors that it's about to be acquired by CrossGen. The parties denied that to us when the rumor first came up after Wizard World.