Well, today is the last day of Comic-Con@Home. I attended two panels today, one on Will Eisner and the 80th anniversary of The Spirit, and another on Jack Kirby. I’ll admit I zoned out a bit during parts of both of them. The Eisner panel was hosted by Danny Fingeroth. I went to a similar panel hosted by him at NYCC in 2017, so there was a lot of familiar material in it. The other panelists were Denis Kitchen, Paul Levitz, and Dan Schkade. I’m very familiar with Kitchen and Levitz, and they were both on that 2017 panel, but I’d never heard of Schkade. His perspective, as a younger creator, was interesting. He does a strip on Webtoon called Lavender Jack, which I should probably start following. (Of course, I’m already following a couple of other strips on Webtoon, but I haven’t actually gone over to the site or opened the app to read them in months…)
And the Kirby panel was a “Kirby 101” panel, meant to be an introduction to Jack Kirby. That’s absolutely a worthwhile thing to do, but I’m not really the target audience for that, having already read plenty of Kirby comics and gone to several Kirby con panels. (I’m definitely not a Kirby expert, but I’m at least at the “Kirby 201” level…) Anyway, both panels were fun to watch, but I did zone out during both and found myself scrolling through Twitter on my phone and looking at links to other stuff. If I were actually at an in-person con, I’d probably have paid more attention. Going to a couple of good solid comics-related panels is always a good way to close out a con.
I’ve been curious about the economics of this virtual con, and about how much damage canceling the in-person con will do to the Comic-Con organization and to the San Diego economy in general. This clip from a local San Diego TV news report, from when the cancellation was announced, has some pretty big numbers in it. And this article talks a bit about some of the behind-the-scenes stuff involved in dealing with hotel cancellation fees and other financial stuff. And here’s a recent TV clip about the cancellation. I’m really hoping things work out and they get to have a real con next year (even though I probably won’t be able to go to it).
I tried to do my part to help with the economic situation, by spending some money at the virtual con, but I didn’t manage to spend that much. While they included a virtual “con floor” as part of Comic-Con@Home, it was hard to navigate and honestly kind of useless. There’s not really a good way to simulate the experience of wandering a con floor, browsing all the cool stuff and making a bunch of ill-advised impulse purchases. I bought a t-shirt from the official store, and I bought some Rob Hanes comics from Randy Reynaldo. That’s it though. I thought about picking up some stuff from Two Morrows, but every time I think about doing that, I remember how many books and magazines about comics I have sitting around the apartment, unread, and I realize that adding more to that pile isn’t a great idea, even if they’re really good books and magazines. (Ditto for Hogan’s Alley. I keep thinking I should subscribe to that, or at least buy some back issues, then I realize that they’ll just pile up, and I’ll never read them.)
Anyway, it was a pretty good con, given the circumstances. My mood has been up and down for these last four days, and I can’t say that the virtual con has had the same brain-resetting effect that a real con often has on me. But I had some fun getting lost in panels about comics and TV and books and movies, and I guess a little escapism is the best I can hope for out of a stay-at-home long-weekend vacation in the middle of a pandemic. (Speaking of escapism, I also read through most of The Escapist series this weekend too. That was fun.)
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