Comic-Con@Home, again, day two

Today is day two of the second, and hopefully last, Comic-Con@Home. This year, the con is only three days, and not the usual four. The length, of course, doesn’t matter that much with this kind of thing, since the panels are all prerecorded and dumped on YouTube, so there’s not really much of a sense of participating in a specific thing that’s constrained in time and space. I can watch the panels whenever I want, and there’s not much of a “live” aspect to it at all. But I did take a day off yesterday to “attend” the con and tried to get into the spirit of things.

Comparing this year to last year, things seem a bit more organized but also a lot more subdued. All the folks who didn’t really know how to do Zoom panels last year have now figured it out, so the video and sound on those is generally a lot better than it was last year. I guess we’ve all figured out how to do Zoom (and Teams and WebEx and whatever else) pretty well over the last year and a half.

At the start of the pandemic, I made the decision to write a short post in Day One every day, and I’ve kept that going since. I just recently noticed that I’ve hit a 500 day streak in Day One. And then I noticed this blog post from Mark Evanier, pointing out that it has now been 500 days since the start of the pandemic lockdown/quarantine/whatever. I guess it depends on when you start counting, but, for me, I’d start from my birthday last year, 3/13/2020, and 500 days from then is 7/26/21, so we’re not quite at 500 days, but we’re close. Of course, things are starting to get back to “normal,” but COVID-19 is still with us, and I’m still working from home and wearing a mask when I go grocery shopping. Things will get much more “normal” in September when I’ll need to start going back into the office. (But that’s a topic for another post.)

Anyway, that 500 day mark, and the second virtual SDCC, has gotten me thinking about how long this has all lasted and where we are now and where we’re headed. But I really meant this post to just be about fun comics stuff, so I’m going to stop thinking about that and write up some notes on the panels I “attended” yesterday.

  • Ducks All the Way Down: Metafiction in Comics – This was a weird one, to start the day. A nice nerdy conversation about metafiction in comics.
  • Stan Sakai and the Usagi Chronicles – This panel was about the new Usagi Yojimbo animated series that’s going to be on Netflix. There’s an article about it here. They haven’t announced a release date for it yet. I’m cautiously optimistic about it.
  • Max Allan Collins–Three Hard Cases: Ms Tree, Mike Hammer & Nolan – This was a good one to watch, since I haven’t really been keeping up with Max Allan Collins recently. I loved Ms Tree when it first came out, years ago. I should probably buy the new Ms Tree collections coming out from Titan. I don’t really need them, since I’ve already read all of those stories, but it would be nice to have the collections and reread them.
  • 35 Years of Dark Horse: Past and Present – I’ve been reading Dark Horse books since their early days. Boris the Bear #1 was probably the first Dark Horse book I ever bought. Dark Horse has a timeline up on their site that goes from 1986 through to 2013. (I notice that it doesn’t mention Boris though.) The company has had an interesting history, with some ups and downs. The panel was more about the present than the past though. It would have been cool to have a panel with some of the original Dark Horse creators talking about the early days of the company, but that’s not what this was.
  • Greatest Geek Year Ever: 1981 Week – This was a a fun panel from the guys who usually do Starship Smackdown at the con. The idea of this panel was, basically, to program a week’s worth of movies from 1981. They do a podcast called The 4:30 Movie where they do this for a different theme each episode. This one brought back a lot of childhood memories for me. I hadn’t thought about Dragonslayer in years. I should probably consider subscribing to their podcast, but I’m juggling too many podcasts right now.
  • Scott Shaw! Oddball Comics: The Batman Edition – Scott’s “oddball comics” slideshows are always fun. He did an all-Batman edition for this year.

There are two panels from yesterday that I haven’t gotten around to watching yet: the Frank Thorne Memorial Panel, and the Eisner Awards presentation. I actually started watching the Eisner one this morning, but didn’t get too far. Much like last year, it’s kind of dry. It’s mostly just Phil LaMarr reading out the nominees for each category, then announcing the winner. Since it wasn’t done live, there isn’t really any excitement or suspense in it. And there aren’t any acceptance speeches. I was hoping that maybe they’d find a way to make it more interesting this year.

For today, I’ve got a list of about a half-dozen panels that I want to watch, including a couple of Mark Evanier’s regular panels. So that should all be fun. As I did last year, I’m trying to disappear into the con a bit and escape from the reality around me, to some extent. I had a good day yesterday, and can’t really complain, but watching panels on my laptop or TV doesn’t really compare to the real thing. Hopefully, I can have a good “in-person” con experience at NYCC later this year.

NYCC, anime, and pizza


Newsarama has an article with some additional information on last week’s NYCC ticket sale. As I posted then, I got tickets for Thursday and Sunday. The Newsarama article confirms that they did, eventually, sell out of all tickets. The article also addresses one topic I’m very curious about: “ReedPop […] confirmed they have a reduced capacity this year due to COVID-19 precautions but did not give out the exact number of badges sold.” I’ve really been curious about whether or not they’re making a meaningful attempt to reduce crowding this year, or if this is just a token gesture to ease people’s fears. There are really two numbers that matter: to what extent did they limit ticket sales, and to what extent are they going to increase (or decrease) the amount of floor space they take up? The Javits Center expansion is apparently done now, so, theoretically, NYCC could spread out over a larger space and limit attendance, which could make for a nice experience. But who knows if they’ll actually do that. I haven’t read anything from NYCC about whether or not they’ll be using the entire expanded Javits Center.

I still haven’t quite decided on my plans for the con. I might just take the train in on Thursday and Sunday. But I’d really like to book a hotel room for the full four days, and use Friday and Saturday for museum visits and other NYC stuff. I should probably start looking at hotel prices now. It I book a hotel though, that makes it harder to back out if I decide that the situation in NYC isn’t safe enough, come October.


I decided to dip into my dusty stack of unwatched anime DVDs last night. I picked out Space Pirate Captain Herlock: The Endless Odyssey, which I bought in 2006. I got a sense of déjà vu while watching the first couple of episodes. I was pretty sure I’d seen them before, so I checked this blog, and yes, I saw them at Wizard World Philly in 2004. It’s funny how I can piece together stuff like this from my blog, email archives, and Evernote. I watched the first three (of four) DVDs. I guess I’ll watch the last one later today. I also ordered a pizza last night, which I rarely do these days. There was a big storm last night, so pizza and anime made for a nice cozy evening.

I’ve probably blogged about this before, but it’s interesting to see how some of the anime DVDs I bought back in the early 2000s at clearance prices are now out of print and selling for (relatively) big bucks. I see the full set of Captain Herlock DVDs selling on eBay for $250 right now. (It’s a fun show, but I don’t think I’d ever pay $250 for it.)

NYCC badges bought

As an update to my earlier post today: I got through the queue for NYCC badges at around 11:30, and bought badges for Thursday and Sunday. (Friday and Saturday were already sold out.) I also bought a 4-day digital ticket, that should let me watch panels on the web, on the days that I’m not at the actual con. Adding in the various fees, the total was $167, so that’s pretty steep, but I guess it’s worth it. It’ll be my first in-person con since NYCC 2019.

Just based on the amount of time I had to spend in the queue, and looking at comments on Twitter and Reddit, I’m guessing that a lot of people are enthusiastic to go to NYCC this year. I’m hoping that they’re serious about having limited the ticket sales, to keep crowd size down. And I’m hoping COVID is entirely under control by October. But who knows.

There’s an additional bureaucratic hoop that I need to jump through with these tickets, by the way. My “fan verified” account is under my old GMail address, and I’ve never been able to figure out how to change it to my new one. So, this year, I used the GMail address to buy the tickets, but assigned them to my current email address. So now I need to fan-verify my current email address, and accept the ticket transfer from my old address. I did that after I bought the tickets, and apparently it takes a day to get that approved, so I can’t actually transfer the tickets until tomorrow. (Assuming the new fan verification is actually approved.) So that’s a pain, but hopefully I can then use the new address going forward.

Back on the topic of virtual conventions: I just noticed that Shore Leave is being held this weekend. I’ve already missed most of it now, but it’s not too late for me to catch a panel or two. I see that a few of my favorite Star Trek writers are on the “What’s new in Star Trek Literature” panel at 3 PM. On the other hand, I’ve spent too much time indoors, in front of the computer, today already. I should go out for a walk.

SDCC, NYCC, Black Widow, and so on

Today is the Fan Verification Onsale date for NYCC 2021. Anyone who was “fan verified” for the 2019 con can buy tickets for this year’s con, starting at 10 AM today. The con is scheduled for October 7-10. Hopefully, it’ll be safe to hold a comic convention in NYC by then. I’d be reticent about going to something like NYCC right now. And honestly I’m not sure if we’ll be better off or worse off in October. But I’m probably going to attempt to buy tickets today.

Badges are pretty expensive this year, at $60/day with no multi-day passes, so going to all four days would be $240. Maybe I’ll just buy Thursday and Friday badges? I haven’t really decided yet. And there’s always a chance that one or more days will sell out before I get to the head of the queue, so maybe I won’t even be able to buy all four days. They’re supposed to be reducing the number of badges they’re selling this year, so the con won’t be too crowded, but I haven’t seen specific numbers on that. And there seems to be a good bit of interest in the con this year, but it might be significantly less than usual, specifically from folks who aren’t local. So, really, I have no idea what the situation will be. I guess I can buy badges today, then decide not to go if the situation in October isn’t good. Or maybe I’ll never make it out of the queue, and all this waffling won’t matter.

Meanwhile, SDCC’s Comic-Con@Home is coming soon (July 23-25). I’m looking forward to that. I’m probably going to take a PTO day on July 23rd and try to recreate a bit of the con experience at home, like I did last year. There doesn’t seem to be much excitement around this year’s virtual con, really. I think people are really looking forward to the next in-person con.

There’s a good article about the @Home con, and the upcoming in-person con in November, at Gizmodo. It sounds like most of the panels will be pre-recorded, like last year, which is a little disappointing but understandable. The panel schedule has now been released, but I haven’t had a chance to look at it yet. It can be found here. On first glance, it looked like there wasn’t much going on, but then I realized that the panel list was an iframe that scrolls separately from the rest of the page. (Sigh.) There’s actually quite a lot on the schedule, so that’s cool.

I’ve been getting into the mood for SDCC by listening to the Comic-Con Begins podcast. It’s a pretty good “oral history” podcast recounting the founding and early days of the con. It’s a fairly professional production, released by SiriusXM. I already know some of the stories they’re telling, but a good bit of it is new to me. Anyway, it’s fun.

One more comic-related (and COVID-related) note: I spent the $30 to buy access to Black Widow on Disney+ on Friday. It’s a pretty good movie, but maybe not worth $30 just for the privilege of watching it at home while it’s still in theaters. But I really wanted to see it Friday, and I didn’t want to go to a theater. I think I’m probably ready to go back and see a movie in a theater, theoretically, but I really just wanted to plop down on my sofa after work Friday and watch a new Marvel movie with my AirPod Pros in my ears, and my shades drawn, and forgot about the real world for two hours. There’s an interesting article about the business aspect of this release on CNN. And here’s an article from Wired about the timing of the release. I might watch it again tonight, though I started watching the last season of Bosch last night, so I’ll probably just watch more of that. (There’s way too much good stuff streaming right now.)