This year's con was not graced with the same number of high profile movie previews as was the last two years, but it still had much to offer. A big part of it for me is being able to purchase a lot of back issues from the 60s and 70s, and I had a great time doing just that. The dealers are really feeling squeezed though. I spoke with many of them, and I get the feeling that the con is pricing them out (I was told by one that booth prices are going up $150 next year). There's alot of animosity towards "Hollywood" from the dealers, as they feel they have been shuffled off to the corner of the hall while the big names, like Lucasfilm, Mattel, NBC, Fox, etc, get the best spots in the show. They may be right; I often wonder if the day will come when comics dealers disappear from the con.
The term booth is misleading. Some of these areas are really huge. Take the Sideshow Collectibles area for example. They had some really wonderful displays of stuff too expensive for me to buy. A huge banner over their section had pictures of Hellboy and Darth Vader, among others. Similar set-ups were present for both Marvel and DC, as well as Lego, Mattel, all the movie studios, and video game companies. Monitors were everywhere, with ads, previews, demos, and schedules. You are constantly bombarded with information. Preview night is just preparing you for the next four days.
Thursday was the first day of panels. I went to both the DC Nation and Mondo Marvel panels. Although I have always been more of a Marvel fan, every year the DC group makes their panel more fun and more interesting than Marvel. I know Dan Didio is much maligned, and I must admit I feel like DC has dropped the ball the last year or so, but the man comes across in person as genuinely caring about what the fans think. When people expressed dislike of Countdown, he asked them all to tell him what was wrong with it. Then he, and Mike Carlin, explained that they knew some of the problems, and regretted that they hadn't been able to do a better job on some things. You certainly would never hear that on the Marvel panels, which are much more smart-ass about things.
My final panel of the con was Saturday night's Legion of Super-Heroes 50th anniversary tribute. We were surprised to see a long line for the panel, but the fans of the Legion are, well, legion. The panel included Paul Levitz, Colleen Doran, Keith Giffen, Mike Grell, Geoff Johns, and Tom and Mary Birnbaum. Although there were no major announcements (Johns saved his Legion on Smallville announcement for Sunday), the Legion love was on full display (although a snarky comment by Giffen about a flustered fan seemed just cruel). Most of the panel was spent on fan questions and adulation. Johns did mention that Duo Damsel would now be Duplicate Damsel, able to make many copies of herself. Hey, it beats just two.
So there you have it. This year's show was a little more low key (at least for me). Admittedly, I was not able to attend a couple of the bigger events, like the Watchmen panel or the surprise Hugh Jackman/Wolverine appearance (thank god for YouTube). But that's one of the truisms of Comic-Con: invariably, events you wish to attend will be held at the same time. But still, the show was fun, exhausting, exciting, and aggravating, all at the same time. Typical Comic Con.