San Diego Comic-Con 2014 Report

Frank Cho Spider-man and Black Cat sketch cover art
Frank Cho Spider-man and Black Cat sketch cover art 2014 San Diego Comic-Con. Click to view full image

Very strange and “off” year at San Diego. There was something in the air. A taint of something different and bad to come. You can actually feel another giant shift away from comics, and oddly enough to some degrees away from movies, too. It felt like Comic-Con was organically reshuffling the deck and trying to find the new norm.

TUESDAY
*Flew in on Southwest and checked into the Omni Hotel. I’m sharing a room with my bud, Brandon Peterson, again. Met with Steve Morger and the Big Wow Comic Fest gang at McCormick restaurant and discussed next year’s San Jose show. Already got a killer guest list started.

WEDNESDAY
*Very mellow day. Set up my part of the booth that I shared with Geof Darrow and Mike Mignola. Both Geof and Mike brought fantastic selection of art to sell. San Diego Comic-Con Preview night opened to an enthusiastic crowd… who all rushed to get exclusive and free stuff from the movie studio booths and toy vendors. Every year, comics are marginalized and brushed aside at San Diego Comic-Con. I heard that they are shrinking artist alley yet again next year to sell more floor space to movie studios. AND they’ve increased the price of the booth all across the board.

THURSDAY
*Did the Flesk panel in room 28DE at 11:00 with John Fleskes, Bill Stout, Darren Bader and Tery Dodson. All the guys on the panel were over 6 feet tall. I felt like Tyrion Lannister throughout the whole panel. We discussed the various projects that we’re working on with Flesk Publications.
*Had lunch meeting with my French publisher, Thierry Mornet from Delcourt, and my buddy, Brandon Peterson. Gave Thierry my “Guns & Dinos” update, and current status of my other projects. Brandon also had big creator-owned projects in works.
*The show was kinda slow, so I had lot of time to goof around with Geof Darrow and his awesome daughter, Alice Darrow. The new art print is moving at a steady pace.
*Attended the annual “Howard Chaykin Memorial Dinner” at Morton’s steakhouse with my buds, Howard Chaykin, Axel Alonso, Mike Stradford, Dave Armstrong, Brandon Peterson and Mike Polis. Howard Chaykin was kind enough to join us this year after few years of being absent. For the record, Howard Chaykin is my second favorite Jew after Jesus H. Christ.
*Got a last minute personal invite to the Mindstyle Company party. Might have a Liberty Meadows merchandise deal in the near future. Completely unexpected.
*Someone asked me if I was attending the Eisner Award. I laughed. Eisner is a joke and completely irrelevant today. When an award ceremony, for the most part, actively shuns the big two companies, Marvel and DC, for the last 15 years or more, it’s funny and sad. It’s like having an Oscar Academy award show but you actively ignore all the movies from the major studios, and only focus and award obscure art films and amateur movies. Eisner award committee is broken and needs a complete overhaul.

FRIDAY
*Big morning business meeting with (Unnamed Company). Steve Morger, my lawyer and wine merchant, were there to finalize the deal. Everything went smoothly. (Unnamed Company) will publish three creator owned projects of mine next year. I am SO excited about this. Look for a major announcement in Baltimore Comic Con in September.
*Again relatively lackluster sales day. People are here for free movie and TV show stuff and for the most part bypassing all the comic stuff. I have no idea why Comic-Con allowed “Fifty Shades of Grey” to be promoted at the convention. It has absolutely nothing to do with comics nor remotely related to comics. Very frustrating. But my art print was selling pretty good. Got to hang with my favorite Boston Hobbit, Tom Sniegoski.
*Did a quick signing at Mile High Comics booth. They were selling my exclusive “Spider-Man/Black Cat” variant. Sad to find out that after 42 years of attending, this is Mile High Comics last year at San Diego Comic-Con due to various reasons, mostly San Diego Comicon is too expensive and stressful to set up as a comics vendor.
*Dinner with John Fleskes, Ocean Fleskes, Tom Sniegoski and LeAnne Sniegoski at a pretty good seafood restaurant, Spike Africa. We nailed down the “Ghost Dog” project and business plan. It’s going to be the next Kickstarter project at Flesk Publications, launching end of the year. Very fun and exciting dinner.

SATURDAY
*I woke up kinda late, still struggling with jet-lag. Decent day sales wise. Sold out of all my sketchbooks and the art prints were moving pretty well. Goofed around with my favorite hairless gorilla, Geof Darrow and his talented daughter, Alice, who is slightly taller than me. (Dammit!)
*Lunch with Darren Bader, Dave Palumbo and that Lucas concept artist whose name escapes me at this time. Great time insulting each other over Thai food.
*Steve Morger finalized the Liberty Meadows contract with Madefire. Very cool.
*Dinner at Fleming’s Steak House with Steve Morger and French art collector, Frederico Manzano. Talked of possible European trips next year but it was mostly to relax and enjoy the steak.
*Late night meeting with (a different unnamed company) to develop Liberty Meadows TV show. More news as things develop.
*Back in the hotel room to draw and watched Game of Thrones Season 4 before crashing for the night.

SUNDAY
*Relaxing and slow day. Went and bought some art books.
*Took over Mike Mignola’s spot at the booth after he left early on Saturday to beat the rush. Adi Granov and his lovely wife, Tamsin, set up next to me. Had a great time hanging with them. Adi’s Darth Vader cover and art were just stunning.
*Lunch with Doug Wagner and Michelle Poust. Great people and fun to talk to. Trying to fatten Michelle up a bit. She’s too skinny. ;-)
*After lunch, just hung out at the booth. Nothing exciting happened. said good-byes to friends as they packed up and left.
*Signed up for next year.

MONDAY
*Quick breakfast with Steve Morger and Brandon Peterson, and hung out with Juanjo Guardino of “Blacksad” comic. Met Juanjo’s new girlfriend. I’m doing a Blacksad pin-up for Juanjo’s Kickstarter project.
*Flew home on Southwest Airline. Watched all the remaining episodes of “Game of Thrones” season 4. (The battle between the Mountain and the Red Viper… Holy shit.) All and all, very strange and off year for San Diego Comic-Con, but fun to hang with old and new friends.

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FRANK CHO

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