This is the weekend for the San Diego Comic Con. The last one I went to was 2002. The first one I went to would have been in the late 80's. I remember the year that the Chicago Con (the real Chicago Con, before Wizard bought it) was just a weekend before San Diego. I ended up going to Chicago and than spending the week inbetween with my friend and artist Terry Pavlet and than heading to San Diego. That was the year that I did the Christmas issue of Quantum Leap for Innovation Comics. George Broderick, another friend, was an editor there. In fact I think I was the one that alerted George to the fact that there was a comic book company in his neck of the woods in Wheeling West Virginia.
The first San Diego Con I went to was when I met Sam Kieth. We had talked before, on the phone, but met in person for the first time. We shared a room with Wendi Lee and her boyfriend at the time, another artist that did some work for Eclipse Comics (I'm sorry I can't remember his name now). We were staying at the Hotel San Diego, not exactly in the best area of town. If I remember right across the street was an area where the local winos hung out.
That first con George Lucas came to the con. He had the con people put a different name on his name tag, like that would hide the fact of his identity. Everyone at that Con knew what George Lucas looked like. But at that time the Con wasn't invaded by Hollywood like it is now. You'd see a few Hollywood types, but they were there mainly as fans, not pushing anything. At that time Hollywood, like most of the rest of the world, didn't think appearing at a comic convention would help push anything.
To me the first cons seemed big, but compared to what San Diego is now they were small. The last one I went to six years ago was huge. It's interesting, it can be fun, but it's not a comic book convention anymore. It's a lot more than that.