Whew! This year’s San Diego Comic-Con (officially called Comic-Con International) was a fun one. Lots of smiling people happy to be there. Mostly, you had to tell they were smiling by the look in their eyes – everyone was pretty well masked up. But I can’t tell you how good it felt to be in the middle of Geek Culture, celebrating creativity and watching everyone promote everything.
SDCC always “starts” on Wednesday night. It used to be called Preview Night, but now it’s really “Just another night full of crowds on the exhibition floor”. Maybe it’s more crowded than usual, in fact, because there aren’t as many other places (panels, off-site activities) on Wednesday for places to visit.
Before Preview Night, however, we visited the San Diego Museum. I happened to be in town last month and tried to stop by then. Unfortunately, it was closed as they were gearing up for this show. And wow – did they ever gear up. This new museum is fantastic.
I went in with a bad attitude. After years of reading about their fundraising efforts and being disappointed by their choice of honoring Pac Man right off the bat (that character isn’t really about comics, is he?) I was weary of the museum. I also feared that the museum’s exhibits would be aimed at the casual fan, and all the old time-y fans (like me) would just meander through pointing out mistakes and minutiae.
But that’s not the case at all! This museum is very well-planned. And It has something for casual fan as well as for long-time fans/collectors. There were quite a few times that I was (almost) drooling over original John Romita pages, while a younger fan right next to me was posing for a selfie. We were both so happy!
In fact, the strategic plan is all laid out here, and it makes a lot of sense.
Currently, the museum has three exhibits and they are all winners:
♦The Spider-Man exhibit takes fans on a chronological tour of the webslinger’s history, with a lot of props, exposition and original art (including Stan Lee script pages) along the way. There’s a lot of cool merchandise there too, although if you want to see a very rare Captain Action Spider-Man costume set in the box, you would’ve have had to have gone to the Marvel booth at SDCC.
♦Everything’s Archie at their Archie Exhibit! It’s fun and upbeat – with plenty of old comics. And many of the Archie adjacent characters (like Sabrina and Josie and the Pussycats) have their own areas of focus.
♦The Dave Stevens/Rocketeer exhibit was stunning. The inclusion of so many of Stevens’ original art pages and old collectible merchandise was beautiful to behold. You can almost feel the talent and passion radioactively leak out (but in a good way) from every brushed inked line on each comic page.
I was afraid the museum itself would be a stinker. Upon reflection, maybe it’s also because I still miss Geppi’s Museum. That was a magical place to be sure.
But with fresh eyes I can now tell you in all honesty – visit the Comic-Con Museum as soon as you can!