Good Times at San Diego Comic Fest 2013!
If you didn’t attend the 2013 San Diego Comic Fest, you might wonder what you missed out on. If so, then here’s a brief overview just for you.
What you missed … a great time at the friendly, intimate comics convention!
The second annual San Diego Comic Fest, held in October 2013 at the San Diego Town & Country Resort and Convention Center, captured the intimate scale, camaraderie, and good feeling of the fan gatherings and conventions of yesteryear. It brought professional writers, artists, filmmakers, and other creators together with their fans in an environment of creative exchange, much as the early San Diego Comic-Cons did.
Comic Fest in 2013 attracted about 1,500 fans, dealers and program participants who attended for one or more days. They enjoyed individual talks, slide shows and panel discussions on comics, science fiction, movies, science, and related fields; special hands-on programming for children; staged readings; a dealers room; original artwork; live music and artwork creation; a masked ball; gaming; cosplay; an auction; and film screenings. The convention was organized by a small group of volunteers that included several people who founded or otherwise helped to organize and produce the early San Diego Comic-Cons.
All of these events went on for three days and two nights in a casual atmosphere that allowed plenty of time and opportunities for fans and creators to hang out together. The prime place for interaction was The Draco Tavern, Earth’s only multi-species coffee bar, an imagining of the setting of many stories by Larry Niven, Comic Fest’s guest of honor in 2013.
What you missed … great guests!
- Larry Niven, guest of honor: One of the Grandmasters of science fiction, Larry has won many awards for his work, and is probably best known for his Ringworld novels. He also has written fantasy works, television screenplays, and comic book scripts.
- Floyd Norman, animation guest of honor: Floyd, whose animation career dates to the 1950s, has worked on many Disney and Pixar films, including Toy Story 2, Sleeping Beauty, Jungle Book, and Mulan. He was named a Disney Legend in 2009.
- Russ Heath, comic book guest of honor: Russ, a comic book artist since 1947, is best known for his DC Comics war and adventure stories and his humor art for Playboy’s Little Annie Fanny comic strip, MAD, and National Lampoon. He was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2009.
- John and Bjo Trimble, science fiction fan guests of honor: Active in science fiction fandom for more than 50 years, the Trimbles are probably best known for leading the successful campaign to bring the original Star Trek TV series back for a third season in 1968.
- Richard Kyle, comics fan guest of honor: Richard has been a comic book pioneer for many years. In a 1964 article, he coined the now ubiquitous terms “graphic story” and “graphic novel.” He and a business partner opened one of the first retail comic book stores in 1973.
Other guests included:
- Phil Tippet, a visual-effects pioneer who won Academy Awards for Star Wars Return of the Jedi and Jurassic Park. He also founded the award-winning special effects company Tippett Studio.
- David Lloyd, a British comic book artist best known for his collaboration with writer Alan Moore on the series V for Vendetta.
- Barry Ira Geller, authored the screenplay used by the CIA as the cover story to free U.S. hostages from Iran in 1979 – the back story of the film Argo. Barry also commissioned and worked with Jack Kirby to produce the drawings that would also be used in freeing the hostages.
- Scott Shaw!, award-winning cartoonist and writer in the fields of comic books, animation, advertising and toy design.
- Willie Ito, an animator/cartoonist whose career began at Walt Disney Productions in 1954 working on the iconic spaghetti kissing scene in Lady and the Tramp. He also worked at Warner Bros and Bob Clampett Studios, among other places.
- Ted Adams, co-founder and CEO of San Diego-based IDW Comics, the fourth largest American comic book publisher.
- Marv Wolfman, creator of dozens of comic book characters and one-time editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics.
- Greg Bear, winner of multiple Hugo and Nebula awards for his science fiction stories.
- David Brin, whose science fiction novels have been bestsellers, won many awards, and have been translated into more than 20 languages.
- Michael Gross, National Lampoon art director in the 1970s and producer of such films as Heavy Metal and Ghostbusters.
- Jeremy Shada, a teen actor and singer who provides the voice of the young adventurer Finn on Cartoon Network’s Emmy®-nominated series Adventure Time.
For our complete, published 2013 guest list, click here.
What you missed … interesting and diverse programs!
Following are descriptions of just some of the programs presented at the 2013 Comic Fest. Remember, this is just a sampling of the Comic Fest programs.
One-on-one interviews with our guests of honor and other guests. Those interviewed included Larry Niven, Russ Heath, Floyd Norman, John and Bjo Trimble, Richard Kyle, Marv Wolfman, George Clayton Johnson, David Lloyd, Eric Shanower, Willie Ito and Jeremy Shada.
Who’s Afraid of Song of the South? Race and Ethnicity in Animation. Two veteran animators, Floyd Norman, who is African-American, and Willie Ito, who is Japanese-American, talked about issues of race and ethnicity in American animation with noted animation historian Jerry Beck.
Phil Tippett and Mad God. Mad God is an experimental film done entirely with practical and stop-motion effects set in a Miltonesque world of monsters, mad scientists, and war pigs. Directed by Academy Award winning visual effects and stop-motion master Phil Tippett, the sets, creatures, effects and spirit are, in every way, independent and created from the heart.
Bugs Bunny’s 75th birthday. Animation historian and cartoon producer Jerry Beck honored the 75th anniversary of Bugs Bunny with interesting historical facts and stories.
Secret Origins of IDW. Attendees joined Ted Adams, IDW’s CEO and Publisher, for a spotlight on our favorite local comic book publishing company. Ted took us through the company’s start (origin story), where it has been (the blood, the sweat, the cheers) and where it is going (into the future and beyond).
Oddball Comics. Scott Shaw! presented the Comic Fest version of his legendary slide show, a hilarious presentation of wildly funny, outrageous and bizarre covers from the craziest comic books ever published.
Scott Shaw! Talks about and Draws His Career. Anyone can sit down and talk about his or her career. Scott Shaw!, the brilliant animator, cartoonist, writer and cartoonist, took it one step further, talking about his career and drawing images from it at the same time.
Hanna-Barbera. Hanna-Barbera Production alumni Willie Ito, Floyd Norman, and Scott Shaw! reminisced about their experiences at the studio. Attendees were treated to inside jokes involving Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera and stories about such animation legends as Doug Wildey and Dave Stevens.
Spotlight on Aces Weekly with David Lloyd, James Hudnall and Batton Lash. David Lloyd may be best known for his work on comics titles such as V for Vendetta and Hellblazer, but these days he publishes Aces Weekly, an exclusively digital online comic magazine, devoted to giving space to industry greats and great newcomers from across the globe to tell any story they like directly to their readers in an ongoing weekly anthology.
Certified Forensic Comicologist. Jamie Newbold, owner of Southern California Comics and an acknowledged collecting expert, answered questions and discussed the science of collecting comics.
Ghostbusters II. Michael C. Gross, producer of Ghostbusters 2, and Hank Mayo, who worked as a concept artist for the movie, discussed the making of this hilarious film as well as their work on other notable genre films, such as the original Ghostbusters, Heavy Metal, Dune, Predator 2 and Men in Black.
Ask the astronomers and physicists. A trio of scientists presented ideas from the forefront of physics and astronomy. What is dark matter? Dark energy? The Higgs boson? These and other ideas from contemporary science seem to be odder than anything in science fiction.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and the American Experience. We celebrated the 20th anniversary of the premiere of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, which featured memorable episodes that addressed controversial issues that confronted American society at the end of 20th-century. Deep Space Nine offered us insight into the important controversies, issues, and anxieties of late twentieth-century American history.
Uhura, Leia, and Uhura: Sci-Fi Chicks and the Evolution of Feminism. A look at how women in science fiction (even before Star Trek!) mirrored society’s notion of liberated women.
Early Origins of Early American Comic Book Strips. Renowned comics historian Bob Beerbohm traced the origins of the comic book, from 1842 through 1933, focusing mainly on the pre-Yellow Kid period. His presentation included the first comic book in America from 1842; the first ‘original’ home grown American comic book, dated 1849; further examples of original USA comic strips and books from the 1850s tracing through to the advent of the Yellow Kid in the mid 1890s on to the explosion of full color comic books in the years before World War One when newspapers harnessed the power of comic strips to sell their product.
Programs for children:Warehouse 13: Make Your Own Artifact. Kids got to talk about artifacts from the show, and dream up new ones of their own.
Make Your Own Cutie Mark. My Little Pony fans designed and took home their own cutie marks.
Make It, Take It Activities for Children at the kid’s Imagination Station: Kids had a great time at the programs Build Your Own Alien, Construct Your Own Planet, Create a Mask, Make the Perfect Hat, Make a Puppet Creature and Create a Flip Book.
Comics Creation for Teens and Tweens Clinic. Young people learned how to write and draw comic books and graphic novels with professional comic book editor and writer Nancy Holder.
Entertainment under the tent:
Doctor Who Live – Comedy Improv: The cast of “Doctor Who Live” took suggestions from the audience and used them as inspiration to create a fully improvised episode of Doctor Who – never before seen on TV or stage and never to be seen again! –
For our complete, published 2013 programming schedule, click here.
What you missed … Live Art!
With dozens of artists in residence, the 2013 Artist Alley was fun for artists, volunteers, and attendees alike!Outside by the tent, San Diego artist and art educator Billy Martinez painted. Local artist and sculptor Jason Hite worked on a 3D piece by the pool. Ever wonder what you would look like as an alien? San Diego Comic Fest 2013 attendees had the opportunity to find out as master caricaturist Dave Stephens drew them as the Draco Tavern alien species of their choice.
What you missed … The Dealers and Exhibitors!
What you missed … The Draco Tavern!In conjunction with Larry Niven’s appearance as guest of honor at the 2013 Comic Fest, the convention committee presented an interpretation of The Draco Tavern, Earth’s only multi-species coffee bar and the setting for many of the author’s stories. In the same fashion that Comic Fest honored George Clayton Johnson with our re-creation of Cafe Frankenstein in 2012, we created and populated Draco Tavern with art, sculpture and costumes from Larry’s galaxy-spanning stories. Draco Tavern became the central meeting place at Comic Fest, a spot where fans and guests mingled and hung out in an environment of creative exchange. It also offered an array of reasonably priced and delicious food, coffee, and other beverages. In addition, the Draco Tavern stage was home to a series of staged readings of Larry’s short stories.
What you missed … a comic convention produced by fans for fans!The San Diego Comic Fest is produced by fan volunteers because we love this stuff! This creates a special friendly atmosphere at the Fest. But don’t just take our word for it. Check out this very-nice video review of the 2013 Fest from convention reviewer Shawn Marshall of The_Con_Fluence Covers who really appreciated the special spirit of a comic convention produced by volunteers!
Thanks to ace photographer and great guy Peter Csanadi for taking the above photos and allowing us to post them here.