Reflections in a Comic-Con Eye

“You gotta go to Comic-Con” is a refrain I’ve heard for years. Considering I don’t like leaving my office to go take a swim in the pool, it was an easy refrain to resist. Until, of course, the kids moved to San Diego. And for some reason they took their kids, the grandkids, Riley K and Haydn R. Future leaders of the Resistance Against the Machines and people think I’m joking about that, but hey — I’ve been to Comic-Con.

I’m shooting from the hip here, but my takes:

3. I was a bit surprised how commercial it was. I know everyone is hawking something, but everyone was selling something. Perhaps I’m spoiled by BEA, but I noticed that the ‘backpacks’ that they gave out when you registered and that were being worn by people: were all mostly empty. No giveaways.

4. I don’t do lines. Especially not to pay for something. So I missed out on what people say is the real heart of Comic-Con. Seeing previews. Advance screening. I tried talking my son Craig, into going to the Archer panel, but his point was he didn’t want to see the people behind the voices. Plus, we were sure there would be a line.

5. I know it’s a brain defect of mine to not want to see something first. My wife and I have been to the movie theater once in the past eight years and that was cause her sister dragged us. We haven’t been back. We can wait until on-demand. Really. So keep that in mind with my lack of enthusiasm for getting a sneak peak at something or listen to actors and actresses talk about their show. Like the cast of Walking Dead is really going to let us know who got killed? Nope.

6. San Diego. Was browner than I remembered. Hot. Downtown was much bigger than I anticipated, having never really spent much time there. Lots of condos, lots of homeless. I might be living in the area soon, so I love it.

7. It was hard for me to wear my Time Patrol shirt, but who cares in a place full of storm troopers and whatevers. One guy was wearing pieces of black garbage bags taped together. Not sure what comic that’s from. I don’t get why female heroines wear pretty much nothing into battle while men armor up. Overall, I was rather under-impressed with the costumes. I saw the spread on CNN and it wasn’t that impressive either, so I don’t think I missed anything. I did spend time wondering how some of those people packed that stuff.

8. I also pondered some of the people all dressed up walking around all by themselves.

9. I know I’m being Bobbie-Downer. I think the con has its place and it makes many people happy.

10. But my take is that its peaked. Hard to say that only having been there once, but look at the curve. It started pre-Internet. So it was a magnet for like-minded people to get together. But now that the Internet has been around since Scout saved it on 29 October 1969 by making sure the first message went through in Black Tuesday (Ha! Had to do that plug for the book), like-minded people can find each other easier. Like dressing up as a rock? Hey, there’s forty people within twenty miles of you who like it too.

11. I think local cons will benefit because of this.

12. The spirit of the author and being nice. I had lunch with Terry and Judine Brooks, old pals from our Maui Writers Conference days. After lunch, Terry went back over into the melee, not because he had to, but because someone had asked him to sign some stuff and he’d said yes. I know tons of best-selling authors who’d have said no. In fact, a majority. What Terry did comes down to a simple thing: being a good guy. We need more of those.

13. Will Cool Gus have a presence at Comic-Con in the future? Nope. Gus might bite someone.

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Originally published at on July 25, 2016.

West Point grad; Special Ops Vet; NY Times bestseller of over 80 books; for free books and over 200 free downloadable slideshows go to

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