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n2wdw's comic book room
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San Diego 2014 Thursday



Took the boat from Coronado to a dock behind the Marriott Marina (where I wish I was staying!). In past years I've waited in the long lines to get in, but this year I've decided to hang out and then try to walk in when the con opens at 930am. That's worked before, which makes you wonder the point of waiting in line unless you're at the front and planning to race for an exclusive.


So I wonder why I'm here. The sidewalks are incredibly crowded, I can only imagine what it will be like inside the con in 35 minutes. I think back to last year and the relative calm and laid back atmosphere of WW Chicigo.


But you can't beat SDCC for the total immersion in comic and popular culture. There are huge building size banners everywhere, there are more each year. Here's one on the hilton right across the street from the con, that I snapped while walking to get breakfast at Rockin' Baja for breakfast. I had to text this one to two of my kids who are into Walking Dead with me.





The breakfast at RB was good, Huevos Rancheros:





Update at 940, the crowd 10 minutes after the con opening:



Edited by n2wdw
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San Diego 2014 Thursday #2


I'll post more observations later, for now here are some cosplay pictures I took:








The last was of the young girl helping Joe Benitez at his booth. A CGC witness helped me out with signatures at Joe's booth. It took some time though. I apologized to the witness and he said "Yeah, you forced me to look at the pretty girl longer." Ah, youth ...



This isn't cosplay but still very cool, RASL from Jeff Smith's booth:




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San Diego 2014 Thursday #3


The crowds were not nearly as bad in the comics area. Here's a picture around 945am on Thursday.




I've been to SDCC about 10 times and each year there are less comic dealers. There seem to be a good number of the big national silver/gold dealers here. But the smaller comic dealers from years past -- the ones with inexpensive low and mid grade silver and tables and tables of dollar comics sorted in alphanumeric order -- and the ones where you might be able to get a good deal on high grade silver and SA/GA keys -- those dealers are not here. I assume it's because of the high cost of attending SDCC.


I go to one big con in the summer (I'd love to go to more but too many family commitments), and I bounce back between SDCC and WW Chicago. Last year I went to WW, and comparing the 2 cons for comic shopping, WW is the clear winner.


That's not to say the con isn't alot of fun. I've just changed focused and decided not to focus on too much comic buying.


The key to any con is learning how it works. For example, WW Chicago has a back door into the con. They'd be long lines at the front door, while you could walk right in at the back door. Unfortunately the con shifted space last year so that door didn't work.


At SDCC there are a couple things I've figured out. One, you don't have to wait in line to get in, unless you want to. And it can be fun to wait in the long line because there's alot of excitement and energy there. But you don't have to. Yesterday the con opened at 930 and I (along with alot of other people) walked right in at 930. So I probably got in before alot of people who'd waited for hours in the long lines.


Another key to SDCC happiness is bag check. Each year they have 2 or 3 bag checks. It costs $2 for each bag and it is really a savior. I bought a few statutes and a number of books, and rather than having to lug them around or waste time going to the hotel, I checked them into bag check. The problem is the bag checks get full pretty early. But the staff does a good job of rearranging things to open up new space. Today I ended up checking 4 bags and it really made the con alot more fun not having to carry around all that weight.


Now walking around the con ...


The Lego booth had a bunch of these message boards. I texted it to my kids and my 17 year old immediately noticed the "yaoi."





One of the art dealers had this original Vargas. The price? $85,000.




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San Diego 2014 Thursday #4


More walking around the con:


This is a cool Game of Thrones original painting. It wasn't for sale, the display said it was on loan from George R. R. Martin's collection:






They have the Walking Dead Terminus you can walk through. I'm hoping to do that Friday.






Big banner for the next Hunger Games movie:






Here are a few things I picked up. I got the new Campbell MJ and Gwen statutes:





I got these Schomberg covers. The dealer (the fooz ball guy, although he didn't have his table this year) gave me a nice discount off the sticker prices.




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San Diego 2014 Friday #1


So I referred to the dealer as the fooz ball guy. I don't want to leave it at that, as he's a good guy and I've bought from his booth over many SD cons. So I went back, here's a picture of Phil at his booth:





I have to say, I hated staying on Coronado. The area and hotel (Marriott) are nice, it was just inconvenient and away from the action of Gaslamp. Although I got to see things I never saw before, like the back of the convention center as I rode over on the ferry, and the Marriott with the big Legends banner.






One good thing I discovered is this food truck parked at the back of the convention center. This was great! A sausage, egg, cheese, HASHBROWNS breakfast sandwich on an english muffin for $5 (I was happy it was on a english muffin cause I'm on a diet :). Also a chorizo and egg breakfast burrito for $5. So which to choose? Yeah, I got both. For $10 it was the best breakfast I've had in a while.





So you want to know how crowded this con was? There was a very long line to get the con t-shirt. Okay, not a hall H line. But at least an hour line. So long they had to break the line in 2 parts. Although when you think about it the line made sense, because a con t-shirt is the ultimate con exclusive.


The worst traffic jams were around booths selling or giving away exclusives. And you know alot of these will be hitting eBay. Personally I'd rather pay a little more on eBay than spend lots of time waiting in line (on my want list is the Shield carrier from a couple cons ago). I took this next picture at the bag check. All these bags belong to one guy. I cannot imagine the effort it took this guy (and his family/team) to get all these Hasbro products.





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San Diego 2014 Friday #2


Hey newshane, yes here are some wall shots. Sorry, I didn't keep track of the dealers, and my camera wasn't the best (I was using my iPad mini). But here's what I got.























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San Diego 2014 Friday #2 - Point 5 Temptation


As I write this it's Saturday and the con is over for me as I flew home last night. It's always a letdown after a con but I'm actually happy to be away from all the crowds. Still it was a short SDCC for me -- I spent more time at WW Philly. I guess I wish I would've been able to attend preview night, that would've topped off the con for me. Also I've decided I'll never again go to SDCC if I don't have a room in Gaslamp; the con is already a hassle to attend, if you add in the inconvenience of a commute it just doesn't make the con worth it.


Anyway, This is a book I saw yesterday, the first .5 I've ever been tempted to buy. It has major flaws, incomplete and torn cover. The restoration is due to some glue. But it surprisingly presents well. The dealer had it priced at $350. I offered $150. The dealer told me he paid more than that. I thought about upping my offer to $200 because it's one of my grails and it does look nice despite the grade, but it was hard to justify. So I let it go. I wonder if it's going to sell.




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San Diego 2014 Friday #3 - a couple pickups


Speaking of .5s, here's another I saw. It seems CGC grades an incomplete comic as .5, irrespective of the condition of the rest of the book (is that right?). I haven't thought about it before, but it must be tough to price out these books. The CGC .5 grade must bring the price down. As a dealer, it might be easier to move the book by taking it out of the slab and selling it raw with an incomplete notation.





I picked up these 2 comics from Anthony Snyder. One thing I've figured out about Anthony, it's worth the time to go through his boxes of CGC comics. Often times, what other dealers put on their walls he has in his boxes.


This deal was helped by GPA. I pulled up GPA on my iPad and we used those numbers to help arrive at a price for the 2 books.





I thought this was a cool Elektra on Anthony's wall. Sorry for the blurry image, the iPad zoom isn't the best.










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San Diego 2014 Friday #4 - Water Damage Woes


I almost pulled the trigger on 2 buys that were killed by water damage. Harley had a Walking Dead #1 on sale for $1100. The front cover had a few dings but no color break. I thought with a press it might get 9.6, even 9.8. This is my favorite kind of deal, a raw book where I assume the risk of grading but in exchange I get it at a lower price. But then I looked at the back cover. There was a small amount of water damage right in the middle. Ugh! Even with the defect it was probably still a good buy, but I decided to pass.


I did pick up 4 early (pre #10) Pines Dennis the Menaces from Harley. These books are so hard to find in any condition I would have paid his under $20 sticker prices, but he had them at half off. I'm now only 3 issues away from completing my run.


One book I have on my want list is Hawkman #4. There must have been 10 copies in the room. They ranged from VF or so for over $600, or VG/FN for around $250-$300. I was hoping to get a 6.0 candidate for around $200 - $250.


Dale Roberts had the best copy in that range. I always enjoy shopping at his booth. He's upfront with how low he's willing to go, and if you don't reach agreement there's no drama about it.


After looking at every Hawkman #4 on the floor, I went back to Dale's booth. I wanted to check the staple as I was worried it had popped. The staple was okay, but then I noticed some minor water damage along the top. It was still a fair deal at Dale's price, but I decided to pass. So the search for the first Zatanna continues (I already have a reading copy but I'm looking to upgrade).


Coincidentally, right after that I ran into this Zatanna:






I did pick up this Mademoiselle Marie from Dale. These books are hard to find at all, and I rarely see it in this grade.





Here are a few more wall pics:







Edited by n2wdw
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San Diego 2014 - Final Thoughts


Before getting to my final thoughts on this year's SDCC, here's a pic of the Sails Pavilion around 1pm on Friday.





And here's a pic of Gaslamp from right outside Sails. There was so much to do outside the con the surrounding area seemed crowded all the time.





I bought this book from Doug Sneyd, long time Playboy cartoon artist. For a little extra he drew a bunny inside the front cover.







So, here are my final thoughts. SDCC is such a hassle. Hard to get tickets, had to get a convenient hotel room. It's unbearably crowded. It seems the freaking train is always there whenever you want to cross the street.


I had the Game of Thrones and Walking Dead panels on my list of things to do, but Hall H takes too much of a commitment of time to get into -- you have to essentially spend the night camping out. The wait isn't worth it particularly since the panels are later posted on youtube.


The comic panels are not as hard to get into, and if I had more time I would have enjoyed it more. These panels are what really sets SDCC apart from other cons. If you're staying for most of the con and can attend a bunch of panels then I think SDCC may be worth it.


But if you're going to shop for comics there are better cons. There are so few comic dealers at SDCC. Other cons have better variety and overall better prices.


Here's the thing, tickets for SDCC are so hard to get and attendees have a decided advantage with early registration. I'm leery of not going next year (assuming I can get tickets) as once out of the past attendee loop it will be hard to ever get tickets again.


So, I'll probably try to get tickets for next year during early registration. Ideally I'll get 4 day + preview night, as not going to preview night this year was a major bummer. If I do win the ticket lottery and go, I'll tone down my goals on comic buying. Instead of my big want list, I'll select 15-20 comics off my want list to shop for. I'll just browse around, not get bogged down with heavy bags, go to a few panels, take pictures and maybe pick up a comic or three.


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