A few days ago someone came into the gallery who had read our note about being at SDCC San Diego Comic-Con and asked, “So, what was the coolest thing?”

I paused.

I asked him, “do you mean, for everyone? or for me?” He apparently wanted to know what I THOUGHT WAS THE COOLEST THING. He’s a fan of mine, apparently, and wanted to hear my take.

I keep thinking we are going to actually blog and write posts from there, and this has been my optimistic perspective for three years running and it keeps not happening. Let me be clear.

We, and by we I mean my assistant/gallery manager Christine, sister Coco/sometime helper, “the oldest intern in history” Roger, his pal, and my husband/partner Michael, we get about 5 hours of sleep in 3 days. After that, all bets are off.

My experience at SDCC is unique. I’ve been an exhibitor, i’ve been press, and I conduct panels. So i’ve seen the convention from almost every angle except from the backstage of Hall H, and don’t think i’m not working my way up to that! This year, once again I was covering the convention as someone who helps expand awareness and understanding about film and animation art, as well as someone who writes about what is the next hot exciting show or movie being released. After struggling for the last few months to get Twitter followers, I gained a ton just from tweeting from Hall H. (btw the Hall H line has its own twitter feed)

SDCC Convention Center

ok, so let’s get to it:

FOR ME the coolest things at the con:

1. Willie Ito won an Ink Pot Award during my panel:
Yes, you’d think that the “Zelig” of animation would have already won this prestigious award, but no, they must have wanted to wait until I was giving a panel “Spotlight on Willie Ito” to give it to him. He got emotional. He was flustered. HOW SWEET! He was very touched. He then let me delve into his experience as a small child in a Japanese internment camp for 4 years during WW2 that informed his art for the next half hour. We did get to his animation career but those attending the panel were as fascinated as I was about his experience so it worked out well. I am so honored by his trust and willingness to tell me his story. Don’t worry, we filmed it and will be posting it soon. If I weren’t so run over by CON exhaustion, i’d have posted it already.

Willie Ito Inkpot Award

2. The Art of John Alvin book was previewed and they sold the hell out of it:
I intentionally ordered a ton of books from them as they were willing to let me do so, because I knew Titan Books underestimated the interest by fans to get the book there before anyone else could! So I only wound up with 20 books, but they sold way way more than they expected. The enthusiasm for a book that my friend Andrea Alvin wrote about her wonderfully talented under recognized husband was beautiful!!

The Art of John Alvin Book Unveiled at SDCC 2014

Since then, the marketing machine and promotion has been amazing! Here are the articles that have been released so far. If you are a John Alvin art fan, you’d better buy something now!





3. Our art on everyone around us
It’s a strange thing to see the art of Jim Lee, Bruce Timm, and Alex Ross that you sell in tiny editions of 50 to 500 gracing thousands upon thousands of geeky chests as tees. To me, It just reminded me of the power and value of film, comic, and animation art as an authentic form of fine art. I mean, there are only a very few galleries that actually are allowed to carry that signed art by these artists! Almost every cosplaying group was dressed in characters for which we have official art. That made me feel awesome about my job!

4. Getting to know Tony and Annie Benedict
Tony is much like Willie. He worked at Disney and Warner Brothers and then at Hanna Barbera. He is young at heart and of mind and kind of a silver fox, with a stone cold hottie his same age as a wife. He is totally plugged in, and he brought a complete storyboard from a Jetsons cartoon to show at our “Meet the Flintstones, Meet George Jetson: Hanna Barbera Beginnings” panel. It rocked my world. Gorgeous. Apparently at the time they didn’t write their episodes, they just storyboarded them and cut out the middle man. I can’t even speak to how amazing it is to speak to someone who knows so much about writing and being an artist and being at the beginning of something that started everything responsible for The Simpsons, South Park, American Dad and all the rest.

CS gang with Willie Ito and Tony Benedict small

Hashtag: AWESOME

5. I got to work the Artists Alley
Ok, I would not have thought this would have been cool, I must admit. To me, it looks like torture, like they are being positioned like puppies in a window. But in the case of Willie Ito, he had nothing but fans. No one walked by and acted like they didn’t understand why he was there. Respect was the order of the day. He has ruined me for my understanding of what it probably normally is like to be in Artists Alley.

Ito signing with Leslie at Artist Alley

6. I slept out with 10,000 of my closest friends and then found out I didn’t have to
Part of Comic-Con is knowing if you want to go to Hall H, you have to sleep out. This year they changed the rules and passed out wristbands, but all that did was make sure everyone had to stay in line for hours waiting for them. What was 10 hours on Thursday night because 14 hours on Friday night, which meant if you wanted to go into Hall H to see Warner Brothers, Legendary and Marvel on Saturday night, you had to get in line at 6 pm. BUT, I had that WIllie Ito panel at 3:00 pm so I had to leave. Normally you can get a pass for the bathroom and come back within an hour, but I was going to be gone for over three hours. I WILL NOT reveal how I made it happen, but there are legal and acceptable ways of getting into Hall H without being in line, and I found out what they all were this con.
You can torture me, but i’ll never say what they are….

Hall H Line aka Torture

7. Seeing my gal pals in Cinema Siren Tees
My “Siren Sister” Coco and my gallery manager Christine both wore the tee Christine just designed for Cinema Siren, and it was a kick to see us all adorned in something promoting my long luscious locks 😉

Cinema Siren tshirt gals

8. SDCC is like childbirth
There were so many other things that happened this con to make it amazing and worthy and exciting. Unfortunately I can’t speak about any of them because they represent our future and where the gallery and where I am headed.
No matter how much exhaustion we wind up with from the experience, it is always worth it for those of us who make pop culture part of our lives and livelihoods. The people who put the con together genuinely care that everyone has a great time, and i’m honored they place part of that responsibility in my hands as a panelist. I’ll keep going and forgetting the wear and tear on my body, because it is so much nonjudgmental fun and so many of my friends and colleagues are there.

Here are just a few pictures of what we saw and experienced at SDCC 2014. We hope those of you who aspire to going get there someday. We can only pack so many of you in our carry-on suitcases!

Chris Hardwick on screen in Hall H

Darth Vader-mobile!

blog IMG_8849

blog cosplay


ArtInsights and Cinema Siren Teams