I've lost track of how long it's been since I've been to San Diego for Comicon. Maybe five years? Maybe more? I know I went the first few years when I was just breaking into the business. I thought it would be a good place to network and meet editors and all that. For many people, it is. But I've never been a natural schmoozer. I don't think I ever got a single gig from any connections made at San Diego. Plus, I hate crowds. San Diego's a great city and I love hanging out with my fellow comic folks, but that scene is just too much of a zoo. So I content myself with doing Seattle's Emerald City Con each year, and last year I did the New York Comicon. I'll likely go back next year. I may also do Heroes Con in Charlotte, or the Toronto convention.
I don't regret not going to San Diego, but this year there are two things that are making me feel a bit bad for missing it.
Reason #1 is the exclusive preview of Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth's new Oni private eye series, STUMPTOWN. I have a serious love for private eye stuff, and it's a genre sorely absent from comics, so I'm glad that someone like Greg -- who has his own deep appreciation for the genre -- is doing a book like this. His private eye's not a vampire, she doesn't see dead people, and she doesn't work for super-heroes. The book's a straight, authentic private eye series. You can read more about it, and see some preview artwork in this recent article on Comic Book Resources.
Reason #2 is the GREATEST AMERICAN HERO reunion panel. I've been a huge Stephen J. Cannell fan for a long time. He created a lot of the shows I loved as a kid -- GREATEST AMERICAN HERO, 21 JUMP STREET, ROCKFORD FILES, THE A-TEAM, HARDCASTLE & MCCORMICK, etc. He's since shifted his focus to writing mystery novels, and his Shane Scully series is just fantastic. I've thought for years that GREATEST AMERICAN HERO was ripe to be adapted as a comic book, and I'm glad someone's finally making it happen. I always bristle when I hear people say the show's dated, or worse, when they refer to it as a "spoof." Sure, the show looks like it was created in the early 1980s, and that's because it was! I guarantee you that most shows that are currently on the air will look "dated" in 2028 (when we're watching them on holo-screens in our flying cars). And as for the "spoof" label -- the show had healthy doses of humor but it sure wasn't a spoof. It had a pretty healthy balance of action, drama, laughs, and even romance. The personalities of the three core characters (Ralph, Bill, and Pam) were remarkably well-drawn, and even now, the scenes that feature just the three of them having a conversation are great. The actors completely "get" their characters, and nothing rings false. In fact, those actors are a large part of why the show is so engaging. I sure hope it's able to survive the transition to comic book, where it won't be able to rely on the manic delivery or Robert Culp or the quiet exasperation of Connie Selleca.
So what will I be doing when the rest of the comic book community is in San Diego this weekend? I'll be running my ass off as part of the Ragnar Relay's Northwest Passage race. My team of 11 people will be running 187 miles over the course of Friday and Saturday. I'm running three separate legs of 3.7 miles, 8.5 miles, and 6.6 miles. I'm a pretty active runner. I run a few miles, five days a week. But this is my first relay race, and I've never run over 7 miles in my life, so that middle leg is going to be a killer. Plus, I'm running it around midnight. So ... enjoy San Diego and wish me luck!