April 9th, 2018

comic con // silicon valley.

Saturday was Silicon Valley Comic Con. SVCC began in 2016, and has grown exponentially since then. There were around 60,000 attendees in the first year and an estimated 100,000 this past weekend. I actually attended last year and decided to replicate the experience — it seemed especially important when I was in the depths of post-ECCC ennui. So, we gathered a crew, bought Saturday passes, and headed to San Jose. SVCC is definitely a more local con than ECCC, but it also has a significantly smaller crowd, thereby affording attendees more space to linger at booths without getting pushed about by a host of foam swords. The one thing I was a little bummed about was the fact that they didn’t have the outdoor biergarten setup like last year, perhaps because the weather was initially supposed to be poor. Another complaint I heard from several people was that the line for to meet Stan Lee was prohibitively long and he also cancelled his panel because he wasn’t feeling well. Stan Lee is one of the true kings of geekdom, but he’s also 95 years old — I can imagine the con scene is both overwhelming and exhausting at this point. On the other hand, I did see several excited people who had gotten their photo-op and were showing it off.

I didn’t attend any panels (nothing piqued my interest on Saturday, but I wish I had gotten to see Mads Mikkelsen speak at the Star Wars panel on Friday night — sad), so my group mostly just wandered the show floors and autograph area looking at cosplay, the various booths, and hanging out. There weren’t any literary guests I was particularly interested in meeting either, so I didn’t queue for autographs, but we did spontaneously jump into a photo with Det. Ortega (Martha Higareda) from Altered Carbon. If you haven’t watched the show, it takes place in Bay City (aka: future San Francisco) 500 years in the future and is based on the cyperpunk novel of the same name by Richard K. Morgan. Det. Ortega is a badass, ball-busting Latina whose fight scenes showcase Higareda’s impressive physical acting.

Per usual, I mostly haunted Artist’s Alley and met a few new-to-me artists. I was also positively gleeful to find Jacqueline DeLeon selling prints, comics, and stickers. She’s a squee-level artist for me and I have watched her livestream digital paintings so many times that being able to buy her art (specifically the amethyst witch holographic print) and (finally) pick up her indie comic, Sirens of San Francisco, was a really fun experience. (I tagged all the artists in my Instagram post, if you’re interested).

Overall, it was a solid con that I hope will have some additions and improvements in the future — lots of good cosplay and local artists, an impressive guest list, and a fun group of friends. Now, I am looking forward to San Francisco Comic Con in June. I remain hopeful they will up their literary guest game, but, if not, I am still excited — especially because they relocated it to the Oakland Convention Center this year which makes me think (hope) it will be bigger than last year’s.