Comic-Con
Photos courtesy of Robb Pearlman

First Comic-Con memories

by Eddie Gamarra

Friday July 25th. 7:25AM. Union Station.

My assistant Biz arrives, excited for her first Con. While it’s no Hogwart’s Express, the Pacific Surfliner whisks us off to another magical place – San Diego. As we chugged along the beach, I recalled my first trip fondly and thought it would be fun for me and some friends, colleagues and clients to share some favorite memories.

Eddie GamarraEddie Gamarra

Literary Manager/Producer
First Con: 2004
“I had started the Comic Book Collector’s Club in high school and had gone to some local conventions in Staten Island when I was a kid, but none of that could prepare me for the SDCC. I was only a month in at Gotham. Took the train down with a bunch of colleagues. Our annual Gotham party was then held in a small Spanish restaurant. One had to descend a flight of stairs to a dark interior with low ceilings. I had no idea what was in store for our party. When I saw Mark Hamill, I realized I worked for an awesome company! When the party was over, I hit the floor. I was greatly relieved to realize I left my wallet in my bag back at the restaurant’s main office because I would have spent all my money on Boba Fett stuff.”

Stephan FranckStephan Franck

Creator of Silver
First Con: A year ago
“Fave memory, it’s a tie:
1) Being nominated for the Russ Manning award and being part of the Eisner ceremony meant the world to me, as Will Eisner was my hero.
2) Seen at the Con: 9 am on Sunday, the door opens and people run in — and I mean run — in spite of the loudspeakers blaring ‘There is no running in the exhibit hall. Please walk calmly to your destination.’ A guard randomly stops one young woman, who is running, and asks her where she is running to. She looks at him like a deer in the headlights, looking completely confused, and after a beat, she goes ‘I… I don’t know…’ And she takes off, running.”

Selwyn Seyfu Hinds

Feature and Comic Book Writer (Vertigo Comics’ Voodoo Child)
First Con: 2005
“The teaser trailer for The Dark Knight Rises had just dropped right before Con. And like any card-carrying geek, I’d already watched it a hundred times and memorized every frame. So we’re in San Diego, at Syfy’s sexy hotel pool party, and Sammy Huntington (Being Human) and I suddenly realize we’re obsessed with the same insane five seconds — when Bane and Batman square off mid-fight. Which naturally meant we had to re-enact the whole thing. With shuffling shadow-boxing moves and frame-by-frame narration. In the middle of an industry event, age and professional dignity be damned. Just a couple of adolescent boys excited to finally see Batman fight Bane — pure Comic-Con.”

Allan de LeonAllan de Leon

Machinima Programming Manager
First Con: 1994 (not professional); 2006 (professional)
“The first industry party I ever went to was a Sleeping Giant/Dark Horse Party. I was a young assistant at the time and was starting to meet people. Comic-Con was still very niche, but it was still a surreal experience meeting Bryan Singer at a party and casually discussing Superman Returns (the movie had released, and was a disappointment). After that point, I realized that Comic-Con is the Sundance for pop culture. The people that go to this event are the audience and lovers of what we do. It’s incredible.”

Robb Pearlman

Rizzoli Publishing/Associate Publisher
First Con: 2007
“I remember being completely overwhelmed by the crowds, the amount to do and see, and the incredible energy. But the one thing that made an enormous impact was seeing a booth draped in the same Star Wars bed sheets that I had as a kid. It was at once funny and comforting and I knew I felt at home.”

Troy UnderwoodTroy Underwood

Disney Television Animation 
Director, Current Series
First Con: 2002
“Driving down on a Saturday from L.A., finding parking, getting in line for a ticket, buying ticket, and walking into a panel in Hall H – no waiting.”

Ethan Nicolle

Co-creator and Illustrator of Axe Cop
First Con: 2001
“Favorite memory from that Con:
 Got a $30 hotel room in Chula Vista. Ate PBJ the whole time except the night I ordered pizza from what I later found out to be an illegal unsafe garage pizza seller. I stood in long lines to have my portfolio rejected. After a long, sad and disappointing Con full of rejection, I decided to sit in on a random panel featuring some guy named Doug TenNapel.”

Doug TenNapel

Artist
First Con: 1989
“Favorite memory (from first Con): 
It was small. I had no money and went to the ‘freebies’ table where I loaded up on a month’s reading material.”

Matthew Holm

Co-creator of the Babymouse and Squish series
First Con: 2010
“I remember coming in on Saturday night, when the city was completely crazy. We were invited to a book publisher party that was taking place in the Hard Rock Cafe, which gave us a fantastic view of the crowd as they strolled through town. In that crowd, I had my first Comic-Con celebrity sighting: it was of actor Eric Balfour, who played “Jesse”, Xander Harris’s friend in the pilot episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and who gets turned into a vampire and then killed off almost immediately). People in the crowd were cheering at him as he passed, and I thought — this is the only place and time in the world that an actor who was killed off in the first episode of a TV series would be recognized and greeted like an A-list celebrity.
 Comic-Con is the place where everyone gets a chance to feel like a superstar!”

Jennifer Holm

Co-creator of the Babymouse and Squish series
First Con: 2010
“Favorite memory from that Con: I learned my most important lesson: comfortable shoes are key to happiness. And I also learned that creators are some of the most gracious and wonderful people in the world when I met the late Ray Bradbury.”

Eddie Gamarra

About Eddie Gamarra

Eddie Gamarra could have been a shrink, but ended up in literary representation. He is married to Katrina Knudson, the “non-pro” to his “pro.”

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