Saturday, January 10, 2015

Snippets #32: August 10, 1985 (first San Diego Comicon trip, part one)

       This is from an August 10, 1985 letter to various.

Note: This letter is a kind of "group letter" which I wrote and mailed to family members and a few friends to let them know about my first trip to the San Diego Comic Con. I obviously didn't take my ADAM computer with me, nor a typewriter, and laptops were far off in the future… so how did I include all the daily details? It's possible my memory was much sharper back then, but I suspect I actually made some handwritten notes while out there, so I could later put together a letter like this.

This was not my first airplane experience -- I think that must have been either the Detroit convention or the Atlanta convention -- but it was definitely my first trip to the other side of the USA.

I find it interesting that I made no mention of Stan Sakai -- I thought for sure he and I met out there on this trip. Maybe it was the next one, in 1986? Hard to say, and I have not run across a letter about that trip yet, if such a thing exists. 

Also, I should note that in my excited description of Jack Kirby later in the letter, I think I should have said "co-creator" for some of those characters referred to there. 

        Unfortunately, the only copy of this letter which I have so far been able to find is missing the last page. But I don't think there was likely much on that last page, as the last paragraph of the penultimate page finds us back in Sharon, CT, after the Con. 

        Because this letter is somewhat lengthy, and also because it is conveniently broken up into each day's experiences, I think I will post one day per day, beginning with the trip out, as follows. -- PL]

        "Yow! Here I am, back on the east coast after five fun-filled and exciting days in San Diego. What a trip!

        Everything went well, for which I am grateful. We left Sharon two Wednesdays ago (July 31) at 9:00AM, because we didn't want to miss our 12:05 flight from Hartford. We got there on time, and checked in without any problems, then boarded the plane and headed off to Pittsburgh, PA, where we changed planes. Then from there is was on to San Diego, with one stop in Phoenix, AZ. It was neat flying over the desert -- it looks like such an alien landscape, so unlike New England. There was so much flat, open space with very little vegetation, and where there were hills they just kind of rose abruptly out of the earth, with no thick growth of trees to soften their contours. Pretty wild-looking! But basically the flight was pretty boring… took about six hours to get to San Diego form Hartford.

        Actually, it was pretty neat landing in San Diego, because the airport is almost in the downtown! Really, I' say the landing and take-off strips are no more than a mile or two from the center of town. So we got a pretty good aerial view of the city on our way down. We got our luggage (crammed with all kinds of valuable stuff!) with no problem, and grabbed a cab to our hotel, which was just a short distance from the airport. It was strange to think that we had just gained three hours by flying to California… it was about 5:30 when we arrived at our hotel, the Hotel San Diego. Not a bad place -- a nice hotel that had obviously seen better days, and was a little run down, but well-staffed.

        Kevin and I took advantage of the fact that it was still so early to walk around a bit. The hotel was right in the downtown, and was (thankfully) a pretty short walk to the convention center where the comic con was being held (about three blocks). We cruised around a bit, taking in the sights and marveling at the lack of traffic on the streets and sidewalks. It all seemed very mellow, even on the strip in front of our hotel. Curiously enough, the Hotel San Diego was directly across the street from the last strip of "adult" entertainment facilities in downtown San Diego -- a few adult book stores, some strip joints, and several tattoo parlors. It became clear later that this was a pretty small strip considering that there were tons of sailors from the nearby naval bases roaming around the town. It was all strangely mellow, though -- nobody hassled you. The same area in New York would have you fearing for your life. What was really odd was that on our side of the street, there were all these nice hotels and further down all these beautiful condos and even further a complex of little Yuppy shops called Seaport Village.

        Kevin went back to the airport to meet his girlfriend Diane, whose flight was scheduled to get in at 8:00. While he did that, I wandered around the hotel and strolled down the sidewalk a ways. I was standing out on the sidewalk in front of the hotel, eating a Chipwich, when Kev and Diane pulled up in a taxi. We were all too tired to go out to dinner that night, so we had a drink at the hotel bar and shuffled off to bed."

1 comment:

  1. Flying into Phoenix today, you'd see a lot more city and a lot less desert. (Still plenty of desert out there, but expansion is rapid, and I suspect it will continue until it hits Tucson or we have a major water crisis, whichever comes first.)

    I gather New York's a lot different these days too, but I've only been once and that was nearly a decade ago.

    Talking of Sakai, who would have thought we'd still be talking about Usagi Yojimbo 30 years later? The final issue of Senso is out this week and it's masterful. And last week I picked up a 600-page trade that included the complete Mirage UY series and the early issues of the Dark Horse one. What an amazing future we live in.