Comic-Con International closed on July 21st at 5:00 pm, and what a sad time it was. I feel that the event is, save for a couple hours on Sunday, as long as it can be. I mean, Comic-Con could last an entire week, from Sunday through Sunday, and it'd be just lovely, but most people do have jobs and other commitments that would probably keep them from spending eight days at the event. Such is life. At any rate, I am already looking forward to next year and what is certain to be an even greater event. I left San Diego on Sunday tired but filled with the satisfaction of a convention well traversed.
As wonderful as Comic-Con is, it seems that every second spend there revolved around the show; there isn't time for anything beyond what's connected to the convention. Just as I did last year, I took a few days afterwards and did some sightseeing in a nearby city. Last year took me to San Francisco with stopovers in Los Angeles and Oakland, and this year I drove east out to Yuma and Phoenix, Arizona. There were some pretty cool things to see there, and I thought that I'd wrap up these Comic-Con pictures by posting some of the post-convention photos, most of which have at least something to do with comics. Oh, and cactuses, too.
Did someone say cactuses? The word that is just as acceptable as "cacti"? Well, it is well known that I have a great love for the spiny desert plants. And boy, were there some specimens to see as we drove east. The above picture is from Yuma, right across the border from California. It was amazing to see the scenery change so quickly after we left San Diego - it wasn't an hour before the climate changed from breezy and temperate to hot and arid.
Hey, it's another, absolutely gigantic cactus! I'm in this picture to give it some scale, and because I like to have my picture taken.
In between Yuma and Scottsdale was the Painted Rock Petroglyph Site. There were a lot of prehistoric paintings just out in the open. I thought that the one of the left of the above picture looks quite a bit like Dr. Zoidberg...
Once in Scottsdale, I stopped at the much-cooler-than-it-sounds Musical Instrument Museum, where I found this tribute to "Weird Al" Yankovic (I'm assuming, anyway)...
...and Elvis Presley.
You might have thought that coming right from Comic-Con, I might have been able to skip a trip to a local comic shop, but no, once Wednesday rolled around, I drove to Pop Culture Paradise in Tempe. I took a couple copies of Teddy and the Yeti and the Tick to leave with them. It was over 110 degrees Fahrenheit this day.
The shop was pretty big with lots of different displays. There were more than a few people walking around when I showed up. They had all of their new comics lined up on a wall, and had a small back issue section as well. I picked up a few comics and browsed.
I find that I've taken pictures of a number of comic shops for the blog in the past, and I always feel like at one point someone's going to catch me doing it and think I'm some corporate spy or something. Not this time, I guess.
The shop had a really nice action figure section with both new and vintage toys.
There were even some video games and snacks! This is a great store for events and killing time. It's not just a place to buy comics and leave. A large section of the store is devoted to gaming, too.
This was the most...interesting?...piece in the store. "Hey, kid, you want a terrifying bust of Harrison Ford as Han Solo?"
There were a number of high-end items as well, such as this super Thundercats statue. It was a fun store! I'm glad that I got to stop in to pick up my weekly comics.
On the way to my hotel, I saw this Dukes of Hazzard-themed saloon, which I'm sure made Larry extra jealous.
On one of the last nights I spent in the area before flying back to Pittsburgh, I went to the Phoenix Art Museum, which coincidentally, had a gallery on video game art! The whole museum was very cool, but one of the really neat things was the arcade they set up in the museum, with working games that you could play for free.
The video games all came in custom-painted cabinets, pained by local artists and re-imagining the original cabinet design. There were all kinds of classic games, from Mario Bros. to Pac Man to Gunsmoke to Rampage to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to this X-Men game, which seemed especially popular.
Hey, there's Colossus doing that weird thing that he does in the video game that has no basis on his actual powers at all!
And, for some reason, here's original Cyclops. He and Professor X look like they are taken from some John Byrne artwork, though I couldn't say exactly where.
The TMNT cabinet looks pretty cool, until you get down to April O'Neal, who is apparently...being molested?
Here's a high-angle shot of the exhibit floor with video game systems from all over, old and new.