Once again it’s summer in San Diego, and for the 42nd year in a row, from July 12 – 15, what has morphed into Comic-Con will bring people from all over the world to San Diego to celebrate not just comic books, TV shows and movies but a larger range of pop culture elements, such as horror, animation, anime, manga, toys, collectible card games, video games, webcomics, and fantasy novels.
So what is a writer of international thrillers doing at a show like this, at a convention that will showcase all manner of costumed attendees intent on honoring the characters they love? Well, when the writer writes novels with cutting-edge scientific premises – his most recent, “Blood Line,” about immortality – and those novels are steeped in real possibilities, those novels and that writer are Comic-Con worthy.
NY Times bestselling author Jim Rollins, the author of Blood Line, took the time to answer some questions about San Diego’s signature convention and his work.
With all the touring you do as an author, what draws you to Comic-Con?
I’ve been going to Comic-Con for the past 16 years, back when there was only one publishing house with a booth (Del Rey Books). First and foremost, I go because there is literally nothing like a Comic-Con experience, and now with multiple publishing houses manning booths, it’s a media juggernaut and a great vehicle for getting your books in front of masses of new readers.
When we think of Comic-Con, we think of attendees in strange costumes. But what is Comic-Con really about?
The costumes get a lot of publicity, but the core of Comic-Con is pure exuberance and excitement. Stepping onto that massive floor for the first time each year, you can feel the lightning in the air: the noise, the crowds, the crazy booths.
Here is a tribe of people with thousands of different interests who share a riotous common bond in the joy of storytelling in all its art forms: comics, books, movies, and television.
Do you feel that large events like Comic-Con help you stay in touch with your fans? Or is the camaraderie lost in the crowd?
Not at all. Though the event is massive, the moments are intimate. In that chaotic zoo, that personal one-on-one connection still exists. Whether it’s answering a question in a panel or shaking a hand across a signing table, those close interactions still persist. It’s the true heart of Comic-Con.
When did you first come to Comic-Con and why?
My first Comic-Con was in 1996. I was a new author for Del Rey Books, promoting the first book in my fantasy series under my pseudonym “James Clemens.” I didn’t know what to expect—and I was blown away. Walking in there, I knew I had found my true tribe.
Are there other events like this in the U.S. that you attend or is Comic-Con it for you?
I’ve attended other large conferences and conventions: Dragon Con, World Con, Bouchercon, Thrillerfest. But they are pale, small shadows of San Diego Comic-Con. I’ve said it before: there is NOTHING like Comic-Con.