Thursday, the biggest news to come from Comic-Con International wasn't news revealed at a panel or something happening on the convention floor. No, it was the goings on at a baseball diamond about 10 minutes north of downtown San Diego where DC Comics and Marvel Comics squared off in a grudge match, err, softball game to raise money and awareness for the ACTOR Comic Fund, a not-for-profit corporation dedicated strictly to helping comic book creators in need.
The weather was perfect. Well, the weather is almost always perfect in Southern California, but today it felt as though the stars aligned just for the game. I'm sure the participants who were sweating their butts off playing today might take some issue with that, but hey, at least it wasn't humid!
While at the game, editors, artists, creators and others found it a nice temporary diversion from the craziness on the convention floor. The chance to take in a little sun and fresh air was relished by all. Everyone appeared to be having a great time, with lots of playful ribbing amongst opponents. And, in fact, I saw numerous people with their Blackberries out messaging staffers back at the convention with score updates.
Ultimately, it was Marvel's day to shine, as the team beat DC Comics easily 22 to 11. Jim McLauchlin, the man behind ACTOR and this fund raiser, told CBR News after the game that Marvel was led by Marketing Director John Dokes, who went 2-2 with 4 RBIs. By contrast, Croatian artist Esad Ribic went to bat the first time with a cigarette dangling from his mouth and his second at bat was, well, shirtless (sadly we left before getting a chance to capture that image for the world to see). Suffice it to say, he went 0-2.
As part of the event, fans could bid for one spot on each team. The winner of the DC Comics auction was Shawn Kirkham, who paid $1325 for the honor to play along side the likes of Jim Lee, Dan DiDio, Mark Waid and many others. He was named MVP of the DC team after going 2-2 with 5 RBIs.
The winner of the Marvel auction was Mike Malve, owner of the Atomic Comics chain in Arizona. He paid $860 for the privilege of playing alongside the likes of John Romita Jr., Robert Kirkman, Axel Alonso and other Marvel staffers. Mike went 0-1 with a walk.
"More than anything else today, we had a lot of fun," McLauchlin told CBR News. His biggest concern in putting on this event was breaking even (there were a number of costs involved, such as transportation and reserving the field). When all is said and done, McLauchlin believes they'll have been successful in their goal and raised a couple of grand with the event. "Now that we've done it once, we can teak and fine tune it for the next time," said McLauchlin.
Will there be a rematch next year in San Diego? Will DC Comics get a chance to exact revenge on their cross town rivals? McLauchlin plans on making it happen.