Associated Press journalists open their notebooks at this year's Comic-Con in San Diego:



A big part of Comic-Con is searching for a specific comic book or a special edition graphic novel, or a lithograph bearing a scene from a favorite film.

Those and so much more are up for sale at Comic-Con International, and as the four-day event winds down Sunday, many in the exhibition hall are cutting prices in a bid to sell off their wares.

Comics dealers posted signs offering 10, 20 and even 50 percent off several titles. Purveyors of toys offered two-for-one specials. Down one aisle, a woman hawking manga repeated "20 percent off all the anime!" to entice browsers.

It's a buyer's market, and Nick Louise of San Jose was going to check it out.

"Some of it's free. They don't want to pay to take it back," Louise said of the discounts and, in some cases, freebies that retailers want to unload. "We'll happily take it home."

— Matt Moore ( )



Artist J.H. Williams III says the artists who illustrate comic books can help change the way a reader perceives the story and have a "huge impact on how the story feels" as pages are turned, images examined and words read.

Williams, whose artwork on DC Entertainment's Batwoman is lush, thematic and flowing, is in the midst of illustrating Vertigo Comics' upcoming The Sandman Overture, working with writer Neil Gaiman to tell a prequel of sorts to the groundbreaking comic.

He said that seeing how visual styles affect reader impressions is what led him to "dabbling in so many different art styles within one story from scene to scene or sometimes from panel to panel. I'll shift the style based on what's happening in the story. It subliminally makes the reader view it in a different way."

Williams said that's only possible in the medium of comic art and, he said, "has a great impact on a story because of it."

— Matt Moore ( )



The prospect of lines — long lines — at Comic-Con International is built-in to the entire experience.

Volunteers are on hand to help shepherd hundreds and often thousands of people headed to see panels featuring television show and movie stars, comic book artists and writers, and autograph-seekers, too. There's always one at the start, bearing a sign, while still others help keep track of the twists and turns, too, and, finally, the one at the end with a simple sign atop a pole: "End of the line."

— Matt Moore ( )