Comic-con 2010 Memories
By Jason Sacks
Several of us from the staff of Comics Bulletin made the trek to San Diego for Comic-con this year. We thought we'd share some of our favorite stories and pictures of the convention with our best friends, the readers of Comics Bulletin. Be sure to share your favorite stories with us in the forum - we'd love to hear what you all did!
Why on Earth would anyone put up with a 490 mile, 8-hour drive just to be smothered by over 125,000 people and twilight fandrones for 4 1/2 days of sore, trampled-upon footsies, and seemingly endless lines? San Diego Comic-Con, that's why! I tell ya, all the swag, celebrity sightings, panels and programs, ALL the fun of SDCC is worth every minute of *torture* mentioned above for this claustrophobic artist. This was my second year attending, but my first as Press. I really enjoyed meeting some of the other writers for Comics Bulletin. Some of my other favorite Con moments included meeting Kaja & Phil Foglio (authors & artists of Girl Genius, What's New with Phil & Dixie, Myth Adventures! and Buck Godot), Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik of Penny Arcade fame, riding around San Diego (well for a couple of blocks, anyway) in the Black Beauty from The Green Hornet (one of my girlhood dreams!), and last-but never least, getting to meet the ENTIRE cast of The Guild (including Wil Wheaton). Oh! Did I also mention, I was in the the same room with THE LEGEND - STAN LEE! *faints* I'm so looking forward to doing it all again and seeing you all there next year!
Another year down, and more fun times and swag from sunny San Diego. There were plenty of good things to be had and seen at this year's Comic Con—that is if you could get into the panel you had planned to attend. If you wanted to check out any of the upcoming summer movies that were holding events in Hall H of the convention center, then you had to be prepared to wait all day. Yes, that means a big, long, wrap-around-the-building-three-times kind of line. Tron, Red, Salt, The Expendables, and Scott Pilgrim were "all day wait" events. I made the attempt for The Expendables because my love for Dolph Lundgren is unquenchable, but after waiting in line for an hour all of those remaining where told no one else was being admitted to the show room. Lesson learned: if waiting for Hall H, be in line at 9 am for shows that start at 4:45.
But waiting in line wasn't the only activity to be had at Comic Con. This year The Green Hornet was a major presence, and as horrible as I think that movie looks, I've always been a fan of the radio show and the TV show as well. Brit Reid's garage was open to the public, and housed several classic cars from the fictional character's fictional personal collection, including a bullet hole riddled Black Beauty. The best part was that everyone was invited to take a ride inside one of the 1966 Imperials used as the Black Beauty on the set of the film. For a gearhead and fan of the Green Hornet franchise, this was an ultimate experience.
Another ultimate, for anyone who is a fan of Street Fighter or Tekken, well, all I can say is it's happening. Oh yes, there will be a Street Fighter vs. Tekken game coming in the future. The audience was treated to a demo showing about half a round of live game play, which was just mind blowing. The teaser trailer and video of the demo can already be found on YouTube. How long will we have to wait for such wonders? Well, probably a little while longer as it is still in development. Until it's released, we'll all have to enjoy the retrofitted Marvel vs. Capcom III, which was a tremendous joy to play and had stellar graphics.
In other video game news, later this year DCU Online is releasing a new feature to home consoles: the ability to play classic DC characters such as Joker, Harley Quinn and Robin. People who pre-order the game will get Batman as a playable character. WB is releasing Batman: The Brave and the Bold for Wii. The game takes you through episodes of the show and just like the show it will feature short stories prior to the main story. The game is definitely aimed towards a younger crowd.
Spartacus: Blood and Sand made its sophomore appearance at the Con, bringing with it a trailer for the upcoming prequel Gods of the Arena, which looks just as bloody as the past season. Anyone who read my review of the show before it aired may remember me being less than thrilled with it. I would like to take this time to say that I finished watching the season and was greatly surprised at how good it got once Steven DeKnight stopped writing the episodes. If you have not watched Spartacus: Blood and Sand, I can now actually recommend it. Just bear with it through the first three episodes; by the fourth it gets interesting, by the fifth you're hooked, and by the end you're open-mouthed and speechless. Viva Bianca is one vicious bitch and she's fabulous. Best villain on TV by far and something to look forward to. Also on the TV circuit was the return of Nikita, with the lovely Maggie Q taking over the role from Peta Wilson's La Femme Nikita. Now while it hasn't been spread that this is a direct tie in to the last series, you can't ignore the fact that character names are the same and it has a very similar feel. I have to say I wasn't expecting much from the series, because it's been done, but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the pilot, and even more so because it's out of the CW which specializes in the drippy teen drama category.
And last but not least is the near to underground comic world; things that some of us wouldn't see if not for Con. I came across some little treasures while scouring the floor in the small press and web comic section of Comic Con. No Dice Inc. was once such find. Jorden Oliwa, who publishes under the pen name Johhny Gonzo posts a blog at johnnygonzo.blogspot.com/ where you can view his quirky art and animations. Since Tron was one of the biggest happenings at Con this year; I'll leave you with some of the Johhny Gonzo inspired pieces, which are outstanding.
Ariel Carmona Jr.
Comic-con 2010 is history. I had a blast. Thursday night I met up for dinner with the Comics Bulletin staff and editor in chief Jason Sacks at the Gaslamp district. I have to say, Hollywood has nothing on San Diego. This weekend was like one big party. I’m not sure if the carnival-circus atmosphere was due to the con, or if it’s regularly like that every weekend, but it’s certainly loads of fun.
Following the panels friday and the very satisfying debut of the new Batman animated film: Batman under the Red Hood, I met up with friends who had passes to the Drunkduck.com website comic cruise. It basically was this big V.I.P. party at a big boat in the marina behind the convention hall. Bonus: open bar.
The rest of the weekend I spent in panels, one of the most interesting of which was one discussing the the cultural impacts on pop culture the convention has both on the city of San Diego and on the communities it services. One interesting point brought up by one of the academicians attending was that of an apparent tension between long time attendees and new fans and the influence Hollywood has made on the event.
I won’t go into that because a lot has been said and written on this topic, especially after some long time attendees complained after last year’s convention that "Twilight killed Comic-con"
While such hyperbole may be a gutteral reaction from fans disappointed over their inability to get into a Hall H or Ballroom 20 event due to the extremely long (and growing) throngs at such "premium" panels, it is undeniable to me that two types of fans exist:
1. Those who are solely there to catch a glimpse, or a photo or discussions of their favorite movies, shows or hollywood genre project, be it sci-fi themed or not
2. Those who are more comic book lovers and are there to see the artists, writers, and comic book legends such as Stan Lee or Mark Evanier. I guess I fall into the latter category which may or may not be a minority.
However, according to a long time attendee who’s been coming since the '70s, Comic Con always welcomed that type of celebrity and attention with people like Ray Bradbury and others of his ilk being courted to attend. Therefore, if there is any resentment over an event in which Hollywood has now major influences, it was never an unwelcome intrusion according to some.
However, in my mind, there is something rather sad about a thing called Comic-Con in which a large percentage of attendees have never heard of someone like Dick Giordano or a Neal Adams.
It will be interesting to see if L.A., Anaheim, or Las Vegas manage to snatch away the convention from the San Diego area. This would be a shame because it is the consensus of those long time attendees, that San Diego is where it belongs.
How about shaking hands with Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer (creators of the Venture Brothers)...
...or listening to half of the cast of Futurama do their best Dr. Zoidberg?
Nearly being run down by Stan Lee and his entourage--because if anyone's gonna take you out at a Comic-Con, who better than "The Man"?
Convincing a favorite artist who won't sell your her originals to make new "originals" to sell you at a discount.
So naturally, since I've been back from Comic-con, my friends have been asking me how it was. And I find myself struggling to use the right superlative. Amazing? Incredible? Intense? Awesome? Surreal? All those words apply, and more.
See, this was my first trip to the Mothership, the biggest of them all, Geek Heaven. I'd been warned for years that the San Diego Comic-con was too huge, too intense, too crazy to be enjoyed. I was warned that the crowds would be crushing and ruin all my fun, that despite its name Comic-con was no longer about comics; in short, that the San Diego Comic-con was four days of sheer torture with a few moments of fun in between the time spent in the seventh circle of Hell.
Well, folks, as you might have guessed from my first paragraph, I have to disagree with all those complaints.
Sure, the crowds were terrible, but do you want to go to a party and have nobody show up? Yes, walking the convention floor was an absurd torture of horribly aching feet and bone-crushing crowds. But that's kind of the fun of this event. Because the convention was so huge and so intense and so filled with incredibly interesting and creative people that I found it almost impossible not to have fun.
I found Geekfest 2010 to be completely inspiring. Here was a giant crowd of people with incredible imaginations, who love comics and sci-fi and video games and LEGO and all the other detritus of American society that the rest of the world publicly finds so silly (and privately loves just like the rest of us).
I walked out the con with a tremendous feeling of euphoria and a wish to create like the rest of these people working behind tables. But I wouldn't want to sit behind the table, because I would have missed out on the best parts of the Con.
One of the real highlights of the convention for me was meeting so many members of my staff at a wonderful dinner party. (I can call them "my" staff since I'm the editor-in-chief, don'tcha know.) Ever meet someone who you only kind of vaguely know and have them turn out to become great pals? That's how I felt at our dinner, as I got to hang out with some of my favorite Comics Bulletineers – the wonderful Karyn Pinter, the woman who seems to always "know somebody"; Alex Rodrik, greatest networker I've ever seen, and his wonderful wife Jennifer; New Yorkers Steven Bari and (we share a passion for the work of Jaime Hernandez) his friend Andre (who I hope survived his trip to Tijuana); my pal Charles Webb, who seems to have a way with interviewing; Nate MacDonald, who cracked me up; Danny D and his amazing hat... you all were so terrific to meet, and we have to make this an annual tradition.
It was a blast attending the Futurama press conference with Charles. I loved being in the same room as Matt Groening, one of my heroes, and was tantalized by revelations of future Futurama storylines.
I went to several other great panels. Probably the most moving was hearing Wendy Everett talk about her life with her father, the legendary artist Bill Everett. Or maybe the most moving was hearing the wonderful cartoonist Carol Tyler discuss her father's difficult silence about his life and how hard it was to create a graphic novel about the experience. I like comics and experiences that are engaging and interesting, and these two panels really were fascinating.
But it wasn't all serious. It was awesome watching Todd McFarlane sit, Oprah-like, on a fan's lap during the Image Founders panel. Steve Rude was a hoot as he mockingly drew tattoos on his arm in an attempt to seem cool and current. Terry Moore was super nice, and the demo of 3-D TV was incredible.
I saw lots of professional friends and made many new friends. It was great to see Becky Hicks, Greg Espinoza, Jimmie Robinson, Derek McCulloch, Jim Valentino, Ted McKeever, talk to Jacen Burrows about his new horror comic with Alan Moore (the guy was glowing with excitement), the "Diary of a Hippy Kid" artists literally grabbing me as I walked the aisles and forcing their comic on me, and so very many more people – way too many to count. It was also finally getting to meet longtime Comics Bulletin columnist Tony Lee, now happily writing Doctor Who comics for IDW.
The second greatest moment was the surreal experience of meeting the real-life counterpart of Jimmie Robinson's Bomb Queen – look at her below and see if she isn't the spitting image of old Bombie. The weirdest moment of the weekend was the place where Jimmie set up her personal appearance. I won't say where we went, but if you look at the picture, you can make an educated guess.
But the very best moment of the weekend was meeting Patrick Warburton. I was out for dinner at the San Diego Ruth's Chris Steakhouse on Friday night with my longtime friend Carr D'Angelo, co-owner of the Eisner Award winning Earth-2 Comics, and some of Carr's friends and family. Among the friends was James Urbaniak, who plays Dr. Venture on The Venture Brothers - and who I just learned played Robert Crumb in the American Splendor movie.
We're all sitting there having a wonderful time and enjoying our dinner of dead animal flesh as I feel a lemon hit my knee. I turn around to the table behind us and do the casual "that's cool" wave of the oblivious. Quickly another lemon flies over and hits James. James turns around and his face lights up, and there, big as life, is the Tick! Patrick and James had worked together, of course, and proceeded to give each other a big bear-hug as they greeted each other
The rest of us at the table were all grinning from ear to ear, and of course we all had to stand up and shake Warburton's hand. He was completely gracious, introducing us to his son and his agent, and we left him and James to catch up with each other. We went back to our dinner, grinning from ear to ear, until Warburton and his party got up from the table to walk out. Patrick stopped to shake James's hand, started for the door, then quickly turned around, looked us all in the eye, and with a big smile, said, "Great to meet you!" before heading out the door. What an awesome guy!
So yeah, this was an incredible weekend, and I haven't even mentioned half of the great experiences I had at it. I'll be back next year for sure, and I hope to see you there as well. I can't guarantee you'll meet a TV star, but I think you'll have a great time.
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