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Category: Comic-Con 2004

July 27, 2004

Comic-Con '04 Backposting

In order to keep my panel notes in semi-chronological order, I'm backposting them. I will keep track of the new posts here, in case you are interested.

Newest: * Stan Sakai

New: * Quick Draw Panel * Kung-fu extravaganza

Slightly older: * Mirrormask (Gaiman and McKean) * The Incredibles (Brad Bird) * Composition in Storytelling * Ray Bradbury * PvP/Penny Arcade (Added photo) * 24 Hour Comic Panel * Quotations * TnA report

Older: * Costumes * Buffy! * Schwag report * Summary and Advice * Queen and Country Sketches * Pixar/Incredibles/Brad Bird

The Quick Draw Panel page is likely to be updated when I exchange notes with honeyfields.

July 26, 2004

Comic-Con Quotations

Ted Naifeh (approximate quotation):

I thought life would take me many places, but I never thought I'd draw a three-breasted woman

honeyfields seemed to like this one, which I gave in reference to the numerous, inexplicably long lines for collectible, expensive, merchandise:

A fool and his money should be parted swiftly, not slowly and painfully

Sarah Michelle Gellar, most popular excuse she gave for why she had never been to Comic-Con before:

There's not enough merchandise with my damn face on it

Comic-Con: Costumes

Read on to see the three costumes that caught my attention well enough for me to take a photo.

Continue reading "Comic-Con: Costumes" »

July 25, 2004

Sketches: Indy Press

In this entry are sketches from Eric Shanower (Age of Bronze), Michael Gagne (draws all manner of twisted things, including twisted bunnies), and Ross Campbell (Spooked, a bit of Hopeless Savages). The Campbell and Naifeh sketches were for pqbon; the request for both was along the lines of, "draw my roommate something that mocks him for not being here." The Naifeh request was humorous because Naifeh had his right arm in a sling from a motorcycle accident. We showed him some of the broken leg sketches that we got for pqbon last year as inspiration (hence, the arm sling on Courtney Crumrin's arm).

I was also lucky enough to get a sketch from Jeff Smith. It happened pretty much by accident, as I happened to run into him wandering out of the Quick Draw panel. I asked for a sketch and he said, "sure," as long as I walked with him so as to prevent everyone else from swarming to him. Getting a sketch otherwise would have been fairly tough as his booth was packed whenever he was there. He had these beautiful gold leaf, hardcover editions of the complete Bone series that I really wanted, but were a bit over my budget ($120).

Ted Naifeh

I was hesitant to approach Naifeh at first as he had his right arm in a sling. Then I noticed him signing stuff and realized he is left handed. This sketch goes well with Ross Campbell's sketch, also mocking pqbon. In fact, Ross Campbell's sketch is drawn in the indentations of Naifeh's sketch, as Naifeh tends to press really hard. Ross said something to the effect of, "awesome, I get to draw in Ted Naifeh's indentations!"

naifeh sketch

More sketches in the extended entry.

Continue reading "Sketches: Indy Press" »

Sketches: Small Press

We wondered around a bit in the small press section (small press as in, DIY, as opposed to Indy Press like Oni and Slave Labor). I got sketches from Art Baltazar (Wolf Boy) and James Burks (Martin's Misdirection). honeyfields fared even better and got those as well as a really awesome sketch from the author/artist of Horus.

James Burks was really nice to talk to. He had worked as an animator on the doomed Iron Giant project; he talked about how Brad Bird had described the final months of that project as being in an airplane and being able to see the runway, but you're out of gas so you have to start jettisoning items to try and glide the airplane in.

For his comic he combined his fondness for magic with his desire to draw comics; he also felt that was a rabbit was a perfect match for a comic about magic and was surprised to see that it wasn't being done.

Art Baltazar was cranking out sketches with the markers and the cartoons, in a sort of grown-up-imitating-a-child-drawing-superheroes style. He had a Havoc that strangely amused me. honeyfields got a nice sketch of the Grimm Reaper that I hope to add to this entry, in addition to her nice Horus sketch.

James Burks

burks sketch

Continue reading "Sketches: Small Press" »

Sketches: PvP/Penny Arcade

Gabriel from Penny-Arcade was quick with the sketches and nice with the requests. Both of the sketches I got are pseudo-references to recent strips that they've done, in case you're wondering, though the one I got for pqbon is a very weak reference, and more just an opportunity to have Gabe insult him.

Penny Arcade

The 'mess up' refers to the fact that he misspelled "high" the first time around.

penny arcade sketch

More sketches in the full entry.

Continue reading "Sketches: PvP/Penny Arcade" »

Comic-Con Schwag

Schwag is a big component of Comic-Con. I wasn't on as much of a schwag hunt this year, but I think I did manage to pick up some items that will survive in my possession, rather than get tossed in the trash several months from now when I realize how useless it is. I was also trying to be minimal in the amount of stuff that I was toting around with me, and, for the most part, I avoided posters, which are hard to keep in good condition.

1. The Tie Fighter Fleet of destruction.

tie fightersparakkum and honeyfields graciously donated their Imperial fighters to my fleet so that it would be more impressive.

I like the lego minis -- they have the proper amount of abstractness. I much prefer them to the mid-size lego models that assume too much detail; you become too aware of the differences between the model and the real thing. Not quite the Uncanny Vally, but perhaps similar.

On a similar note, s was talking to me during the ride home from the airport about McCloud's work and how McCloud discusses how abstraction in comics serves to allow the reader to project their own impressions on the work. I think they minis work this way -- I even found my subconscious playing the Imperial March as I assembled the minis, but that may just be because I'm insane.

2. Advance reading copy of Rucka's new Queen and Country novel, A Gentlemen's Game

honeyfields got me a copy of this while I was snapping photos of Buffy. Rucka signed it, "After this, everything changes." It contains numerous spoilers for the upcoming Q&C comics, so unfortunately this will have to sit on my shelf for awhile.

3. Incredibles poster by Mike Mignola (Min-yola, not Mig-nola)

Apparently Brad Bird is a big fan of Mignola's art, and the poster is a nice depiction of Mr. Incredible. I will try and get a photo once it is back in my possession.

4. Sky captain t-shirt

I liked this t-shirt because, unlike most free t-shirts, it isn't an advertisement first and a t-shirt second. A Punisher t-shirt I got, for example, has URL for the movie below the skull.

Honorable mention: The Grudge hat

It's a high-quality black hat with bright red kanji letters on the front. I think I will take a knife to it and cut out "The Grudge" translation that's on the back of the hat, at which point it will become a cool item.

Comic-Con TnA report

I capturing the sights and sounds of the Comic-Con, I would be remiss in not discussing the, uh, TnA. Needless to say, there was no end to the: * paintings of scantily clad women, often with small "family friendly" stickers * pictures of scantily clad women (an occasional Playboy playmate even), oftentimes with that woman sitting behind an album of them * groups of scantily clad women, hired by vendors, such as the eAdultComics harem

There's even TnA packaged for kids, such as this woman whose costume features foam cleavage:


But really, I mainly wanted to write this post to give a special award to the makers of Species III. I could give them an award because someone was idiotic enough to make two sequels to that terrible movie (this one so shameful that not even Natasha Henstridge would appear in it). Surprisingly, though, that wasn't the most ignominious act associated with this movie series. The most ignominious act, in my opinion, occurred at their booth at Comic-Con, which you can see a picture of if you read on.

Continue reading "Comic-Con TnA report" »

Comic-Con: Buffy!

I got to see Buffy, I mean Sarah Michelle Gellar. She seemed a little nervous and overwhelmed, perhaps because it started off poorly. The first question, as expected, was why hadn't she been to Comic-Con before. Expecting this, she pulled out a chronological list of reasons as to why she hadn't been there. It was a list only a comic geek could love, and it was delivered by someone who clearly wasn't a comic geek, to a crowd that contained many people who weren't comic geeks. I didn't even get them all (someone want to fill me in on the Phantom Zone reference?). According to my sparse notes, the reasons were (I may be missing one):

  1. Holding out for all the image guys to return to Marvel
  2. Two words: Phantom Zone
  3. Didn't have a ride back to LA
  4. Still trying to make sense of the Spiderman clone story
  5. Dark Knight Strikes Again -> done with comics
  6. Gonna wait for the next Tick issue. Still waiting.
  7. Waiting for Peter David/Todd McFarlane debate to be over
  8. Already married to world's biggest comic geek
  9. Not enough merchandise with my damn face on it

The rest of the talk was fairly bland: some nice things said about the Japanese people, Gellar's failed attempts to learn Japanese in time for the Japan premiere of The Grudge, compliments to the other guy for Roswell. The main highlight I remember was an exchange where a girl asked her if she ever used any of her characters to help her through real-life situations. Gellar replied, "You know they're not real, right?" which was followed by her saying that Cruel Intentions did teach her how to kiss a girl, "thank you Paris Hilton."

Eliza Dushku was also there again this year desperately trying to revive her dying show. As you can tell in the gallery, it was a whole lot easier to get close enough to take decent photos. In at least one of the Sarah Michelle Gellar photos you can see the shrimpy security guy moving me away.

Buffy/Faith Photo Gallery (23 Photos)

Comic-Con Summary and Advice

First off, I must give my thanks to honeyfields and parakkum; without both of their unique skills Comic-Con would have been an impossibly overwhelming experience rather than the manageably overwhelming experience it has been the past two years. parakkum served as the war-hardened veteran with the encyclopedic knowledge of all things comics. Who's where, what's cool, where's this were all questions I repeatedly asked and had answered. Honeyfields served as the charmer: she'd approach the booth first and strike up a long conversation with the artist/author, by the end of which we'd both have great sketches (though usually hers are a bit better :) ).

Now that I have completed my second trip, our game plan has been further tested, implemented, and tweaked. This game plan pretty much summarizes how I spent everyday at the con, and it worked fairly well for me. I offer this as advice to all those who plan to attend future Comic-Cons.

Continue reading "Comic-Con Summary and Advice" »

July 24, 2004

I'm back

Todo list:
- blog about Comic-Con (panels, schwag, sketches)
- process Comic-Con photos
- read Comic-Con comics
- watch three days of Tour de France stages (even though the outcome was inadvertently spoiled already).
- blog about said three stages
- build awesome tie fighter fleet of destruction

Tomorrow I head off to my first ever academic conference, AAAI, which is an AI conference in exciting San Jose. Other people get to go to boring places like Vienna for conferences, but really, the commute there is terrible.

Comic-Con: Mirrormask

Dave McKean and Neil Gaiman were back like acting like the old married couple that they are in order to talk about Mirrormask. I was happy because I finally got to see a couple clips of what it would actually look like, though I was pressed for time and saw only one of the several clips. It pretty much looked like Dave McKean art done in 3-D, which is rather cool.

Some highlights: * Gaiman had toured Pixars massive render farm. In comparison, McKean only had a "Render Cottage Garden." * Gaiman mentioned that they never officially got the green light for the film. It was more of a "blinking amber." * McKean: "Every possible thing has gone wrong... I don't want to go through it again." A lot of the film was done during a heatwave, which tasked their computers as well as their actors in full makeup/masks. * McKean: with computer-generated graphics, realism is often the goal. Instead, McKean wanted to explore the range that CG would allow so that he could make something more illustrative, more dream-like.

Read on for a couple photos.

Continue reading "Comic-Con: Mirrormask" »

Comic-Con: Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury's session was mostly full of soundbites and anecdotes (which he was prompted for). I'm afraid that these notes are very accurate, but I am transcribing them for my memory anyway. For each of these stories there's a lot more to tell, and I'm fairly certain that they've been told before (as most of the stories were prompted), so I would Google for the whole story if you're actually interested.

Read on for my notes and a photo.

Continue reading "Comic-Con: Ray Bradbury" »

Comic-Con: Pixar

Brad Bird was at Comic-Con promoting The Incredibles along with one of the producers and a moderator. Brad Bird was fun to listen to as he riffed on the transition from going from the 2-D animation world to Pixar's version of 3-D animation. My favorite example of the difference between the two worlds was about blowing up planets. In 3-D animation, it's really easy to blow up a planet. Here is my approximation of this anecdote:

  • Animators: "You want this robot to crash through and car to go everywhere?"
  • Bird: "Yeah"
  • Animators: "Okay. How many cars?"
  • Bird: [answer]
  • Animators: "Okay. What kind of damage do you want?"
  • Bird: "A variety of damage."
  • Animators: "Variety of damage? Okay, we can do that."
  • Bird: "Alright, in this next scene I want him to grab his shirt and--"
  • Animator 1: gasps "Does he know what he's asking for?"
  • Animator 2: "Do we have a budget for that?"

Animators will go to a movie and yawn at the explosions, but if they see a shirt grab, they immediately go, "I must talk to that man who did that shirt grab." Bird learned to ration his shirt grabs, but he assured us that The Incredibles will have the best shirt grabs.

There was also a big difference in the time delays in doing 3-D animation. Even though everything is done somewhat in parallel, there's a huge gap before you start seeing anything. Bird felt that at meetings he was making "another 1000 decisions for the pit," but wouldn't see anything back, until all of a sudden there were a bunch of images streaming back.

Also, with computer-generated images, the minute you put in detail, it begins to demand more detail. You add in freckles, and then you have to add in eyebrows. And because you've added in eyebrows you have to put in nostrils, and because you put in nostrils, you need to do nose hair, and suddenly you end up with realistic, deformed people.

I found this anecdote interesting because it was Bird basically describing the Uncanny Valley, which I am so fond of finding examples of. This is Pixar's first venture into modeling humans, so they had to work hard to make sure that they're presentation would stay far to the left of the valley, which Bird did by finding the appropriate ways to simplify.

Someone had asked him, "so when are you going to do real movies?" To Bird, animated films have all the same elements. You have characters, staging, cutting. You have to deal with animators the same as you would actors. The animators want to be talked to in acting terms, emotions to express, not in technical computer terms.

Bird had kind things to say about John Lasseter, who threw himself between Bird and the "forces of mediocrity" and made sure that Bird's transition in Pixar went well. He's happy that Pixar isn't trying to play it safe and is doing stories that the directors feel passionate about. Lasseter is passionate about toys (his office is full of toys) as well as cars, which lead to both Toy Story and Cars. Bird was raising a family and ended up projecting those emotions into The Incredibles, which is a story he wanted to do prior Pixar.

Read on for some photos.

Continue reading "Comic-Con: Pixar" »

Panel: Quick Draw Improv

This is one of my favorite Comic-Con panels. This year's panel featured Sergio Aragones (Groo), Jeff Smith (Bone), and Scott Shaw (Hanna Barbara master). For those of you not familiar with Quick Draw and/or Sergio, you should know Sergio draws obscenely fast, which will perhaps make some of the prompts and drawings make more sense.

Warning: really large download if you read on.

Continue reading "Panel: Quick Draw Improv" »

July 23, 2004

Comic-Con: Composition in Storytelling

Didn't stay at this panel very long. It was by two Atelier folks, one who worked mostly with digital, and the other mostly in analog. Some of the main points were:
* keep your corners vacant, don't want to put important stuff there
* establish a grid, keep focal points away from border region
* spacing to border can establish mood. Squishing character against border creates sense of claustrophobia.
* tie your panels together. beyond the Marvel-y techniques of pointing and looking to establish connections between panels, try to lock panels together by echoing curves and shapes from one panel to another.

Most of everything else was a Photoshop tutorial, and the room was uncomfortably warm, so we jetted. I was hoping for something more along the lines of showing a bunch of different comic book pages and deconstructing their composition, rather than a live demonstration of composing a page, but that's more my learning style.

Comic-Con: 24-hour Comics

Read on for a sparse and paraphrased transcript as well as a couple of photos

Continue reading "Comic-Con: 24-hour Comics" »

July 22, 2004

Comic-Con: Kung-fu Extravaganza

parakkum says that this has gone downhill over the years. This year there were a couple of interesting clips for me, but overall the selection was poor.

Musa: never actually showed the clip he wanted to, and rather than recognize that the wrong clip was being played, he would wait until the end of the scene and then say, "that was the wrong clip." It didn't matter too much: myself, honeyfields, and parakkum all hated the freakin' movie.

All Men Are Brothers: This is cheesy fantasy kung-fu, but absolutely hilarious. By far the best clip of the night.

Butterfly Sword: A Michelle Yeoh/Tony Leung movie with a cool arrow maneuver.

Running on Karma: not particularly memorable for me. Not sure why he chose this one. About this guy (Andy Lau) who had the ability to see through cause and consequence and reenact previous scenes of violence. He also shadow boxes a piece of tissue.

Men Suddenly in Black: this movie is about a bunch of guys who are intent on cheating on their wives. The clip contains a hilarious a non-violent John Woo homage with cameras and other implements.

Master Q: don't even remember this one. I think this was the one where these guys take on a taoist demon with a mirror, but I don't know.

Red Trousers: a behind the scenes movie about stuntmen that we saw the trailer for

Legend of the Condor Heroes: boring anime that was being plugged

Panel: Stan Sakai

It's Usagi Yojimbo's 20th anniversary so Stan Sakai had a panel. I've uploaded small gallery of photos, and you can read on to see my outline notes of his talk.

Stan Sakai Comic-Con 2004 Panel Gallery (11 Photos)

Continue reading "Panel: Stan Sakai" »

July 20, 2004

To Comic-Con I will go

I'm heading off to Comic-Con tomorrow. Can't seem to find my registration confirmation, so I hope they let me pick up my badge without it :). If you have any special requests (sketches, stuff to try and find, etc...), please get them to me IMMEDIATELY as I will lose regular Internet access tomorrow.