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Category: Comic-Con 2009

July 25, 2009

Comic-Con: Saturday

First goal of the day was to try and get into the Chuck panel and it was also my first failure: not only was the panel full, but the line to get into Ballroom 20 was closed (I've never, ever, seen that occur before).

The nice thing about missing Chuck was that there was plenty of time to settle in for Quick Draw. Peter David was impressive with guessing the secret words: the initial list was, "There is no list, just draw random stuff." He got it correct. They then proceeded to put up three real words, which he similarly dispatched with ease.

I sat through half of the Comics Syndication panel, which was interesting, even if I don't draw comics nor seek to syndicate them. It sounds like it's an easier and more difficult time to be syndicated: if you are syndicated, it's much easier to deliver your product, and it's easier to "prove" yourself by building an Internet audience first. However, it's more difficult in that newspapers are declining and there are 4000 people applying for about 2 new spots a year.

After the syndication panel was the Spotlight on James Jean. He put together a pretty good presentation of 100+ slides that took us from his childhood photos, through art school, his influences, his technique, his Fables and commercial work, his personal/artistic work, and forward. I was tempted to buy the final drawing to accompany the New York Times sketch I bought from him a couple of years ago, but my wallet has already felt enough damage from this year's Con.

I finished the day at the convention center in the Fringe panel (1+ hour of waiting in line, still missed first 15 minutes). The cast had a lot of fun with the audience, asking us trivia questions in exchange for shirts. They seemed genuinely surprised that even their toughest questions were no challenge to a room of over a thousand fans. There was no preview of what is to come. I was disappointed at the time, but more appreciative for the lack of spoilers now.

After I left the Convention Center I joined up with the rest of Team Uni at the Alice in Wonderland exhibit that's showing in a separate building on Seventh street, between J&K. It's a really well done exhibit with most of the main props from the upcoming movie on display. You start off walking through the door into the rabbit hole, "landing" in the same room as Alice, where they her dress, the keys, the potion bottles, and a miniature model of the room are on display. You head through the next set of doors and find the Tweedledum and Tweedledee tea setting, along with the Mad Hatter's hat, clothes, and wig. In the final room is the throne of the Queen of Hearts and her costume, as well as the White Queen's and the Vorpal Sword.

It's hard to explain as just a list of items. They really recreated four different sets there that are richly decorated with actual items from the movie. You get a rusted key as a keepsake. They send you through in small groups with a personal tour guide, so it is quite intimate. My wild-ass-guess is that it is costing them $50 per person to conduct that Tour and apparently it's going to 11 more cities, though no more US.

Here are m's photos from the Alice in Wonderland Exhibit

Comic-Con: Friday

I ended up spending most of the day in the gigantic Hall H watching Hollywood previews after I discovered that even the panel for The Guild was full. When a video podcast in the morning is full, you can tell what sort of day it's going to be.

I got into Hall H a little late for the Warner Bros event -- big thanks to littlestar, who called me just in time to let me know that she was several rows ahead in the same line. I also went to the spotlight on Kazu, where he talked about quitting his job and managing to make the first Flight and Daisy Kutter while living off of $15K in savings. Flight came out around the first time I went to Comic-Con, and it's amazing to see how it's evolved into a full-fledged mini-studio of its own.

My gut reactions to the various movies/panels:

Warner Bro:

  • Sherlock Holmes: I have to say, Robert Downey Jr.'s self-aware narcissism shtick still works, and the movie looks really good. They showed us a montage of clips instead of a scene, so I hope that they still leave a little bit of sleuthing in between the fisticuffs.
  • Jonah Hex: could be entertaining, though Josh Brolin doesn't fully inspire me as the anti-hero Western gunslinger. Megan Fox seemed to have an uncontrollable urge to lick her lips and toss her hair the entire panel. They were fairly proud of how much they did on so little of a budget, and the Merrimac-style ship in the previews did look pretty cool.
  • The Box: Might have been interesting. A man shows up with a box to a home in Northern Virginia in 1976, presents housewife with a box with an offer: press the button, and someone you don't know dies, and you get a million dollars. It's based on a short story by Richard Matheson. The "might" comes from the fact that it sounds like Cameron Diaz gave away the entire third act, and the fact that Cameron Diaz is the star.


  • Ponyo!: Miyazaki was, as expected, curt with his translated responses to translated questions, but the epic sea storm sequence that they showed us was an amazing feat. This is going to be a strange, strange film, but I'm excited to see it, even if just to watch that sea sequence again.
  • Princess and the Frog: this is an attempt to re-Disney Disney. Having a black female lead, even in frog form, is a move forward, but it feels like it might get bogged down in the tropes of trying to be a "Disney" film, yet new at the same time.
  • Beauty and the Beast 3D: Gimmick. While the ballroom scene was probably the inspiration for doing this, the 2D animation with faux-3D just gave a jerky effect to my eyes and was a distraction.
  • Toy Story 1 and 2 3D: Not gimmick. We saw the opening sequence to Toy Story 2 was awesome in 3D. The movies are identical, just re-rendered in 3D. I'm not sure about the wisdom of requiring audiences to sit through a double feature, but it is two for the price of one, so you could always go twice.
  • Toy Story 3: Michael Keaton as the Ken doll might just make this movie -- they showed a short 'interview' with Ken that was hilarious. The movie itself will take place when Andy leaves for college.
  • Prep and Landing: this is a special that Disney/Pixar will be running on ABC for the Christmas holidays. It features and elite team of elves that is the advance team for Santa. I wont' give away the gags, but it had the audience rolling. I'll definitely setup the TiVo for this one.

Side note: Studio Ghibli, I realized, is the opposite of Pixar. Female lead characters, hand animation, and no sequels...


  • The Nine: this movie looks really, really cool

July 23, 2009

Comic-Con: Preview Night

Preview Night brought the expected log jams to the roads surrounding the Convention Hall. The line to get into the Exhibit Hall was absolutely ridiculous, circling half the building, so we waited it out comfortably, scanning through the guide. Can you believe both Tim Burton and Hayao Miyazaki coming to Comic-Con in the coming days? Madness.

Our group started off accompanying me to Penny Arcade to pickup a Cardboard Tube Samurai Blank, we then split up as I needed to talk with Scott Kurtz. I made my way across the convention floor to stop by Flight in its new central location. Flight 6 was out, but I'll have to wait until September for Amulet 2. A little further down the floor I also dropped off two commissions for [Scott Morse][morse] as this one needed an update. I also picked up Strange Science Fantasy which, as promised, comes with original art from each issue. It's kind of fun to read a comic and have one of the original panels just sitting in the pages.

Despite splitting up, amazingly enough, all of us managed to accidentally reconvene at Stuart Ng books on the opposite side of the convention hall (those that know the distances involved would be impressed). Perhaps its the fact that Stuart Ng's booth is like a refuge as they control access into it to keep it comfortable. There I spied a copy of Vive il Ciclissimo, which was beautifully tempting, but as almost $100.

I was already exhausted and needed to take a food break. A cheeseburger, fries, drink, and $14 later, I was ready to go again.

I made my way back to the webcomics section once again, again stopping at Flight inbetween to pick up a print of the cover for the Flight 1 rerelease. This I explored the likes of Dumbrella. Sadly, there was an awesome kitty-holding-machine-guns "Baffer" by Chris Yates that we just missed out on. The POOP Stop signs were tempting, but I don't think the kitties can read.

I also chatted with Jorge Cham of PhD comics, stopped by picked up James Jean's Process Recess 3 and Fables Covers at Last Gasp, and otherwise wandered aimlessly with my now extremely heavy bag. Hopefully I've knocked off the heavy items for this trip, but there's still some Mouse Guard Winter hardback action and couple more bookish items that I'm sure will weight me down.

Here's Parakkum's summary

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