Results tagged “Comic-Con” from kwc blog

Comic-Con: Saturday

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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: Preview Night

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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

http://scottmorse.blogspot.com/

Comic-Con Sketches: Ninja and Pirate

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Scott Morse: Ninja Pirate

Phil Craven: Ninja

I was saving these as they are my favorites from Comic-Con 2008... and ended up not posting them at all. Now that I have pets, its important that I take every opportunity to immortalize them in art.

The painting is by Scott Morse, who also did the art in the previous entry on APE. Morse is a great artist and also great with his commissions.

The sketch is by Phil Craven, of Flight fame. He's done ninjas for me before, so he was the first I went to when I got the idea of collecting sketches of my pets.

Comic-Con Sketchbook: xkcd kwc

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Randall Munroe showed extreme patience and goodwill to fans as he endured a long line of fans waiting for sketches and didn't skimp a bit. Stick figure art may not be trying, but try drawing Sierpinski's Triangle to five levels of recursion and tell me whether or not you feel like doing that all day. He humored my request for a 'KWC' doodle, ala his doodle he did for Google. The W and C gave him pause until he tied it together as a person climbing up on to something (W) and then jumping off (C). He also did a quick handwritten note for a colleague simply stating, "Python: It Works Bitches."

Penny Arcade.Leeroy Jenkins.jpg Penny Arcade.Fruit Fucker.jpg

A crazy looking Leeroy Jenkins drawn by Mike Krahulik (Gabe) of Penny Arcade and, for good measure, a 2007 sketch as well.

Comic-Con Sketchbook: Cheeks

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Cheeks.Hellboy.jpg

I love Cheek's (Sean Galloway's) character designs for the Hellboy and Spectacular Spiderman. I picked up a copy of his new art book, "Spread the Cheeks," and he did a sweet Hellboy sketch for me.

Comic-Con Sketchbook: Axel 13

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This sketch by Axel #13 is my second-favorite sketch from Comic-Con (my favorite will be posted later and is of a similar subject matter). It's easy to see why I like this sketch: who doesn't think their pets are superheroes?

Comic-Con Sketchbook: KMNDZ

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KMNDZ's (Command Z) work stood out immediately to me as I was flipping through my issue of Hi Fructose. Perhaps it was because his art features awesome robots, but I like to believe that it's more than that (they are really awesome robots). When he's not busy doing art he's busy working on ARGs (Alternate Reality Game), which I'm a huge fan of but never have enough time or patience to fully engage in. The company he worked for did the popular I love bees game, among others.

Comic-Con Sketchbook: Dave McKean

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Dave McKean, master of many artistic media, did another quick sketch for me at Comic-Con this year. I've been the fan of how he can find the surreal in whatever medium he chooses, whether it be photography, 3D graphics, or illustration. I felt bad as I accidentally caught him as he was running late, but he kindly received my request.

Comic-Con Sketchbook: Tara McPherson

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I really liked Tara McPherson's art for the Fables: 1001 Nights special collection. Her style of cute grotesque seems well at home in the Fables universe.

More posts forthcoming

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Even a shortened Comic-Con (skipped Wed/Thurs) was full of fun goodness, but the gas tank is now empty and I'm pushing the car in neutral. I'm really fond of the sketches I got this year and I'm looking forward to scanning them in and sharing.

Tour de Comic-Con: Friday's Stage

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comicconsplash_ccilogo.gifkwc arrived in San Diego just in time to walk over with the rest of Team Uni (bleusky, ota, parakkum, and littlestar -- m had already gone on a solo breakaway) to the Convention Center.

The big panel on the day was Joss Whedon, plus the writers and actors of Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog. The line for Ballroom 20 was once again a nightmare, but kwc was able to guide littlestar and bleusky through the special door he found last year, past the cast of Stargate: Atlantis, through the security guard check, and into the ballroom. A harrowing course, but easier with experience.

The first goal on the day was to obtain the Lego pieces for the Joker figure, which like all good schwag, is upgraded to even better schwag when completed: you get a display box that also contains a Lego Batman figure. It was time consuming, though easy to complete, and Team Uni now has six Lego Jokers, seven Lego Batmans, and an extra Lego Joker head.

Nathan Fillion and Neil Patrick Harris dueled on stage in real life as on screen and Whedon answered the many questions with the normal entertaining, sarcastic responses. There didn't seem to be much difference between Captain Hammer and Nathan Fillion, and much of Dr. Horrible's character was formed out of Neil Patrick Harris' amusements for boredom. Felicia Day was forced to keep her hands on the table after the audience misunderstood what it meant to be "twittering".

The sketches today were few but quality: a couple Attaboy sketches, a Pirate Scratch by Kurtz, the yearly Stan Sakai sketch, and some monsters by Rodolphe Guenoden. parakkum collected some signed Queen and Country definitive editions from Greg Rucka, who entreated parakkum to "Please, don't blow me up." Yes, Rucka can peer into men's souls. There was also a bit of 3D to this year's sketch haul: a Gary Baseman-drawn Vimobot.

Team Uni regrouped at the end of the day for the Avatar finale. The audience was tested with long lines into Room 6CDEF and the verbal challenge: "If you get out of line to go to the bathroom, the line is closed, we will not let you back in. If you have to go to the bathroom, you will have to chose." The crowds where huge, the silhouette of a Fire Lord logo was visible -- MST3K style -- at the bottom of the video screens, the fan art and costumes were entertaining, and the finale was epic.

The Tour de Comic-Con is a go

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comicconsplash_ccilogo.gifSchedule conflicts and sold out tickets had me thinking that I would have to miss Comic-Con this year after five straight years of attendance. I was forced to think what my life might be without the crushing crowds and schwag schwindling. But Team Uni has proven that the Tour de Comic-Con truly is a team event. littlestar, parakkum, and m on site braved the volatile Wednesday parcours to secure a last minute entry for me. Southwest frequent flier vouchers took care of the rest.

I'm a bit out of form and I'll have to ride into form for the event. It took the help of d to help find my sketchbook (sitting on the bookshelf, where you'd naturally expect it). There's only ten pages left so I'll have to be selective tomorrow. I'm also forced to travel without many accessories as Comic-Con does not allow rolling luggage on site and I'll be flying directly to the event. Five years and I'm still a rookie.

Nevertheless, I'll put everything I can into the event because there is so much to be seen, so much to do, so much Comic-Con.

Sketchbook: James Jean

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One of things I wanted the most from Comic-Con was to get something from James Jean. He's the cover artist for Fables and picked up even more Eisner awards to add to his collection last Friday. I love his work and decided: I must have.

Process Recess (1 & 2) continues to be too hard to come by, so I went for a piece of original art -- a mockup for a New York Times science piece that he did. Actual finished pieces were at least $1000, but thankfully this little rough was much cheaper and I like it enough that I hope to find some artistic use for it.

But as James Jean art was at the top of my list, I was hardly going to be satisfied with just one piece, so I asked him for a Snow White sketch and he kindly obliged. I left to pick up more sketches... and came back almost immediately to ask for another sketch, a tiger. He did the sketch using a blue pencil, so I decided that inverting the scan to make it orange-on-black (blue original). That sketch cost me $20, which seemed a bargain considering that a sketch from Scott Kurtz of PVP now runs you $10. Thankfully for my wallet, I was more than satisfied to leave with three sketches in hand.

Tricia Helfer Katee Sackhoff/Starbuck Mary McDonnell/Laura Roslin Lucy Lawless David Eick 2007-07 Comic-Con 282

Photos from the "Women of Battlestar Galactica" panel are up (Movieweb has some low-quality audio). The panel was kicked off by a clip that started "Well-behaved women rarely make history", followed by a long montage of "fraks" and shots of BSG women beating up men, etc... Perhaps it was appropriate that Lucy Lawless made her surprise entrance flipping the bird to the moderator, but it was after he accidentally called her a man.

The talk was full of other moments of crudeness, pretty much all from the same person. Lucy Lawless sat in a wet chair and wondered if Katee Sackhoff had got it wet again (it was actually Sackhoff's chair, which she had switched out before Lawless came on stage):

Lucy Lawless finds her chair wet Katee Sackhoff denies she wet the chair

And there was Lucy Lawless twice using hand gestures to discuss Baltar (the first describing why both her character and Six were interested in him, the second discussing her surprise at entering a scene to Callis' full-frontal nudity):

Lucy Lawless describes Baltar Lucy Lawless recounts Callis' full frontal scene

Mary McDonnell played the more dignified role, Sackhoff the embarrassed role, and Helfer the shy role, but all got their laughs in. Ronald Moore and David Eick were there to answer plot questions and Michael Shepard (Romo Lampkin) posed for photos in the audience to help the Browncoats raise money for charity.

Katee Sackhoff and Mary McDonnell 2007-07 Comic-Con 312

There weren't many spoilers and I won't give any away here, per se. The cast is only give a five-or-so scripts ahead worth of knowledge, so they themselves can't spoil much. Ronald Moore described this last season as being like "Senior year" as the show wraps itself up. The Razor two-hour movie will introduce the final plot lines for the season by criss-crossing through Battlestar past, from the first Cylon war to Pegasus' escape from Caprica.

This is my third BSG panel; I only missed the very first in 2004. My favorite was the 2006 panel that had both Olmos and Lawless to entertain. Here are photos from the others:

Photos: Heroes Panel

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Heroes: Ali Larter Heroes

I didn't get too many photos of the Heroes panel as I was still worried that I was going to get kicked out for not having a seat. Battlestar Galactica was next and I was camping for a good seat.

Masi Oka showed his nerd roots -- the sound system was giving feedback through most of the panel, so he climbed under the table to mess with the cords. He provided temporary relief, but the hum came back once more.

Heroes Comic-Con Photos

Heroes Heroes: Masi Oka

Tour de Comic-Con/Team Uni: Sunday

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Sunday's stage is short largely ceremonial. Panels are sparse, most of the good schwag has run out, and everyone is generally exhausted.

Team Uni did several celebratory laps around the convention floor, picking up some last-minute sketch points and some goodies for the Credit Ruining Accoutremonts Classification (CRAC). bleusky, m, and ota hung together to hit up the Flight booth for additional sketches while parakkum and kwc struck out on their own. kwc focused most of his attention on James Jean sketches, purchasing a NYTimes science sketch and a Snow White and tiger sketch for his sketchbook.

ota and kwc made early exits to head to the airport, while parakkum, m, and bleusky celebrated at the team dinner along with parakkum's parents, who provided amazing support to our team throughout the Tour: lodging, transportation, food, and good company.

Tour de Comic-Con/Team Uni: Saturday

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Saturday's stage blew away Team Uni's expectations in many ways. A gameplan to ride the queen stage with a warmup climb of the Quick Draw Panel (Cat 4) and then over the Ballroom 20 climbs of Heroes (Cat 1), Battlestar Galactica (Cat 1), Futurama (Cat 3), and Joss Whedon (Cat 1) turned more adventurous than planned, at least for team member kwc. The team made sure to shed all extra gear for this event to ride as light and slipstreamed as possible.

The team went into Saturday's stage with a plan to avoid the convention floor, fearing that it would be even more swamped than in previous days. Instead, the team observed it was perhaps the least crowded that it has been all week. Points for the Credit Ruining Accoutrements Classification (CRAC) were easy pickings and kwc was able to pick up limited editions of a Transformers Rodimus and Hot Wheel Batmobile, neither for himself, and the former being an item that m has sought after the entire convention. Instead of having to do the usual wait in line to get a ticket to get a time to wait in line again, kwc was able to walk directly to the cash register. Perhaps it was like Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: kwc was able to retrieve these items because he had no desire for it.

Why was the convention floor so empty? Perhaps it was because other convention go-ers were doing was most of Team Uni was doing: waiting in line to get into panels. The length of the Ballroom 20 climb was five times longer (if not more) than in previous years for nearly identical panels (e.g. Battlestar Galactica). There were enough people to circle the entire east wing of the convention center.

kwc bridged up to bleusky and m, who were far up in the line but still found themselves unable to join the Heroes panel. This is when things got a bit interesting for kwc. He made a brief stop at the bathroom, which he found was temporarily closed for VIPs. The bathrooms were reopened and he soon found himself passing by the kid who plays Micah on Heroes washing his hands at the sink. kwc noted VIPs meant there must be another path from the bathroom to Ballroom and formulated a plan of attack.

kwc told bleusky and m about the run-in and possible secret path, and then decided to go scout the route. He poked his head through the unguarded double doors to check the security and... walked right into Ali Larter and the rest of the cast of Heroes walking down a back corridor. The breakaway was forming and kwc knew that this was the one to go with. He jumped into their draft -- not that there is much of a draft walking behind Ali Larter -- and pulled out his iPhone to block his badge and blend in with the assistants. A bodyguard made fertive glances at this new rider in the break.

The composition of the break at this point: the entire Heroes cast—Jack Coleman (H.R.G.), Noah Gray-Cabey (Micah Sanders), Greg Grunberg (Matt Parkman), Ali Larter (Niki Sanders), James Kyson Lee (Ando), Masi Oka (Hiro Nakamura), Hayden Panettiere (Claire Bennet), Adrian Pasdar (Nathan Petrelli), Zachary Quinto (Sylar), Sendhil Ramamurthy (Mohinder Suresh), Dania Ramirez (Maya), and Milo Ventimiglia (Peter Petrelli) as well as Jeph Loeb, Tim Sale, and Tim Kring. There were also the guests and family of the cast, including Rob Liefeld. It would have been a fun scene to take a photo of, but kwc could only think, "don't give away that you don't belong."

The group swelled up at the back entrance to Ballroom 20, then split as the cast,crew and people with black wristbands were led in. Quite a lot of the guests did not have these wristbands and as Jeph Loeb zoomed past he promised that he would send someone back to bridge them back in.

With the big names now gone from our midst, the security drones descended upon us, setting a mighty crosswind that threatened to expel the wristband-less chase gruop. An assistant bravely stood at the front and absorbed the blunt of the wind shouting, "I cannot move from this spot. If I do, I will lose my job." kwc cowered in his draft.

kwc briefly jumped on Rob Liefeld's wheel as he led a group over to one of the sidedoors, where a security guard was offering to let them in. The Liefeld group quickly dissolved as they noticed the others getting backstage, so they quickly sped back to that group, through the door, and backstage. kwc was in and quickly found that backstage was crowded, and all you saw was the cast's back -- he left backstage to find a better view.

The Heroes panel itself was actually boring -- the sort of panel where the moderator asks each panelist the same trite question, except that the entire cast was there, so this was quite tiresome. There was the occassional playful moment between members of the cast, usually led by Greg Grunberg, and there was the brief appearance of Kevin Smith, who was the first on the session to wonder if the Japanese characters on the show were gay. As excited as the audience was by his presence, he warned that might spell doom for the show as it did Veronica Mars. There was a clip at the end of the show that revealed little in the way of plot and more in the way of who was in the clip (I won't give it away here). kwc got a "Comic-Con Exclusive" first printing of the Season 1 DVD box, which is just a ridiculous piece of schwag. Maybe he can take advantage of the same people who buy PS3 boxes on eBay.

kwc was able to grab a fourth-row seat for m, who remained patient in line and got in for the Battlestar Galactica panel, which turned out to be a "Women of" sort of affair as Lucy Lawless, Tricia Helfer, Katee Sackhoff, and Mary McDonnell were the cast members present. It was a more entertaining event than Heroes and Ronald Moore talked about the upcoming Razor episode, which will be a sort of bridging episode that goes all the way back to the first Cylon war as well as back to the original attack on the Pegasus.

bleusky returned from sketch-hunting to watch the Futurama panel. Team Uni originally thought of the panel as being the Joss Whedon camping event, but it ended up being kwc's favorite panel on the day. The writers wrote a thank you comic to the fans and Comic-Con came on and performed it. It's one thing to see brief clips of voice actors on DVD extras, it's another to see the actors working together and someone like Billy West single-handedly do dialog between Fry, the Professor, and Zoidberg. John DiMaggio's larger-than-life presence was not all that different from Bender, and he, West, and Maurice LaMarche were all able to entertain the audience with displays of their voice talent -- the best being when they showed how they blended different voices to come up with their Futurama character's distinct signature.

The final climb of the Ballroom 20 course was the Joss Whedon event. In prior years, Whedon was able to deflect bad questions with great ease; this year he seemed more eager to answer the "what makes you more creative than me?" sorts of questions that dominate these events. He talked about his new effort Sugar Shock (available online) as well as Buffy Season 8, feminism, etc... He also resisted chants from the audience to dance like a monkey.

parakkum took part in the separate Magic competition held on Saturday (parakkum's diary entry). He caught another opponent accidentally cheating and took that match, but bad draws and otherwise made for a tough event.

Ota rode the first Quick Draw panel with other team members and then rode a separate course through the Jim Henson/Tokyo Pop panel and the Hall-H-Category (HHC) Disney/Pixar event.

The full team grouped together to ride at the front of the line heading into the Sails Pavilion, getting a table up front and indulging themselves in the free nachos, cupcakes, and candy that the organizers generously offered. The first half of the event had some fun skits and costumes, but the team was passing out on the final stretch.

Tour de Comic-Con/Team Uni: Friday

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Schwag

Team Uni was riding at full strength for the first time yesterday as ota did a full course and there were temporary reinforcements from Temecula, as bleusky's friend jw drove in. The full team showed immediate dividends in the schwag competition: bleusky and jw were able to collect the popular Harry Potter bags, while ota did a blazing timecheck through the Wizards of the Coast booth to collect a Magic starter set.

The team's fast start was helped by a switch to The Cheese Shop for morning grub. There was no Guinness/coffee combo to be had, but massive carbs were delivered promptly.

Sketch Classification

Team Uni sent honeyfields, bleusky, and kwc to collect points in the sketch competition. bleusky collected several sketches, including a Stardust sketch from Charles Vess and a color painting from Scott Morse that earned her first in the sketch ranking on the day. kwc focused on collecting points at the Flight checkpoint, getting an excellent vampire from Rodolphe Guenoden, a beautiful fairy from Sarah Mensinga, and generally filling up the front of his Flight book with signatures. honeyfields added two more Sakai sketches to Team Uni's totals, with both a sketchbook sketch as well as a detailed sketch in the Art of Usagi Yojimbo hardcover.

kwc collected on the long-promised "Usagi Yojimo Charges into Battle on Bike," which was assisted by the Tour de France being on TV in Stan Sakai's hotel for visual reference.

Usagi commision from Stan Sakai Flight 4 Guenoden sketch

Panels

Team Uni made a wise decision to avoid the early day Hall-H-Category (HHC) sessions. The Whiteout session was reminscent of Paris-Roubaix as Kate Beckinsale was caught behind a the train tracks across from the Convention Center and her fellow panelists were unable to convince security of their status.

The team instead sent a big contigent to the Neil Gaiman talk, which did not disappoint. Despite have no prepared remarks or plan, Gaiman 'burbled' his way to many laughs with his Alan Moore ("he's very big and very hairy. And as he gets interested in something, he loooooms") and Guillermo del Toro (Neil's "Magic Dumbo") anecdotes. There were also some anecdotes of the early days of Comic-Con:

Gaiman: You'd sign for 10 or 15 people and then no one else would come
Audience: awwwwww
Gaiman: It was great!

Someone asked him why, if there was a God, why is there the Endless? "Isn't that like saying, if there was a God, why do you need to buy hamburgers?"

On Volume 2 and 3 of Absolute Sandman: "And of course you could kill someone if you dropped it on them. Useful. For the right person."

parakkum's diary covers the talk as well, including the Spectacular Spiderman panel beforehand. I like "Cheeks"' character design for the cartoon, but the backgrounds were crap.

m held fast in the Stargate doubleheader, taking many photos and reporting that the folksy girl from Firefly is moving to Stargate: Atlantis.

The strenuous course eventually helped Team Uni commit some missteps in panel selection later in the day. The very attendable HHC Star Wars at 30 punished ota, parakkum, and honeyfields with non-Star-Wars marketing, and the Jim Henson talk similarly punished bleusky. A Scott McCloud family slideshow had kwc gritting his teeth and pulling an early exit.

The team's spirits were lifted as parakkum's parents treated the team to a dinner at Nati's in Ocean Beach. The team stuffed its stomach with quesadilla crisps, jalapeno-soaked carrots, and Mexican-flavored carbs.

The ever-busy Saturday promises much in the way of panels. Just in Ballroom 20 is a string of Heroes, Battlestar Galactica, Futurama, and Joss Whedon. The hopes to avoid crashes on the convention floor and ride a good race, though it will have to do so without honeyfields, who has made a planned early exit for this year's Tour.

Tour de Comic-Con: Thursday

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Nutrition is important to Comic-Con: eat enough calories at breakfast, you can hopefully hold off hunger until the floor closes for dinnertime. Fail, and you must choose between crappy convention floor food or losing a couple of hours to venture out into the Gaslamp district.

Just as important is where you get your food. Team Uni has traditionally eaten at Hennesey's on the weekday mornings and The Field on the weekends -- the The Field offers true Irish breakfast but is not open on weekdays; Hennesey's approximates Irish breakfast. The compromise has worked until yesterday, when poor service cost Team Uni an hour right out of the gate and set the team back in the CRAC (Credit Ruining Accoutremonts Classification). Harry Potter bags were already gone; tickets for exclusive Transformers were gone. Shaun Tan advance reading copies were offered as consolation from Scholastic.

Such missteps do not keep Team Uni down: the team recovered by heading over to the Wizards of the Coast area and making quick work of the giant d20. parakkum, honeyfields, and bleusky combined to win Axis & Allies: D-Day, an Axis and Allies Naval Starter Set, and a Magic core starter set with online CD. kwc picked up a Star Wars Bounty Hunters booster pack but wasted too much time collecting stamp bonus. Team Uni hopes to repeat its Thursday morning gameplan on Friday with better results; Hennesey's will be avoided and kwc has already pre-collected stamp bonuses to move through the Wizards area quickly.

bleusky showed she has good legs despite being a rookie, easily collecting all five cards scattered acround the Convention Floor for the Avatar competition, earning a sixth bonus card for her efforts. She and honeyfields also teamed up to do a privacy-for-schwag manuever, earning Eduardo and Samurai Jack cellphone accessories from the MMOG booth.

Sketch competition

Scott Morse "sketch"kwc had a very good day in the sketch classification. Scott Morse did a "sketch" that was, in fact, the first color painting that he's done for kwc in five Comic-Cons and two APEs, and an awesome one at that. kwc also got a Mike Mignola, and Stan Sakai sketch, as well as a Wolverine sketch from David Finch of Ultimate X-Men fee. The latter was a split category prize: 1/2 sketch and 1/2 CRAC as it was a paid sketch. A Stan Sakai Usagi commission should earn Team Uni full dual sketch/CRAC points but will not be ready until Friday's stage.

honeyfields scouted the Flight booth and racked up huge sketch points: Sarah Mensinga, Johane Matte, Kazu, Clio Chiang, Reagan Lodge, and Ryan Estrada all did drawings for her sketchbook. They are all fantastic, but the Mensigna sketch deserves special mention. The rest of Team Uni will be making passes by the Flight booth based on honeyfields scouting report.

m's big prize on the day was a Magic art print from the artist that shows off all the detail that is lost in the smaller card form factor. m got his first-edition Stardust hardcover signed by Charles Vess alongside a previous Neil Gaiman inscription. He also dropped back to help kwc get his Stardust signed after kwc's legs cracked on the first attempt.

m, honeyfield, kwc, and bleusky did a team ride through the David Petersen/Mouse Guard booth, picking up three copies of the hardcover volume one and many sketches -- Petersen humored us and shared stories of eating dinner with Sergio Aragones, Mark Evanier, and Stan Sakai. The moral:

Never follow a Sergio shortcut through the snow,
what lies beneath you do not know,
for saved time you try to beg,
you must sacrifice Mark Evanier's leg.

King of the Mountain (KOM) competition

Thursday's stage had an unprecented addition that is a sign of Comic-Con's growing popularity: a Hall-H-Category (HHC) KOM with twenty-or-so unlabelled switchbacks that cut across half the length of the convention center and around the sculpture garden outside the Hall. The Hall-H-Category climbs were added in 2005 (related: Team Uni's first Hall H experience), but the major-movie-studio events that are held there have typically only occurred on the more popular Friday and Saturday stages. The Thursday event was a bit of an unknown: a Thursday major motion picture event, with Neil Gaiman and JJ Abrams.

m and kwc attempted to conquer this HHC climb, figuring that it would be easier than typical HHC climbs due to it being a Thursday. Instead, the course was harder than any previous HHC climbs, including events with Natalie Portman and Sarah Michelle Gellar. Only the fabled Spiderman 3 event ranks more challenging. m and kwc were forced to abandon after being told by referees that they were outside the time limit. With this surprising early defeat, m has already decided to forgo the KOM competition; kwc has yet to determine if he will have the legs to make a solo attempt on Friday or Saturday.

Panels

Team Uni regrouped at the Groo 25th Anniversary panel, which featured everyone who has worked on Groo, i.e. all five of them. parakkum's stage diary highlights some of the entertaining bits. I also enjoyed the banter between Sakai and one of the colorists (Colorist: "You could read the completed issue" Sakai: "But then the color would ruin it").

You can also read parakkum's diary to find out more about the Bill Plympton event.

Doping report

Overheard: Charles Vess remarking to his teammate, "I just had gummy bears, I can do anything!"

kwc has been suspiciously consuming packages labeled "doubleshot."

Tour de Comic-Con/Team Uni: Prologue

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Team Uni limped (literally) into the Prologue Preview Night: honeyfields is sporting a fashionable cane and kwc visited the team doctor this week to get his patella taped due to a problematic kneecap. The team scouted the very crowded Comic-Con Convention floor and scouted the offerings in the schwag competition: starter sets and booster packs from Wizards of the Coast appear to have the best $$$:item ratio and Harry Potter Deathly Hallows bags from Scholastic are of good quality.

m came through with passes to the Stardust screening Thursday night; kwc was five minutes too late, even though he showed up five minutes early. m was less lucky in obtaining a CC-exclusive Transformers Ford GT Rodimus for the CRAC (Credit Ruining Accoutremounts Classification), but he plans on going in an early morning break to attempt it once more.

Team rookie bleusky gave Team Uni its first points in the sketch classification, picking up drawings from Stan Sakai, the Flight folks, and Owly. The Stan Sakai sketches are rumored to be more difficult this year as Sakai and Aragones are unhappy with the eBay aftermarket, so it could turn out to be important as the standings shake out.

parakkum rode in the wind and carried hardcovers to protect honeyfields and they focused on heavy CRAC so they wouldn't have to carry it on the longer stages ahead. kwc had a similar strategy and picked up a limited-edition Scott Morse Scrap Mettle, RD8 Mimobot, Isadore Vimobot, Usagi Yojimbo Vol 21, Penny-Arcade Birds Are Weird and Armadeaddon poster, and CC-exclusive pink R2-D2 (R2-KT) (to add to his collection of R2s). kwc has never waited in line at for a CC exclusive before and was exposed to the troubling underbelly of Comic-Con: parents forcing their kids to go around the convention floor with them to pick up exclusives (to game the item/person limit) and schwag.

The early-morning Thursday gameplan for kwc and honeyfields is to pick up Harry Potter bags from Scholastic and possibly head over to Mimobot. kwc will head from there to pick up his Stan-Sakai-commissioned "Usagi Yojimbo on Bike" and to the Wizards booth to start collecting schwag points.

ota rejoins Team Uni today, straight out of a five-day stage race in Vancouver.

Off to Comic-Con

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With all that's going on, Comic-Con has snuck up on me -- but I leave for my flight in 5 minutes so I better get in that frame of mind. Off to San Diego!

Michel Gagne (Comic-Con 2006)

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Gagne.ComicCon2006.300.jpg

Michel Gagne recently put all of Frenziend Fauna: A to Z online:

Frenzied Fauna: From A to Z has been sold out for a couple of years and it doesn't look like it will be back in print anytime soon. Since I'm always eager to please, I thought I'd put the whole book on line for people to enjoy. [Go here](http://www.gagneint.com/Final%20site/books/fauna/Faunafullbook1.htm.

Very nice of him. More adventures of Rex will be coming out in Flight 4.

Johane Matte (Comic-Con 2006)

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Flight 4 was a getting a bit too big and the school libraries wanted a version of Flight that would be kid appropriate. Killing two birds with one stone, Flight Explorer was born and will feature stories from Johane Matte, among others. In addition to being talented, she may be the nicest person at Comic-Con.

Elsewhere on kwc.org

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Dave McKean (Comic-Con 2006)

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Dave McKean of MirrorMask, many Neil Gaiman covers, and other fame.

Dave McKean's Web site

Mike Mignola - Hellboy (Comic-Con 2006)

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It took about a dozen trips to Mignola's booth, but finally there was no one in line long enough to get a quick sketch.

APE led me to rediscover my Comic-Con sketchbook, with its many unscanned drawings

A Whole Buncha Comic-Con Photos

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I uploaded a bunch of Comic-Con photos thinking I was going to process them, but a lot of them look close enough for government work. If I haven't touched them up after 5 months, might as well just post them. This is a small sampling of what I posted in the Comic-Con '06 set, but it is probably the better of what's there. A bunch are still marked private awaiting processing that will probably never come.

Battlestar Galactica

A whole buncha Edward James Olmos:

IMG_0780 IMG_0783

IMG_0747 IMG_0738

Lucy Lawless:

IMG_0769 IMG_0770 IMG_0759

James Callis (most need reprocessing):

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Aaron Douglas (most need more processing):

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One of Ron Moore:

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Others

I also went to the Hood of Horror panel in the hopes of catching Snoop Dogg in person. Snoop Dogg of course showed up too late, but I did catch Ghostbuster Ernie Hudson. There was also a scary-looking Diamond Dallas Page, Pooch Hall, Brande Roderick, Daniella Alonso, and Lin Shaye (thank you, IMDB).

IMG_0651 IMG_0659 IMG_0648

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And I also snuck this awful photo of Jennifer Love Hewitt through a crowd of people (the only photo that I processed, as it was just 1):

Jennifer Love Hewitt at Comic-Con

The more important task for me that lies ahead is finally aligning all the Quick Draw photos with the notes that parakkum sent me long, long, long ago.

You've got snakes

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Snakes on a Plane continues to have an entertaining Internet marketing campaign. It has been mostly due to people on the Internet parodying the concept, but they've been wise enough to play up the parodies and remixed them into a video they showed at Comic-Con, where they also displayed this hilarious safety card promo poster. The latest addition to the marketing campaign are customized Samuel L. Jackson phone/e-mail greetings. You select from a variety of options to customize the greetings, and I found myself wasting plenty of time seeing what kind of messages you could get. They really know their audience. When you select a hobby for the person you are sending to, among the options are both "smoking cigarettes" and "smoking other" (Samuel L. Jackson will implore them to "stop smoking that whacky tobacky.")

Please make this costume

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In my Comic-Con catchup posting, I was going to write about how I wasn't as impressed with the costumes this year -- nothing as elaborate as General Grievous nor as amusing as "My Harry Potter Friends Embarass Me", just your regular Elvis Stormtrooper and the like -- but then Cory of BoingBoing posted this piece of awesomeness:

Hello Vader

As it turns out, it's too good to be true.It's a photoshop job, but let this be a note to costume makers for future Comic-Cons: I want to see Hello Vader or better next time around, don't disappoint me.

Tour de Comic-Con: Sunday's Stage

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Sunday is a day to explore the floor, break out the wallet, and fill up the bag. Yes, today is the day that Team Uni goes out in search of a high ranking in the Credit Ruining Accountrements Classification (CRAC).

Before getting started in the CRAC, there was some loose ends with schwag and sketch points to get out of the way. Team Uni started off with a quick stop by the Wizards of the Coast booth to see if they had restocked any Attack on Endor sets. They hadn't, but there were new prizes and Team Uni managed to pick up some Magic starter and booster packs. Then it was off to Scott Morse's booth, where I got a Triplets of Belleville-style sketch of Tom Danielson drawn with sharpie and honeyfield's water brush. The sketch combines a bit of the alien-ness of time-trial cycling gear with impossible Spiderman-like body positioning and the elongated Triplets form. It'll be posted soon with the other sketches I got. I didn't commission a painting this time around as I got one at APE and I wanted to wait until I've had a chance to hang up the ones I have in my new place before I decided what I want next. Morse should have a new book out with Lou Romano and others at APE, which I'm looking forward to.

The wandering gets a bit more difficult-to-remember from there. We won some hats from Viz Media, I got a sketch from Adrian Tomine and Yoshihiro Tatsumi (Push Man), and we got some sketches at the Flight book from the always super-nice and talented Johane Matte as well as Dreamworks storyboardist Phil Craven.

The big purchasing came when honeyfields picked up nearly every book in First Second Books catalog -- and I do mean nearly every (five out of the six spring catalog books and two out of the six fall catalog books, the latter were only available as gifts for buying the spring books). I also picked up a bunch of New X-Men issues for daveextreme, which was fairly easy to do for cheap once the Sunday fire sale began in earnest. It's always fun to see what you can buy on Sunday because some dealer doesn't want to ship stuff back.

Sunday ended earlier than normal as I wanted to get back home at a more reasonable time given the dearth of public transit options on a Sunday from San Jose Airport. m and I took off at 3, tired and happy.

Tour de Comic-Con: Back Gearage

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In parakkum's photo above you can see a shot of honeyfields and I walking the convention floor, which is deceptively clear of traffic. You can see honeyfields with Timbuk2 bag and me with backpack, poster tube, and camera strap. Next year I may switch to a setup more similar to honeyfields. The camera strap will stay but the poster tube and backpack will probably go. A backpack is hard to get access to, especially with poster tube and camera strap wrapped around your neck. You end up having to memorize an intricate order of strap removal in order to avoid strangling tangling. I've previously carried a Chrome messenger bag, which is a better than a backpack for breaking out the sketchbook, though mine is too big to easily swing around from my back to my front. I've wanted to get a medium-sized messenger bag for cycling, so now I will shop with Comic-Con also in mind.

Tour de Comic-Con: Saturday's Stage

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I spent most of the morning killing time until Quick Draw, which is really the highlight of every Saturday for me. More will come on the Quick Draw panel later, but for now I'll say that it was as fun as expected. A bit more repetitive than usual with the types of prompts, but this panel always delivers year after year.

Next up was the Brisco County panel. Due to poorly managed long lines I got into this panel late, but I got to see a lot of the Q&A with Bruce Campbell, Carlton Cuse, John McNamara, and Julius Carrey. There weren't as many entertaining verbal ripostes as the Bruce Campbell one-man Q&A show, but it was full of plenty of fun moments in the semi-reunion. I may actually try to get the DVDs, though $65 ($100 list) is a bit steep to try it out.

After failing to get into the Spiderman 3 session, the day ended with watching the Masquerade on the projection screen in the Sails Pavilion. I don't know who won, but I think our favorite was the Nintendon'ts, which featured humorous interactions between various Nintendo characters, punctuated by the decapitation of Pikachu in a Highlander showdown.

Inbetween this was the usual schwag and sketches, as well as my first big points in the Credit Ruining Accoutremonts Classification (CRAC). I got a doodle from Dave McKean and sketches from Chris Mitten and Ben Templesmith -- the Oni booth is always fun to stop by and dangerous on the pocketbook, as I picked up three more comics: Julius (Antony Johnston), Past Lies (Weir and DeFilippis), and Wasteland (Johnston and Mitten).

Team Uni picked up some of the last available Attack on Endor sets. After winning two in the morning, we went back to the booth in the afternoon to discover that the prize heap had been reduced to worthless figurines. We considered it a job well done, walking away with seven sets by my account, for a total retail value of $140.

The big CRAC points came from buying an Usagi Yojimbo original drawing that has Usagi jumping up into the air. Next year I might commission a drawing from Sakai as it's the same cost, though it's not very important as I'm really happy with what I have. I'll scan and post it in a later entry.

Tour de Comic-Con: Friday's stage

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I haven't really posted about yesterday's stage, but today's stage was so awesome that let's just leave it at my "Tired" entry for now and move onto this morning and afternoon.

Entertainment along the route picked up throughout the stage. After Snoop Dogg and Lando failed to show up for their session, things picked up dramatically with a rollicking Battlestar Galactica session. They probably gave away too many Season 3 spoilers, but Edward James Olmos and Lucy Lawless added a lot more entertainment to this year's panel. The day ended with the New Line Cinema event. Kenan Thompson was a hilarious host and things got great once the Final Destination 3 promo was done. They showed a clip from the upcoming Tenacious D movie (hilarious rock opera clip with a Meat Loaf and Dio) and then, what we were waiting for, Snakes on a Plane, featuring Samuel L. Jackson, live snakes (anaconda!), a 10-minute clip, and a hilarious mashup of some of the fan parodies. Samuel L. Jackson played his bad-ass part well, kinda like a Bruce Campbell session but with a lot more muthafuckas thrown in.

The schwag points in this year's Tour have been much more difficult to come by: the movie studios aren't giving away schwag at their presentations, there's a lot less t-shirts, a lot less posters, a lot less of everything, which doesn't make much sense as this is the biggest Tour de Comic-Con ever. Or perhaps it's so big that companies don't want to give out that much anymore. m and I are probably going to save some crucial weight tomorrow and leave our poster tubes behind as they are fairly empty.

Nevertheless, this year's Tour has some of the best schwag booths ever -- so good that I hestitate to call it schwag. After trying yesterday and only coming up with a Magic Booster pack, Team Uni got five Star Wars Attack on Endor sets that retail for $20 each. Team Uni also picked up three Boba Fett limited edition Bust-Ups, which non-limited versions retail for $4-5.

The sketches also went very well for kwc, who has been working since Thursday to get a Mignola sketch but has failed repeatedly. Today, success, as I now have a Hellboy sketch to add to my collection as well as a Stephen Silver sketch. honeyfields and my sketch books are much less full this year, but the focus has been much more on getting sketches from specific people and it has paid off. kwc has gotten sketches from Mignola, Kazu, Silver, Sakai, Guenoden, Kurtz, Aragones, and Gabe, which is a happy haul.

For both the schwag and sketch point competitions, this year's strategy has been much more in the style of Michael Rasmussen and Richard Virenque: ignore the piddling Cat 4 and Cat 3 climbs, go hard on one of the stages and take all the big climbs. Today's stage was that stage for us. With over $100 in retail with about an hour's effort each, Team Uni can coast to the finish, though we may pick up an extra Endor set or two just in case.

Tired

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I'm a bit too tired to do a full Tour de Comic-Con update today. I woke up at 4:30am today to watch the greatest ride I have ever seen. It was worth it, but it also drained me a bit for the huge crowds today. Every year is the most crowded year yet, but this is the first year where Thursday really lost the "laid-back" distinctness. Nevertheless, I summoned all the energy I could, walked the floors, and had fun. More later after I sleep, as two Tours await me tomorrow morning, one at 5:30am, the other at 10:00am.

Tour de Comic-Con: Prologue

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Team Uni bonked like Floyd Landis on the opening day of Comic-Con. m and I got off our Southwest flight and went straight to the convention center with parakkum and honeyfields. I thought of picking up a pizza in the airport feed zone, but I figured that we were taking an early dinner after and I could power through a light and easy preview night. Preview night is only open to pre-registered attendees, and as there is no actual programming and it only lasts three hours, the convention floor is fairly open and an easy course to manuever. We weren't prepared.

Every year attendance Comic-Con gets larger and larger, but for the past couple years the size of the venue has not. The number of people on the convention floor at this year's preview night was as bad as a Friday or possibly even Saturday of last year. Instead of a nice easy prologue stage to get the legs warmed up, it was hectic right out the gate, or rather, right through the double doors that thousands of people were squeezing through. I was dodging strollers, stormtroopers, and camera crews as I tried to swim like a salmon upstream to the Kinokuniya booth to buy a large sketchbook and then over to Mike Mignola's booth to grab a small Hellboy print and book of sketches. Mignola politely refused my request for a sketch, so my new sketchbook remains blank front to back.

We kept our run of the floor to a short one hour, but by the end I was exhausted, wishing I had carbo-loaded like I would on a regular stage. parakkum's parents treated us to Mexican dinner afterwards, which I gobbled like I had just ridden a stage through the Alps.

Take note Tour de Comic-Con riders: preview night is now just like any other day in the Tour. It may be shorter, but that just sends people flying around the floor faster. Watch your nutrition, stretch, and remember to draft to save energy. Luckily, this was just a prologue stage. My sketchbook may still be empty and I may have no schwag points, but I'm hoping for a nice easy start to Thursday's stage as a lot of people will be at work or in sessions instead of on the convention floor.

FYI: Samuel Jackson, Robert Rodriguez, Sam Raimi, Quentin Tarantino, Snoop Dogg, RZA, Edward James Olmos, Deepak Chopra, Bruce Campbell, Neil Gaiman, Nicholas Cage, and many others are guests this year. It's going to be crazy. Even Marvel put its name on a booth this year (shared with Activision), which is an odd move for them. It's a different event this year, but I'm looking forward to it.

Comic-Con Game Plan Redux

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In addition to tech, you need a plan. I looked over my plan from 2004, and it's still mostly true, so I'll just update with these little revisions here:

Daily Plan #1: Arrive at convention center early, park underneath ($8). Parking at the Convention Center means you can dump the quickly accumulating (and heavy) stack of books and schwag. An alternative is to reserve a hotel adjacent to the convention center about 4 months in advance. Update: it's getting harder and harder to park at the Convention Center. We're actually planning on taking a taxi in. Not as convenient, but saves us from having to implements Plan B if we discover there's no parking. Last year we actually had a hotel nearby, which worked out great as well.

Hotels, taxis: A $20 taxi can get you pretty far in San Diego. You may want to consider this when looking at a $300 hotel versus a $200 hotel.

Comic-Con 2004 Game Plan 2004

Tour de Comic-Con tech

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With the shocking news that Team Uni rider h.o.b. now has a cellphone, now seems a good time to do a brief review of some technology that can help you along with the Comic-Con. In the past, I've recommended animal ID transponders for keeping track of the artists and your friends, but in case you have moral qualms:

  • Sketch book: the perfect sketch book depends on you. I prefer small, with pages you can rip out easily for framing, but the best sketches are usually in the biggest sketch books. It's more difficult to find a hardcover sketch book with ripout pages, so you may have to choose between durability and rip-ability. A hardcover version can also be used to protect flat items or as a weapon (see poster tubes).
  • Poster tubes: it'll cost you some $$$ to get one at the Con, but they're darn useful for many things you might pick at Comic-Con, i.e. drawings and posters you don't want crinkled. They're also quite useful for plowing a course through the convention floor.
  • Backpacks, rolly thingies: a backpack is essential, but they get heavy. You may want to consider something with wheels if you're planning a haul, though not as recommended for Saturday, when the convention floor looks like the mosh pit at Lollapalooza/Bonnaroo.
  • Twttr: a relatively new service, very much like Dodgeball, but seems more oriented towards broadcasting text messages to a group of friends -- Dodgeball is more about broadcasting location. Twttr can be a fast way of telling the rest of your team, "OMG Joss Whedon 6A."
  • Camera: Find yourself in a stall next to Jim Lee? Make sure the whole world knows! Okay, maybe not. I usually carry two: an SLR and a point-and-shoot. A 70-200mm f/4 zoom lens for my SLR allowed me to take these Bruce Campbell and BSG photos without being the least bit close to the stage. I also carry the point-and-shoot because it's easier to hand to someone else to take a photo and a 70-200mm lens can be too much sometimes when you're not trying to document nose hair.
  • Depends: when the lines are really long... nevermind.

Not as useful at the Con, but comic-related:

  • Bubble Snaps: what's a sequential art conference without the ability to create your own quickly? Answer: probably the same. But, just in case you want to quickly mockup some photos with thought and speech balloons, snaps might be your tool.

Comic-Con 2005 Recommendations

Comic-Con Live

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Experience the long lines LIVE on Comic-Con Live! I just saw a promo for Comic-Con Live on G4 -- I don't even know if I get that channel. But, if you do, you can watch the rest of us geeks over in San Diego. For some of the more Hollywood events, the TV coverage will probably be better than being there in person, but you won't get our schwag :).

Comic-Con requests

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(crossposting to kwc.org Vox, LJ)

If you have any requests for Comic-Con, whether it be merchandise, sketches, or whatnot, let me know. As long as I don't have to spend 4 hours in line for a limited edition Clonetrooper bust I'm pretty willing. PVP, Penny Arcade, DC, Oni, and Snakes on a Plane will be there. Even Mimoco will be there with their latest series of USB drives. You can check out the full list of contributors.

kwc.org is back home

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If you are reading this, kwc.org has returned from its vacation at the wonderful Tooch Ranch looking well rested and better than ever. Many thanks to Tooch for the hospitality to my server.

This side of the blog will probably stay quiet a bit longer as I continue my Tour de blogging over at spare cycles and gear up for the Team Uni's Comic-Con. We actually have enough people (over a dozen, I think) for two teams this year. I'll tentatively refer to the other team as the Van Condos, after their mode of transport and lodging, at least until a more proper name is passed on to me. I'm sticking with Team Uni, going for the schwag points, but I'm excited about hanging out with all the people headed down to San Diego.

Now that I have my computer back I'll also have to start processing photos from the gadget wedding (congrats bp and joy!). They're off in Hawaii right now so I have a bit more time -- they're hopefully not reading this, but my guess is one of them is.

Battle of the Stars

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I posted a bunch of photos from Comic-Con last Saturday and the resulting Flickr data looks like a popularity contest. The Stargate cast was a bit disadvantaged in that I didn't bring my zoom lens to their panel, so the photos aren't as good, but I'm willing to overlook this lack of fairness and state that Battlestar Galactica easily beats Stargate SG-1 and that, for reasons still unclear, photos of women get more views then photos of men.

Battlestar Galactica-14 Battlestar Galactica-09 Battlestar Galactica-05 Battlestar Galactica-02 Bruce Campbell-2 Stargate-11
Katee Sackhoff/BSG cast
150 views
Grace Park (BSG)
102 views
Jamie Bamber (BSG)
59 views
James Callis (BSG)
52 views
Bruce Campbell
16 views
Stargate SG-1 Cast
7 views

Comic-Con: Bruce Campbell

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The Bruce Campbell panel at Comic-Con was hilarious. I transcribed some quotes that I've included here, but rather than make some coherent sense out of them I'll point you too the full mp3 audio of the panel as well as multiple summaries on IGN and a summary from Sign on San Diego.

I highly recommend the audio, if you can stand the recording quality. Campbell's panel is the only one in three years I've seen that had the audience laughing from start to finish, a feat he accomplished while tempting the worst possible fate: the Q&A session. Usually, the Q&A session signals the end of all quality commentary in a panel. A single bad question (i.e. the first) begins the exodus from the auditorium as people seek out their next session. A novice panelist (e.g. Natalie Portman) will usually try to answer the dumb question and will take far too much time giving a politically correct non-answer to the question.

Campbell, with the confidence he demonstrated throughout the panel, began his Q&A session almost immediately, briefly taking the time to do some short demo clips. With all of Campbell's career to draw from, I would have expected the idiotic questions to overwhelm even a skilled speaker, but Campbell showed that a well-timed and tersely delivered insult makes even the worst -- especially the worst -- questions entertaining and keeps the flow of the Q&A moving.

Here are some samples of answering dumb questions the Bruce Campbell way:

"Is *Alien Apocalypse coming out on DVD? Why, because it was that good? Are you just being a smartass?"

Will you do another TV show?
BC: "Why? Because my first two TV shows went so well?"

Q: Brisco County Junior DVD set
A: Counting to 10 on his fingers "I am an actor they don't tell me shit"
later on
Q: Jack of All Trades DVD set
A: "Why, because it was so successful?" mutters, "I am an actor they don't tell me shit"

Q: When is How to Make Love the Bruce Campbell Way coming out in paperback
A: "Buy the hardcover. Don't be a cheap bastard. How much did you pay to get in here? You bought all seven versions of Army of Darkness didn't ya?"

There are some quotations Bruce Campbell's insulting and non-insulting comments in the extended, though bravado and timing cannot be conveyed in a transcription, so I recommend listening to the mp3 if you have the time.

Bruce Campbell-3-2

Bruce Campbell-2-2

Bruce Campbell-1-2

Bruce Campbell-3-1

Bruce Campbell-2

Bruce Campbell-1

More Comic-Con Photos

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I've uploaded more of my photos from Comic-Con 2005 to my Flickr account. These are probably the last of the photos I'm going to upload from CC2005 unless you want to see some bad shots of Natalie Portman with a bald head.

Battlestar Galatica Cast Panel

Grace Park

Stargate Cast Panel

Stargate-11

Bruce Campbell

Bruce Campbell-2

More Comic-Con Costumes

Costumes

Comic-Con Sketches: Best of the Rest

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The Drawing Board/Zowie/Sketchbook Sessions artists did some great sketches for me and honeyfields. I don't know the proper way to refer to them: they were promoting drawingboard.org, an artist's bulletin board they use, as well as selling Zowie 2, an anthology of "Tiki Terror"-themed stories and art. Sketchbook Sessions is an LA-based subgroup that meets regularly to draw.

It's a little difficult to draw a line between this group and the Flight folks as Guenoden, Matte and Kazu have done work in both Zowie and Flight. Kazu discussed the competitive nature of these anthologies during the Flight panel. They are both mediated by the Web, with some contributors as far away as Singapore, and the artists are able to view each other's work posted online. Individual pages for Flight are posted as they are completed, causing some artists to scrap their existing story idea or redo completed pages in an attempt to one-up each other.

I like how both groups have coupled Web-based community, local community, and community-produced physical product, with each layer serving to improve the others. These aren't Web comics anymore than photos posted to Flickr are Web photos, but whatever label you want to apply to this Web-enabled community process, it produces beautiful and creative works.

Sketches: Rodolphe Guenoden, Keith Holven, Shane Corn/maizekid, Ed Reynolds

Rodolphe Guenoden Keith Holven Shane Corn Ed Reynolds

I picked up a copy of Zowie 2 (compiled by Ed Reynolds) and honeyfields, ln m, and I all picked up some of Rodolphe Guenoden's sketchbooks. Ed Reynold's sketch below is one of two he drew of honeyfields as we sat there and chatted -- mine is the first, the second is captioned, "Why does this guy keep drawing me?" honeyfields showed some of them her own drawings while I eavesdropped and got sketches.

Best Comic-Con Costumes

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parakkum and I saw this costume walk by, we exchanged a laughing glance, and then chased down the three to ask to take a photo. As there was no other costume that caused me to run with my camera to snap a photo, I have to give this one top awards:

Best Comic-Con Costumes: Humor

Technical costume: General Grievous

This costume was amazing to behold. The creator actually entered two elaborate costumes in the Masquerade, with this my favorite of the two. He designed the costume so that he is standing inside the cape, with the Grievous appendages in front of him for that skeletal look. You can kind of tell from the people in back that the costume is also very tall.

Best Comic-Con Costumes: Technical

Like last year, Elvis Stormtrooper and Samurai Stormtrooper were present. I love those costumes, but as they're reruns I didn't snap any photos this time around.

Comic-Con: Drafting

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It was honeyfields who first pioneered the Comic-Con drafting technique, modelling it after the drafting technique used in road cycling. Both techniques attempt to conserve energy while maximizing your pace, but unlike road cycling, where drafting shields riders from the wind, indoors Comic-Con drafting shields riders from other people. The convention floor, especially on Saturday, is so crowded that your efforts to move to your next destination can quickly be brought to a halt by cross-traffic or people stopping to take photos of scantily clad women. A solo effort from aisle 400 to aisle 5000 can leave a rider unable to continue further and wastes valuable time.

Proper Comic-Con drafting technique requires getting in a line, with the person in front moving as quickly through the crowd as possible. If available, a strong poster tube can be held sideways by the lead rider to encourage other people to move aside; the poster tube can also be used as a blunt weapon. The other riders follow in the lead rider's wake -- it's important to stay very close and not let cross-traffic break your line. When the lead rider begins to slow from fatigue, the next rider in line moves to the front and continues the forward charge.

drafting sketch

Comic-Con: Quick Draw

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Comic-Con 2005 Quick Draw Panel
Host: Mark Evanier
Artists: Sergio Aragones, Scott Shaw, Kyle Baker, Jeff Smith

The Comic-Con Quick Draw panel is most consistently entertaining event at Comic-Con. It is dominated by Sergio Aragones, whose blazingly fast drawings, humor, and occassional inability to understand English are highlighted throughout, but Shaw/Baker/Smith are fun as well. I'm inclined to remember the 2004 Quick Draw Competition as being more fun, but that may be a trick of memory.

The Quick Draw Panel is, well, quick, so this year's blog-based summary is a two-person effort. Notes were taken by parakkum and the photos were taken by yours truly.

WARNING: this entry is very, very long, with many, many photos.

Tour de Comic-Con: Saturday

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Every year Saturday's stage has a special classification: the Quick Draw competition (2004 Quick Draw). Although jamesq has entered this classification before in Pittsburgh, Team Uni decided to sit this one out and watch Sergio Aragones, Kyle Baker, Jeff Smith, and Scott Shaw duke it out. Like Armstrong, everyone knows that Sergio is The Boss, but all are there to compete and put up a good show.

kwc's points in the schwag competition from Friday's stage were recalculated after he successfully sold his V for Vendetta mask for $5. The judges put kwc back into the green t-shirt, and Team Uni solidified that position by picking up Bone toys, a Bone t-shirt, Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! t-shirts, Avatar posters/t-shirt, and plenty of other goodies.

Team Uni cleaned house in the sketches classification, capitalizing on great sketches from the anthology booths, Flight and Sketchbook Sessions/Zowie, which both have many talented artists present. honeyfields was able to show off her own sketchbook, using her own sketches to keep her hold on the lead.

Another Saturday-only competition took place at the end of the stage: The Masquerade Ball. The long line of riders working their way towards this event stretched five riders wide and well over half the length of the convention center. Team Uni secured a good position in the climb to the Sails Pavilion and was rewarded with a good table near the projection screen. Sixty riders, none of them from Team Uni, competed in the actual classification. The notables were an amazing General Grevious costume, a fight/love scene between Nightcrawler and Lara Croft, and a Disney dance number It's a Disney World (to the tune of Aqua's Barbie Girl) with an Aladdin/MC Hammer interlude.

I'm back

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I'm back. It's 2am. I arrived home about 4 hours ago. Since then I've watched three of the four Tour de France stages I've missed. One more stage and I'll finally be able to take the media blinders down.

Our Internet connection in San Diego ran out Saturday evening soon after we got back to our hotel room. You may have to wait a day or two for the dramatic conclusion to Tour de Comic-Con.

Tour de Comic-Con: Friday's Stage

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Friday's stage was a ride through Hollywood: Goblet of Fire, V for Vendetta, The Fountain, Corpse Bridge, Battlestar Galactica, and Jim Henson's 50th Anniversary (thumbs up, down, up, up, up, up). The biggest challenge for Team Uni was conquering Hall H, a Hors Category hall holding over 6000 people. The line of people entering the hall stretched over half the length of the entire convention hall. The most painful Hall H challenge was listening to Natalie Portman during the V for Vendetta preview. Her only honest answer of the entire session was:

Q: How has your liberal arts education influenced your acting?
A: It made me good at not offending anyone and being very PC about my answers to 6000 people.

Portman could use some lessons on how to answer questions the Bruce Campbell way.

jamesq went on some breaks through the several portfolio reviews and stayed close to the top, but not as well as hoped. parakkum joined him for a final attack on Disney that netted the most positive results on the day, getting a business card from the editor and specific interest in Inhabit. Only one portflio review remains, a final sprint for Marvel on Saturday.

h.o.b. rode in support of neverthere, who has picked up an impressive collection of sketches that have to be seen to believe. neverthere commissioned a Grendel sketch on black paper that's darkly beautiful, and kwc commissioned a Yojimbo sketch from Scott Morse that will be framed as soon as he gets a chance.

kwc was disappointed with his performance in the schwag classification. The Lego Star Wars booth professed to be out of Lego Mini schwag and the Battlestar Galactica panel gave out no schwag, instead raffling off a chance for one person out of the one thousand plus people there to meet the cast. kwc did pick up a V for Vendetta mask that appears to have monetary value to some and will be sold at first opportunity, as well as some lightsaber letter openers, a Goblet of Fire mini poster, and some pins that are curious.

Team Uni is very tired after yesterday's ride, but they will have to dip into their energy reserves to survive today's hectic stage. Saturday is the day in which the convention floor is most packed with fans. Team Uni riders will have cut through crowds and lines all day in route to the final climb up to the Masquerade. The Masquerade is always good for a surprise or two, so let's hope that Team Uni is up to the task on this penultimate stage. They're heading off now for their daily Irish breakfast to build up as much energy as possible, with coffee and Guinness for kwc for that extra punch.

Protective Tour Googles

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Courtesy of Hogue, I now have this greasemonkey script to shield my eyes from inadvertent Tour revelations. I've pasted the code below for those who may find themselves in similar situations requiring selective news display.

As for real world news filters, Team Uni is doing a great job protecting me already. At dinner tonight parakkum told me to keep my eyes on my plate and not look up -- Stage 11 was on TV. The alarm was unnecessary as I'd seen Stage 11 this morning, but it shows that the team is on form today and ready to go.

// ==UserScript==
// @name No Tour
// @description pop up an alert on any page containing Tour de France info
// @include *
// ==/UserScript==

var badness = new Array(6);
badness[0] = 'armstrong';
badness[1] = 'tour de france';
badness[2] = 'cycling';
badness[3] = 'yellow jersey';
badness[4] = 'lance';
badness[5] = 'tdf';

function check() {
	var body = document.getElementsByTagName('body')[0].innerHTML.toLowerCase();
	for (var i = 0; i < badness.length; i++) {
		var index = body.indexOf(badness[i]);
		if (index > 0) {
			var temp = document.getElementsByTagName('body')[0].innerHTML;
			document.getElementsByTagName('body')[0].innerHTML = '<div 

align="center"><h1>SHIELD YOUR EYES</h1></div>';
			alert("The goggles, they do nothing!");
			alert(badness[i]+" is mentioned on this page");
			document.getElementsByTagName('body')[0].innerHTML = temp;
			return;
		}
	}
}

window.addEventListener('load', check, true);

Comic-Con '04 Backposting

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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.

My niche

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I'd just like to note, having bombed you all with 25 entries in the past two days, that I am fairly certain that I am the only blog out there that is bringing you combined coverage of:

So piss off all you Democratic National Convention bloggers. No one wants your crappy thoughts on politics. The kwc-SDCC-TdF-AAAI connection is where it's at!

Comic-Con Quotations

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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

Sketches: Small Press

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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

Comic-Con Schwag

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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: Buffy!

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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

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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.

Comic-Con: Ray Bradbury

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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.

Panel: Quick Draw Improv

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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.

Comic-Con: Kung-fu Extravaganza

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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

Link dearth

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There was a dearth of links over the weekend, kinda sad. Here's what popped on my radar this morning:

Angelina Jolie is competing with meta for large Thai-themed tattoo on back

New Oakley 'Thump' glasses with builtin mp3 player: this is getting news because Lance Armstrong was sporting them for a photo. For cyclists and other athletes, the 'Thump' glasses could be an ideal solution (assuming that they come in less ugly models): no extra cords, no armband, lightweight. My tiny 128MB Sony mp3 player gets the nod over the iPod when I'm cycling, as I prefer it's lower weight and higher probability of crash survival, but the cord running down my back is still very annoying. Sony did have an mp3 player they released that was built into the headphones, but the headphones were not the ideal style for exercising.

Reuters U.S. Mulling How to Delay Nov. Vote in Case of Attack: IMHO, this isn't as bad as it seems, yet. We should figure out how the US should respond in the event of a terrorist attack during the elections, and this debate should occur in the public's eye and far in advance of the election. If an attack did occur, then it would be the case that those immediately affected by the attack should still be given a fair opportunity to vote, but if they are allowed to vote at a later date, after other elections have been tallied, then their results could be considered dubious. However, entrusting the sanctity of our vote to Tom Ridge seems even more dubious.

Neil Gaiman will be at Comic-Con after all (though only one session)

Comic-Con: Joss Whedon

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Joss Whedon was a spaz; entertaining, but nevertheless a spaz. I don't care enough to transcribe everything he said, which was mostly bitterness at Firefly (with optimism for the future), closure over Buffy, and dodging of questions about future story arcs. Luckily, Rebecca Salek did good job of transcribing the Q&A session, which you can find in this Newsarama thread.

Comic-Con: Tara

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Tara/Amber Benson from Buffy the Vampire Slayer was at the Comic-Con signing autographs. I didn't bother, but here's a photo:
07-18-03.tara-1.jpg

Comic-Con: Erik Larsen

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I got to meet Erik Larsen at the Comic-Con. I really liked his Spiderman so I asked him to draw me a sketch. He was a bit hesitant at first, as he was slightly annoyed that I didn't ask for Savage Dragon. He was more understanding when I explained that I hadn't been collecting comics for almost ten years (I had stopped just when Savage Dragon was lifting off). If Larsen weren't so darn consistent in putting out Savage Dragon, maybe it wouldn't be so expensive and time consuming to catch up on the 100+ issues he's done in the meantime :).

Comic-Con: Bendis, Oeming, Mack

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The Image booth was one of the first booth's I visited. Bendis, Oeming and Mack were all there. Bendis did a really funny drawing for pqbon, and honeyfields managed to talk to Oeming for so long (~30min+) that he broke out the brush and did a really cool Batman for her (I believe her request was for something "bad ass").

I didn't get a chance to talk to Mack until much later in the convention. We briefly chatted about his Alias covers (which I really like), and he ended up handing me a generous stack of his Kabuki works for free. I'm looking forward to reading the Kabuki works, because with the Alias covers at least, I've found his artwork to be a good transition from real world into the story itself. Also, unlike most comic books that feel like they take place in complete fantasy, his mixed media style makes you feel like you're in a slightly altered universe, only different enough to allow a fantastical story to take place.