Friday, August 31, 2007

Labor Day pop-culture sale (Austin)

If, like me, your creativity is informed by, inspired by, or otherwise fed by pop culture, and you're in Central Texas, you should head down to Austin Books & Comics this weekend.

They're having a great Labor Day sale, with a gigantic temporary space down from the main store filled (filled, I tell you!) with boxes of comic book back issues -- all for (wait for it!) one dollar each.

A buck! I filled up on stuff like Hulk and Powers, and even picked up things I've long since missed, like St. George. I got some gift shopping done, too.

Not only are back issues a buck, but trades located in the temporary sale space are at least 50% off (more Powers for me, baby!), and action figures, toys, statues, and the like are 40-90% off.

Over in the main part of the store, everything's at least 10% off, and back issues of comics are 50%. I picked things like Captain America #248 (one of the three first comics I consciously picked up as a wee little lad) and a bunch of Austin-local independent titles from some guys I know (including one I ran into again at the sale).

So, if you're a comic book fanboy, pop culture junkie, obsessive shopper, or someone who just can't pass up wicked good sales, make sure to stop buy one of the cooler stores in our great nation (and a constantly robbed contender in the yearly Comic-Con "Best Retail Store" Eisner Awards category).

Plus, Brad and company are really good peoples. Even if you're just wanting to dip your toes in comics for the first time, they'll make some good recommends.

(I just realized I didn't restock my missing Devil Dinosaur collection. Crap.)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Free acting class in Austin

I've mentioned Van Brooks quite a few times. He's one of my film coaches, and he's doing a free one-night film and audition class for one night next week in Austin, TX.

So free up your Wednesday, September 5th 7:00 - 10pm if you want to "Work on-camera with a cold reading, get audition advice, and [attend a] Q&A about the business. It's also fine to just observe."

There's no obligation, and it's a good chance to check out the studio and Van's style and personality before his 12-week sessions start, and The Mastery workshop hits in October.

Shoot me a note if you need Van's contact info.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Recognizing Jack Kirby ...

The new York Times (free registration required) has a short article on comic book legend Jack Kirby (his 90th B-day would have been yesterday).

The guy is amazing, and I'm grateful for his influence on comics. I've actually been re-reading a lot of his original stuff lately, so this tribute to a hugely influencing creative comes at a good time for me.

Don't know who Jack Kirby is? First, shame on you. Second, here are a couple of snippets from the NY Times article for context:

"Mr. Kirby did a lot more than just draw. As the critic Gary Groth so ably put it in The Comics Journal Library, “He barreled like a freight train through the first 50 years of comic books like he owned the place.” He mastered and transformed all the genres, including romance, Westerns, science fiction and supernatural comics, before he landed at Marvel.

"He created a new grammar of storytelling and a cinematic style of motion. Once-wooden characters cascaded from one frame to another — or even from page to page — threatening to fall right out of the book into the reader’s lap. The force of punches thrown was visibly and explosively evident. Even at rest, a Kirby character pulsed with tension and energy in a way that makes movie versions of the same characters
seem static by comparison."

(Via Boing Boing.)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Another PS3 "Making of" commercial

Here's another Sony PlayStation 3 commercial, with another "making of" featurette.

Unlike the last one, this is a super-short "making of" segment, but that's balanced out with the commercial itself being a truly beautiful little spot.

And while I don't get a lot of Sony's PS3 adverts (particularly the European campaign), somebody's getting to do art house films under the auspices of corporate advertising, so more power to them.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Additive, not reductive ...

Tonight in class was kind of a building night, as we prepare for the Bohemian Theatre Troupe's next public showcase on September 25.

So, there was a lot of picking through scenes, figuring out the number of monologues versus two-, three-, and (yay!) four-person scenes, playing with some scenes and monologues, and a little performing.

So not a big work-y kind of night, but there was something that struck me on the acting process side of things.

I'm always looking for ways to set myself apart as a person, and not get stuck on those things that are part of my acting preparation. I have four different worksheets I do for character and scene / audition / monologue / stand-up work. I do a lot of prep for auditions and callbacks and on-set or on-mic work.

But I'm always looking for ways to keep that process, and at the same time simplify it.

Leave it to my coach to boil it down. He basically said an actor's choice should be additive, not reductive. For example, you're not taking away intelligence; you're "adding stupid".

(And my coach may have said it well, but I summarized it way better. And more concisely.)

The epiphany for me as an actor is the personal prep on which I often get stuck -- that knocks me back into my head, and out of the moment -- is the laundry list of stuff I've prepared. And tonight I realized it's usually the stuff I've "taken away" from the character.

As an example, I might hiccup in a moment, because Mr. Intellectual is intruding on my moment with a barely muffled, "Your character wouldn't do that!"

I get stuck on the "nots" in my preparation. I hit each of these things, and they're like speed bumps in my performance.

So, I need to flip those "nots" into additional attributes.

The other epiphany is this "additive, not reductive" mentality is an extension of the rules of improvisation: "Love your partner, and believe everything they say" (sometimes reduced to "yes, and ..."). And my acting is a partnership with myself, so I need to love me and believe everything I say ("Love your neighbor as yourself" means loving yourself).

This has the extra benefit of removing judgements from my character (I as my character do not acknowledge myself as the bad guy, or being less intelligent, or whatever).

I'm hoping tonight's little realizations flip my acting speed bumps to water wings. Or something.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Which new headshots?

This could be a mistake. But I haven't seen any actor put themselves out there and do it -- which, by itself may be reason enough for me to try it out.

It's time for me to get with the times, and attack the acting world with new my color headshots.

Question is, which to go with? Getting good headshots is tough. Picking good headshots after they're taken is probably tougher.

So, in a move sure to raise eyebrows and get comments, I'm asking you to vote on my theatrical and commercial headshots.

Do you know me? Which headshot looks like some version of the actor you know?

Don't know me? What headshot grabs your attention, and is "cast-able"?

Are you in the Biz? What do you like or dislike about each headshot?

Not in the Biz? That's fine -- same question (thought if you're not in industry, hold off on comments or critiques that're likely already taken as a given; yes, these are low-res, and they're un-retouched, and they can all be cropped differently, etc.).

Take a look at the two groups of headshots below, and send me a note (here) letting me know which Theatrical and which Commercial headshot you like. You can also send me comments.


Adam Creighton Theatrical Headshot 1
Adam Creighton Theatrical Headshot 2

Best Theatrical Headshot
Theatrical Headshot #1
Theatrical Headshot #2


Adam Creighton Commercial Headshot 1
Adam Creighton Commercial Headshot 2
Adam Creighton Commercial Headshot 3
Adam Creighton Commercial Headshot 4

Best Commercial Headshot
Commercial Headshot #1
Commercial Headshot #2
Commercial Headshot #3
Commercial Headshot #4

CAVEATS: Property of Adam Creighton. For casting purposes only. Not intended for sale or commercial use.

This isn't reality TV, so your votes won't necessarily determine which mug of mine casting directors are going to see -- I'm just looking for (and value) input. There are other headshots in the running, and other factors such as agency input, preferences of target clientele in the pipeline, and which way the Biz wind is blowing at any given moment. These are unretouched shots.

All headshots are by my photographer, Rhea Willis (

Wednesday, August 15, 2007 redesign?


It started as an infrastructure redesign to extend my properly formed (and utilized) XHTML and CSS across my Website, removed tables used for layout (a no-no), and improve the accessibility and usability of the site.

Then, inspired by Comic-Con (and my own inability to leave well enough alone), I started a comic book-themed redesign of my site.

Starting with the Photoshop mock up (below), I now have a working HTML version. And thanks to using CSS for shadowed containers, Web-safe colors on my graphics, and the like, the site is even smaller in download size than my current site.

Thing is, looking at the two side-bay-side, I think I like my "old" site. It's clean. It's informative. It's professional.

So, now I'm torn. The old site looks and works great. The new site feeds my inner fanboy (and took a couple of days to hash out), but I wonder if it's too cluttered.
What do you think?

A mock up for a proposed comic book redesign of adamcreighton dot com.
A screen capture of the current version of adamcreighton dot com.

Back in class

So, acting class started in July, then a session was cancelled, then I was in Cali, then I was sick flat on my back for two weeks, so tonight I was back in class. After a month out.

I enjoy class. Even when it's hard. I like to be on set, on mic, or in class all of the time. For me, acting's not like riding a bike. It goes away. And there are slumps. And my acting skills need constant use.

Tonight was kind of a "soft-in", which was good, because my voice is still shot.

Cold read stuff was what I was appropriately thrown into. Which I enjoy, and which I got kudos on, and I take encouragement from. But not for the obvious reason.

I'm a voice actor. Pretty much every voice over audition I do is a cold read. Plus mic technique. Plus creating the character with nothing but a voice.

I'm encouraged the skill showed up on camera tonight, and that I didn't stilt the physicality, the connection with the reader. Doesn't mean I won't have off cold reads later. But tonight, I didn't.

And it was so good to see my Meisner peeps again. I really care about those folks.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

On convictions and acting

I've been having some important discussions lately with actors. These discussions center around convictions -- what they "will" and "won't" do -- and how it impacts their acting and auditioning.

The discussion has been ongoing, but started anew when someone recounted to me an anecdotal instance, and it grew from there. In this particular instance, an actress in a mock audition scenario asked if she could substitute something else in a line of dialog that used "God" as a verbalized sigh. It was against her personal convictions to use "God" in what she considered a flippant manner.

Let the contention begin.

And while the scenario was recounted to me anecdotally, I'm sure every actor has experience with this. I know I've got direct experience, and the ensuing discussions were not anecdotal. ;-)

First, by way of background, let's go with at least two working principles:
  1. There's a separation between the actor as person (and their convictions), and the actor in a role (and what is true / authentic / organic for that character).

  2. I don't have this figured out, and struggle with it all of the time.

Let's start with the first issue, that of separation between the actor as person actor in a role as character.

There's one school of thought that says my movie role as a megalomaniac world conqueror is not likely to bridge into the "real" world.

There's another school of thought that says anything I do in a role is OK, because it's not "me" doing it -- it's the character.

One of my favorite tools for figuring things out reductio ad absurdum -- "reduction to the point of absurdity". As an apagogical argument, this is a great way for me to find the ludicrous in a debate, discard it, and find out what holds up. Put more simply, it's "finding the stupid". (An analogy in marketing or sales is "getting to a 'no', so we can start discussing the 'yes'.")

In practicality, I use reductio ad absurdum to assume something (for the purpose of discussion), get an an absurd or ridiculous outcome, and figure out the hole(s) in the original assumption (because the result is wonky).

That's your logic lesson for the day.

And I would say applying it this disussion, to posit "anything I do in a role is OK" is bullsh***.

(See I deftly mix high-brow intellectualism with low-brow boorishness?)

In all seriousness, I'm irritated with the arrogance of Biz folks who espouse this philosophy, because we know it's false. If I'm in the role of serial killer, I don't literally get to get away with murder. If I'm portraying a rapist, I can't actually violate my co-actor victim (just like hopefully no one argues it's OK for him / her to be violated by me, because "they're just playing a part").

These same folks might say this differently: "You need to get rid of your inhibitions."

Really? Because then I probably would kill (think road rage), violate (horniness without inhibitions is a frightening thought), and probably sleep with any person, animal, vegetable, or fruit (kumquats come to mind, for no obvious reason).

In short, I'd be an animal.

I watched an Inside the Actors Studio with James Gandolfini, where he said the same thing after recounting tearing apart a stage during a Meisner class, and the importance of being -- and controlling that being -- is what makes him an actor, and not an animal. So, we should learn from James.

(As an aside, it was this Gandolfini interview that motivated me to take my acting to the next level, and seek out a Meisner coach, and connect with my current coach and training).

How does this play out in practicality?

There was a monologue I gave where I'd been unjustly imprisoned, was out, and was going to attack a girl. I delivered my monologue directly to a girl, and I was so ramped up and angry and screaming I wanted to lunge across the tape line that was my mark and grab this girl. And I didn't cross the tape line. And in that moment, there was no intellectual ("non-being") interruptive acknowledgement that it even was a tape line.

Now, make no mistake, the cost is high. Like Gandolfini, scenes with violence toward women (verbal violence included) messes me up. I hate it. Because it's still me physically acting out this scene.

Which brings us back (in a roundabout way) to the struggle between me as individual and me as actor -- it's still me doing the stuff. If, as a person, I believe there is an all-powerful being called "God", and I believe one of his "big rules" is "thou shalt not take my name in vain", and I have a conviction to obey that, then I have to wrestle with whether I say it in an audition or scene.

Of course, it's all more complicated than that, as there are other factors like "is there something redemptive that happens to my character?"; "Is there something that happens to this character that serves as a warning to the audience?"; "Does art have a 'higher' purpose?"; "Is there something cathartic for me in doing this role?"; and on and on.

So we've had a nice, brief little dialectical jaunt around this topic -- So what was the advice given for the originating scenario?

It ranged (obviously). One person I know and respect deeply basically said, "Do what you're going to do and don't ask about it ahead of time."

Another industry vet (who I don't know personally, but admire his work and career in around 150 memorable supporting roles, so I won't mention his name), in essence gave the following advice:

"If you're unwilling to say lines as written, you shouldn't even audition.... It should be okay to speak privately to the director afterward and discuss it, but the audition room is not the place to do that."

I actually practice the former advice. To be honest, I think if I totally sell an audition -- it's believable -- they're not going to care if I leave out a word.

I disagree with the second bit of advice (admitting I'm responding to it in a vacuum). The way I see it, if I don't audition, I already don't have the part, so why not audition, leave out the contentious words, see if I get the part, then have the discussion?

More importantly, I feel like if I'm violating my convictions to nail an audition, I'm in essence prostituting my beliefs to get a gig. But that's just me.

And I've had bigger gigs -- like one 15-page scene where I told the director I couldn't do it as written, and asked permission to re-write it to where I could. To his credit, he let do whatever I wanted "to make it mine". But I was ready to be done with the project if push came to shove.

Circling back to that second working principle with which I started the discussion ("I don't have this figured out"), don't misinterpret this as inconsistency or waffling on my part. I consider my struggle with this the nature of the importance of the conflict, the strength of my convictions, and my being a thinking person who challenges, tests, and reassesses personal conviction (which is to say I feel "blind faith" isn't faith; or something).

And there are lots of folks thinking about this, and most of them are more studied and articulate than me. People like Barbara Nicolosi, who I don't know, but know of. They probably have more informative discussions.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

On-spec gig

Check out this on-spec piece for which I did VO. My voice is a minor part, but the commercial (faux-fifties-style) is pretty funny.

And my acting buddy rocks. So does his director friend.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Sculpt Whore

(NOTE: This post may contain adult content. Mainly, the word "whore", used repeatedly.)

They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.

So, here goes ...

(*Ahem ...*)

"Hi, my name's Adam, and ... I'm a Sculpt Whore."


Let me explain.

I like toys. Just like film, animation, comic books, or other pop culture representations, I enjoy and am inspired by toys. I have a separate blog ("NotDolls", because I'm just that clever) where I take toys (even rare, exclusive, or custom items), take them out of their package, and make fun of pop culture tropes or current events. (I actually get nastygrams for the "take them out of their package" bit.)

But what kinds of toys do I collect, and which ones do I eschew?

There are things I just plain like. Iconic figures (Captain America). Weird figures (Deathlok; Beta Ray Bill). Unique, limited run figures (like the Marvel Manga Twist Ems).

And there toys made by particular sculptors that I like. I like stuff from Dave Cortes. I like stuff from the Four Horsemen Studios.

And there are figures on which I'm not real keen. Sorry, not a big DC fan overall. And while I love the Justice League animated look, I can't stand that the toys ... can't stand. And I dislike any toy based on a bad marketing decision leveraged against one of my heroes (if they every make Scarlet Spider or Rob Liefeld Captain America toys, I may buy them just to melt them).

Recently, I've seen this tested, and (forgive me) I've fallen.

It first almost happened with the Hasbro Spider-Man Origins "Iron Spider-Man" costume. A ridiculous modernizing gimmick that fell flat (two weeks ago a watched a 12-year-old rip the concept to Joe Quesada's face; I really respect Quesada, but that was funny to watch), but I so wanted that figure. It is a fantastic, slick sculpt and paint job. I don't know who did the prototype sculpt, and I hate the concept of the Iron Spider-Man. (What did that bullpen session look like? "Hey, we're going have Iron Man give Parker new armor -- kind of jazz him up for the kids today. What should we call it? Never mind, I got it -- Iron Spider-Man!" Yeesh.)

But every time I saw that figure, I almost bought it, being saved merely by outlasting it's run in the retail stores (and being too cheap to pay the premium for aftermarket).

And then at Comic-Con this year, I fell. Hard.

I mean, I went there, thinking about getting the Four Horseman figure the "Gauntlet of Vaskkh" (which my buddy ended up getting me), but before that, I got sucked into the WizKids Halo ActionClix madness, and bought a mongo Scarab. It's not like I was planning on getting into the new game (though with this awesome centerpiece, you better believe I will), but when I saw the sculpt, did a 360 walk around, and saw how well the thing was made? You had me at "Wort wort wort".

And then my buddy got me the "Gauntlet of Vaskkh" figure (a rhino warrior thingy), and I'd already been debating between that and the Ramathhor figure (a elephant warrior thingy), and since he got me the former, I ... bought the latter.

It's the "Seventh Kingdom", for crying out loud! It's a made-up line Four Horseman put together to sell sculpts. There's no history or mythos -- but I bought two of them. And the hippo and warthog warrior thingies are looking so bad-a$$ ...

That's when I realized I'm a Sculpt Whore. Give me a well-sculpted toy (that's decently articulated, so I'm probably safe from most of Todd McFarlane's offerings), and I'm likely to buy it. Even if I don't collect that line or am a fan of the license.

I feel so weak.

But I feel better, having shared this with you.

And I'm thinking nobody's every used "Sculpt Whore" prior to this. So, "Sculpt Whore" (and "sculpt whore", "sculptWhore", "Sculptwhore", and all meaningful derivatives) (c) and provisionally tm Adam Creighton.

(Oh, and Toddy, I really like you. Just don't have much use for your toys. Change my mind on the Halo 3 stuff.)

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Comic-Con: Sunday


This was a short day, and we spent it basically just trying to make the most of the Exhibit floor. I talked to some more companies and individuals, looked for last minute schwag, and tried to help my buddy find some gift for his girls (I was useless).


I took a few quick picts of the new DC toys from Mattel, sculpted by the Four Horseman , and looked longingly at the Hasbro Legends series 3 and 4 stuff one last time.

Other Cool Stuff:

Saw Frank "Thank you for Spider-Woman" Cho, and talked to Steve Lieber about Whiteout. Good for him. Greg Rucka's been super good for comics, and I'm glad to see a guy like Steve on the upside of it.

What Sucked:

Having to leave. Oh, and our Dallas connection getting canceled; but I spun on a dime and got us to Austin ... by way of San Jose. An hour later, but at least we got home.



(Reverse chronology.)

Comic-Con: Saturday


(Sorry for the delay; been wicked ill; as you were.)

Comic-Con on Saturday (July 28) was (oddly) less crazy than Friday. Maybe we just got used to the crazy.

And Saturday was fun. My buddy and I split up first thing, and he went to the Avatar panel while I hit the Exhibit floor to introduce myself to companies and individuals, meet up with folks I'd only previously known via Email and phone (like Mark Irwin, co-creator behind multi-format property Jack Secret; pitched as "Harry Potter meets Johnny Quest"), talk to a bunch of folks on Artists Row, pick up that Leinil Francis Yu signed Captain America "The Return" poster I'd eyed the day before, and so on.

Panels were great this day, too. The Marvel Spider-Man and Smallville panels, in particular, were what I expect panels to be. Poppy, unexpected, with panelists jumping in and out of conversations, having fun, and knowing their stuff.


I picked up the "Ramathorr" figure from the Four Horseman's Seventh Kingdom, to complement the "Gauntlet of Vaskkh" figure with which I'd been gifted the day before. They guys offered to sign it, and were surprised when I told them I was actually going to take it out of the box for display.

Hasbro also added a bunch of their Marvel Legends series 4 figures to their show floor display case, so I snapped some picts of those, as well as their upcoming Japanese-derivative, 6-inch figures, which nonetheless look cool.


The Marvel Spider-Man panel was a blast. It included writers, editors, and artist Dan Slott, Zeb Wells, Bob Gale, Marc Guggenheim, and Phil Jimenez, with Joe Quesada moderating. The panel was snappy, fun, well-moderated, and the guys are obviously having a blast (and taking seriously) the Spider-Man "One More Day" arc, then 3-times-monthly change-up. Writer Marc Guggenheim and artist Phil Jimenez are now exclusive to Marvel, and I felt bad that Jimenez let slip who makes out alive between Mary Jane and Aunt May.

And Dan Slott? Perhaps one of the funniest panel members I've seen. He was hilarious, punny, and having a lot of fun with the panel, and the absolute thrill ride that writing Amazing Spider-Man affords.

I also attended the GameTap "Re/Visioned" panel, consisting of Jim Lee, Warren Ellis, Peter Chung, Gail Simone, and Brian Pulido, and moderated by GameTap's Ric(k)ardo Sanchez. I'm really liking Simone's down-to-earth take on female empowerment, and it was fun to watch part 1 of Ellis's 3-part arc, at the same time he got to see it.

I also got to chat with Peter Chung and tell him "thank you" for the animated Æon Flux, and give him my voice demo. Very quiet, pleasant person. I was also able to meet the producer behind the Re/Visioned series, and let him know I was impressed with it.

The there was the Warner Bros. Smallville panel. Again, how I think a panel should be -- a lot of back and forth, people jumping in and out, playful, sexy people (Seriously -- Hartley? Vandervoort? Morris? Durance? Gough? Millar? Wow -- wicked sexy, all). The funniest exchange happened during the Q&A when a fan asked Hartley and Durance how they prepare for their steamy scenes -- and both of their spouses (and Hartley's daughter) were in the front row. Good feedback on the professional side of the preparation, though.

This panel was also a great example of how you video summarize an entire series, and tease the next season. Serious kudos to whoever pulled that off.

Other Cool Stuff:

Wow, what wasn't cool?

Talking with Leinil Francis Yu and getting the signed Captain America "The Return" poster?

Meeting writer/creator Mark Irwin in person and being the first to see the new Jack Secret preview art?

Talking with Peter Chung (and saying "thanks" for the animated Æon Flux; and giving him my voice demo)?

Chatting with artists like Chris Batista & Tom Nguyen?

The incredible (and incredibly redeeming) Marvel Spider-Man and Smallville panels?

Getting to meet and say thanks to Scott Porter in person for Friday Night Lights?

What Sucked:

Not having mentally linked clones of myself to run around the exhibit floor and attend all of the panels. Seriously, that's a good use for mentally linked clones.

Oh, and I was stuck in the Smallville line for forty-five minutes with a real-life, unfunny version of The Simpsons Comic Book Guy. Dude seriously hated every comic book arc since 1969, and every comic book TV show or film that didn't have George Reeves. I politely engaged him for 40 of those minutes, and expressed my opinions counter to his, until he started belittling someone in line merely for being born in 1982. I then told him I didn't understand why he was at Comic-Con given that he hated everything, and that we could either talk about something he actually liked about comic books, or something other than comic books. He stopped talking. Very sad, really.



(Reverse chronology.)

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Comic-Con: Friday


Friday (July 27) was the first full-on "crazy day" of Comic-Con. Bodies everywhere. We showed up early again, and rather than wait in line for the exhibit floor, we were trying to find the line to San Diego's Hall H so we could catch the Warner Bros. showcase.

This turned out to be a bad, bad experience.


Because of the "Elite III" staff. Or, as I came to call them, "Those %&*^$#! Red-Shirts". Hey, they were nice and all; just incompetent, and gave very authoritative, contradicting information -- today and throughout the week/end. We were trying to find the line to Hall H, "if it wasn't too long". We got sent back and fourth to the two opposite ends of the Convention center -- two times each -- before I'd had enough. We decided to divide and conquer, and I had my friend wait in line for the Exhibit Hall while I tried to find the fabled "The Line to Hall H" (tip: It's not in the same location as Hall H itself).

This eventually led me outside to a line that wrapped around the entire San Diego Convention Center. I made it two thirds around the building, asking every %&*^$#! Red-Shirt I met if these folks were going to get it in. I finally found a guy who said, "No man. No way. Most of these folks are in line for the second or third show in the Hall. If they're lucky."

So I walked back to the front of the Convention Center, only to find the entry line even for badge holders now snaked off across the convention lawn. So I called my buddy, told him to go do whatever he wanted, and I would sync up with him whenever I got in.

After a half an hour in the sun, I ended up where I'd been an hour before -- just inside the front doors. And as I walked in, soaking wet from sweating (and angry), I was greeted by a smiling %&*^$#! Red-Shirt who said, "Welcome to Comic-Con! Can I help you with anything?"

He was so lucky I was out of hair gel.

That said, I'm a glass - is - half - full - and - how - do - I - fill - the - other - half kind of guy, so I quickly spun through the Exhibit Show Floor and met with people and companies that were on my list. As you can see from my Twitterings below, I was a machine, and really enjoyed touching base with these neat folks and companies with whom I'd really like to work.


In my "go this way, go that way" crisscross of the San Diego Convention Center, I did pick up my Comic-Con exclusive "Vanishing Bugs Bunny" from DC Direct. This was the "official" Comic-Con exclusive for the show, and I'd paid for it when registering for the conference. It's a slick, well-done little sculpt, but I'm debating what to do with it, as it doesn't really fit into my collection, per se.

I also picked up some Shockinis from Shocker Toys (a custom and the Wizard World skeleton exclusive), and talked to the guys about using their toys for my stop-motion efforts. They were really nice, and very supportive of me using their toys, carte blanche. Which is better than some other toy companies have been with me.

My buddy sneaked away and got me the Four Horseman figure "Gauntlet of Vaskkh", which is a bad-a$$ looking rhinoceros warrior action figure, and part of the Four Horseman's own "Seventh Kingdom" line of toys. This is a perfect gift for me, and another Comic-Con exclusive. And it makes me want the Four Horseman to do figures from the Hip Flask universe.


Mattel / DC Comics:

We attended the Mattel / DC Comics panel, which was fun, and way more upbeat and jovial than Thursday's Hasbro panel. They showed a lot of stuff from the Justice League animated series, and copped to the poor design that makes them top-heavy and tough to display. They also announced new six-inch figures (with build-a-figure components) from none other than Four Horseman Studios. Orion and Etrigan, in particular, look pretty cool.

I can't help but wonder if the fan support for Mattel is due to where they are with the license. They're comparatively in the initial stages, and haven't hit the over-under arc where the trade-off for collector and mass-market hits the fan, which is what I think was the tension under the Marvel / Hasbro panel.

Joel Silver: Return to House on Haunted Hill and Moonlight:

I only caught the last half of the "Joel Silver: Return to House on Haunted Hill and Moonlight" (the Moonlight part), which was a bummer. I'm not a gore fan, but I wanted to see the innovative "Navigational Cinema" stuff they're allegedly putting on the Blu-ray and HD DVD versions of the film. I'd like to see someone do something with the new technology.

Moonlight looks and sounds compelling, but it's going to need to work to stay out of Angel's shadow, and Blade's (the TV series) curse. This was my first time hearing Joel Silver speak, and he's pretty interesting.

Halo Universe:

I was semi looking forward to this panel, and semi expecting it to be a disappointment. Brian Michale Bendis doesn't disappoint, and he was talking about the new comic book series (I took picts, but I'm not going to post stuff before the series goes to retail), so that was good.

WizKids Brand Manager Mark Tuttle did a great emcee job, which was good, given his company had done the big Halo reveal the day before. The Topps trading card discussion was pretty mheh, and Eric Nylund, while a great author, was (like everyone) hamstrung by what he couldn't say. Since there were no Bungie or Microsoft folks on the panel, not much Halo 3 stuff was going to be revealed. (I did see them in the audience, about six rows in; with sniper rifles, I'm sure, should any of the panelists revealed too much.)

Warner Bros. Animation: The Batman / Legion of Super-Heroes:

This was a great panel, if for no other reason than Phil Morris, voice and on-camera actor, and comic fan; and Andrea Romano, single handedly responsible for casting some of my favorite voices in Batman: The Animated Series; Animaniacs; Pinky and the Brain; Superman; and Justice League. The next seasons of both The Batman and Legion of Super-Heroes looks to up the ante, get a little darker, and build on the intensity and team dynamics. I'm looking forward to it.

I even got to run alongside Ms. Romano as she headed to the Warner Bros. booth for a signing, so I could say "thank you" for her work on things like Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain, and for the extras stuff she shares on her craft on many of the DVD extra features.

Ray Harryhausen and 20 Million Miles to Earth: 50th Anniversary Edition:

Ray Harryhausen is a hero of mine. I've seen his films. I read his coffee-table crushing book. I was inspired to do my own stop-motion as a device for getting my voice out there. And 20 Million Miles to Earth was a film he'd wanted to do in color, but didn't have the budget to do so. 50 years later, we were able to watch the newly colorized version of the film -- for the same first time as Mr. Harryhausen -- and have him give live commentary on the film, his processes, and his views on fiction and criticism. He will probably not do this again.

From a Biz perspective, I arguably "should" have been at the Doctor Strange premiere, trying to connect with Craig Kyle, Marvel's senior VP of creative development animation.

But this film, with Ray Harryhausen, was historical. It was being there for a guy that informed a part of my creativity.

Other Cool Stuff:

I spoke with Leinil Francis Yu, mainly to say thanks for his work on New Avengers in general, and issue #22 in particular. Really pleasant, talented guy. I also noticed he had forward-thinking, hopeful "Captain America: The Return" print that I thought I wanted, but needed to think about.

The Four Horseman "Gauntlet of Vaskkh" gift from my buddy absolutely rocks, and hit me in a soft spot.

And the 20 Million Miles to Earth screening was a piece of history, and getting to attend it with a friend who gets it as much or more than me? Awesome.

What Sucked:

Those %&*^$#! Red-Shirts. And not having hair gel.



(Reverse chronology.)

Comic-Con: Thursday


Thursday (July 26) was the first full-day of Comic-Con. We showed up early, and waited in line for an hour and a half to get into the exhibit floor. The plan was to get to the Hasbro booth to get tickets that let you get in line to buy stuff. Like convention exclusives.

That didn't happen, because they let the folks registering for one-day Thursday badges in before all of us that had already shelled out for four-day badges. That was poor, and it could have made for a frustrating day. That is, if I hadn't been willing to pay folks (and my buddy hadn't been willing to front me the cash) who did have tickets to buy exclusives they weren't going to buy for themselves. Like the super hero My Little Pony. (What? I'm a sensitive guy.)

The exhibit floor was better than on preview night, because people were split between attending the panels and the show floor. that was an improvement.

And I totally blended in with my fellow geeks, as airport security had confiscated my gel (I suspect they thought I would use it to make deadly hair spikes and gore fellow passengers), and I was breaking out like a teenager (probably from the stress of them blocking my goal of goring fellow passengers). Nice.

Thursday was ostensibly about toys and Halo.


There were a whole bunch of new things at the Hasbro booth that hadn't been out the night before, including three things for which I've been waiting.

First up was Marvel Heroscape. I like the craft and extensibility of the existing Heroscape, but it's this comic-book themed release for which I'm been waiting since it was announced in January -- of 2006. So, 1.5 years later, it was nice to see in person, and since it's finally going to retail, I didn't worry about purchasing it.

Next up was Marvel Legends. Hasbro took over the fan-favorite line from Toy Biz, and promptly unfan-favorited it. Seriously, the sculpts for series 1 and 2 were poor in quality, appropriate articulation, and likeness. But I've said before, series 3 looks to improve upon the formula, with a 1940s Captain America, and a Hydra soldier (and variant) that look like they'll nicely complement my Baron Von Strucker Face-Off variant. (Or compliment Von Strucker: "Ja, Herr Strucker, you look wery nice!"). And series 4, announced at the panel, look even better.

Then there were the additions to the Marvel Super Hero Squad, a semi-super-deformed offering that I dig. Made for kids, the series has found new life with collectors and fanboys. There are a ton of new offerings, and I'm interested in the upcoming new Mega Packs, which add the likes of to-scale(ish) Galactus and Sentinels, and (revealed at the show) Apocalypse and Ultimate Giant Man.

I wasn't so gung-ho on the Hasbro Comic-Con exclusives of Marvel Legends renditions of Stan Lee and She-Hulk (picts below). I'm glad Stan's getting an action figure, but the whole changing him out of actual clothes makes him a little too ... doll-like to me. I fight that battle enough as is. The good news is (as of right now) those two exclusives are still in stock on

Halo Action Clix:

Yeah, this gets its own section, both because -- just by impact relative to their size and scope -- WizKids owned the show floor Thursday. And because they owned a big chunk of my afternoon as well.

I was there for big reveal of the Comic-Con exclusive version of the Halo ActionClix scarab (it was one of the big things to which I was looking forward at the con). This is a battle-damaged, limited edition (500 total) version of the largest, playable clix-type figure WizKids makes. It is stunning and brilliant, and that plus the fast-paced version of the Halo entry, over the already stellar HeroClix, has got be pretty stoked. And, since I won a ticket that allowed me to purchase one of the limited edition monsters ... I did. And I spent a ton of time in line, or checking the booth to see if I'd won, when I could buy, when I could give them my shipping info (thing's a freaking monster), and whether I won an on-the-spot version (didn't).

I'm still weighing the purchase, but for me, things are bought to be used and played with -- not resold at markup. Besides, I'm a community kind of guy, and if I have the scarab, that helps me draw and center Halo ActionClix tourneys.

And the WizKids folks? Top-notch, every one of them. Brand Manager Mark is a machine, and Rae and Jenny (both of whom I'd known earlier only via Email) are phenomenal, and super-community and super-business minded. I made sure to introduce myself to all of the WizKids folks, who were all kind and helpful.
And (without me asking) they hooked me up with a Target exclusive two-pack of the Master Chief and Arbiter. Normally you only get this by pre-ordering Halo 3 from Target. Look for that to show up on my toy blog soon.
And a guy in full Spartan armor was there throughout the day. Just for effect.
Just two panels for the day -- the "Hasbro Marvel" panel and the "DC Group Therapy" panel.
The Hasbro panel was a bit ugly. We missed the first few minutes of it, but there were some angry folks inside for some reason. It might be due to some folks being upset about the Hasbro take on Marvel Legends (kinda understandable), but there were some (2) vehement folks in the room. It felt more like they were mad because they're completests(ists?), and things like chase variant figures make it hard to be a completest. My thought is (a) don't be a completest, and / or (b) realize that if we didn't have at least the figures as chase, we wouldn't have them at all.
I think collectors need to realize that Toy Biz version of legends catered to the collector, but Hasbro is all about the mass market. There are trade-offs there. More on that when I talk about Friday's Mattel / DC panel.
Hasbro did reveal some really cool stuff, like the Marvel Legends Wave 4, which seem to even more improve on the line, and includes first-appearance Daredevil (and red-suited variant), Black Bolt (and blue-suited variant, but I wish he was yelling), Punisher (with Crossbones variant). Wal-Mart will be getting two-pack exclusives of Cannonball & Domino and Cable & Marvel Girl, and on the Icons side we'll be seeing red suited Daredevil (with a first-appearance variant), Phoenix (with Dark Phoenix variant), Colossus, and Nightcrawler. In the case I also saw what looked like an Astonishing X-Men Cyclops Marvel Icon.
There are also going to Marvel Legends of Tigra, Nova, and Astonishing X-Men Beast, probably before December.
I also met writer / columnist Troy from, who was knowledgeable and very pleasant.
DC Group Therapy:
This was a fun panel, and while I'm not a huge DC fan, per se, I really like Dan Didio, and all of the panelists -- Geoff Johns, Sean McKeever, Gail Simone, Tony Bedard, Eddie Berganza, Mike Marts, Mike Siglain, and (especially) Dwayne McDuffie.
Other Cool Stuff:
I missed the Marvel / MAXUM Games "Demons of Mercy" panel, which I really wanted to attend to check out the comic book / video game interaction. But I was in the room a couple of panels after that, and found that someone had left their Comic-Con Demons of Mercy comic. So, score!
And I got to meet a ton of cool people, and connect with folks I hadn't seen for a while. The Cartoon Network MMO folks in particular, are a great group of folks, and were very helpful in letting me try out the "alpha" version of the game answer questions, hook me up with a prelude comic, and just generally have fun. I also talked to several game and animation companies on the voice acting front, and they were much more helpful and responsive than I've experienced (sadly) in Austin.
What Sucked:
We had big plans to see the Superman Doomsday premiere that night, and the panel following that would include Bruce Timm, Gregory Noveck, Brandon Vietti, Lauren Mongomery, and Duane Capizzi.
But remember the lines I complained about? This night, we were victims. After waiting in line for an hour, we were the first people not allowed into the ballroom. We're talking they literally stopped us at the door, we could see in, and they wouldn't let the two of us inside. And then things got ugly. People who allegedly had been inside couldn't get back inside. People who had friends inside that were saving seats couldn't get inside. Then the fire marshal was doing a sweep, said there were too many people, and they were going to eject more. After about a half an hour of this ugliness, we left, bummed to have missed the premiere and the panel with one of our mutual idols.
The silver lining? The fine folks at Microsoft made the panel available for download over Xbox Live. Score again!

(Reverse chronology.)
  • "Linear Men are time, Monitors are MultiVerse. Two different things." from web
    (This is the END of the "DC Group Thereapy" panel coverage.)
    (Didio said this like it was common knowledge. Funny.)
  • Not having characters get together in DCU likened to avoiding "last season of 'Moonlighting'." from web
  • While I'm not a from web
    (Noticed m.twitter started truncating posts. Should have read, "While I'm not DC fan, per se, I'm a fan of these creatives, and the process is cool.")
  • Wow, some fans are incredibly brave asking questions. They look almost out-of-there skin nervous in public ... from web
  • Didio on the spot for leaking "52" ending ... from web
  • Creators share there 2 favorite character / interactions to write (Hal Jordan & Batman for McDuffie, etc..). from web
  • Brief derailment on classic ("Lightning Lad") versus modernizing ("LiveWire") debate ... from web
  • Perception is everyone's killing everyone on the DC team books ... from web
  • Wolfman / Perez Outsiders may be making a return. More on Sat.... from web
  • Dwayne McDuffie joining the DC panel ... from web
    Interesting to hear DC's Didio cop to Marvel's market dominance ... from web
  • Live Blogging the DC group therapy panel at Comic-Con ... from web
  • Listening to DC's Geoff Johns, Sean McKeever, Gail Simone, Tony Bedard, Dan Didio, Eddie Berganza, Mike Marts, Mike Siglain ... from web
    (This is the START of the "DC Group Thereapy" panel coverage.)
  • Seeing Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) ... from web
  • Watching someone really pull off a Black Cat costume ... from web
  • Spider-man 6" _and_ build a figure coming from Hasbro this fall! from web
    (This is the END of the Hasbro Comic-Con panel coverage.)
  • Attending the Hasbro Comic-Con panel ... from web
    (This is the START of the Hasbro Comic-Con panel coverage.)
  • In line to purchase a Halo Action Clix. Feeling a little insane ... from web
  • Getting ready for Wizkids Comic-Con reveal. See my video gaming blog ... from web
  • Taking a bath on Comic-Con exclusives ... from web
  • Breaking out like a teenager. must be Comic-Con sympathies ... from web