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.)

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