Thursday, July 27, 2006

COMICS: San Diego Comic-Con 2006 Day 2 - Webcomics and Dark Crystal 2

Friday July 21

Day 2 in my mind was the most important day of the entire Comic-Con. As I was eating my almost stale doughnut in my room Friday morning I was perusing the Friday programs in my Comic-Con events guide and I noticed two things that made me very excited. One was a panel called Spider-Man: Then and Now with panelists Stan Lee, Joe Quesada and my favorite writer of them all J. Michael Straczynski. The second panel was also with Straczynski solely about writing. This was the panel I was most excited for, I was determined to sit in that damn line all day if I had to I was not going to miss this.

I got to the panel for Spider-Man early and was rewarded with a pretty good seat, everyone was just filing in but I noticed a few extra people on the panel that were not mentioned in the book. John Romita and John Romita, Jr. Oh, this makes this panel complete; John Romita took over the artistic reigns of Spidey in the late 60's early 70's right after Steve Ditko left the book. His son John Romita, Jr. penciled Amazing Spider-Man during Straczynski's run in early 2000. This was a nice bonus and I was looking forward to what they were going to say. Apparently we learned that John Romita and Marvel came up with the death of Gwen Stacy while Stan Lee was away in Europe, they wanted the story to show the readers that no one was safe even Spider-Man's girlfriend. Apparently they had taken Gwen as far as they could take her. Stan Lee said that Mary Jane was fun, a bit of a ditz but she was wild and unpredictable which made her more attractive than Gwen, he also said that's when he knew that Peter would marry Mary Jane instead of Gwen. When they mentioned the current run of Spidey they kept saying before they moved on with the character they would ask themselves what Stan would do. Stan praised Straczynski for his work on Amazing Spidey, which of course made me very happy. Although, maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think Stan would have liked the big reveal of Spidey's identity to the world. It was a pivotal part of the story telling back when he was writing the book. But he did say that change is good and that he was generally pleased by Spidey's course in the past 20 or so years. -- I had a good experience in this panel but I was really looking forward to my next panel after lunch where Straczynski would lay all of his secrets out on the table to give me the inspiration to write something absolutely fantastically brilliant.

This of course was not to be, after I foolishly decided to get some lunch before the panel I found myself waiting in line at the Quiznos for what had to be an eternity. By the time I got out of there I raced back to the convention and found myself in line with twenty minutes left to go before the panel started. The problem was I had no idea where the friggin line ended. It must have wrapped around into three different corridors before I found the end. At first I was worried that the room may fill up and I would be left outside, but the line began to move and I thought maybe it's a big room? It was not to be I almost got up to the door when some pecker head from the security team told us that the room was full. URGH!! My trip was ruined this was why I came out here in the first damn place!! No Straczynski? Are you kidding me!!? Well that sucked so to console myself I went down to the floor to get a few sketches. The only one I got today was a cool Green Lantern from artist Mark Buckingham (Fables). What a nice guy too, I mean he had a line all the way to kingdom come and they all wanted a sketch from him, and he obliged us all.

I ended up in two more panels--The Webcomics panel on finding your audience which, before I even walked into the room, taught me something very important. The audience is out there for Webcomics, half the damn room was there for one comic in particular, Penny Arcade by Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins. I mean if I hadn't gotten there early I wouldn't have gotten in the room. They also had Bill Barnes from Thursday's panel and a few new ones; Scott Kurtz from PvP, R. Stevens (Diesel Sweeties) and Kristofer Straub (Starslip Crisis). The panel was snarky especially Scott Kurtz who reminded me of Matt Stone and Trey Parker, this guy just spoke his mind. It was an interesting panel, but I was getting tired, so I met up with the fellas as we walked the Con floor one more time before closing.
The last panel of the day was the Jim Henson Company: Power of the Dark Crystal and sneak peek. This was very cool as they showed clips from the original Dark Crystal film directed by Jim Henson himself and a few clips from the upcoming movie directed by Genndy Tartakofsky (Star Wars: Clone Wars). Tartakofsky and Jim Henson's daughter, Lisa, assured us that the new movie would have puppets and they will be adding CGI into the mix to make it even more exciting. Very cool, but the thing I think I enjoyed the most from this panel was the clip from a proposed new show. It's kind of like Whose Line Is It Anyway except with puppets. It was hil-frigin-larious. It was aimed at older audiences as the moderator asks the crowd for input. The scene is two criminals who have robbed something and they have to get by a police man, Colombo style. Someone in the crowd yells out--A Sperm Bank--now the criminal in this scenario is a cute Koala who speaks only Angolese which is apparently an offshoot of French. So you have the cop who is trying to speak to the Koala crook through the other one who looked like a Ferret or something, anyway it was funny as shit. So look for it this fall--Jim Henson's Puppet Improv. So it's time to look forward to another day, today was disappointing but we'll see what Day 3 holds.

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