Monday, July 30, 2007

Comic-Con San Diego 2007

So I have returned from San Diego as penniless or more than when I arrived. At last estimate I had heard that there were over 100, 000 screaming fans on Saturday and Sunday and quite possibly even Thursday and Friday. The trip this year was a bit shorter for me because of well—life. I was far busier this year than last so I was not able to take an extra day to settle in at the Con on Wed and enjoy preview night. I instead had to push the limit and arrive late Thursday afternoon just in time to make the Lost Season 4 panel. Unfortunately I missed the Paramount panel which covered many things like Iron Man, Beowulf, The Spiderwick Chronicles, Stardust, Hot Rod, Star Trek and Indiana Jones, but I at least got to see the re-cap on Saturday for Iron Man and let me tell you that trailer was sick.

So let’s start with Thursday where I ran from my cab threw my stuff in the room and ran up to the Con. I was able to get a pretty good seat but it was definitely packed in there. They had the same obnoxious woman on the loudspeaker from last year attempting to be funny, she still wasn’t. After a little while and a few phone calls the show started and Damon Lindeloff and Carleton Cuse stepped onto the stage. If you don’t know who these guys are they are the head writers/producers of the best show on TV period. They started off letting everyone know they had a new system for revealing top secret info about the show. Last year they both felt that they had spilled too much so this year they brought little hand bells to stop each other when they felt they were revealing spoilers. So the crowd started asking questions and we learned that Dharma will be explored further in this season. There will also be more flash forwards and less and less flash-backs. We learned that the tragic Libby, who was killed at the end of season 2, will finally have her story arc explained. They hinted that she may or may not have worked for Dharma sometime in her past. They also showed a clip from the upcoming Lost video game. So up to this point the questions were boring/mild to mildly interesting, until someone asked about a controversial character on the show that has not been seen last season, Michael. As soon as the question was asked a bell from off stage starts to ring and the actor who plays Michael, Harold Perrineau stepped onto the stage to thunderous applause. So we now learn that Michael will be back on the show this coming season and that’s pretty much all they would reveal. Nothing about his son Walt or exactly when he was coming back, but it was good to know anyway. Lindloff and Cuse expressed how excited they were that Michael was coming back and that ABC, because they listened to us the fans, have allowed the creators of Lost to officially plot out the end of the show in just three years. It will be 16 episodes per year. It’s great, so now the pressure is off somewhat allowing these very talented guys to focus on each episode as they build toward the finale. The bad news is that the show doesn’t start again until February of 2008. So the panel ends with a snippet of another Dharma training video with the same Doctor they use in all of the videos. The new station is called the Orchid and apparently it is not for Botanical research—but it does look like they are doing research on bunnies when something weird happens—So check it out and see for yourself.

Unfortunately because I got to the Con so late I missed most of the Exhibit hall but I did get to walk around once before they closed for the night. I swear it’s starting to look more and more like Disney World with these flashy exhibits.

On Friday some of my comic books guys and I decided to blow off the busy and overly crowded Con, rent a car and drive down to LA to check out the Paramount lot. Since I got my job with the mountain I’ve been trying to figure how I was going to cash in on my V.I.P status on the lot. Apparently I can wander around the lot aimlessly as long as I have my Paramount I.D. So I thought what the hell let’s go and check it out. I got to see the Vantage offices, very nice I might add, and we took in the sights. We got to see the Nip/Tuck sets, Everybody Hates Chris and the new series on USA called Dirty Sexy starring that guy from Six Feet Under. It was fun being Mr. All-Access for a day and we got to see some cool things. Although we did realize we missed quite a few cool things at the Con as well. Like the Warner Brothers Panel which discussed and had guests from upcoming movies like The Invasion, Get Smart and most importantly The Watchman directed by Zack “300” Snyder. A panel on uber-producer Joel Silver, not to mention they had a Q&A panel for the upcoming season of 24. Guests were Jon Cassar, Evan Katz, Manny Coto and David Fury. They also had panels for Neil Gaiman and for New Line Cinemas upcoming film Shoot’Em Up. Yeah we missed quite a bit.

Saturday was extremely nuts. I started off in the morning hitting the Con at 10 and I attempted to find Thomas Jane and RAW entertainment. The set-up for the exhibition hall was completely ludicrous. I wanted to give a script idea to the actor Thomas Jane and his film/comic book company but the numbers were skewed. My friend Zacholl and I criss-crossed from one side of the Con to the other for at least an hour before we were able to locate the Brigadoon like table at the front of the Con. To give you some context on how large the Exhibition hall was, the isle ways were numbered from 100 to 5600. It was like two football fields long. Anyway so, we get there and of course Mr. Jane isn’t there and the guy who looked kind of like Stone Cold Steve Austin wouldn’t accept it. He said I had to give it to Jane personally. So I said, okay, we’ll be back. The problem was that an hour later I would be sitting in Hall H waiting for the Marvel panel to begin, and I would be there all damn day cause I wanted to see the Disney panel as well. Luckily I snuck out in between and checked back and caught him there. He was really cool as I passed my Log-line and sketches over to him. He was also selling his new comic book called Bad Planet. I bought the first two issues and I have to say that they are very well done. He has some great talent involved with him, horror writer Steve Niles and Punisher cover artist Tim Bradstreet. So if you end up at your local comic store check out this new series. Jane said that the third issue will be out in September.

I made it back into Hall H right before the Disney panel, whew! They showed some digital stuff from the upcoming Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, which looked interesting. They were in the middle of filming so there is no way of knowing how this was going to turn out. They brought out the Weta guys and introduced the director Adam Adamson and Ben Barnes (Prince Caspian) via satellite. There was a bit of a delay which made for some humorous responses, but it was an interesting panel. As anyone knows the Weta guys are nuts about making accurate hand crafted swords and armor and showed off both before the panel was over. It looked like this sequel will have more action and hopefully will be better than the first. I liked the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe but I expected better, so hopefully we will get that with Caspian. The next segment was one of the coolest. They brought out the Pixar guys to talk about their upcoming film Wall-E. It’s about an industrial robot that was left on an abandoned earth for so long that he was able to evolve into a sentient creature. They brought out the director Andrew Stanton and the sound guy for all of the Star Wars movies, Ben Burtt. He demonstrated all of the different quirks about Wall-E with sound effects rather than dialogue. The effects were intriguing and very cool.

Now at this point we had been in the room for at least three hours and we still had another panel to go through. The Marvel panel started with the director Louis Leterrier, Ed Norton, Liv Tyler and Avi Arad to talk about the upcoming Hulk movie. Unfortunately because they haven’t officially started shooting yet they had nothing to show at all, so it kind of sucked. I thought that Ed Norton had some great insights on what he was going to bring to the character of Bruce Banner/Hulk, but he didn’t seem very comfortable up there and it started to show. I’m really looking forward to the film but I just wish they would have brought some visuals to present to really get a sense for what they are going to do different from the last Hulk film. They mentioned that they were taking inspiration from the Bill Bixby Hulk TV show and from various Hulk comics. He has also taken over writing the script from Zak Penn which could be a good thing. I remember when he took creative control over the out of control production American History X and made it better. He said he will also be doubling as the Hulk in the same way that Andy Serkis performed as Gollum in the Lord of the Rings. Now we move onto the crème de la crème Iron Man. They had director Jon Favreau, actors Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard and Gwyneth Paltrow. Robert Downey was funny and entertaining and he looked like he was enjoying eating up all of the attention. They showed a kick ass trailer which unfortunately they pulled down from the internets. They mentioned that they wanted to show this spoiled rich guy, Tony Stark, who doesn’t give a shit about anybody until he is kidnapped by undesirables and forced to do bad things. Thus a hero is born, they all said that to tell a true Iron Man story is to have some great villains but the greatest villain of all is Tony himself. They seem to get the comics pretty well and again that trailer says it all.

Sunday was a breeze through the exhibit hall one more time before I get on the plane kind of day. I was probably in the exhibit hall about two maybe three hours over the entire weekend. This may be my last Con for a while but I did get to meet a few celebs and we did a little business for the book. I passed a copy of Cycle’s End to a couple of web comic sites that you can actually go to if you check the Comic’s links on the side of this blog, Komicwerks and Unshelved. If you get a chance keep checking back with Komicwerks you may see some familiar pirates floating around on their site in the next few months, so please take a look at both sites and enjoy.

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