Tribune at Comic-Con: Updates from the craziest place on Earth

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July 28, 2008: 6:31 p.m. — More photos from the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con

San Diego Comic-Con, 2008, costumes
I THINK I’M IN LOVE. NO, I’M DEFINITELY IN LOVE.

While I recover from the convention, please enjoy these wonderful photos.

San Diego Comic-Con, 2008, costumes
A CYBERMAN FROM DOCTOR WHO.

San Diego Comic-Con, 2008, costumes
THE STAR WARS BOOTH.

San Diego Comic-Con, 2008, costumes
HEY, I REMEMBER THAT GUY. ACTOR ROBERT CULP.

San Diego Comic-Con, 2008, costumes
FANS DRESS UP AS CAPTAIN JACK HARKNESS FROM TORCHWOOD AND THE DOCTOR FROM DOCTOR WHO.

San Diego Comic-Con, 2008, costumes
IT WAS CREEPY WHEN THE JOKER STARTED SINGING, “ATTACK OF THE KILLER TOMATOES!”

San Diego Comic-Con, 2008, costumes
HELLO, BEAUTIFUL.

San Diego Comic-Con, 2008, costumes
“ELVIS TROOPER” GOES TO A LOT OF CONVENTIONS.

San Diego Comic-Con, 2008, costumes
TWO OF MANY SLAVE LEIA AT COMIC-CON.

San Diego Comic-Con, 2008, costumes
IRON MAN AND I JUST HANGING OUT.

San Diego Comic-Con, 2008, costumes
DARTH VADER AND THE EMPEROR FROM STAR WARS.

San Diego Comic-Con, 2008, costumes
THE STREET FIGHTER IV BOOTH. GAMERS WAITED IN A VERY LONG LINE PLAY IN A TOURNAMENT AND GET A FREE HEADBAND. SADLY, I DID NOT GET ONE.


July 27, 2008: 11:13 p.m. — Best day ever at the San Diego Comic-ConSan Diego Comic Con, Battlestar Galactica, Cylon
AN OLD-SCHOOL BATTLESTAR GALACTICA CYLON WITH A FULLY-FUNCTIONAL HELMET. SWEET!Just when I thought it could not get any better, it did.Saturday at Comic-Con was the day I’ll remember most. Sure it was full of familiarities — like seeing hundreds of people dressed up in costumes, getting autographs from famous artists and processing an insane amount of fanboy mania — but my last day at the convention was so great because of what I saw at The Comic-Con International Masquerade.San Diego Comic Convention 2008, WATCHMEN, NITE OWL, Owl-shaped flying vehicle nicknamed the “Owlship” or “Archie”
NITE OWL’S SWEET RIDE FROM THE UPCOMING WATCHMEN MOVIE.The day stared off pretty mellow. I heard artist James Jean was going to be signing at the Chronicle Books booth at 2 p.m. and advance copies of his new book XOXO would be on sale at noon. Since yesterday’s signing was very busy, I knew I had to get in line early. I’m a really big fan of James Jean, in case you didn’t see my earlier post.

San Diego Comic Con, Ghostbusters and Skully from X-Files
GHOSTBUSTERS AND SCULLY FROM THE X-FILES.

So with a little time to kill, I hung out in the video game section of the convention center’s main floor. It was cool to see a lot of playable demos for upcoming games like Little Big Planet, DC Universe Online and Ghostbusters: The Video Game. The lines to play were long though, especially for Street Fighter IV. Everyone was giving out free stuff too. I even got a free Ghostbusters: The Video Game t-shirt at their booth. Score!

San Diego Comic Con 2008, SUMMER GLAU FROM TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES SIGNS AUTOGRAPHS.
SUMMER GLAU FROM TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES SIGNS AUTOGRAPHS. SHE’S PRETTY.

The James Jean signing was a lot of fun. Having met him and embarrassed myself on Friday, I was much more relaxed this time. I got his autograph and chatted with him a bit about the new book. It’s a thing of beauty, as is all of his work. And for the fifth year in a row, James Jean won the Eisner Award for Best Cover Artist. He also won another Eisner Award for Best Publication Design for his book Process Recess 2. Here’s a list of all the 2008 Eisner Award winners.

San Diego Comic Convention 2008, JAMES JEAN, FABLES, PROCESS RECESS, ARTIST JAMES JEAN SIGNS AUTOGRAPHS AND SKETCHES FOR FANS AT THE CHRONICLE BOOKS BOOTH.
ARTIST JAMES JEAN SIGNS AUTOGRAPHS AND SKETCHES FOR FANS AT THE CHRONICLE BOOKS BOOTH.

Then I went to the Vertigo Voices Fables Forum and heard Fables creator Bill Willingham, artist Mark Buckingham and others talk about some of my favorite comics. Fables cover artist James Jean also showed up half-way through the session. (I swear I’m not stalking him.) The panel discussed the past, present and future of Fables and some new spin-off books coming soon. Then they had a very entertaining Q&A and passed out a convention-exclusive, one-sheet comic created by Willingham and Buckingham. Later I went down to the DC Comics booth and got both of them to sign it. Yet another big geek-out moment.

Up next was the Marvel: Secret Invasion panel. Joe Quesada and a bunch of Marvel writers and editors talked about everything but Secret Invasion, Marvel’s current blockbuster event where the Skrulls invade the Marvel Universe. They did pimp the next big series, War of Kings, starting this winter and answer questions from fans. It was a strange panel with too many fans ripping on the current state of Spider-Man, but entertaining for a con-newb like me.

San Diego Comic Con 2008, LEGO BATMAN DISPLAY MADE OUT OF LEGOS
LEGO BATMAN IS COOL.

The end of the evening was the most memorable moment of my Comic-Con experience. Some friends and I went to The Comic-Con International Masquerade and witnessed an event like no other.

Imagine, if you can, a massive convention center room full of energetic Con-goers watching people with original and re-created costumes perform on stage. By performing I mean dancing, singing, role-playing, and sometimes just standing there while the crowd cheered and/or booed. It was a mind-blowing sight to see.

San Diego Comic-Con 2008, The Comic-Con International Masquerade
WORDS CAN’T DESCRIBE THE COMIC-CON INTERNATIONAL MASQUERADE.

Some of the costumes and performances were really great. The folks who dressed up as a Nintendo video-game characters were really cool. And the act “All Rise in the Presence of Emperor Ming” was super-impressive as dozens of well-dressed characters recreated the wedding scene from the 1980 Flash Gordon movie.

San Diego Comic-Con 2008, The Comic-Con International Masquerade
“ALL RISE IN THE PRESENCE OF EMPEROR MING.”

Other acts, like the infamous “Vikings,” were so bad that the audience was screaming for them to get off the stage. I haven’t heard an audience that mad in a long time. Hell, I was even mad. It was one of those rare situations where I wish I had tomatoes to throw.

All in all it was a fantastic experience that I will never forget. Masquerade winners received trophies and cash prizes, but the members of the audience were the real winners that night. By the way, I do have mass respect for some of those performers. To make those cool costumes and get up on stage in front of all those people is not an easy feat.

San Diego Comic-Con 2008, The Comic-Con International Masquerade
ROBOT CHICKEN, FROM ADULT SWIM’S ROBOT CHICKEN, RECEIVED MUCH APPLAUSE.

Later we walked by the The Comic-Con International Masquerade Party where we got to see the wild side of cosplay (short for “costume play”). Stormtroopers, fairies, anime characters, and anything else you can imagine were all rave-dancing while techno music shook the convention center walls. Only at Comic-Con.


July 25, 2008: 10:47 p.m. — Fanboy freakout Friday at Comic-ConSan Diego Comic Con 2008
BY THE POWER OF GREYSKULL!!!Friday at the San Diego Comic Con seemed busier than previous days. The long lines and cramped isles made it tough to get around, but I still managed to see some great panels, successfully hunt down a rare graphic novel and get an autograph from my all-time favorite artist. Sweet! Oh yeah, and a bunch of people wore their costumes, making it the freakiest day of the convention and the most fun. I’ve got pictures!San Diego Comic Con 2008
MARIO AND THE PRINCESS. AREN’T THEY CUTE.The first panel I was going to attend was Warner Bros.: Watchmen. I’m a big fan of the graphic novel and can’t wait to see how director Zack Snyder is going to translate it into a movie. The line to get into the panel was really long, but I got in anyway. About 30 minutes later someone announced the room was full and no one was leaving which meant nobody could go in. Oh well, I did get to talk about the Watchmen movie and graphic novel with some of the fans in line so it was still fun. Plus, I learned a valuable lesson: Get in line early if you really want to see something.San Diego Comic Con 2008
G4’S ATTACK OF THE SHOW CO-HOST OLIVIA MUNN. SHE’S PRETTY.Next, I roamed the convention floor on the hunt for free stuff, cool t-shirts and the Akira manga vol. 6 that I’ve been searching for since day one. On the way, I just happened to run into Olivia Munn, co-host of Attack of the Show on G4. I’m a big fan of that show, so it was pretty exciting to see her up close and personal, well not really personal. I was completely star struck and couldn’t say a word. I know, I know, it’s lame, but I couldn’t help it. At least I got a picture.San Diego Comic Con 2008
THIS IS A CONTINUITY NIGHTMARE.After going through dozens of boxes of graphic novels, I finally found the Akira manga vol. 6. Score! That book was super hard to find. I could have paid $100 or more online to get it but insead it only cost me $15.

Then I got in line to see James Jean, artist and Eisner Award winner for Best Cover Artist for the past four years. When I first started reading the always-excellent Vertigo series Fables, I noticed his amazing cover work and have been following and collecting his comic and other artwork since. Now, since I’m such a big fan, I was a bit nervous about meeting him. When it was my turn to step up I think I said “I’m a big fan” about 10 times. He was super nice though and gave me an autograph and a Fables sketch that blew my mind. I did not expect to get a sketch and it’s really good, of course. I also bought a couple of signed exclusive prints. Seeing James Jean will probably be the coolest moment of Comic Con for me. Check out his website for more.

San Diego Comic Con 2008
ARTIST JAMES JEAN AT THE GIANT ROBOT BOOTH.

The next few hours I spent watching panels. The first was The Spirit with writer and director Frank Miller and some of the cast, including Samuel L. Jackson and Jaime King. Next was The Saga Continues: Star Wars 2008 which was all about the upcoming Star Wars: The Clone Wars movie and TV show and the new video game The Force Unleashed. They showed new, exclusive footage of everything and all of it looks amazing.

The best panel of the day was Entertainment Weekly‘s The Visionaries: Filmmakers — Kevin Smith, Frank Miller, Zack Snyder and Judd Apatow. It was a riot! Kevin Smith was so funny. He had everyone in Hall H laughing hysterically. Judd Apatow brought a lot of laughs too and the both of them kept things rolling as they all talked about the movies they’re curently working on and general nonsense.

Here are some more pictures. Enjoy!

San Diego Comic Con 2008
ONE OF THE BEST JOKERS I SAW ALL DAY. BUT NOT AS GOOD AS…

San Diego Comic Con 2008
…THIS JOKER! THIS GUY WAS TOTALLY IN CHARACTER AND SCARY AS HELL.

San Diego Comic Con 2008
EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE! THIS ONE IS FOR YOU JAYSON PETERS.

Stay tuned for more from the San Diego Comic Con.


July 24, 2008: 11:15 p.m. — It’s good to be geek San Diego Comic Con 2008, Jabba the Hutt
A FULL-SIZE JABBA THE HUTT REPLICA, BUT NO PRINCESS LEIA. THAT’S TOMORROW!

It was my second day at the San Diego Comic-Con and I think I’m hitting my stride — meaning I spent the whole day going to comic, sci-fi and anime panels, walking the convention floor while buying lots of comics, geeking out with Con-goers about comics, movies and what famous people we’ve seen at the convention; the whole time getting lots of cool, free swag and loving every minute.

Today started off great and just got better. First I went back and got a few more of those exclusive DC Direct Batman and Joker figures. They are so cool and at a price you just can’t beat. I’m still buzzing from the superb Dark Knight movie so my Batman radar is in high gear. Needless to say I spent some time at the DC booth drooling over all the eye candy. And there are lots of Batmans and Jokers on the main floor. I even saw a few Heath Ledger Joker/nurse costumes that looked awesome.

San Diego Comic Con 2008, G.I. Joe, Cobra
SECURITY IS TIGHT AT THE CONVENTION. COBRA-LA LA LA LA LA LA!

Here are some of today’s highlights:

>>I went to the Reinventing the Page: Stan Lee and Grant Morrison Talk Virgin Comics panel and it was hilarious. Stan has got plenty of spunk and lots of great stories about the industry and the characters he’s created. He and Morrison traded friendly jabs and cracked up the audience for an entire hour. Oh, and they did talk briefly about a new, collaborative project called MBX. The upcoming animated series will appear as online short films, and also a full feature film as well as a video game. The story is based on the epic Indian poem Mahabharata.

San Diego Comic Con 2008, Dead Space video game
SWEET COSTUME DUDE!

>>In the same room, the next panel was Doctor Who. I’m a pretty big fan of the Doctor, thanks to Jayson Peters, so it was great to hear the new head writer Steven Moffat and executive producer Julie Gardner talk about the show. They also showed a sweet, new trailer for the new Christmas special featuring the return of the Cybermen! Then some of the cast from Torchwood came on stage to talk about their series. The show’s star, John Barrowman, was full of energy and jokes as he entertained to crowd and announced that the next season of the show would come to BBC America.

>>Next up was the Marvel: X-Men panel where a bunch of X-Men-title writers talked about how the X-team was moving to San Francisco. It was pretty cool except for some of the lame questions during the Q&A. But the writers handled themselves well, delivered lots of laughs and promised big things in the X-future.

San Diego Comic Con 2008, Afro Samurai, Samuel L. Jackson
THE REALLY BRIGHT SPOT ON THE STAGE IS WHERE SAMUEL L. JACKSON IS SITTING. OK, SO THE IPHONE CAMERA ISN’T PERFECT.

>>The most exciting panel of the day for me was Afro Samurai: Resurrection Exclusive Worldwide Premiere! where I got to see star and executive producer Samuel L. Jackson, the original and sequel creator Takashi Okazaki and musical artist The RZA! I’m a huge fan of Afro Samurai so seeing all these guys in one place with all the fans was super-cool. They announced the second season of the series would start in January on Spike TV and would star the voice of Lucy Liu as the new villain. The RZA will make a cameo in the sequel and he said the music for the new series would reflect the evils that only a woman can deliver. He said it would sound like a “mad bitch.” They also showed a sweet new trailer and a demo for the new video game which is also due in January. There are demos of the game on the main floor but so far the lines have been too long for me to wait. I’ve got so much to see and do. Also announced was the new Afro Samurai manga that Takashi Okazaki has been working on for three years. The first part will be released in September and the second will be released in January. If you haven’t seen Afro Samurai yet, you should definitely watch it. It’s a unique, beautiful and action-packed anime that is in stores now and will be available on Blu-ray on August 26.

San Diego Comic Con 2008, Iron Man movie, Iron Monger
THE IRON MONGER FROM IRON MAN LOOKS AWESOME UP CLOSE.

>>I just finished watching Paris Hilton and other cast members talk about their roles in Repo! The Genetic Opera. I was in the wrong room but had to stay to see the star and some clips of her new, crazy movie.

>>Now I’m watching some good old-fashioned Kung-Fu at the 10th Annual Superhero Kung-Fu Extravaganza with martial arts movie master Ric Meyers. These are some of the best clips of Kung-Fu movies I’ve never seen. What a great way to end the day.


July 24, 2008: 11:42 a.m. — Update from the craziest place on EarthSan Diego Comic Con 2008, The Incredible Hulk, Scott Kirchhofer

Last night was preview night at the San Diego Comic-Con, which can only be described as organized madness … and a taste of things to come.

San Diego Comic Con 2008, main exhibit hall, sci-fi booth

I was one of thousands of fans who came out for the first night of the convention to see sights, get exclusive actions figures and stock up as much stuff as possible before it sells out. Opening night used to be a bit more mellow than the other days and nights, or so I’m told. Well, I guess those days are over. So many people come to the convention now that it’s always packed.

San Diego Comic Con 2008, main exhibit hall

I saw swarms of fans going bonkers for everything. At some moments it felt like a mob, with hundreds of people packed together (pushing a bit) with hands out trying to grab whatever they could get their hands on. Also, at times the isles were so packed with people that you couldn’t move. I’m a bit claustrophobic so that was not fun, but part of the experience of Comic-Con and something I’m going to have to get used to.

I did get some cool free stuff and a few convention exclusive DC Direct Batman and Joker figures. Sweet!! Also, I geeked out a bit when I saw Blair Butler, from G4’s Attack of The Show and Fresh Ink, interviewing Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada. It was really wild watching them film footage for G4. Blair was such a pro and way more attractive in person too.

I’m watching a panel with Stan Lee and Grant Morrison right now and it’s really great. Stan is hilarious as he talks the past, present and future of comics. Only at Comic-Con! Up next is the Doctor Who and Torchwood panel. Don’t worry Jayson Peters, I’ll take good notes.

Stay tuned for more updates. All photos taken with my fancy new 3G iPhone.

 


July 22, 2008: 9:04 a.m. — San Diego Comic-Con, here I come!San Diego Comic Con logoFinally, I’m going to the San Diego Comic Con. A mecca for fanboys and pop-culture geeks, the convention is one of the biggest events in the world with about 125,000 attendees.It’s sold out again this year, but I’m one of those lucky fools who gets to go July 24-27. With so many creators and fans of comics, movies, TV, anime and video games, all coming to one place to promote new ideas and share their passions, it will surely be a blast.My first comic book convention was in January at the Phoenix Cactus Comicon in Mesa. I had such a great time, but really that was just a warm-up for San Diego. My “cool” friends have been trying to get me to go to for years, and now it’s finally going to happen.I’m more than excited and a little overwhelmed too.As a fan of so many different sci-fi and fantasy properties, I’ll have to make some tough choices and figure out what I want to see most in the time I have available. (Click here to check out the crazy-long list of panels and events happening this year.) It won’t be easy, and neither will navigating the San Diego Convention Center floor without getting trampled by the masses. Stay tuned to Nerdvana for updates from the convention!