Oh boy, oh boy, it's the event of the year!
Yeppers. After a five-year hiatus, this fan triumphantly makes his return to the Holy Grail of Conventions, San Diego Comic-Con! I went back in '07 for Thursday, and it was pretty big back then too (that was the first year it completely sold out, but on Thursday and Sunday you could still buy tickets that weekend) but after becoming more familiar with the convention "circuit," this time I really went with a different perspective. I imagined it to be COMPLETELY crazy, as in long long lines for anything remotely interesting. It really was not...until Saturday. Sunday leveled off a little. But each day I was able to get into plenty of interesting panels without having to line up too early (longest I ever waited for a panel was an hour, and there were only about three that I even had to wait at all for), and run the exhibition hall picking up free swag and not-so-free-but-totally-awesome goodies! And, I would like to thank back2real
for letting me stay with her and waiting in line with me at the exhibition hall to pick up free stuff!
Where else are you going to see people dressed like this?
Without further ado, it's panel review time!ThursdayBill Amend
My very first panel of the weekend was my most anticipated one, Bill Amend, the creator of FoxTrot, my favorite comic of all time! He talked about how he got into creating FoxTrot (he was living @ home at age 22 and not really doing anything else! LOL!) and how it took off. He displayed a bunch of his favorite episodes, and a few new ones! One thing I've noticed the past few years, esp. now that the comic has gone from daily to Sundays-only: Jason has mellowed out quite a bit whereas Paige has become more geeky. He said that was because when he created it, it was based mostly on stereotypes--the geeky younger brother (which was loosely based on himself) and a somewhat irritable middle sister who cares about things like how her hair looks. But now that he has kids, the characters are shifting more towards being based upon his kids. He pretty much described the comic as a play-it-safe, inoffensive comic strip that everyone could like. That's probably true, but that description doesn't account for how good the comic ended up being, in my opinion! A Disney: Frankenweenie, Oz, & Wreck-It Ralph:
I got my Hall H fix out of the way on Thursday! This was right after the Twilight panel, and I figured most of them would leave (which they did), so I only had to wait in line an hour to get in, which is quite good for something from as big of a name as Disney! They showed clips from the movies and had a brief discussion and Q&A with the director and a few of the actors from each panel. It was a little obnoxious to try to stuff these for all three movies into one hour, in my opinion. Tim Burton was there for Frankenweenie, and while the clips looked cool, his main point was, to me, unconvincing and that's that he hasn't worked this hard on a project like this in a long time. It seemed a little "ehh" to be saying that about a movie about a dead dog, but whatever. Oz actually looked cool, and I liked that it was going to be more of an origin story of the wizard, as opposed to a remake of the Wizard of Oz. (No red shoes in this one, too, since they were trademarked by the classic movie.) Now, Wreck it Ralph, THAT one looked cool. The premise was there's a video-game villain that doesn't want to be bad anymore, and he goes to a support group that features other villains such as Bowser and Zangeif! LOL! The ten minute preview looked very cool, although there was an incredibly annoying little girl who looked like she was going to be one of the main players, that I really wish she wasn't. B+Jackie Chan's Chinese Zodiac 12:
This is the upcoming Jackie Chan movie! Jackie Chan himself was there, and said that while he's not retiring, this is probably going to be his last really big production. He said most of the actors were in some far off country and could not come by, but he brought in "Laura from Paris." So Laura walks in...to little fanfare. Then Jackie Chan said, "now, Laura, introduce yourself!" Laura was like, "Hi, I'm Laura (last name), and I'm happy to work with Jackie Chan and to be here at Comic Con." That got even less
applause. LOL. :-X Poor Laura. There was some dude who came in who was wearing what looked like an armour covered in rollerblades and did a few tricks for us. Not really sure what that had to do with anything. Maybe he/she/it makes an appearance in the movie. They showed the trailer twice, which looked like something that would not disappoint any Jackie Chan fan, and did Q&A. BFriday
How cool was it that the artists from my first and third favorite newspaper comics were here! (#2 was Calvin and Hobbes, but Bill Watterson was not present.) She talked her comic, which was, of course, For Better or For Worse, her background as a medical illustrator (which was quite interesting) and how it was influenced by her surroundings. One point she made was that she stuck her first husband in the comic strip as a dog. LOL. :-X She also put a new character in the strip because she wanted a baby, but didn't really want a baby! Haha! She also had an obsession with buttcracks which was a little obnoxious and I wish that would have been left out, but whatevs. She talked about how she stuck controversial elements into her strip (i.e. the Lawrence episode, the family dog dying) and the smorgasbord of letters she got in response. A-666 Park Avenue:
At 999 Park Avenue, your dreams can come true...for a price. They showed the pilot of a new episode and had a brief Q&A with the director and actors, including Terry O'Quinn and Vanessa Williams. The pilot was a little oversaturated in my opinion but I guess I'd rather have that than too little. Acting was good from both O'Quinn and Williams, the show's "evil" couple. The protagonists weren't quite as skillful but that's more difficult. Vanessa Williams made the audience sing Happy Birthday to Terry O'Quinn. LOL A-
The most irreverent claymation series is back for season 6! Seth Green and a bunch of others were there to preview a bunch of clips from the upcoming season and discuss the series. The previews were awesome, but sadly, in my opinion, the discussion wasn't as funny as I hoped they'd be. It's kind of like, they are just a bunch of people that get along well and they thought they were funnier than they actually were. Getting along well is good, but is not a substitute for substance in my opinion. But at least they were nice. It made sense, though. The story about how they got the name "Robot Chicken" from a Chinese take-out menu was pretty funny. If they tried making an entire TV show then in my opinion it would be even more obnoxious and less funny than Family Guy/American Dad/Brickleberry (see 2 entries below). But, since it's little snippets at best, it works. B+Black Dynamite:
It's unfortunate that they introduced the panel with "we only have 45 minutes, because that's how they treat the black man!" (they were probably being facetious but that's not a good way to begin) because aside from that, everything else about this was totally ace. They showed a Michael Jackson episode, which was the most ridiculously hilarious thing I've seen. Discussion was funny and insightful. The original movie is a blaxploitation spoof, but they brought up the point that blaxploitation did make a lot of people famous that would otherwise not have had the chance. A-Brickleberry
A new Comedy Central show, which is pretty much the exact same show as Family Guy or American Dad, but it takes place in a fake national park and is even more obnoxious and less funny. It has an equally low-brow sense of humor and derivative set of characters with a talking animal/martian/whatever. In this case, a bear named Malloy. The writers/actors were pretty much what you would expect from something like this. It was kind of cool seeing the entire pilot here, and it was even cooler getting a free Brickleberry T-Shirt (yeah!) but it's not the type of show I would go out of my way to watch. B-Funko Fundays:
This wasn't an official panel, but took place at the Holiday Inn by the Bay. It was Funko's annual meeting where they preview new stuff and give away a bunch of stuff (mostly to diehard fans.) It was $60 to sign up, but it included three exclusive Pop figures (retail $15 apiece, but on the black market they go for upwards of $60 apiece) and dinner and drinks plus whatever else you win, so it's more than worth it! It was cool to see an industry event like this, and even cooler that it was open to the public. Here's my takeaways: Freddy Funko Mars Attacks, Kiss, & Abominable Snowman, and plain Freddy Funko! And, prototypes of Gonzo and Miss Piggy Pop figures! NR
(since it wasn't an official panel)Saturday
Save the Date: Your New Favorite Film
Save the Date was NOT my new favorite film, in fact, it was, sadly, the only dud panel I went to all weekend. The premise is that it's a movie that's inspired by comics, but not based on any particular one. It was supposed to be Scott Pilgrim-esque, but it lacked any sort of humor or nostalgia or dare I say, even relateability that SP had. It just looked like a boring, slightly cool looking (but not even that cool looking) movie that would be silently screening in the background of Urban Outfitters. The bright spot was that they had comic sketches, which they later explained how they turned into real characters in the movie. The discussion should have been more interesting had had backing from such entities as the AV Club, but was, sadly equally boring as the movie itself. C-The Following
A new show from Kevin Williamson/Marcos Siega, were a bunch of people (and dogs) get murdered and an investigator has to solve it. There's said to be some paranormal bent to this too, although it wasn't completely apparent from the pilot. This show was totally disgusting and bloody and has unnecessarily ridiculous twists, but I have to give them credit for being skillfully suspenseful. Also, Kevin Bacon as the detective is scary looking, but the villiain was oddly charistmatic, in fact, so much that I almost want to root for him instead. Along with 666 Park Avenue yesterday and Revolution (below), the actors and directors in the brief Q&A said pretty much the exact same thing, which is "we don't know what's going to happen next." B-Revolution
Another new show, this one which takes place fifteen years after all electricity goes out and stays out. This is totally B-movie or C-movie material. It's a little too ridiculous to be believable (i.e. 15 years is too soon to completely degenerate into the wild wild esque setting this movie has become...and swordfights? really?) and the combo of main characters just seems a little odd (the girl, her step-mom she doesn't like, and one of her now-late dad's friends), but it was, in a way, delightfully tacky. Apparently there are a few people left in the world that still have electricity. BAction Figure Insider's Behind the Plastic
This panel brought a bunch of executives from companies like Mattel, and a few designers to talk about the toy industry. What a reversal this was from the Funko event--@ Funko, they gushed about how awesome their fans were. Here, they make it clear that they're in it to make a profit, and you shouldn't be in the business because you love toys, you should be in it because you want to make a profit (wtf) and even though it's more profitable to make something else rather than Comic-Con exclusives, they "make it work." Ugh. Well, if nothing else, at least it's good to know that these types of execs are just as much jerkoffs as any execs. D
I first saw this TV show called "Ninjago" months ago and thought, hmm, that's odd that they're legos, even though the TV show itself makes absolutely no mention to legos. Well, at least now I know after attending the panel they officially are legos! This was one of the panels I had to get there early for. It started at 10:30 and I got there around 9:45...by shortly after 10 the room was full. They had people from the TV show as well as from Lego to talk about how they designed the characters and incorporated them into the TV show, which was cool. They also showed a clip of an upcoming episode. A-Comic-Con Talkback (AKA the Shitshow Panel)
Now THIS panel was pretty friggin' hilarious. I nicknamed it the shitshow panel, because all it was was one of the directors sitting in front, and eveyone else lined up to complain about how they didn't get exclusives/tickets/security was being rude/etc etc. It was actually pretty hilarious. Some of the more hilariously bad complaints were:
- My daughter is in a wheelchair, and she could not get the Lego exclusive that she really wanted because everyone else ran to the front of the line before she could! The only reason she did get the exclusive, on Sunday, was because they opened the doors for people in wheelchairs before everyone else! If they would have done that earlier, she would have not had to wait until the end of the weekend to get the exclusive! (Okay lady, there are many people NOT in wheelchairs who didn't get the exclusive at all. Your daughter actually got one, which makes her luckier than most, and I doubt she's complaining either, so neither should you.)
- I've been going to Comic-Con every year since 1984, but I'm not very technologically savvy, and now that the only way to get tickets is online, I'm afraid I won't be able to get one next year! (Uhh, okay, but this isn't 1984 anymore. This isn't even 1997. It's 2012. Buying a ticket online is a little nerve-wracking but not difficult; learn it.)
- I saw lots of screaming kids that didn't have parents watching over them. I think they should make kids pay the full price too! If parents had to pay $150 for kids to attend, maybe they would think twice before taking them along! (HAHAHAHA. Well, this chic got a lot of jeers, but I guess kudos to her for being ballsy enough to say something like that.)
- Security was really mean to me and told me my cane was too bulky and I had to get out of line! (Okay, this one actually is a valid complaint, but it was still kind of funny. :-X)
Last but not least...THE STUFF! Yeah, I'm unabashedly celebrating consumerism. I spent about $500 solely on vinyls and plushies, but there's no other time of year that I can get so much satisfaction from spending so much! HAHAHAHAHA! Here's a bunch of my stuffs:
Left: Golden Domo Bobblehead, SDCC DKE Exclusive Android Set, some free android plushy & chicken, free vinyl bags! Right: 2 more Domo plushys, Kidrobot Ice Cream Sandwich, & SDCC Toynami Exclusives Dark Knight Skelanimals & Chun Li Hello Kitty!
Left: Free T-shirts! (I really wanted the Nintendo one, but wasn't able to snag it...oh well. It's not too expensive on eBay) Right: A bunch of sweeties! Somewhere in there, there's the giant 2-foot tall emote "Hype" (only available at conventions), stuffed liver from I Heart Guts, stuffed Nosellot Lyle Bean, SDCC Exclusive Angry Pink Panda, little Ox Uglydoll & Uglydoll hat, and SDCC exclusive Uglydoll Power Babo! Ahhhh, the cuteness has completely taken over!
Oh, and I must share with you the story of the Homer Golden Buddha from Kidrobot! This was one of the things I really wanted from SDCC, but it's limited to 500 and they were only selling a small number each day. I tried to get in line first thing W, Th, & F and pretty much got to the booth within minutes of them opening the doors, but they were sold out! Ugh! Well, on Saturday, I got there RIGHT away, like, within seconds, but they weren't done setting up and told us to come back later to get a raffle ticket for the chance to buy it. I was a little peeved, but there was no guarantee I would have gotten it to begin with, even though I was literally there within seconds. Well, guess what? I got it!!!
OMG, isn't that awesome? And the Chinese take-out box it comes in makes it even more worth it!
There were a bunch more things that I got, some for puchase, others for free, but I couldn't possibly take pictures of everything! (Including a TON of free posters)
And, to finish this post here's a few pics..one with my friend Christine & I in front of the Lego Hulk, and another with the Uglydolls! Enjoy! :D