Jason's Journal

Highlights from the 2007 Comic-Con International in San Diego


Date:Friday, July 27, 2007 -- 4:01pm--LOCAL TIME

What a day. It seems that with each day, more and more people show up, which is amazing because you can't imagine any more people fitting in a single location. This morning I had to wait in line to get in. Let's not forget I had my ID already. The line stretched around the building and almost to the parking lot. I had to skip the WARNER BROS presentation this morning since, having seen yesterday's lines for PARAMOUNT, I realized it would have been impossibe to get in anyway. The thing that never ceases to amaze me is the fact that I am walking around in my sport coat and t-shirt and am sweating, and yet there are people walking around in BLACK VINYL CAPES and heavy plastic outfits. What they must be going through is beyond me. And, you have to stop and think that while some of the people they are emulating had to wear the same kind of outfits, THEY WERE BEING PAID TO DO IT. Talk about a love for the game.

I started the day watching a panel discussion on bringing comics to the screen. The panel included Mark Verheiden (again), Mark Fergus (FIRST SNOW and CHILDREN OF MEN), Don Payne (THE SIMPSONS, MY SUPER EX-GIRLFRIEND, FANTASTIC 4: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER), and Stan "The Man" Lee. I had never really seen Stan in person before and I have to say that he really doesn't disappoint. While some would call it an act, I believe him to be genuine in what I saw. He was humble, claiming that he felt like a phony sitting among actual screenwriters as that he, himself, had only written "cockamaimee comic books."

Full panel...but from far away 

He was charming and he was funny. The rest of the panel deferred to him when they could and the entire room treated him like a living legend. He told of the genesis of the character of IRON MAN (the subject of a film to be released next year, starring Robert Downey Jr and Gwenyth Paltrow.) It was a bold move by Lee who modeled the hero after everything the public hated at the time. He created Tony Stark (IRON MAN) as a billionaire industrialist, munitions maker. In a time when the public's acceptance of the war was less than 100% and patriotism was ebbing and the rich were seen as the oppressors (has that changed?) he built his hero to be the very symbol of all that was despised. People told him not to do it but he did it anyway, and it worked. The public came to embrace the character. His moral..."Every time someone tells you you can't do it, do it."

For anyone out there, by the way, looking for tidbits on the TEEN TITANS movie, Mark Verheiden says that it will be a Nightwing/Robin story and a story about transitions. It will be influenced buu the Wolfman/Perez work on the book and they will be the TEEN Titans and not the 20-something Titans...

After the panel I dropped in on the DC COMICS/MATTEL presentation. For anyone who's curious, it looks like Mattel (makers of the BARBIE line) have signed a deal with DC Comics which gives them the rights to make action figures of more than 3,000 characters in addition to Superman and Batman.

We were treated to images of figures to be released over the course of the next year and a half. This includes the SELECT SCULPT line, THE BATMAN line (based on the newer animated program), JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED (based on the late cartoon program), DC SUPER FRIENDS (a kid-friendly line with bigger figures), and DC UNIVERSE (the umbrella title for the rest of the line.) DC UNIVERSE will have sub lines like FIGHTING FIGURES 2-3" 2 packs with fighting features, each pack containing a hero and a villain. There is also the CLASSICS line which are 6" representations of popular characters. The waves will consist of some characters representing a theme and each figure will come with a piece so that you can build a larger figure. The pieces in the first wave (Red Tornado, Classic Batma, Penguin, Orion and Etrigan), make up Metamorpho. There will be two waves for the rest of this year and 5 more in 2008.

Finally there will be 5 & 6" figures released for THE DARK KNIGHT (the sequel to the popular BATMAN BEGINS film). From what we were told there will be 6 figures, as yet unnamed. Supposedly there will be big news from the group at WIZARD WORLD CHICAGO.

After that, I sat in on interviews surrounding the film BLADE RUNNER. I will try, at some point, to go into detail as to what I saw, but that will take time. Suffice to say, a virtual who's who from the film was in attendence and the project promises to be the most comprehensive work we've ever seen on the film and has truly earned the title "FINAL CUT"... or has it?

Joe Turkel Sean Young Joanna Cassidy and James Hong
Mark Stetson and Larry Paull Larry Paull and Syd Mead 
Ridley Scott 

Posted by JMR


Date:Saturday, July 28, 2007 -- 12:24am--LOCAL TIME

After BLADE RUNNER, I was treated to two panels that demonstrated the right and the wrong way to have a panel. And, unfortunately, the wrong was was rather sad. But I'll get to that in a minute. The first panel was the SciFi Channel's panel with the cast of EUREKA.

'Carter' and 'Zoe' wait to go on... 'Stark' and 'Allison' too... 

It featured Colin Ferguson (Carter), Ed Quinn (Stark), Salli Richardson (Allison Blake), Jordan Hinson (Zoe) and Joe Morton (Henry). It was a wonderful presentation which started with a specially made Comic-Con trailer for the rest of the season. Then the cast was brought out and it became READILY apparent that this is a cast that gets along and enjoys what they're doing. The audience (we were in one of the larger conference rooms and it was PACKED) got to ask the panel questions about the show, their characters and so forth, and the cast was happy to oblige. The event fired on all cylinders.

Then there was the KEVIN SMITH event... This was unfortunately inappropriate; and I'm not referring to the language (which is to be expected, of course.) It was the fact that not 5 minutes into his talk he announced that he would be showing a pilot for the new season that he directed. This is to be expected because he usually has something to show at Comic-Con, so this was fine. The pilot was called REAPER, and it was pretty good. It clearly had it's roots in a sci-fi/fantasty kind of world, with influences from BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and DEAD LIKE ME, to name a few.

After the pilot, Kevin brought out some of the cast (Ray Wise and Missy Peregrym) and the creators (Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas) of the show and opened the floor for some Q&A. This is where things went unfathomably pear-shaped. The schedule had only listed KEVIN SMITH on the menu, so the folks that came to the session expected him ONLY. So when Q&A time came around, the good folks from REAPER were pretty much ignored. Almost all of the questions were for Kevin EXCLUSIVELY. I felt terrible for the cast and crew because they were clearly eclipsed.

For his part, though, Kevin was as charming as ever and even went out of his way to try to include the cast and crew in the Q&A session.

But what was the most important thing I learned about Comic-Con so far? It's kind of like history. It looks great and seems like a lot of fun, but the one thing they never tell you is that from time to time, the smell is pretty bad. You get people who stand outside in the sweltering heat, waiting to get in, or you get people packed like sardines in the halls or rooms with their 98.6's raising the temperature to a stuffy degree and what ultimately results is a bit of a stink from time to time. The good news is, though, that you can eventually escape it. Unless, of course, it's coming from you.

Where are all the people? Oh, there they are 
On the hunt Who are YOU looking at? 
On Guard  Also on guard 

Posted by JMR