2004: Day One
The Imminent Threat of Giant Robots
Comic-Con, you're always this close to
being crushed to death by a giant robot.
some reason, it stands out this year that Comic-Con actually
gets advertised all over town as a "celebration of
the popular arts." Notice that. Not a celebration of
comics, but of everything. Consider that the loudest booths
are for anime (as they were last year) and videogames. At
almost every turn, you stumble across a company touting
a collectible card game for a licensed product (even Mighty
Beanz). Throwing comics into the mix seems almost an afterthought,
so it came as a strange relief for Disney to show up at
the convention with a focus on reintroducing its comics
to an American audience.
the Hollywood attention has begun. Paramount has begun early
by pushing Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow,
both with a kicking booth and by stationing menacing giant
robots on either side of First Street just across from the
Convention Center grounds. Luckily for our peace of mind,
we saw one in the process of set-up and can say those words
heard way too often in our lives, "hmmm...it's not
as impressive when it's deflated."
but sure to be controversial, MGM chose to advertise its
video product Species III by putting a woman on
display. Not necessarily a new tactic, as convention attendees
certainly like to stop and ogle. But this time around, though
in context of the Species series, actress/models
have been hired to loll around in glass case and look bored.
With that many eyes upon you, looking bored may actually
be a major acting achievement. That was overlooked by a
few female convention goers that took umbrage at this naked
exploitation. Maybe naked isn't the best word.
least she was given squeezy toys to play with...
Hollywood, Thursday tends to be the day devoted to cult
films and TV shows, and this year maintains the tradition.
Writer/director Richard Kelly got to stave off at least
one fan who took Donnie Darko a little too seriously,
while in Room 6AB, the geeks of Freaks
and Geeks gathered with show creator Paul Feig
for a bittersweet reunion. What does it have to do with
comics? Not much. But it's a show that comics fans clearly
in the day, a Creative Light panel offered advice to aspiring
filmmakers. Despite a problem with the sound, it went over
well, and most of the audience appeared to be in some stage
of putting together their own productions. We have to give
the shout out here because Scott Zakarin gave it out to
us during the panel, taking every opportunity to wedge in
a mention of Fanboy Planet.
us give a shout out to a show that Comedy Central previewed
this afternoon: Drawn Together. An eight episode
series (so far) set to debut this fall, the show brings
together eight different cartoon characters to live in one
house and not drive each other crazy. A simple premise that
looks like it could go really tasteless really quickly,
but funny all the way. And one of its writers is thirteen
years old, which only revives my bitterness over not having
been a child prodigy.
that went on, DC Comics made some not so quiet announcements.
At a panel entitled "In The Name of Justice,"
they dropped the bombshell that they would launch another
Justice League title. Before you write this off as a strange
time-traveling accident to about ten years ago, note that
Justice League Classified will start off with an
arc by Grant Morrison and Ed McGuinness. It's possible that
they may continue, or come back after a break, but the title
is designed to handle story arcs by top flight creators,
set in random periods of Justice League history. Any bets
on Gail Simone somehow making Justice League Detroit seem
you have woken up with night sweats that Chuck Austen would
remain on the regular JLA book, DC confirmed a
recent rumor that Kurt Busiek would take over the book,
with a possible Austen fill-in.
don't know, really.
in Gotham City proper, Judd Winick got named permanent writer
on Batman. I haven't had time to review his current run
with Dustin Nguyen, so let me go on record here as saying
I really didn't think Winick would make a great Batman writer.
AND I WAS WRONG, OH SO WRONG.
congratulations, Judd, because you write one hell of a Dark
Knight. Now if you could just help a videogame company make
one of Batman's games cool...
he will not go into in-depth until next week, Michael Goodson
spent some time with THQ previewing The Punisher
game. When I found him in the hotel room he was jumping
up and down in his chair, giggling and repeating "wood
chipper" over and over. That must mean it was very
cool. In weeks to come, he'll be offering his viewpoint
on the many games that he sampled today. What happens at
Comic-Con gets exploited for months afterward.
was also the Star Wars Fan Film Festival, an event attended
by our own Mish'al Samman. As of this writing, he hasn't
filed a report, but then it's late and I turned off my cellphone.
The event was huge last year, as were fan films in general,
and this year these are the only films you'll see freely
using licensed properties. After last year's Batman:
Dead End kerfuffle (Batman fights Alien and Predator,
and basically, fans went nuts), Warner Brothers put the
kibosh on Comic-Con allowing anybody to show a film with
one of the big guns. It keeps us all the more untainted
the end of the day, the Fanboy Planet staff dined with Mark
Teague and Geoff Johns at the Gaslamp Strip Club, a fine
steakhouse where you grill your own meat. Actually, Geoff
was two tables over and didn't realize we were there, but
I'm sure it was an oversight.
This close to being crushed to death by
a giant robot..
further photos from today, click
Comic-Con Day Three -- in which ye olde editor has a birthday,
making him merely ye olde.