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How Do You Make Your Webs?

The big day at WonderCon: Saturday.
On the second day of WonderCon, Hollywood came out in half-force. Many science fiction films offered presentations, but only a couple had any star power attached. To give Sony credit, however, they nailed it with their star power: Tobey Maguire making his "only convention appearance" (until he decides otherwise) for Spider-Man 2.

But that was for later in the day; the morning was, as it should be, all about comics. More heavily attended but still not terribly crowded, Saturday made the case for me that regional conventions have great charm and afford a better opportunity to get some face time with your favorite talent.

Again largely having the field to itself for major announcements, DC offered a great panel on what we can expect this summer and beyond. Dan DiDio narrated a slide show presentation of some upcoming high points, then asked those on his panel not involved with a given title their opinion on it.

At first, it was done if a creator was absent, but the running joke got set in stone once Greg Rucka, sitting next to Geoff Johns, was asked about The Flash. The effect underscored what has made the mainstream DC Universe so fun for fans; it's obvious that the writers have great affection for each other and respect for what they're all doing. It may not culminate in slumber parties, as Jeph Loeb suggested it does, but how far off would that be from the average convention weekend anyway?

The possible exception would be Howard Chaykin, the only writer/artist (only artist at all, actually) on the panel. He was friendly, charming and full of incisive comment, but his playground is not the DCU. Even his upcoming Challengers of the Unknown book will be done through the auspices of Wildstorm. He is, however, a talent that DC is lucky to have back in its stable (and with whom we'll be talking in the next couple of weeks).

Bye, bye, Kyle...
As a lot of these presentations do, this one had its frustrating moments. Geoff Johns received much deserved applause from the audience whenever one of his titles was mentioned, but he could not say much about them, especially the already infamous Green Lantern: Rebirth. Trying to hype it up, Judd Winick piped in with his opinion that Rebirth makes sense without being a retcon. In fact, Winick laughed, it ties up loose ends you didn't even know were loose.

Coupling the Rebirth slide with the cover of Justice League Elite also shown (and raved about by Loeb), Michael Goodson wants to hazard his guess that things do not look good for Kyle Rayner. So let Goodson be on record now that he doesn't think Kyle will survive 2004.

DiDio played most of his announcements close to the vest, but did mention that he was looking to revive Metal Men, completing a personal trifecta of reviving The Doom Patrol, Challengers of the Unknown and Metal Men during his tenure. More he would not say, but definitely watch the summer convention circuit for more news about that.

Often put into the position of p.r. flack on the panel, Devin Grayson came across as a huge fan of the DCU, and I found that reassuring. These guys all love what they're doing, and it shows.

Um, is there a Santa Claus?
We caught the Maguire appearance as well, though we were late due to a scheduling snafu. Was this his first convention appearance? Because certain aspects of the whole thing clearly took him by surprise, particularly the male Wonder Woman impersonator.

Maguire fielded a variety of questions, most of which fell in the "what kind of advice can you give an aspiring actor?" category. He offered advice to make parents grateful. It boiled down to "stay in school, but if you really love acting, go for it." But he was realistic about the odds, stressing how lucky he feels to have gotten where he is, and pointing out that right now, he does not have any film projects lined up.

Perhaps the most awkward moment came when a small boy asked him how he shoots his webs. The actor handled it well by asking the child how he thought it was done. When the boy demonstrated, Maguire laughed and said, "that's pretty much right."

No, no, no, Elektra has a movie. Electro does not.
He also said that he has seen Raimi's outline for the third film (already greenlit by Sony), but he could have just been teasing the audience. As he has mentioned before, Maguire expressed his enthusiasm for The Sandman as a film villain, but if that's who is in the outline, he kept quiet.

A lucky 75 lottery winners got Maguire's autograph afterward, and Sony provided movie posters for many more.

To end our day, we attended a spotlight on Howard Chaykin, where one fan would not stop obsessing on the artist's run on Marvel's Star Wars. Both Chaykin and moderator Batton Lash (Wolff and Byrd) took it in relatively good humor.

From there it was on to Chevy's, alongside several officers from the Death Star. Somehow a guy dressed as Snake Eyes from G.I. Joe was in their number.

What a geek.

Derek McCaw

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