What I would do if I had control over a next-gen Pokémon Game!
Thanks to Ty Hunt for the outro music
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Well, I have just returned from the happiest place on earth, San Diego Comic-Con! Lemme tell you, our little group had a GREAT time despite having car trouble and despite Marvel’s signing schedule changing entirely. Anyway, here is the play-by-play!
WEDNESDAY: Left early in the morning around 3:30-4ish. Listened to The Black Company: The Chronicles of the Black Company, Book 1 by Glen Cook on audiobook as we drove down to San Diego! (Sidenote/review: Can’t really recommend this book. It was published in 1984 and while it was one of the first books to bring some of the “gritty Fantasy” tropes into the mainstream, it suffers from awkward sentences and hilariously bad naming conventions. There were a few good ideas, but not enough to make it worth your time.) Oh man, never ever going through L.A. again. Three hours of traffic hell. Buh. Checked in at the hotel, then headed down to badge pick up and started the Comic-Con experience! Also known as standing in line. 🙂
-Got to the Con just in time to catch the “Oh, You Sexy Geek!” panel. This was supposed to be a panel about whether or not girls in slutty/revealing costumes helps or hurts both nerd culture and the fairer sex. I hate to say it, but the panel was a near complete failure. The problem was that it felt like the panelists were afraid to voice any opinion too strongly, so nothing was very in depth. Actually, the entire discussion lapsed into the ol’ stripper argument. “If it’s her choice and it empowers her, is it really bad?” Thank god for Seth Green randomly raising his hand and getting handed a microphone. He really helped the dwindling panel find a new direction, even if it wasn’t what the panel was supposed to be about. His insight was that Geeks and Geek Culture need to embrace the n00bs, even if they’re good lookin’. So the panel was a bust, but entertaining over all.
-Next was my most anticipated panel: “Putting the Epic in Epic Fantasy.” The reason I was so excited was because of the talent on this panel: K.J. Taylor (The Dark Griffin), Patrick Rothfuss (Kingkiller Chronicles), Peter Orullian (The Unremembered), Christopher Paolini (Eragon), Kevin J. Anderson (Saga of Seven Suns), Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn/Wheel of Time) and the BIG one, George R.R. Martin (Game of Thrones) himself! This panel was amazing! Now I’ve seen this before with a similar cast, the biggest difference for me being last time we had Brent Weeks and no GRRM. Last time the panel was focused on trying to nail down the difference between “regular fantasy” and “epic fantasy,” which was very interesting. This time, however, the focus was much more on the writing process, e.g., “Do you like outlining?” “Which should come first: the world or the characters who inhabit it?”, etc. etc. Very cool and I must say Patrick Rothfuss came out the coolest looking guy on the panel while GRRM took a more sagely “I remember when…” approach to the panel. Which is actually not as bad as it sounds. GRRM’s views helped make writing seem a little less mystical and more like a real life process while Patrick Rothfuss’s views refreshed and inspired. Always a good panel if they do it again and if you like fantasy/writing at all CHECK IT OUT!
-After their panel we headed over to the signing area and got to meet the authors. I got a quick signature from GRRM on a brand new fresh copy of Wild Cards. Molly got a signature from Patrick Rothfuss on Wise Man’s Fear and GRRM’s signature on A Dance with Dragons. That was neat, but we got rushed through and didn’t really get any facetime with the authors so nothing interesting really happened.
-After that we wandered the Floor for a bit. I got to meet Gabriel Ba (a brilliant Brazilian comic artist/writer of Umbrella Academy and Daytripper fame). He was really nice, but I think I was giving him the creepy superfan glazed stare of awe and made him a little uncomfortable–sorry, dude!
-That night the crew headed over to the House of Blues to see LIVE Epic Meal Time and DiggNation. Was surprised to find Mike Relm was DJing to start off the night. If you don’t know who Mike Relm is (I didn’t), I highly recommend you check out some of his videos over here. Awesome stuff. After Mike kicked it off the night, Epic Meal Time got their act started (yeah, you may have heard of these guys). Really funny live, they did a good job of keeping the crowd’s enthusiasm high by tossing out free Big Macs. Yes, we caught one. Evidently it was delicious; as the only sober one I didn’t partake. They showed us how to make a bacon weave, then skewered about 15-20 Big Macs together, wrapped the entire skewer in bacon, and then stuffed the thing into a roasted pig. It looked delicious, sooOOOo delicious. We were starving so I was very jealous. After they finished, DiggNation was kinda fun, you know a little but THEN TONY HAWK SHOWED UP! That’s the coolest thing about being in/around Comic-Con: random celebs popping up and finding out they’re pretty cool.
FRIDAY -and the Van-:
-Got up, got excited, had my schedule all ready to go, loaded up the Van with people and expectations, got on the freeway, then, then, theeeeeeeen, THEEEN promptly broke the f*ck down.
Yup. On the freeway even. Lost a lot of valuable Comic-Con time, but the break down could have been much worse. We actually lucked our way into a courtesy tow called for us by the California Highway Patrol. After I waved goodbye to the rest of the crew, watching as they took a bus to try and get to the Con, the tow truck took me and the broken van to the magnificent Car Diego! Car Diego, home of the Wandering Rooster. Actually the service was top notch and those guys got me in and out in only a few hours. I even had a few people who walked in swear by the place, saying that Car Diego had been around for over 30 years and that they wouldn’t take their car anywhere else. Repairs finished, I was down and away headed to my favorite destination. Unfortunately, I did miss the Ugly Americans panel which I heard was amazing (Molly made it in, even got a free T-shirt!).
-While on the floor I was able to try a 30 minutes Guild Wars 2 demo. I played as a human engineer and I must say I loved it! Running around with a rifle and taking down monsters. Now the engineer is the healing class of GW2, but they also have an arsenal of traps and gadgets. I spent most of my time trapping and strafing the hordes of monsters. One really neat feature was the “fight for your life” feature. After your life bar zeroes your character falls to the ground and you have a limited number of moves to try and kill what just killed you. If you succeed you don’t have to respawn and your character recovers. The demo was very fun, but I’m afraid if they don’t get this game out soon their competitors may be able to catch up with them and make the game seem much less impressive. Still, check it out! Good stuff.
-Having nothing planned, we headed up to room 7AB to make sure we got in to the live Totally Rad Show, and promptly lucked the hell out. In the same room there just happened to be a panel on the upcoming film about Warren Ellis (Transmetropolitan, X-Men, and a slew of other greats) and let me tell you this movie looks awesome. I am a huge Warren Ellis fan already, so my excitement was high and the footage we saw so so good it got the people I was with excited to read his stuff and watch this documentary. The main setup is that these two guys got Warren Ellis in a room (on the condition that they provide the Red Bull, Whiskey and Cigarettes) and got him to talk about himself, his philosophies and his work. Really inspirational, any aspiring writer will need to see this movie. Turns out that he is even cooler than I imagined.
-After being pumped up by Warren Ellis’s insights, the Totally Rad Show Live kicked off. I am sad to say I have never watched their show on the internet, but I having seen them live at Comic-Cons past I was excited to see them again and they did not disappoint. TRS is essentially just three guys talking about movies, video games, board games and comics. One of their gags was called Secret Identity, a game where one of the three would leave the room and while they were gone the audience would give them a character from popular culture. When the person came back into the room they had to guess who their character was based off what the others said to them. It was funny as hell. Some really great improv moments. The best part of the panel, hands down, was a short film based off of the Portal games. It gave me chills. The use of music, rhythm of the shots, great acting and setting. Man, it was amazing, directed by Dan Trachtenberg. I will post a link as soon as it’s posted (sorry, it was an exclusive sneak peek, but I guarantee you will see it when it hits the net). 🙂 EDIT: PORTAL MOVIE IS HERE!
-Got to the Con with no problems (thank god) and started the day with some quality wandering around, checking out the booths and the Floor (more about the Floor at the end of this post). Molly and I headed over to the Indigo Ballroom to stand in line to make sure we wouldn’t miss the Joss Whedon and The Guild panels. When we go there we were surprised to find that there was virtually no line…well, eh heheh, actually we later found that we accidentally walked right into the exit and skipped the line.
-The panel we walked into was Legendary Comics: Frank Miller. You see, Legendary Pictures is opening up their own line of comics and Frank Miller is who they’re hoping to use to really launch the line. I think they bit off more than they were prepared for though, because Frank Miller’s next project is gonna be FREAKIN’ LOCO. Never politically correct, Frank Miller always does what he wants to do. It’s called Holy Terror and it is basically Frank Miller dealing with his feelings about 9-11, and it’s gonna be messy. Originally this started as a Batman story, but at some point Miller said, “This is too harsh to be Bruce anymore” and had to create a new character and world for the story. That’s right, TOO HARSH FOR BATMAN and we’re not talking Adam West Batman, we’re talking Frank Miller Batman. At one point they showed us a character with the Star of David on his face warning the main character about terrorism. To which Miller responded, “I am nothing if not subtle.” BWAHAHaha. Here’s a tiny taste.
-After Legendary finished up and the few people who didn’t want to stick around had shuffled out of the ballroom, I enjoyed some CheezIts. They were good
-Then the light went dark and the crowd went berserk (as berserk as nerds get, anyway) as Joss Whedon stepped onto the stage. Smiling and waving, he really drank in the applause. After a decent beat the crowd started to let up, eager to get to the panel. Whedon responded by grinning and raising his hands for more applause. The crowd responded generously. “I never get tired of adoring affection.” It was a good start to a panel, I gotta give the guy that much. Now I thought his panel was going to mostly by him talking about his many projects (Buffy, Dollhouse, Angel, Firefly/Serenity, The Avengers, etc.), but he almost immediately opened the floor up for questions. A lot of great questions and great/funny answers. The most memorable moment being when Whedon mentioned how he had hoped that they would be filming another Serenity movie by now. Which got another standing ovation. If you’re a Whedon fan, it was as good as you think it could be.
-Next up was The Guild panel where we got to see the first episode of Season 5 and got in a good Q&A session. They were funny, especially Jeff Lewis (who plays Vork), who incidentally has a stand up routine. Um, good stuff, not too much more to tell. Yeah. Woot. Watch The Guild–episode one of season five is on XBOX Live and will continue to become available on Tuesdays. Season five episodes will air on their website on Thursdays.
-After a nice day at the Con it was time for THE SAN DIEGO ZOMBIE WALK!!
Had a great time, saw some great costumes, Zombie of the Year went to an awesome Zombie Storm Trooper, honorable mentions include Zombie Mr. Destructoid, Glass-Faced Zombie and a mother who put her baby in a papoose then put on a huge shirt over the papoose and make it look like the baby ate its way out of her stomach (my personal favorite).
– After such a long walk we needed something to drink so we headed over to Tr!ckster. Tr!ckster is a temporary Bar/Art Gallery/Indie Comic Book store set up during Comic-Con by Indie Comics Writers and Artists. We had a great time, got some drinks, hung out and talked, mingled even. While hanging out, going over our top five favorite Marvel characters, I noticed that Gabriel Ba, Fabio Moon and Jill Thompson where walking around enjoying themselves. Made me wish that I knew what more of the indie comics writers/artists looked like. Oh yeah, there where also bands playing music.
SUNDAY/ FLOOR BOOTH RECAP:
– By Sunday I had hardly bought a damn thing and if you’re wondering why, I must refer you to this comic:
I thought this would be a good time to review some of the cooler things to be found on the Comic-Con floor in order to keep it all in the same place.
-The Marvel Booth was a little disappointing this year, while they did have the costume from CAPTAIN AMERICA (yes, it must be in all caps) and the rest of the set was a set of the Shield Office from the Avengers movie, it was shockingly bland. Not only that, for some reason they insisted on pumping really really bad music loudly into the Con. Boo.
-DC’s Booth was actually pretty cool. It was surrounded by giant banners with amazing comic artwork like two stories tall. These banner weren’t just cool, they created a separated feel for the booth. Kinda like “You’re leaving the Con, Welcome to DC Comics.” Inside they had the Dark Knight Batman, Joker and Two-Face costumes, more as a side note than the main attraction. The main attraction was a stage they set up where they had DC talent giving little drawing lessons or sharing some of the latest DC news. Neat.
-Sideshow Collectibles is usually the coolest booth you’ll see at Comic-Con. If you’re unfamiliar, then just, um, you know, LINK. They make the coolest toys, oh man, the coolest toys.
-Wow, this is hard, the Floor is really where you see some of the most interesting stuff at Comic-Con. It’s also where you get the most free stuff. 😀 It is the hardest part to describe as well as being something you really have to experience for yourself. Really all it is is a giant, very nerdy mall where you can find almost anything nerdy you want and where advertising for nerdy things reaches an unbelievable high in the best, most entertaining way. Yeah, all of that, plus Cosplayers galore. Good ones, at that.
-That night we ate at the House of Blues for Jenn’s Birthday, and I ordered some of the best ribs I’ve ever eaten. Once we were full we made our last trip to the Gaslamp district to get some awesome gelato at a place called Chocolat. After that awesome night we all made our way happily back to the hotel.
-We woke up, loaded the van with swag and people, then headed back home. Then I took way too long to finish my Comic-Con Recap Blog, 😀
WAS IT AWESOME? Well, it was like this:
Workin’ on getting this thing up and running!