Starting on my Jonathan Strange costume right now


What’s that? A “Comic-Con” for books? All this needs now is Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and it’d be like it was tailor-made for me. 

…Oh, wait, THEY’RE THERE, TOO. (That page doesn’t have the title of Amy Poehler’s upcoming semi-memoir, but they actually just released the title and cover and I’m pretty damn excited.)

Sorry, I may have jumped ahead. I’m talking about BookCon, which you can read all about in this Vulture article. TL;DR: It’s a new-ish (they’ve been doing something similar for the last two years under a different name) part of Book Expo America (BEA), one of the biggest book trade fairs in the world, which is happening this weekend in NYC. While the multi-day fair is pretty much for industry types looking to buy and sell publishing rights, they’ve set aside one day for a public festival, organized by ReedPop, a more consumer-savvy and pop culture-oriented subsidiary of the BEA’s organizer, Reed. Book fans can pay $30 to interact with authors in a way that they hope is like those rabid fan conventions with Spock ears and overnight lineups. So far, 8,000 tickets have been sold, which is a long way from the ~150,000 attendees San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) gets. 

The article goes into some detail about challenges and issues (e.g. lack of diversity among the panelists, the lack of an actual literary focus in favour of more entertainment and blockbuster-y/commercial books, etc.), but I still think it’s a really neat experiment, and I’m bummed I can’t attend this year (though I’ve added it to my Google calendar for 2015). I understand the need to feature celebs like Neil Patrick Harris and Tina Fey alongside authors like John Green and Veronica Roth, though I hope that as the festival expands (if it does), they can offer room to lower profile, but equally awesome, authors. It’s super early, though, and no one really knows what form it’s going to take yet. (Publishers aren’t even sure if they’re going to sell books there or not!)

As a two-time SDCC attendee and a book nerd, I’m just so tickled pink to see things like “Literary quiz shows” on the docket and a policy about bringing weapons (as in, don’t) to the con, including “sharpened metal-bladed weapons (including axes, daggers, hatches, knives, kunai, shuriken, swords, sword canes and switch blades).” Oh gosh, I really hope book cosplay takes off.

Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope


Hey! They released the trailer for Morgan Spurlock’s Comic-Con documentary, which I saw at TIFF a while back, so here’s the trailer plus my very offhand review below. (And then let’s all go see it again when it comes out, m’kay?)

I saw Morgun Spurlock’s Comic-Con documentary at TIFF this week [actually this past September], exhaustingly but aptly titled Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope, and it was fantastic. It didn’t really approach the subject as an attempt to document the history, overall cultural influence of the con, its role in San Diego, controversies or anything like that – though there were elements of these things – instead, it was more of a love letter from convention goers to the con itself.

By following a handful of fans who attended as part of their dreams to become comic book artists or costume designers, as well as a comic book retailer and a whole slew of famous, regular con-goers like Kevin Smith and Joss Whedon (!), it told the story of what the convention means to real fans/geeks/lovers-of-things.

A lot of people have been talking about how it’s a charming look at the kind of people who love things intensely, especially the kinds of fans who are moved to emulation as artists. I definitely agree, and I’d have to say it accurately and wonderfully reflected my feelings and experiences as a fan. Even if you don’t consider yourself a part of “that world,” go see it. It’ll explain a lot about why conventions mean something to those who go, and what that whole culture means to them (us).

This Week in Pop Culture


Yay: Despite getting cheesier, more over-the-top and ridiculous this season, this past Sunday’s season finale of True Blood was actually really good. Interesting character development, good intersecting drama between the characters and lots of sadness. Keep it up next season!

Nay: The premiere of Sarah Michelle Gellar’s long-awaited (sort of) comeback to television, Ringer, was terribly disappointing. [SPOILERS] There was too much insane drama (Being hunted by a murderer! Love triangles! A fake baby! Thrice-hidden guns! Hit men! Angsty teens!) Plus, Bridget spent too much time explicitly voicing her feelings every step of the way. (Was this for the younger CW audience? Maybe.) And they had SMG looking into mirrors way too much (we get it, already!) and the pacing/directing/writing was just generally sub-par. I might watch another episode or two to see if it gets better, and to see if SMG pulls a Glee by pretending to be pregnant – ’cause that might be fun.

Yay: I saw Morgun Spurlock’s Comic-Con documentary at TIFF this week, exhaustingly but aptly titled Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope, and it was fantastic. It didn’t really approach the subject as an attempt to document the history, overall cultural influence of the con, its role in San Diego, controversies or anything like that – though there were elements of these things – instead, it was more of a love letter from convention goers to the con itself. By following a handful of fans who attended as part of their dreams to become comic book artists or costume designers, as well as a comic book retailer and a whole slew of famous, regular con-goers like Kevin Smith and Joss Whedon (!), it told the story of what the convention means to real fans/geeks/lovers-of-things. A lot of people have been talking about how it’s a charming look at the kind of people who love things intensely, especially the kinds of fans who are moved to emulation as artists. I definitely agree, and I’d have to say it accurately and wonderfully reflected my feelings and experiences as a fan. Even if you don’t consider yourself a part of “that world,” go see it. It’ll explain a lot about why conventions mean something to those who go, and what that whole culture means to them (us).

Nay: Contagion was pretty disappointing. Long story short: it was interesting (and horrifying – gonna’ spend the weekend stocking up on face masks, hand sanitizer and canned goods), but really lacked story structure. Good cast. Poor story. The end.

Yay: I gotta’ say, I’m about 220 pages into The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, and it’s honestly one of the best books I’ve ever read. I was trying to explain why it’s so good to my sister, and I couldn’t seem to do it justice. The way it blends together the history of comic books with World War II, and manages to create these amazingly rich, likeable and sympathetic characters in a seamless, easy-to-read, engaging way with lots of effortless historical detail is, quite frankly, infuriatingly impressive. Can’t wait to keep reading.

Highlights and Lowlights of Comic-Con 2011

Entertainment, Travel

Day 1: Wednesday, July 20 (preview night/registration)

Lowlight: After a long train ride from L.A., checking into the hostel and walking down to the convention centre, we get a text from the SDCC official Twitter feed saying that registration is closed for the day. It was only around 6:30 p.m. and registration was supposed to go until 8:30 p.m. We asked some convention personnel about it, and I guess the line was so ridiculously long that by the time they finished with everyone currently in line, it would be well after 9 p.m. So they supposedly closed down the line. So. Lame. So, feeling strongly that they should keep accepting people into the line until the advertised time of 8:30 p.m., we took the shuttle bus over to the Town and Country Centre (the location of badge pick-up for Wednesday night) and got in line anyway. At this point, I was super pissed and worried that my Thursday morning was going to be wasted trying to register.

Highlight: And lo! Despite what they said – and what convention personnel were telling people – we got in the line, waited for a couple of hours and we got to register! Go figure. Presumably, they were just telling people that registration was closed to discourage people from joining the line because it was getting so long. Which is terrible, frankly. But it was okay! And finally getting our badges that night was extra exciting because of all the worrying.

Day 2: Thursday, July 21

Lowlight: Exhaustion. On our first real day at the con, we got up a bit before 3 a.m. and managed to join the line outside the building around 4 a.m. (it’s the line you join just to get in the building in the morning, whether you want to get into the exhibition hall or into one of the panel rooms, except for the massive 6,500-seat Hall H which has a separate line). By the time we got into the building and joined the line for Ballroom 20 (7 a.m.), and got into the ballroom (9 a.m.), I was already tired. The first panels of the day started around 10 a.m. and we were there until around 8 p.m., I think. (The order went: Burn Notice, Covert Affairs, Psych, Ringer, Game of Thrones, TV Guide’s Fan Favourites Panel w/ a variety of actors, Shameless, Homeland, Dexter.) It’s unfortunate that if you’re waiting for a panel later in the day, you have to sit through a bunch of panels that you’re not interested in so you can have a good seat (they don’t clear the rooms between panels, so you have to secure a seat early on and stay there), which means the whole morning was kind of wasted. That being said, you may end up being introduced to something cool and, in this case, seeing Bruce Campbell for the Burn Notice panel was a cool surprise. (He’s very charismatic, even in a white blazer, bright pink shirt and green pants.) AND! A lot of shows will prepare neat skits/videos just to show at Comic-Con, which is really appreciated and very cool. Even if you’re not a fan, it’s pretty entertaining.

Highlights: First, the swag. We got great swag on this first day, including t-shirts, a freakin’ STOOL for Ringer and a Game of Thrones bag with the first book, t-shirt and mousepad/screen wipe. Second, seeing Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy!) and Nestor Carbonell (Richard, from Lost!) at the Ringer panel was great. I would rank SMG below Joss Whedon on my Buffy-Must-See List, but it was still neat. And I loved the Lost love for Nestor. Then, the Game of Thrones panel was really exciting because I’m really loving the show and George R. R. Martin was moderating the panel. Sadly, no footage from the next season, though. After that, TV Guide held a “fan favourites” panel with actors from a bunch of popular shows, like True Blood, The Big Bang Theory, Lost (Nestor Carbonell and Jorge Garcia were doing double-duty for Lost and their new shows, Ringer and Alcatraz, respectively) and Doctor Who (Matt Smith is ADORABLE and it was cute that he was such a big True Blood fan.). By the time Dexter got on stage, I was pretty tired, but Michael C. Hall is very handsome, so I got over it. I think this was also the night I saw George R. R. Martin waiting at an intersection, which was cool.

Day 3: Friday, July 22

Lowlight: Sleeping in. My stupid alarm didn’t go off so I slept in until 8:45 a.m. and therefore didn’t get in line early enough to see the Star Trek Captains panel with William Shatner, moderated by Kevin Smith. So, instead, I wandered the exhibition floor, which was fun in itself.

Highlight: Later in the day, I went to the EW: Lost, One Year Later panel, which featured producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse showing up in Star Wars costumes and showing a “lost” clip from the show. Having only just watched the series this past year (meaning I wasn’t a fan the first time I went to SDCC in 2009), it was great to have a chance to be a Lost fan with this panel. This was also the day I bought this polar bear bobblehead, which was supposed to be a con exclusive…

Day 4: Saturday, July 23

Lowlights: Underestimating the popularity of the off-site Hilton Indigo Ballroom. I showed up around 7 a.m. or so, and there were so many people waiting for Attack of the Show and/or Being Human (U.S. version) and/or Community, which is what I was there for. I thought that, since it was an off-site location and the shows aren’t THAT popular, it’d be okay. Unfortunately, I ended up about halfway back. 😦 Second lowlight: Later that night, I tried to go to the new “Hall H/Ballroom Playback” where they show video footage from some of the bigger panels of the day, and the room gets to vote on what they want to see. I voted for Fringe, but Chuck, Futurama and others were more popular. Lame. (I later, of course, just watched it on YouTube…)

Highlight: Community! Seriously, more people should watch this show. It’s hilarious, and creator/showrunner Dan Harmon hates Glee so much and so unapologetically, it’s amazing. All the panels this year encouraged the audience to tweet about the panel with a particular hashtag, and Community had the best one: #anniesboobs (which you’ll understand if you’ve seen the show). On that note, the pen-stealing monkey, Annie’s Boobs, was also there! They also handed out a special SDCC slip cover for the season 2 DVD w/ the claymation characters from the Christmas episode, which was cool and a very not-subtle way to get all of us to buy the season 2 DVD.

Day 5: Sunday, July 24

Lowlight: Sleeping on concrete. Okay, back in 2009, I lined up for Ballroom 20 to see Joss Whedon at 5 a.m. and managed to get a second row seat. This year, I showed up to the Hall H line at midnight (MIDNIGHT!) and I was behind at least 100 people waiting for Glee, Supernatural and Doctor Who (mostly Doctor Who; some have reported that people were camping out for Glee, but it was mostly Doctor Who based on the amount of costumes I saw and eavesdropping). Plus, it was cold and my fleece blanket was terribly insufficient. And some people walking by during the night were lame and yelled stuff occasionally (ex. one guy yelled “wake up!” over and over again). Then, in the morning, the 100 people in front of me ballooned to 150 or maybe 200 or so when people who had slept in soft, comfy beds showed up to join their friends and family who’d waited in line. Sigh.

Highlights: Again, I wasn’t a Supernatural or Doctor Who fan when I went to SDCC in 2009, so getting to see them both this year was awesome. Even just waiting in line (after daybreak) was fun ’cause everyone was really excited and there was SO MANY Doctor Who costumes (of the Doctor, River Song, Daleks, Tardises, Weeping Angels…). Both the casts for Supernatural and Doctor Who were great, seemed grateful for the fan love and were happy to be there. The Supernatural panel showed bloopers (a fan favourite) and Doctor Who showed clips from the past season, and a trailer for the upcoming conclusion to the sixth season. No swag, though. 😦 Best part: Matt Smith and Karen Gillan ran off and signed a kid’s Dalek that he made. Cute.

The Glee panel was a bit disappointing because they were late, spent a bunch of time showing stuff for the 3D movie before the panelists even showed up on stage and only 4 actors were there (Jenna Ushkowitz, Harry Shum Jr., Dot Marie Jones and Darren Criss – though I was pretty happy to see Criss!). Producers/writers Ian Brennan and Brad Falchuck were also there, and it was a bit off-putting when Brennan, on being asked about Ryan Murphy telling The Hollywood Reporter that cast leads Colfer, Michele and Monteith would be leaving/graduating at the end of season 3, said he didn’t know where the reporter got her information and that he never said that. It was a whole controversial thing. Blah, whatever. But! I should note that I saw the Mini Warbler with his family waiting in line, which was a random and hilarious surprise. And he actually made an appearance in the trailer for the Glee 3D concert movie, and the crowd screamed pretty loud for him. Amazing.

In Summation: SDCC is getting crazier. Lines are getting longer (people were in the Sunday Hall H line since 7 p.m. or so the previous day, plus the stupid registration business), you have to waste a chunk of your time at the current con to register for next year’s con if you want to secure your badge, and it’s too hard to get an autograph ticket (it’s a lottery system most of the time, the timing of which conflicts with its accompanying panel!). And it’s getting more expensive (jumping from $107 to $175 for a four-day pass in just one year, plus hostels/hotels are literally doubling their rates).

Plus, the convention seems ignorant of the fact that fans don’t necessarily care about “big” movies with “big” stars, and would rather see TV shows in the larger rooms. Case in point: On the day True Blood was in Ballroom 20, there were apparently 6,000 people in line while Hall H was half full. So not cool. AND, since True Blood was so late in the day, if you wanted to see a panel in that room earlier in the day, you had to deal with people camping out/saving seats for True Blood. Basically, the whole panel system needs an overhaul.

Lastly, I think the shopping section of the exhibition floor could be put to better use. All the stalls seem to be selling the same stuff: comics, action figures/toys, and t-shirts. This year, you could buy the same Angry Birds toys at least a dozen different places. You know what I would rather see? “In-universe” props. That means I don’t want a t-shirt that says “Supernatural” on it. I want a t-shirt that says “Ghost Facers.” And I could barely find anything Lost-related.

I love SDCC, but I’ll have to decide if the lowlights are worth the highlights before I delve into the madness again next year. With so many other conventions out there, I have to wonder if the monster-sized SDCC is worth the trouble, especially when its growing size is what’s causing a lot of that trouble.

(Stay tuned for another post on the rest of my trip!)

Comic-Con: Day 3


Yesterday was a mix of panels and emotions (see? see what I did there?).

It was another early-to-rise, long day of panels, again, all T.V. This time I made the fifth row (and later moved to fourth). Woot!

Chuck: It started with Chuck, which I don’t watch, but I was happy to see Adam Baldwin (Jossverse alum!) on the panel. I made a video of him eating the Hershey Kisses they leave on the table for the panelists; I’m going to put it on YouTube. Someone asked the panel if they were going to make action figures, and Baldwin quipped, “I would like another one.” And the crowd went wild, and it was hilarious. (Reference to his Jayne action figure(s) from Firefly). I love how huuuuge Joss Whedon is here. The guy who plays Chuck made fun of him: “Oh, I have an action figure. Oh, I was on Firefly…” Then he mimicked his own action figure beating up a Jayne action figure and yelled, “You’re not so shiny now, are you???” (Firefly reference). Ha, awesome. On that note, at the 24 panel, Freddie Prinze Jr. mentioned that he had been watching 24 with his wife, uh, something, something, something. Anyway, the word “wife” totally set off the crowd (he’s married to SMG, who played Buffy). To which he said, “oh yeah, I forgot, she’s huge here.”

Back to Chuck, they also showed a clip of the Chuck actor sitting with the show’s creators who were talking about life after being cancelled, to which the Chuck actor kept replying with, “but we haven’t been cancelled yet!” Then they get a phone call saying they’ve been renewed and they panick ’cause they didn’t plan for this and they have no new ideas, plus they gave Chuck kung fu skills that they now have to deal with. Anyway, the creators just turn to two guys (cast from the show) wearing Jeffster shirts, and they “you’re on.” Then they came on stage and Jeffster (a fictional band from the show, like on The Office!) rocked out and the audience got on their feet and it was hilarious. Look for it onYouTube, someone must have it on there by now.

Family Guy/The Cleveland Show: The Family Guy panel was kind of interesting. I was happy to see Seth Green on there (Jossverse alum!) and the rest of the cast as well as Seth MacFarlane were pretty funny. They showed a clip from the next Star Wars spoof, and I have to say I laughed pretty hard. Kudos. By the way, it’s kind of strange and distracting to watch something with the creator sitting right infront of you. Wheird. The clips from The Cleveland Show, however, were really, really not funny. Like, not at all. Do not watch this show. Even if you like Family Guy, it’s not even in the same zip code of funny. Don’t do it.

Futurama: Sadly, none of the voice actors were at the panel because of labour disputes, but Matt Groening was hilarious. He was absolutely fixated on giving out prizes to people asking questions and he didn’t even seem to care about answering them. I wouldn’t be surprised to find him on the street corner trying to hustle with his own merch. In any case, not much was shown or talked about. Next!

The Simpsons: Again, Matt Groening was mainly giving out prizes to Q&A people while other writers answered questions. Although, he did say that he and Danny Elfman make the “s” sound at the end of “The Simpsons” at the beginning of the credits. Fun trivia! Then someone from the Guiness Book of World Records came out and gave them two honours, one for the longest running sitcom in the world and another for being voted one of the most important records in the last 100 years. Good for them! To which Matt Groening shouted to the crowd, “There is no end in sight. Simpsons forever!”

V: New show based on an old show. Yes, someone made the BSG comparison. On the panel were the entire cast, including Morena Baccarin (Jossverse alum!) who made the crowd crazy. The showed the entire pilot episode, which was actually pretty good, except it really reminded me of The 4400, which couldn’t hold my attention past the first half season. But we’ll see!

Fringe: I don’t watch this show either, it’s also looks too much like another X-Files wannabe, although I have heard good things about it. Mulder (Josh Jackson) was adorable and really egged the crowd on. It was adorable. They threw t-shirts to people who answered trivia questions. Points for effort! Didn’t show much other than a montage of the past season, but the Q&A was fun.

True Blood: This was the panel I was waiting for. Oh man, most people in the audience were wearing TB-themed shirts, mostly girls with shirts that said “fang banger.” *ahem* One guy had fangs and a bottle of true blood. Eeck. Anyway, when the entire cast walked on stage, the crowd was the loudest I’ve heard it so far. Possibly even louder than for Joss Whedon (*tear*) but I think that was partly for the hot guys in the cast. Charlaine Harris (author of the books) and Alan Ball (show creator and American Beauty/Six Feet Under guy of fame) were also on the panel. Have you ever seen what Charlaine Harris looks like? Look at her picture and then think about the sex and violence (often simultaneous) on the show. Actually, that would be really weird. So don’t. And then they showed a trailer for the second half of the second season, and it was possibly the most exciting thing I’ve seen at the con so far. Please watch this show. Please. Not that it needs the ratings! Booyah! Also, it was Anna Paquin’s birthday.

Following the True Blood panel, I promptly went to the exhibition hall to see if I won the raffle for the Dr. Horrible signing – I did not. 😦 Joss Whedon (and Zack Whedon!) was mere steps from me but I couldn’t get his autograph or take a picture with him like all these other stupid, lucky people. It was heartbreaking. I’m sure you can feel my pain. Although, I did take a picture of me with Joss in the background… talking to some other fan…

And then the day was over! That night, I went to the overflow room (not the live show, but where they screen it for people who didn’t spend all day in line) to watch the Masquerade. If you’ve been to a convention, like FanExpo in Toronto, you know what this is. People in costumes either parade around on stage or do little skits in their costumes. It’s pretty fun. I had the strangest bit of deja vu, though. Mainly about the guy who hosted it (who always hosts it) and the way they call out the contestants (the host goes, “And here’s contestant number…” and the audience yells out “26 ha ha ha” (or whatever number it is). It’s a tradition. Ask me whenever I see you next, and I’ll do the laugh for you.

That’s it for Saturday. Today I’ll be wandering around the exhibition floor and trying to see the musical episode of Buffy to cap off the con. And tonight I’ll try to talk more about the con as a whole (like the crazy people here, and how San Diego turns geek for a few days every year).

Comic-Con: Day 2


TV Day!… with JOSS WHEDON!

I started off yesterday much the same as the day before – in a long line. This time, though, my aim was to get as close as possible to Joss Whedon, who was doing the Dollhouse panel in the afternoon. Before that was a bunch of other T.V. panels, about half of which were for shows I don’t watch… but now I might! Oh, and while I was behind about 200 Twilighters yesterday in Hall H, today I was in the middle of the SECOND ROW, baby!

Stargate Universe: I think this show suffers from the same lame name as Battlestar Galactica. And, of course, BSG is one of the best shows EVER. So maybe I shouldn’t be too quick to judge. Everyone else in the room seemed to think highly of the first two Stargate series. In any case, the whole cast of the new SGU were there, and for the sake of time (I have to go line up soon!), I won’t list them all here. But the show does look interesting! Kind of ripping off BSG, but whatever…

Caprica/BSG: The Plan: Oh man, Edward James Olmos is awesome. He’s so cool he’s like the Latino Jack Nicholson. He directed BSG: The Plan, which looks just as good as any other BSG episode and everyone should watch it (watch BSG first, if you haven’t) when it comes out on Oct. 27. I have more mixed feelings about the new show Caprica (set 50 years before BSG), although I should know better than to doubt Ronald D. Moore and David Eick (BSG creators). Also, Jane Espenson is a head writer (or the head writer), and she’s awesome! I loved seeing so much Buffy alum in other shows. Speaking of which…

Bones: David Boreanaz was not at the Bones panel ’cause his stupid wife was about to give birth at any moment. In any case, the Scully to his Mulder was there, as well as the show’s creator, who is Canadian. Still not convinced to watch Bones (a.k.a X-Files 2).

The Big Bang Theory: Maybe it had something to do with it being a sitcom, but this panel was hilarious. I don’t even watch the show, but all the actors are really funny in person. They showed a long reel of their geekier moments from the show, which of course, the crowd loved. Someone asked Jim Parsons (Sheldon) to put some of his DNA on a napkin (he dabbed his forehead and nose a bit), to which he obliged, even though we’re asked not to make personal requests during Q&As. I may watch this show.

24: This panel was exciting ’cause a bunch of people defied the rules and rushed to the stage to snap pictures, mainly of Katee Sackhoff (of BSG fame) and Freddie Prinze Jr. (of SMG fame), who are joining the show as an engaged couple. Also, Slumdog and Bollywood’s Anil Kapoor will be in the next season as the president of Iran (he’s playing very diverse), so I guess he’s enjoying the American spotlight. Another Buffy alum, David Fury, was on the panel as a writer. Yay!

Dollhouse: This is more personal. When the lights went on onstage, and Joss Whedon walked out smiling all big and basking in the applause and cheering, it was a highlight of my geeky life. I’m very proud of myself for getting so close to him without becoming a stalker, btw. He seemed so happy to be there, and joked a lot ’cause he’s funny and awesome. Then he showed the ‘lost’ episode of Dollhouse called Epitaph One, which is set 10 years in the future and stars Felicia Day. Oh, on that note, I saw the cast of The Guild in the exhibition hall on preview night signing autographs at their booth. If I were creepier, I was so close I could have stroked Felicia Day’s cheek… but I’m not…

I unfortunately didn’t get to ask Joss a question due to the logistical issues of being so close to the front, but it was worth sitting so close to him during the entire panel. I have about a thousand pictures to show you all when I get back, or just when I have time to upload them to FB. Hopefully I will get chosen in the raffle for the Dr. Horrible signing later today (yeah, it’s a stupid raffle).

Oh, and two other cast members showed up along with Eliza Dushku: Sierra and Topher. Good times all around. Too bad Tahmoh Penikett didn’t show up, even though I’m pretty sure he was here for something else last night. But back to Joss. I feel as though I hit my geek peak when he came out, and now I’m afraid it’ll all be downhill from here, but I will persevere.

I know this wasn’t very detailed and there are no links, and some things I should have explained further, but I’m tired and will fix this all when I get home. I also don’t like this keyboard.

Comic-Con: Day 1


Movies!… in 3D!… for the first time!!!

Yes, yesterday is definitely classified as ‘movie day’ for me. I woke promptly at 4am (7am Toronto time) to saunter over to the convention centre armed with reading material and snacks to get in line for the day’s panels. So although when I left my hostel the street were pretty much empty except for the odd shady character or two, by the time I arrived at the centre, I was surrounded by teenage girls, soccer moms and a handful of good-humoured men – it was Twilight day.

So, thankfully, I ended up in the part of the line where there is soft, soft grass, so I camped out and read until the sun rose… then I read some more. It was intense. The first people in line were camped out there since Tuesday night (so I heard). Burger King handed out Team Edward and Team Jacob cardboard crowns… then people wore them!

5 and a half hours later, we were marched into Hall H. It looked as though there were only one or two hundred people in front of me and the hall seats 6,500, so I got pretty good seats – considering some fools who only showed up an hour or two early only ever got to watch a giant screen. Now, it’s movie time! (By the way, all the IMDb pages I’m linking the movie titles to have pictures from Comic-Con. Enjoy!)

A Christmas Carol Patton Oswalt moderated a panel for all the Disney 3D movies. This one was with Robert Zemeckis (again, I’ll post pictures later). And, for the very first time at Comic-Con, the clips were in 3D! We got snazzy glasses and, I must admit, the visuals were spectacular for this particular movie. I’m not particularly excited about Jim Carrey playing nearly all the parts, or the fact that it’s ANOTHER retelling of the same story, but the clip was quite good and kind of funny. I’ll see it if you do!

Alice in Wonderland Oswalt insisted on showing this trailer (which was also in 3D) 3 times since Tim Burton didn’t bring any clips to show. Didn’t matter, though, the trailer was awesome. I think it will be as off-the-wall and visually creative as people expect it to be, so now the plot just has to hold up. Burton was adorably awkward on stage, and was obviously bewildered when they showed the trailer for the 3rd time. He asked if he could go after that final showing. But before he did, Johnny Depp randomly showed up to wave at the crowd (which went MAD) and when given the mic, all he said was “Tim Burton’ while gesturing towards Burton. Awww. Btw, he looked sweeeeet.

Tron 2.0Though it’s the lesser known in mainstream circles than the previous two stories, I was most impressed by this footage. I recently saw the original 1982 movie, and wasn’t all that impressed (of course, I live in 2009). But the conceptual art and the clip they’ve done so far is truly, truly awesome. And the actual narrative in the clip was pretty good, too. Suspense! Intrigue! Murder! It has everything! Go see this. Also because Jeff Bridges is returning in his original role. Oh, and the cast and original director were there to answer questions. Of course, a member of the audience during Q&A said to Bridges, “the dude abides.” Bravo.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs This was after the Disney 3D panel, and was mostly there to utilize the 3D glass, I’d reckon. All they showed was the trailer, and then Anna Faris, Andy Samberg, and that kid from Role Models came on stage to wave, smile and… walk right off stage again. They didn’t even say anything! Andy even said, “hello!… and now we’re going…” (I’m paraphrasing.) What a crock.

The Hole This was a very lacklustre trailer and clip we got to see. Pair of arguing brothers and the spunky girl next door discover a mysterious hole in their basement. They open it, and scariness starts to stalk them. The end. I was expecting more from the guy who made Gremlins.

The Final Destination – I missed this because I was in the bathroom. While I was in line, however, I did hear them announce that it would likely be the last installment. High five?

Astro Boy – They just showed the trailer for this, but it was exciting because Kristen Bell was there! She’s awesome!

Sorority RowThis is basically I Know What You Did Last Summer, but in a sorority. Cast includes Rumer Willis and Audrina Patridge.

The Twilight Sage: New Moon Kristen Stewart looked like she was trying not to look attractive and look as uncomfortable as possible. She also kept complimenting Taylor Lautner (I think she’s recruiting for Team Jacob). Taylor Lautner looked very happy to be there and was more than happy to keep mentioning things related to being topless (I think he likes it when girls scream for him). Another cast member (one of the Cullen clan) was also there to look presentable and be normal. And Robert Pattinson did his darndest to be as awkward as possible and look bewildered at every question while running his hands through his hair. They showed two clips. The first where Taylor takes his shirt off, the second where Robert takes his shirt off. Robert won the screaming war. By the way, isn’t it highly inappropriate for the whole world to be fixated on Taylor’s abs (like when the blonde VJ at the Much Music Video Awards asked him when they’d be able to see him topless again). He’s underage, people! Why is it okay for a boy to be verbally molested like this?

Avatar – I was pretty excited to see footage from the new James Cameron movie, but I must admit I was a little disappointed. It’s kind of like Pocahontas, but on an alien planet and the ‘John Smith’ character is a human inhabiting an alien avatar so he can walk among them. Unfortunately, the 25min of footage we got to see (in 3D!) was just a little cartoony for me. Cameron went really heavy on the CGI and made everything really pretty – but like an RPG game pretty. I wanted to join a guild or something lookin’ at that place. And it’s hard to say if the plot will hold up – as I said, it sounds like Pocahontas. Oh, and that the main character (played by Sam Worthington) doesn’t have legs as a human, so it’s all exciting for him to walk via his avatar. Also, Sigourney Weaver is a botanist who loves the alien planet, called Pandora (of course). I liked seeing her on stage, though. 🙂 Worthington couldn’t make it, but the love interest – Zoe Saldana – was also there, and she’s pretty hot, too.

The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus From the brilliant mind of Terry Gilliam, who brought you a bunch of awesome movies, comes… the last movie Heath Ledger acted in before he died. That aside, the clips were really good and I like the premise (look it up). Visually nice, too. Go see this one. Also because Johnny Depp (and Jude Law, I guess) make small appearances.

Pandorum – The director himself said this was going to be like Aliens… and it was. Hilariously, the moderator kind of went “Ooooh, really? Like ALIENS?” The director kind of backtracked: “Well, similar… you’ll be the judge!” The trailer they showed was pretty good. Hard to say if there’s anything original in there, though. Ben Foster was on the panel, who I adore. Points for effort.

Kick-Ass – The director, Matthew Vaughn, was quick to say at the beginning of the panel that whether or not this movie gets picked up for distribution depends on whether the audience likes it – which certainly spurred us on to be overly encouraging, I’d bet. In any case, it’s a slightly obscene take on “teenagers who want to be superheros, and who get their asses kicked doing so” but with a little girl who actually does kick ass ’cause she’s been trained in superheroism by her dad (Nick Cage). She wears a purple wig and shots and stabs people – a lot. The action was pretty bloody and ballsy, but I liked it ’cause the clips were funny. Also, Christhoper Mintz-Plasse come on stage recording the audience on his phone; I like it when they do that.

And that was Thursday! *phew* Now I have to get in line for today! Bye!

Comic-Con: Day 1/2 Part 2


Sorry, I think I may have messed up the numbering of these days. Anyway…

It’s 4:20am here, and I’m about to go line up for the big panels of the day. Unfortunately, since they don’t clear out the rooms in between panels, if you want a good seat (or any seat) for a big afternoon panel, you have to park yourself in the hall all day – meaning I’m joining the Twilighterers currently camping outside Hall H at the convention centre so I can go to the Disney 3D panel and the Avatar panel today. Pray for me.

Yesterday at preview night was ridonkulous! The convention centre is massive and filled to the brim with people, booths, people, vendors, people, displays, people, free stuff, people and… more people. I’m just glad that a) I don’t like more stuff or I would have either spent more money or just killed myself trying to soak up everything and b) that I won’t be in the exhibit hall on Thursday, Friday or Saturday, which are supposed to be even crazier ’cause I’ll be in panels all day. Sunday will be my exhibition hall day. That being said, I already splurged. I bought a Serenity grocery bag ($6) and a Serenity Zippo lighter ($30)!

I’ll post pictures on FB when I get back, probably, or on Sunday, by the way. For now, that’s it. Time to get in line.



Are you aware of the difference between nerds and geeks? Nerds are members of chess clubs and have test tubes in their rooms. They are characterized by their general studiousness and intellectual (usually science and math) prowess. Geeks, on the other hand, play D&D and watch X-Files… and go to comic book conventions.

They are often mistaken for each other because they are both usually anti-social (outside their own cliques) and are prone to general social awkwardness. And, of course, someone can be both. I know this, because Tyler knows this. They also quote movies at random. To be fair, these are exaggerated stereotypes. These days, everyone has a little geek in them and even nerds can be cool.

To learn more, you can read an article on this exact subject that we ran in Excalibur a few years ago (please note that I made the graphic). I even wrote an article on the essence of fandom that ran beside it. 

Ah, fandom. It’s one of my favourite topics. When you get so obsessed with a T.V. show that you watch the entire first season in a single night. Or when you spend hours reading message boards (those old things?) and blogs to find out about that movie or book or next episode. It’s even when you’re at the movies and after watching the final post-credit clip of Iron Man, someone in the theatre yells “to the blogs!” That was Buffy for me. And Veronica Mars. And Harry Potter. And many, many others. 

It also means going to conventions sometimes. I’ve been to FanExpo in Toronto a few times, mostly in high school. It was a thrill to walk alongside other geeks and see so many people indulging in their fandoms. It’s like Halloween but mostly for adults and you can meet people you watch on T.V.! 

Sadly, it started to lose its thrill as time went on. I think it started when I met Mercedes McNab, who was late to her booth and less than enthused about signing an autograph. Honestly, meeting those people isn’t always particularly exciting. That, and the fact that some of my infatuations eventually wore off. I just really don’t need a limited edition Buffy statue at this point in my life. 

But before these geek pride parades completely lose their luster, I’m going to the Mecca of all fan conventions: Comic-Con. I’ve wanted to go for years, starting back when I really wanted to meet Joss Whedon and he would only ever attend Comic-Con. I almost went last year, but I ended up interning in Hawaii, which was okay I guess… So about two months after last year’s convention, I registered for Comic-Con 2009. I booked a hostel. I bought my plane tickets. And then… I waited. Now, it’s only a week and a half away! *high five*

I blog about it now because the schedule went live this weekend. I can’t begin to express how exciting it was. Kind of like finding money in pants you never wear while also discovering they’ve brought back your favourite flavour of ice cream… and it’s on sale! 

I was surprised to see how many panels were for T.V. shows; I was expecting a lot more on the movie side. What happened to Prince of Persia? And The Last Airbender? (See more here.) But, I must say, it’s a very exciting time for television. I’ve been trying to learn myself in some key shows before the convention. Dollhouse? Check. The Guild? Check. Dexter? Next on my list. I don’t want to miss a panel or, worse, go and not understand what’s going on because I’m not caught up.

I was also surprised by how many panels were for wannabe comic artists. I know it’s a comic book convention (or started out as just a comic book convention), but my past experiences have all been with FanExpo, which was much heavier on the “popular arts” side of things. I was also interested to see that they don’t really make any distinctions in genre the way FanExpo does (horror, sci-fi, anime etc.).  

Some highlights I’m looking forward to are the panel (and 3D clip) for James Cameron’s Avatar, seeing Tim Burton at the Disney 3D panel for Alice in Wonderland, the panel for Dollhouse with Joss Whedon, of course, (although it isn’t the best content he’s ever produced, it’s okay and I expect it to get better), the panel for True Blood, the one for Caprica and BSG, and some of the night-time programming, like the screening of the musical episode of Buffy, and, of course, the masquerade, which sounds very entertaining. 

Unfortunately, much of what I want to see is very mainstream and bound to involve very, very long lines. Well, I had no misconceptions about that. It will give me plenty of time to ‘people watch,’ which, if you’ve ever been to one of these things, is one of the best parts. It should be a very exciting experience overall. That being said, I will have to do my best to avoid the Twilighters who are bound to congregate. I’m also going to have to miss things because of conflicting scheduling. The worst of it is that I can’t go to the panel for the sequel to Boondock Saints. *sigh* Such is life, I suppose. Oh, and as much as I want to see Kristen Bell, it looks like she’s only going to be at the panel for Astro Boy and I’m not going to that.

Well, ups and downs aside, I’m psyched. In preparation, I’ve been reading as much as I can from bloggers, mainly, as well as Twitterers and some news sources. Right now, it’s mainly announcements on who’s attending and lots of guides and tips from regular attendees. One of the more interesting tips I came across was this: Don’t go Tijuana while you’re there (which is just a trolley ride away). Lots of people suggested I see a little of San Diego, visit the beach, go to the zoo during the con, but, unfortunately, people scare easy when it comes to Mexican border towns. One even commented, “Your desire to see Santo or Mistico (Mexican wrestlers) may be great, but it’s not worth getting killed or kidnapped.” While I understand the need for caution, I honestly don’t see the harm in taking a day trip. Let’s not ostracize Tijuana any more than it has, please.

Wow, I’ve written almost 1,000 words on Comic-Con already. But, wait, there’s more! Be prepared for blog posts during the convention, which is July 22-26, unless I’m too tired to post. Which I probably will be… from all the fun ‘n all.