Friday: Showed up early in the morning this time with Peter, my friend Ryan Layton, and my boyfriend Casey Atkins. We wandered around and looked at a lot of different booths, once we secured our badges. I skipped the Warner Bros Hall H panel to shop around, showing Casey around the Exhibition Hall, as this was his first Comic Con. After about a half hour we meet up with Savannah, Austin and Savannah's 12 year old little brother Joey, who was also experiencing his first Comic Con as well. We hung out for a little bit but Casey wanted to check out the Hall H Disney panel. We headed off and got in line an hour early, plenty of time right? While in line I talked to a lot of anime fans, and learned Hayao Miyazaki was going to be at the panel. I passed out quiet a few fliers, did some networking and had many interesting conversations. I received some feed back on what would make a good anime convention. The top three requests were as follows:
Plenty of Activities and Programming
Events scheduled around interests
At the next Anime Conji meeting we will be focusing on what to do to make all three of these the best they can be.
However, what should have been a fun filled wait for an amazing panel turned into the fun filled line that would never end. We ended up waiting three hours in the hot sun only to completely miss the Disney panel. Many people just gave up and left the line when it became apparent they weren't getting in for the Disney panel. Towards the end of our wait people started doing the wave, playing with beach balls, and pitching petitions to ban The Last Airbender for its racist casting choices. Yeah it was crazy. Though it was waiting in this line I saw a dead on Edward from Twilight Cosplay, complete with super hot guy, fangs, and bed hair.
When we arrived into Hall H we were just in time to catch the Hall H panel I had been anticipating all day Thursday, the 9 panel. I got to see Tim Burton, Timur Bekmambetov, director Shane Acker, Elijah Wood and Jennifer Connelly. Elijah Wood was so handsome in real life and Jennifer Connelly is still luminous as she was those many years ago in Labyrinth. Shane Acker was sharp, funny, and incredibly attractive. He was a bit of a surprise as I had been expecting someone a bit more nerdy and rotund. Tim Burton was witty and articulate, while Timur was quiet and a bit shy. Timur's answers to questions simple and direct. The Russian director made the entire audience sad when he said a Dusk Watch Film would not be happening. However, he made the crowd cheer when he confirmed Wanted 2 was in the works. “James McAvoy will be returning. We are now working on getting his Fox...she is in a pool of Wax.” He said in a rather bemused Russian accent.
9 looks utterly brilliant and the clip they showed us was breathtakingly beautiful. Check out the trailer and the original short film it is based on and see for yourself:
After this wonderful panel, we stayed in Hall H as the Dollhouse and Joss Wheaton panel lines for Ballroom 20 were just going to be FAR too long to wait in.
I'm glad we did. We caught the panel for an Angelic action film staring Paul Bettany called Legion. It looked deliciously beautiful. Tyrese Gibson was also in the film and made the panel absolutely hilarious with his humor and energy. Doug Jones is also in the film, in a role where he isn't covered under 50 lbs of prosthetics. Which is delightfully refreshing even if its as “The Ice Cream Truck Man,” an angelic antagonist that has to be seen to be believed!
We saw the trailer and 7 minute long teaser that gave us a taste of the film's Narrative. Sort of a retelling of Alive in Joberg, the original short film this feature was based on, using footage from the feature. I was blown away. The cinematography and the special effects were polished and beautiful. I really believed these aliens were real as the humans in the film. What touches me most about this film isn't the aliens, the mecha, or the even the deeply human performance of its leading man. It was the message. Its powerful, true and serious message. Peter and Neil tried to gloss over the seriousness of the film's message during the panel but I am not fooled. This world is an ugly place filled with prejudice, discrimination and bigotry, and this movie is an anthem against that ugliness. I was touched to see “Equality Now” t-shirts with the phrase “The MSN Lies” on the back showing a human symbol and an alien symbol holding hands being worn all over the convention. The aliens aren't really aliens, they are just a symbol for every oppressed minority in living history. This isn't the heavy handed message of tolerance we are so used to from Star Trek films. But a brutal cold splash in the face to wake up the world to very real problems we are still facing.
For me, best panel of the weekend.
Afterwards, Casey and I went out to the Exhibition Hall and met up with my friends Lanae, Will and Joy. We wandered around a bit and eventually came to visit my friend Joe Phillips in Artist Alley. He had some wonderful Super Hero Beef Cake prints for Sale and was signing them as well! My personal favorite is Captain America.
Afterward there was a series of meet ups, split ups, and hanging out on the Exhibition floor. At one point I checked out the Small Press area again. Got to talk to Aerie from Queen of Wands and Punch and Pie and chat about her possibly being a guest at Anime Conji, and the crazy web comic crossovers that have happened over the years. Eventually Casey went off to catch the Stan Helsing panel, and I caught up with Savannah, Austin, Joey and their friend Jeff. From what Austin and Savannah tell me Austin is a bit of a Convention personality here in Southern California. He turned out to be very cool. There was another cute couple hanging out with us but my memory is failing me on their names.
At one point we went to the Age of Insects booth and watched cockroaches race and they took a picture of me wearing the clear plastic hat that had live roaches in it. Afterward we met one of the directors for Batman the Animated Series, Kevin Altieri, at a random booth! He was super cool and had some great stories to share. After meeting him Savannah had to go to drop off her little brother with her dad so I was alone for a bit.
It was then I spotted Paul Staffelbach, aka Gay Comic Geek and his boyfriend walking past me. However, I didn't remember his name so like a dufus I blurted out “Gay Comic Book Geek!” knowing full well if I didn't say something to get him to stop I would probably not find him again all convention. He stopped and I got to meet him and his boyfriend, take a picture with them, and talk about comics, pro badges and how awesome I thought his show was. He was very nice and it was cool that I got to hang out with them a bit. It was actually our conversation that gave me the idea to start this blog. He asked me at one point who I was on the Fanboys of the Universe site. I replied “Keichiokami” sheepishly as that was the same email address I had given him like 5 minutes earlier. “That pretty much me all over the net, if you see Keichiokami on a fan site that is me, if you Google that name all the links are about me and mostly posts on my LJ.” It was then I realized how much cooler it would have been if I actually had a blog to share all my interests on that I could point him out to. The rest is well, blogistry! Savannah called me and I said my goodbyes to Paul and his boyfriend.
I met back up with Savannah and crew and we made our way back to Joe Phillips booth so Savannah could buy a Green Lantern print for Austin. We laughed quiet a bit as the vivacious Jonathan Dorsey, a friend of Joe's hanging out at the booth flirted shamelessly with Jeff. Making him adorably uncomfortable. Savannah and I thought it was hilarious. Joe's brother and I chatted a bit about gaming and he invited me to join there Sunday night table top game. He games with my friend Steve who is also my assistant storyteller for The Gossamer Masque. I asked if Joe played, he told me that he did not but it would be cool if I came anyway. Oh well, still could be fun.
The exhibition hall closed and we hung out outside a little while before all going our separate ways. I met up with Will, Joy and Lanae and relaxed behind the convention center for a bit. I watched a Star Wars wedding from a distance, and then they left for food. I caught up with some friends from SCA and hung out for a bit, then decided to join Casey for the last 20 minutes of the Stan Helsing panel. I'm glad I did, comedy legend Leslie Nielson was there, as was Keenan Thompson from SNL and Steve Howey from Reba. The panel was utterly hilarious and the film clips were outrageous as well. Casey had an amazing time. Next we watched The Worst Cartoons Ever panel. The title of the panel just speaks for itself. They are just so...bad. Some, however, were so horrible that it was hilarious. To close out con we watched the latest Punisher movie. Whew, was it gory. I prefer the previous Thomas Jane movie personally but it was okay. Casey didn't care too much for the film but it was a time killer.
After the movie we met up with Peter, who had gone to the Eisner Awards, outside the Convention center and headed out to get some delicious eats from Golden Dragon Bistro in Hillcrest. A good end to a great day.
Saturday: So I did not have a pass for Saturday but I heard it was an epic day. Apparently Jeff, Savannah, Joey, and Austin hung out with Jonathan at the Joe Phillips Booth for awhile, below is a lovely picture of the Alice in Wonderland Costumes they wore on Saturday.
Stay tuned for my returning and final day at San Diego Comic Con, another wonderful room in this House of Dreams.