I lead a blessed life. Within a two week span, I took in a Dodger's game, toured the Huntington Gardens, screamed my lungs out at a Rush concert, and then, to top it all off, I got to take in the 2007 edition of Comic-Con in San Diego. What can I say, things are good!
This year all four days sold out and the convention center was packed with rabid comic book fans. But Comic-Con has also widened to be a springboard for all things geek. Many new movies and TV shows preview themselves within those halls. The lines were long, and many people were daunted by the amount of time it took to get into the rooms of their choice. Some didn't even make it in to their chosen panels because of the number of attendees.
I risked heat stroke to make it into Ballroom H, where the line stretched all the way through the center and snaked around outside. Unfortunately the long waits and the fact that many great panels were scheduled for the same time slots kept me from getting to take in everything I wanted to see. So here's just a brief summary of some of my own personal highlights.
Futurama, formerly featured on the Cartoon Network, will be moving to Comedy Central in January of 2008. They have made four full-length movies which will then be split into four episodes a piece (16 total, 8 of which were penned by Ken Keeler). But never fear if you don't have cable...the films will be available via DVD as well. When asked what was different about the new series, besides the obvious serial nature of the episodes due to their 'feature' genesis, David X. Cohen said that the budget had been cut slightly, dipping into the writer's salaries and the music budget (no more live orchestra). But everything is in high definition and widescreen. And there are brand new toys on the way!
It wasn't hard to tell what panel I was in when a number of conventioneers tromped in wearing shirts emblazoned with "Joss Whedon is my New Master." The man himself was soon to follow on stage. Now that the collector's edition of Serenity is in our hot little hands, Joss has had what he calls "a paradigm shift to smaller, faster projects." He's been working on not only the popular Buffy and Angel comics, but has started a project called "Sugar Shock" (which can be found on Dark Horse Presents on Myspace). The interweb projects are some of the newest things online, and promise to bring us more Whedony goodness. In other updates, he's rewriting "Goners" (which he says is "looking good"), has co-written a horror film called "Cabin in the Woods," and is in negotiations to film "Ripper" for the BBC in 90 minute format. What struck me most was Whedon's unwavering love for the fans, his genuine humility, and an absolute commitment to bringing his stories to life through whatever mediums are available.
And let's not forget the ladies of Battlestar Galactica. Mary McDonell, Katie Sackhoff, and Tricia Helfer (joined by Erik Storey, David Eick, and Ronald Moore) reminisced about how the show has progressed and talked about what the experience of working on the show has meant to them. I have to say that I had a lovely fan girl moment when Lucy Lawless came out on stage with the other lovely and talented ladies of BG as a 'surprise guest.' They are coming into the home stretch with the fourth and final season of a show that we've grown to love, and I have to say that they've resurrected (and made infinitely better) a show that I when I was younger.
Down on the floor of the Con, I found tons of things which grabbed my attention. First up was a comic called Red Star, which utilizes Russian history to create an allegory that plays out in an earth-like world in which magic still operates along with science. And their very thorough on the historical side, providing an actual Works Cited page in many of the books. This title was created by Chris Gossett (Goss) who is probably most well known for his Tales of the Jedi (he's credited with the creation of the double-ended light saber). He's worked on King Kong with WETA. But he and an entrepreneurial group of three other friends decided to join their fortunes to create their own company and franchise with Red Star. The videogame was initially developed for Acclaim, but was tied up with the subsequent bankruptcy, then finally freed and distributed by Take 2. The game reminds me of an old-school Contra, with all the same addictive qualities and retro artwork. And in the furthering of the franchise notion, Red Star has been optioned by Universal and may some day (the comic book gods willing) be coming to a theater near you.
Next up on my list was the comic Bushi Tales. Set in the 31st Century's "New Edo," it chronicles the journey of Akiyo Yamashiro and her fellow samurai to vanquish an ancient evil (of course). While this title was full of lots of "girl power," it didn't hesitate in the butt-kicking of evil category. It also does a nice job of walking the line between fun and whimsical one moment, and oddly poetic the next. And some great artwork sure doesn't hurt the mix. This title is brought to you by Dave Beaty, Lin Workman, and Micah Stewart, and you can catch panels of their work at http://www.bushitales.com.
Other items which stood out to me were the titles Arsenic Lullabye (which is super-funny while being awfully twisted and dark), the fun and fabulous pictures from the company Girls Drawin Girls, and a film that looks so kitchy I can't miss it, the Trailer Park of Terror (based off of the comic book series). Last but not least, I found a an artist that I must say I really adore. Bruno Werneck (who you can check out at http://www.brunowerneck.com)
has some of the most amazing art I've seen, and as he is currently employed as a full-time concept artist for Midway Games, you've probably seen his visions in your gaming travels as well. Make sure to check out his "concept art" section on his website, as it is truly amazing stuff.
As you can see from all the photos, there was much geeky goodness to be had this year. Even though the crowds may have made things crazy, it was still worth all the hassles. I am eager to see what's in store for next year, and how the San Diego Comic-Con will handle its ever-growing popularity. Until next year, my friends...