Saturday, July 30, 2011

Comic Con 2011 – The Finale for Speedball?

I’ve been going to Comic Con for over 25 years and I’ve seen a lot of things change and I admit I’ve gotten pretty jaded. While I once had the patience to stand in a line for three hours to get Jim Lee’s autograph, I won’t stand in lines for more than an hour. I was planning on getting a four day pass for next year at the show as I do every year but people were camped out overnight to get each day’s allotment of tickets. Online I’ve heard the ‘waiting room’ horror stories when it came to getting the tickets online this year. If the tickets go on sale during the weekend I’ll try to get the tickets online but if they go on sale during the work week, I may not be able to sit in front of the computer and hit refresh until I get in.
            Given all of that, it occurred to me that I might not be able to attend next year.
            That said, I think missing next year’s Con will be good in two ways: 1) it will allow me to appreciate what I’m missing instead of complaining about things and 2) not going will allow someone else to go – maybe for the first time.
            Now that that’s out of the way, here are some of my Con highlights.
            NERD HQ & ZACHARY LEVI: Zachary Levi set up Nerd HQ to benefit ‘Operation: Smile’ which gives children oral surgery to correct facial deformities. Nerd HQ took over Jolt ‘n Joes Restaurant in the Gaslamp, a short walk from the convention center and it hosted a variety of panels that people attended for $20 per person, per panel.
            I bought tickets for three of the panels and when I went to pick them up on preview night, there was Zachary Levi welcoming us to Nerd HQ, talking about the charity, telling us that every penny of profit is for charity and encouraging us to “buy more” (he didn’t say it like that but I couldn’t pass up the pun), and telling us to be nice to all of the volunteers who were good enough to work the HQ all five days. And I got a quick picture with him and when he asked if I was doing any of the panels I told him I was doing three and he gave me a high five (on a side note – I LOVE high fives). When he left he came down the line and gave us more high fives.
Speedball & Zachary Levi

            PALM RESTAURANT: I read something online about Marvel doing art for the restaurant and it was close to Nerd HQ so I went over. The man who greeted us at the door was very nice and gave us a tour of the Marvel art. There is a staircase where the art originated  before they gave Marvel a larger place to put art up. It has been a yearly Comic Con tradition for Marvel to send one artist to the restaurant to draw one character for the last five years. If you can go to the Palm Restaurant and see it, I recommend it.
 Humberto Ramos added the Hawkeye this year

            KEVIN SMITH & JASON MEWES: This was one of the panels that Nerd HQ was offering. I always like seeing the two of them. I’ve seen them a few times and I have most all of Kevin’s films including his “Evening With” series. It was a fun panel but he said some things that inspired me. He’s always very candid and coming to the end of his film career (he’s retiring after “Hit Somebody”) so he’s been more introspective.
Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes with Nerd HQ's host, Zachary Levi

FRIENDS OF THE NERDOLUTION: This was another panel at Nerd HQ and included a Q&A and signing with Zachary Levi, Danny Pudi, Jorge Garcia, Olivia Munn, Alessandra Torresani, Alison Haislip, and Joshua Gomez. Everyone seemed to be enjoying it until Olivia pointed out a guy in the audience who had fallen asleep. The panel woke him up and when the rested man decided to ask the panel a question, Jorge pretended to fall asleep. The signing went great – Alison and Olivia had to leave (the signing was scheduled for an hour but took about two hours) but came down the line and signed everything. Olivia even took pictures with the fans. Zachary was the last person to sign and recognized me from the night before and thanked me again for supporting the charity.
 Friends of the Nerdolution is all it's awesome glory!

            FELICIA DAY PRESENTS DRAGON AGE: This was the third and last of my panels at Nerd HQ. Felicia came out and showed us a trailer that was awesome. I’m looking forward to her newest web series. Before she showed it to us she asked us not to tape it and put it on the internet or she’d be in trouble – hopefully everyone obeyed. Zachary Levi (as he did with all the panels) introduced Felicia Day and came up at the end to say a little something about the people on that panel and pose for pictures with them.
Felicia Day during her Q&A

            HASBRO: One of the hardest pills to swallow at the Con is the tradition of standing in line for an hour to get a ticket that allows you to stand in another line for almost three hours. Luckily I had a friend who called me from the Hasbro line as I was in line for a ticket to get into that line. She was after the Star Wars Death Star Collector’s Set and I was able to get to the line to give her money for both versions of the GI Joe Zarana figure and the Sky Striker decorated up to look like Starscream with Cobra Commander and the gun that Generation 1 Megatron used to transform into. I missed out on Sgt Slaughter last year and I can’t touch a pair of those for less than $80 on eBay or on the Con floor (they retailed for $32 after tax – speculators have always made collecting difficult by buying up the supply and jacking up the prices).
Cobra with Megatron and Starscream
            TEAM UNICORN: When I saw ‘Team Unicorn’ was doing a signing at Nerd HQ the first thing I thought was “Who?” A quick internet search brought me to the “Geek andGamer Girls Song” video and I was hooked. I love the Team Unicorn videos. I asked one of them if I’d ever be able to get it on DVD and she said to look on their website in a matter of weeks. It was awesome.
Team Unicorn in the Geek & Gamer Girlz video

            DARK HORSE GREEN SCREEN: During the Con, Dark Horse took green screen shots with fans on a variety of backgrounds. For a few hours it would be Conan then Star Wars, etc. I took a picture on a Star Wars and on a Buffy/Angel & Faith background. As soon as they’re up, Dark Horse will email me so I can go to their website and download the shot.
            BREA GRANT: Brea Grant was at the IDW Publishing booth. She and her brother wrote the Suicide Girls comic book (the signing panel was Brea Grant, Zane Grant, MissySuicide, David Hahn, and Cameron Stewart). I was able to get Suicide Girls #1 & 2 signed by the panel and a Heroes 8x10 by Brea Grant. I can’t say enough nice stuff about her – she was really sweet. The 8x10 was of her and Masi Oka and she told me that he joins the cast on the next season of Hawaii 5-0.
            HEATHER FAGAN: Heather Fagan from Browncoats: Redemption was working the Browncoats fan table at Comic Con and I was able to get the 8x10 I ordered from the website signed. That’s one crew member down – the rest to go. I reviewed the movie here and recently bought the Blu Ray (actually I bought 2 and each of the 8x10s they had). The only change between the DVD and Blu Ray version is better sound but it's still the same awesome film.
            SPIDER-MAN AND THE AVENGERS FIGURES: Hasbro had postcards advertising next year’s Spider-Man and Avengers movie-inspired 3 ¾” action figure lines. To say I’m a 3 ¾” fan where Marvel is concerned is an understatement. Check out some of the other photos I took of upcoming figures.

The Avengers and Spider-Man movie figure lines

            FREEBIE TABLE: Every year I visit websites and watch videos that I didn’t know existed. is the fan-run website that is trying to stage a convention May 4-6 of next year to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Star Wars. I signed up for the mailing list and I’ll wait and see what happens.
I also checked out the trailer for NYPDM at and the trailer looks interesting. Here is what it’s about from the website “NYPDM is an introduction to a world of supernatural mystery as seen by a unique group of New York City cops. This special unit possesses insight into a dark world where monsters are real and answers often lead to more questions.” also looks promising. There is only a trailer up but this action-comedy series looks great and I’ll keep an eye on it. I wish A Superhero Story and NYPDM had actual episodes made they look interesting.
 Check it out

DAN DIDIO ON MANY DC UNIVERSE RELAUNCH PANELS: The most exciting comic-book event was also one of the most consistently well-attended panels all weekend. DC had two or three panels focusing on the relaunch and Dan wanted to answer as many fan questions as possible. I already covered my excitement about the relaunch and had a great deal on all 52 #1 issues ($80). I found out that there will still be parts of the character’s past that will still be cannon in the relaunch. For example, although Barbara Gordon is Batgirl again, the events of “The Killing Joke” happened. Gail Simone promised that there is a compelling story behind Barbara’s ability to walk again. We’ll see. 
Dan DiDio at one of the panels

Other interesting pictures
The police have questions about the Iron Man monster truck parked in front of Marvel's Monster Truck exhibit on 6th - it was blocking a lane

A small part of a kick ass Marvel Universe display

GI Joe display - the USS Flag is not coming out but everything on it either is out or is coming out

Bobarine? WolverFett?

Me having fun with the inflatable monster truck in front of Marvel's exhibit

I have Buffy, Willow, and I've ordered Faith and Spike. Awesome.

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