Old Brew


I had a great time at the San Diego Comic Con this year.The convention is so big, so massive, so overwhelming – it’s like an annual World’s Fair of pop culture that has to be experienced in person for full effect. No written con report or video tapes, nor still photos or blogs can really capture the excitement of being part of this subculture that has slowly-but-surely taken over a specific city, Hollywood and perhaps the entire world.I attended my first comic book convention at age 13, in 1968: the Phil Seuling New York Comic Con. And I’ve been to at least one (sometimes several) major comic book convention every year ever since. My first San Diego Comic Con was at the El Cortez Hotel in 1977 – the year Star Wars came out.I’ve proudly watched San Diego grow into a monster. Last year it finally felt “too big” for me. So this year, I planned to make the con my own. My version of the convention was completely different than my friends.harveySid & meThe convention is like a 20 screen multiplex with different programming on each for every hour of the day. You have to program the con yourself. This year I did that and had a great time. Sure I missed half of Mark Evanier’s terrific panels, I didn’t attend the Cartoon Network party, and I couldn’t see the Lucasfilm presentations – but I had my own convention and it was great.Con highlights: my interview Harvey Comics editor Sid Jacobson, finding out stories behind the Harvey brothers, Paramount & Famous Studios and who all the Casper/Richie writers and artists were. This was taped for posterity by the comic con (I don’t have a copy – don’t ask), so hopefully historians will be able to view this in the future.I also really enjoyed the movie preview panels – more than I thought I would. Robert Rodriquez’ film of Frank Miller’s SIN CITY looks amazing. It’s almost an experimental film, in stark black & white (with flashes of red), it’s literally Miller’s graphic novel in live action… similiarly SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW is a film I know I will love – but, based on the clips I saw, I fear the mainstream audience will not “get it”. It’s like the greatest 1937 Republic serial ever made – sort of a Captain Midnight meets Tailspin Tommy meets Spy Smasher – using state of the art technology to achieve the same effects Universal had 65 years ago with simple “rear-screen” projection and miniatures. I can’t wait to see the whole film. It looks great to me.terroristsA scene from
Team America
Two films really blew me away: First, Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE looks like it will be the funniest film of the year. It is a spoof of Gerry Anderson Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet “Super-Marionation” TV puppet shows, but with great acting (puppeteering?) and a South Park mindset – about a team of American super agents who chase terrorists around the globe. The villian is North Korea’s Kim Jong-il (think “Dr. Daka”, from the 1943 Batman serial, with Cartman’s voice) who, in a hilarious clip screened, does away with weapon’s inspector Hans Blix by sending him into a shark tank. This had me screaming with laughter. Matt & Trey said they had the begining of the film and the end of the film written and shot – but they are making up the middle as they go along (not unlike the way they create South Park on a weekly basis).incrediblesA scene from
The Incredibles
The other film that blew everyone away was the footage from Pixar’s THE INCREDIBLES. It was incredible. Brad Bird came down and showed two clips – both were hilarious. The first was an action sequence (Mr. Incredible versus a robot) which was both funny, thrilling and eye-popping. The character designs and action push the boundries once again – and it’s easy to predict that this film will continue Pixar’s winning streak at the box office.I also had fun at the WGA Animation Writers party, the Apatoons breakfast, Mark Evanier’s Chuck McCann spotlight, my Worst Cartoons screening, a panel on the history of the San Diego Comic Con and numerous other panels, dinners and seeing friends I usually only run into once a year on the dealers room floor.And I met many Brew readers who said hello – and encouraged us to continue. Thank you all. And if I didn’t see you there this year – let’s get together next year.

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