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WonderCon 2010, Day 3: Chuck vs. Zombies - The Book of the Celestial Cow

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April 15th, 2010


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12:06 am - WonderCon 2010, Day 3: Chuck vs. Zombies
On Easter Sunday, I did not go to church. I went to Moscone Center.

The plan was to get lunch from Good Morning Cafe again, but they were closed on Sunday! Curses.

I headed to the secret press line, but it was locked! Huh, maybe they figured Sunday was not busy enough to need a special line? But the really big line was slowly making its way into the hall. Slowly. So I walked to the end of the line, but by the timeI got there, it was a free-for-all so I just walked right in and whatevs. This morning, I stopped by David Mack's booth, as I do, and I commented on the cool Control Corps shirt he was selling. Sadly, it was only available in women's (appropriately enough, but still). He also had a Kabuki shirt with the Noh dragon tattoo. But I was looking for a Daredevil shirt to buy.

The celebrity booths were still setting up, and I passed by Virginia Hey. She wasn't blue! I didn't want to bug her while she was setting up, though, so I figured I'd come back later. I wander the floor for bit before heading to the Max Brooks panel.

As I searched for a seat in the room, I came across this awesome family.


I chose a seat in the back near the aisle since I would have to duck out early.


When Max Brooks took the microphone, he said he felt weird with all these empty microphones, so he needed three audience members from this side and four audience members from this side to come up and join him. And they did. And it was awesome.

Then he spent ten minutes relating his career to a ten-year-old child. He wasn't speaking to the audience; he was always addressing the kid. "Paxton, there's this really old man. His name is Mel Brooks." It was adorable.

It was actually cool to hear the whole story about how the zombie books. As he told Paxton, around Y2K, there were all these survival-guide books for the imminent apocalypse. Max wanted to know how to survive the zombie apocalypse, however, and he was shocked and dismayed that there were no survival guides out there, so he wrote one, just for fun, and stuck it in a drawer. And then years later he met an agent, and he just casually mentioned that he had it lying around, and the agent said he could sell it, and boom. Then people thought that because he was the son of Mel Brooks—"Paxton, he made a lot of movies, like one you may have heard of called Spaceballs, which is so old it's practically black-and-white"—and it was about zombies, the book was supposed to be funny. But, as I covered in my review, it's very serious. And after that was a hit, he wanted to write another book, but he didn't want to do a small zombie story since that's what so many other zombie stories are—a few characters trying to survive a zombie attack. They were fine, but they were already done well, and he wanted to do something different, on a global scale. And then he found Studs Terkel, and inspiration hit, and boom, World War Z.

After he brought Paxton up to speed, he opened the floor up to questions, and the first was about the status of the movie. Max said, "Good, I can give you the status of the movie, and then half of you can leave. I know you have other things to see." Heh, a convenient out! He gave us the run-down, saying they were just waiting for a rewrite of the latest draft, which should be completed soon.

I really didn't want to leave because Max Brooks was pretty fun and entertaining. I seriously considered skipping the Chuck press room. But then I decided to go anyway.

And as I left, who should pass me but the woman I now know is named Valerie Perez? Curses!

In the press room, I looked for Gil from last night but didn't see him. I took a seat at a table and was later joined across the table by Charlie Jane from io9, who waved at me.

We were there for Chuck, but the Human Target press was at the same time, and we didn't know how it worked. It looked like they were combining them. And Human Target was going first. Well, fuck, if they had told us that to begin with, I would have stayed in the Max Brooks panel for longer and then arrived. But I also had a good spot at a table, and I would have been standing otherwise, so that was a win, at least.


Jonathan Steinberg, creator of Human Target. He looks like a kid! Who put him in charge of television?

Blah blah blah I don't really care. But, oh man, it's a good thing I hadn't just left and come back at 12:30 because they unexpectedly switched stuff up and gave us the Chuck folk now!


The Chuck press room is always a hoot, and Zach did his standard "Bring 'em all in" schtick with all the voice recorders.


Adam Baldwin!


Zachary Levi!


Joshua Gomez!


Adam Baldwin said some stuff. I could consult the recording, but that would take time I don't have anymore. Nyah. You know you just want to look at him anyway. He was wearing a shirt for a videogame he had done voice work for. Oh, here is something he said: he did go and visit electronics store as research.


Zach Levi, dreamer.


Joshua Gomez, little troll man.


There were good questions about the changes in the show and how Zach Levi has portrayed the evolution of Chuck's character invisibly but effectively.


Zach Levi is a big Lost fan, and he was so dismayed when he read that Damon and Carlton specifically said that they're not going to answer every single question that's been raised. He wants all the questions answered! The one question he really wanted answered above all, of course, was what the Island is. Zach was more than happy to talk Lost with us, and I'm sure we would have ended up in a long digression similar to the Call of Duty incident of '09 if someone hadn't brought us back on topic. Chuck, then, would answer all the questions: we would find out what the Buy More is. Adam began joking about the secret identity of the Buy More but then quit, admitting that the Buy More is just...the Buy More.


Joshua Gomez said that he went to every Best Buy in L.A. hoping to be recognized, but it never happened. But he walked into a Best Buy in Jersey and was constantly ribbed by the employees, who joked that he wasn't in uniform.


Before they were taken away, Adam wanted to say something to us "off the record." But it was really on the record. He thanked us all for supporting the show, coming and talking with them and reporting without bias. It was sweet of him.


Then we got Chris Fedak and Josh Schwartz, comic duo.


Chris is the straight man.


And Josh created Seth Cohen.


Aaaah it's like that one episode of Doctor Who!


It was fun hearing Josh Schwartz justify the inconsistency in the way Intersect 2.0 works by just proclaiming, "It's not consistent!" Handwave, handwave, emotions, plot, etc.


Josh was pulled away, so we got Chris on his own for a bit.


I think the only time I really spoke up was to ask Chris about Sarah's changing feelings for Chuck over the season, cribbing a bit from Alan Sepinwall, and because I hadn't bothered to get my notepad out and read it, it came out all rambly. He explained her feelings as he saw them. "Does that make sense?" he asked me sincerely. I told him it did. (It didn't. [It did. A little.])

There were no more Chuck people, but I figured I'd stick around for the Human Target folk for the hell of it. Charlie Jane was not interested, and she left.


Mark Valley is the ruggedly handsome star of Human Target. And he's ex-military! Huh.


Ooh!! To my pleasant surprise, we got Jackie Earle Haley. I was glad I had stuck around. He was a pretty interesting guy. He had a lot of intelligent things to say about approaching his different characters and the differences between working in film and television. He liked that he was talking to us at a point where his character's story could conceivably go on, whereas with movies he's talking about his characters after the fact, after their stories have ended. He said that Rorschach affected him the most because he started taking on his cynical worldview right before the economic collapse and everything else started to justify his cynicism, which scared him. I didn't say anything to him, but I'm sure a million people have already told him how great he was as Rorschach.

Then it appeared it was over, although the other table had the Chuck cast laughing and signing stuff. Curse them!

I had time to go and eat a real lunch, I walked back to Luna Azul in the Metreon and ordered the chicken nachos Shay had ordered last night, since they had looked good. On the way back, I ran into Charlie Jane, who, like me, was on her way to kill time on the floor before the Chuck panel. We chatted about Jackie Earle Haley on the way back and then went our separate ways in the exhibit hall.

I wandered Artists' Alley and the celebrity booths, picking up a poster for a friend. I hope she likes it. I stopped by Virginia Hey's booth.

A guy declared her to be the best thing about Farscape. Also, she was the "hottest blue chick ever."

"Since Smurfette," I added, referring to a little poster she had hanging up, a quote from some review. I spoke in front of her, but I never managed to speak to her because she started talking to some guy and hawking her meditation CDs. She had meditation CDs. They cost $20. One of them was a five-minute CD. FIVE MINUTES. For TWENTY DOLLARS. She was really into guided meditation, so I just got my fill of seeing Virginia Hey out of makeup and listening to her voice and left.

Lou Ferrigno was explaining to a guy that for thirty dollars, he could have a Polaroid taken with him. What if he used his own camera? Thirty dollars. Even with his own camera? He pointed to the sign on his table. "Thirty dollars," he repeated. I just cannot imagine who wants to go up to a beloved actor and discuss how much it costs to take a picture with them. I know it's his livelihood at this point, but it just feels so icky. That whole section of the hall makes me feel uncomfortable most of the time.

But I did go and talk to Aaron Douglas, who was nice, and I told him that Tyrol was one of my favorite characters. And that one time my friend texted me that "Agent Tyrol" (my fuck-up, not hers) was a few feet away from her at the bar. He said that's where you'd find him, at the bar. Heh. When asked to pick a favorite episode, he chose "Flight of the Phoenix." Actors always pick an episode they're featured prominently in, don't they. It makes sense, though.

While walking around, I ran into Charlie Jane again. Heh. She noted that they had just announced that the Chuck panel was starting at 2:30, which implied they weren't full, so we needn't worry about getting in. I said that it'd be no problem; Sunday is like that.

As I walked to the other end of the exhibit hall, I caught a guy in a V mask just watching some dudes play videogames. It was really amusing, and I was trying to get a good candid shot, but unfortunately he noticed me and did a pose. I felt weird that I actually wanted him unposed, so I took the shot.


I searched in vain for a Daredevil shirt, but the Stylin' Online booth, while it had many Daredevil shirts, did not have one with Maleev art on it. They had a lot of cool shirts worth buying, however.

I stopped by the Wondermark booth and informed David Malki ! that I had decided what I wanted a sketch of. As we had chatted about the Supernatural Collective Nouns earlier, I wanted him to pick one and draw it. I told him I would be back after the Chuck panel. He said he'd be waiting.

On my way back to Esplanade, I passed, uh, this guy.


He was at the Interpreter booth. Amusingly enough, he asked me to take a picture with his own camera as well. Ha.

Charlie Jane and I hit Esplanade at the same time, so we looked for seats. And she decided that, hey, we were press and we had green ribbons, so let's try to sit in the green reserved seats until they kicked us out. So we did. And then someone she knew in the green section waved to come sit by her, so we moved up. Sweet!

So the audience was in for a surprise. We were not, however, as Josh and Chris had already told us: they were going to be screening the next day's episode, originally written as a season finale. And then they showed it, and it was awesome, and we cheered and laughed and did all those things a big group of fans do when they watch an episode together. There were long silent blackouts where the commercials should be, and during one, I muttered, "Buy Campbell's Soup!" Which made Charlie Jane laugh.

And then there was a panel you have probably read about somewhere else by now! It was entertaining, as all Chuck panels are, and Adam Baldwin and Joshua Gomez decided to slash Casey and Morgan. Zach dubbed it "Corgan."

The most awesome bit, however, was when one questioner began, "Hey, Zach, my name is So-and-so McSo-and-so."

And Zach was all, "HEY, MAN!!" He then explained to us, "We did community theatre together!"

So-and-so said that one day his dad poked him and said, "Look who's on the TV!"

"Who was it??" asked Zach. Heeeeee.

So-and-so was glad to see his success. Zach told him to catch him backstage or something or whatever he didn't know how it worked. But during the next question, So-and-so went up to him and handed him a piece of paper, presumably with his number on it. Since all we could really see was some piece of paper being handed to him, Zach reassured us that it was his friend. I just thought that was so cool, their being able to reconnect like that.

Since Yvonne wasn't there, they made fun of her for farting all the time. Sexy.

Someone asked everyone what their favorite Subway sandwich was. Adam said that the tunaroni was actually quite good. The others thought it was a joke, but he stuck by it. Tunaroni.

It was a fun panel, as always.

One final order of business at the Wondermark booth.


He promised nothing but mediocrity.


After some deliberation, he had chosen to draw a doubting of cyclopes. He explained to me that one of them had stepped into a volcano. Oops!

Since I had not dropped money on a shirt, I had some cash left to buy Beards of Our Forefathers, the next Wondermark book, since I had read the first one since buying it on Friday.

I gave him my money and let him get take care of his newest fan, a guy who had just wandered up to the booth and become interested in the strip and decided to buy a book. Good for Malki!

On my way out, I noticed the DC booth had swag left, and some of the swag was free comics, and one of the free comics was the Brian Azzarello Batman/Doc Savage one-shot I had seen recommended on a blog when it came out! Oooh. So I got in line. Or I thought I got in line, but the line was longer than I thought. So I got in the real line. But by the time I got to the free stuff, the comic I wanted was gone! DAMMIT. The only one left was JSA All-Stars, which, whatever, something to read on the way home. I got a lot of free pins.

It was annoying to end on a disappointing note.

And then it was fucking pouring outside. But on BART, a guy recognized me from one of the press rooms and sat by me and gave me his card. Both his cards, even his actual work card, in case I needed...software developed. Networking on public transportation, woo!

So WonderCon wasn't as awesome and exciting as it had been the past two years, but it was still a good time, and I look forward to next year! But before that: Comic-Con!
Current Mood: amuseda-Mused
Current Music: Muse - I Belong to You (+ Mon Coeur S'ouvre À Ta Voix)

(6 memoirs | Describe me as "inscrutable")

Comments:


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[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:April 15th, 2010 07:49 pm (UTC)
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I haven't even gotten around to laminating my sketch from Comic-Con! I don't know what to do with them all. Now I have a few sketches to get laminated. And I guess put up in my cube or something.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:April 15th, 2010 09:10 pm (UTC)
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Awesome that you got to see Jackie Earle Haley up close and personal. I think he'd probably creep me out a lot... but he's awesome.
He's not creepy at all!

I haven't watched Human Target but I just bought the comic for my library!
Aw, good for you.
[User Picture]
From:thetheatremouse
Date:April 16th, 2010 11:18 pm (UTC)
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I have had a thing for Mark Valley since 1995 so I'm glad you stuck around for the Human Target stuff for the hell of it. He is so ruggedly handsome...
[User Picture]
From:sterope
Date:April 18th, 2010 04:22 am (UTC)
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It makes me happy that Zachary Levi shares my opinion as to the questions of Lost.

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