It was about 1:20 when I got there; if I had put more thought into my spontaneous excursion, I would have realized that the Sit Down, Shut Up panel was going on and I could have seen Will Arnett. But instead I picked up my badge and went straight to the floor.
I saw the Oni Press booth pretty quickly, and I marvelled at their stock of Scott Pilgrim Volume 5s because my comic book store and just about everyone else in the free world was sold the fuck out of it and no one knew when the reorders would come in. I debated whether to pick it up then—I had just finished Volume 4 a few days ago—or wait to support my comic book store.
Then I called Seanan, who was also on the floor, and I returned her 10th Kingdom DVDs. She did not keep me, however, for I was on a mission for half-price trades!
I found one of the booths and started searching. Across from me were a couple people from GameSpot. The woman eyed No Future for You, and I gave her my assessment of it: good, but I expected better from BKV. She was a Y: The Last Man fan and was trying to complete her collection. She also liked Fables, as did the guy. The guy was looking for 100 Bullets trades since he'd heard the series was good; I concurred. (Incidentally, on the BART ride into SF the day before, I'd sat next to a guy and commented on his Powers trade, and we ended up geeking out over 100 Bullets the whole ride.) I kept an eye open for trades he might need as I looked for mine: Powers and Daredevil. He was also looking for Powers; I found a good chunk all in one place, fortuitously. As before, I ran across many other tempting options but tried my best to restrain myself; I had only allotted myself so much cash. This year, they had the complete Bone in the mix, though, and I couldn't pass that up since it was $40 normally so half-price was a really good deal. Although, hm, it's only $26.37 on Amazon new. They had a lot of copies in good condition, though. And I'm supposed to read it at some point. My break time was coming to an end, and I wasn't sure which of the Powers trades I already had because I'd forgotten my list, so I asked the place to hold my selection until tomorrow. (As it turns out, I only have the one I was most positive I had.)
I was wearing dress shoes, which were not made for walking. And I was carrying a backpack full of stuff (clothes, off-site materials, books). I barely made it back to the hotel. I couldn't walk by the time I made it back; my feet hurt like hell and I had shin splints. Thankfully, my co-worker Capitulation—yeah, I got her to come work with me—dropped me off after our off-site ended at 4.
When I walked onto the floor, I saw the DC booth right ahead. There had been a huge line there before, presumably for some signing. Yet there was no one there now...and there were Brian Azzarello and Dave Johnson!!! Why were they not being mobbed? Why was there no line? Was it really that easy? I could just go up to them and get my trades signed? That I only brought today on the off-chance that I would get this opportunity?
I strolled up to the table where Brian and Dave were drawing stuff for other people and pulled out the three trades I'd chosen after painstaking deliberation—A Foregone Tomorrow, The Counterfifth Detective, and The Hard Way. My other two favorite trades are Split-Second Chance and Once Upon a Crime, but I thought five might be overkill.
"Are you...signing stuff?" I asked. He was. "I brought some favorites," I said. He asked my name, and I gave it, spelling it until he looked at my badge. I said some stupid stuff about being caught up and loving it and being amazed at how much he'd planned it out or had seemed to plan it out and I'm really not good at talking to celebrities. Except the weird and off-kilter thing about it was that, since it wasn't really busy, he was just sort of there like a regular person. He seemed kind of subdued. Kind of like he didn't really care what I was saying because he'd heard it all before, which I was sure was true. But he let me babble anyway.
I went onto Dave Johnson, who was a little more outgoing. He asked whether he should sign outside or inside, and I told him to choose. He chose inside. I said I loved his covers and especially loved the way he worked the Trust symbol into every cover.
"Well, not every cover," he said. Which was true.
"A lot of them," I corrected. "It's always fun to spot." He said that a lot of the time he didn't know what to draw since Brian hadn't given him the story yet.
As I moved away, I said that the cover for The Hard Way was amazing and very cool. He said it was great because he was in it! What?! He pointed to the goateed dude in the lower right, and I saw the resemblance. Risso drew him into the series, so he had to put himself on the cover.
I hung around by Azzarello as he talked to another guy, a guy who used to work at Dr. Comics and Mr. Games, which is my comic book store!! "They all love 100 Bullets there," I said.
"Tell them Brian Azzarello sends his love!" said Brian. "I will!" I said.
The two of them chatted about comics for a while. They both loved Northlanders (Vikings!). Azzarello recommended Scalped, which I had vaguely heard of. He said that if you liked 100 Bullets, you'd like it. He also admitted that he, like many others these days, doesn't read monthly any more. Everything reads better in trades. He attributed it to age; when you're a kid, 20 pages can last you forever. You read it once and then over and over. Now, it seems like nothing.
As I packed my signed trades into my backpack, I asked how much of the series he'd had planned from the beginning. All of it, came the answer. He had the whole outline, but he could get to the key points however he wanted. I said so much of it felt like it had all been set up if you looked back at previous issues. He asked—in a tone both wry, amused, and possibly irritated, as if he got this a lot or was expecting something annoying—"Are you asking about something specific?" I had nothing specific in mind, really. My efforts to compliment him and his series were failing. I did ask him to clarify one issue I was confused about, and he said that it might become clearer after the last issue.
Finally, I told him that I loved his use of wordplay; he obviously loved wordplay. He said, "I...guess I do." I said that there were all the puns and whatnot. "Well, you've got to keep it interesting!"
I don't know, I guess he's just tired of being told how awesome he is? It's gotten old? Or he's really humble? I don't know. It's not like he was an asshole or anything, but I was so excited to meet him and it all just fell flat.
I walked over to the G4 booth where someone was getting their picture taken with someone. Huh, who was that? I read the badge. Chris Gore! Who often appeared on Attack of the Show!
"Hey, I know you!" I said. "From the TV!" He was amused.
A girl walked up and addressed him in a daze. "Do you know Olivia Munn?" He did. This girl loved her. But not in a crazy way. Okay, a little in a crazy way. Chris said he would text Olivia for her. He should text Olivia for ME. And Shane. But me first.
Then I stopped by the Oni Press booth again and presented my dilemma. The guy said that the first printing was almost all gone, and the second printing wouldn't have the shiny cover. Which scared me into buying the shiny cover right then and there in case the reorder that eventually came to my comic book store was of the second printing.
Next stop: more half-price trades! I found a Powers and a couple Daredevils and I also ran into a couple Alias trades, which I decided fit into my plan because I was buying Bendis that I wanted to re-read and/or catch up on. I bought them today since I knew I'd have a lot in my backpack tomorrow already.
It was 5:30, time for the Brian Azzarello panel. I walked in as Jim Lee, moderator, was asking him, well, how much he had planned out when he started the series. He must get asked that all the time, of course.
I didn't know Jim Lee was an Asian dude! He was kind of funny, a little dorky.
I don't remember all of what was said. He talked a lot about his recent Joker story, which was a really big hit. He said he likes writing out-of-continuity stories for these iconic characters, but he wouldn't want to write for the series monthly. He liked exploring what makes these heroes tick; he thought that anyone who ran around in tights saving people had to be overcompensating for something, had to regret something in their pasts. He also had an Aquaman story; apparently, EVERYONE has an Aquaman story. But he wouldn't tell it to us because if he ever wrote it, we wouldn't read it since we'd know already. I also discovered that he used to be a painter.
I left a little before 6 for the Wonder Woman DVD premiere. Right outside the door were two little girls in Wonder Woman costumes; their parents were looking for Esplanade, and I guided them in the right direction. I asked the woman if she'd made the costumes. "No, honey," she said, AS IF. "Target."
Esplanade was actually upstairs. I took a seat in one of the front three or four rows. Another Wonder Woman came down the aisle. Not a little girl, but a pretty girl who looked Indian and thus good wife material. Her costume was very good. You'll have to take my word for it since I couldn't get a picture. Or talk to her. WAIT I FOUND A PICTURE OF HER OH INTERNET YOU NEVER FAIL ME.
I was annoyed that it was taking so long to get started since I had left the Azzarello panel early, but, finally, the DC guy came out and gave the spiel and started the movie. Now, before tonight, I knew next to nothing about Wonder Woman. I knew she was an Amazon or something. And she had an invisible jet? And a magic...lasso or whatever? So the movie was very informative! It was definitely fun to watch it in a room full of fans who cheered and laughed and whatnot.
I don't know if the comic is so on-the-nose about gender relations, but I thought the way they used the fish-out-of-water idea for Diana to comment on women in our society was pretty nicely done. The whole movie, I could see why she would be such a beloved character for little girls. The whole thing was about chicks kicking ass, and no one really makes a big deal about it, which is the interesting part. It's not shown to be unusual, exactly. It just is. As it should be, since there's no reason women can't kick ass. Especially when they have superstrength.
Oh, before the movie, there was a special message from Nathan Fillion, who was too busy filming Serenity II. Just kidding. He voices Steve Trevor, Diana's love interest. I didn't know she had one. See, I knew nothing about the character, I'm telling you. There's a prologue about Hippolyta, and I thought she was Wonder Woman until she made a baby out of clay and I realized that must be Wonder Woman. She's made of clay? The hell?
Anyway, it's a fun little flick if you're interested! And it's PG-13. There are a lot of decapitations. The first cut got an R. Lauren Montgomery, the director, was so happy she got to do a swordfight and actually KILL people. But I'm getting ahead of myself! Here comes the panel!
Yes, that is Oscar nominee Virginia Madsen, who voices Hippolyta. Here she is looking somewhat more glamorous:
The moderator asked the panelists about their favorite parts of the movie, et cetera. Michael Jelenic proudly gave us an original joke that had to be replaced with something that was still funny but not as funny as his Russ Meyer reference, he thought. (I thought the line in the movie was much more likely to get laughs, and it got pretty big laughs.)
People lined up for questions, and, to my surprised, they were nearly all dudes. What the hell? Come on, this was Wonder Woman! Where were all the wondrous women wanting to ask questions? Most of the guys were really complimentary of the film. A lot of the questions were about what DCU movies were coming up.
The highlight of the panel was this one guy whose question started out promising because it sounded like what I'd just said. He found it interesting that they used the character to comment on gender roles. But then...he was curious that Wonder Woman took on the "masculine" role of hero and Ares, the villain, was very feminine like a "drag queen," and was that intentional or what because he wasn't cool with that.
There was a little bit of stunned, confused silence from the panel, and then Virginia Madsen grabbed her mike and was all, "Why is it masculine to be the hero?" Cheers from the audience. "Why is it masculine to kick butt? That's not masculine or feminine; that's just human." The guy tried to get a word in edgewise about traditional comic book roles, but Virginia was not having it! I never thought I would see Virginia Madsen lay a smackdown, but see it I did. Find it on YouTube tomorrow; it's pretty great.
"Your question has been answered," cried the moderator, "sit down!" Ha. After the next question (asked by a kid in a Batman costume), Virginia seemed to feel a little bad for getting so in the guy's face and acknowledged that she did understand his point, she just disagreed.
Oh, and apparently Virginia Madsen's been doing voice acting for 15 years! Huh! She started when she was pregnant and couldn't do regular acting but still wanted to do stuff. Also, she's really proud of Candyman. Oh yeah, she was in that! Shit, that's one of the scariest movies I've ever seen. It gave me nightmares.
It was a pretty fun panel. I leave you with this man, who did not get to ask his question.
I could still barely walk, but I hobbled over to BART as I coordinated with allsunday regarding where and when we'd meet tomorrow. In the station, I ran into one of the women who'd asked a question at the panel; she was talking about That Guy at the WW panel, and I chimed in. She went a different way, and I was left with the two guys she was walking with, and I told them what to check out on the floor the next day. One of them had made a movie, and his friend handed me a card to promote it: Back Issues: The Movie.
Tomorrow: much more craziness in store!