As I approached Moscone Center, I already began to admire some costumes.
The Rorschach was pretty impressive since I wondered how he saw out of it. I also liked the Riddler back there. And there's also this cute little kid in armor for some reason.
This was the first Stormtrooper I saw. It would not be the last.
It was nearly 10, which meant the floor was about to open. I had to wait in line for a bit, but only ten minutes. I wondered how early the people who were there when I arrived had gotten there. Ten minutes was nothing! Or was it?
I got a call from allsunday, and we met up to make an exchange! I returned her Last Exile DVDs and let her borrow the first seven 100 Bullets trades, and she let me borrow her Gurren Lagann DVDs (well, two-thirds, which is all she had). She introduced me to her friend, Hope.
I needed to drop a lot of dough on half-price trades, though, so we went our separate ways for the time being. I picked up the books I'd had held and debated whether or not to buy Bone, since it was twenty bucks. I had spent $35 yesterday, and I had allotted myself a hundred bucks; Bone would push me over by a bit. But was it worth it? I decided to press my luck. I handed the guy my four Powers, one Daredevil, one Death, and Bone. He totaled the prices to $146 or something and quoted me around $75 or $70. I asked if he could do it for $65, pointing out that I'd bought from another booth already and that the Bone had a couple tears on the spine. And he went for it! EVERYBODY WINS. Except for me, who now had to carry all that shit around for the rest of the day.
I explored the floor and found myself near the Browncoat Booth, which is where allsunday and Hope soon found themselves as well! We spun a wheel and won little prizes. I got a Serenity keychain. Woo.
But across the booth were Gigi Edgley (Chiana) and David Franklin (Braca) from Farscape!!
I remarked that they were supposed to have been here last year; he said that they got jobs. Which took priority, obviously.
Gigi was being serenade by some guy who was giving her a tiara and wings and a jeweled frog with a necklace inside (I am not even kidding). Gigi said "Wowsers" a lot; it appeared to be her exclamation of choice. Adorable! I took a picture of the two of them.
Then, eventually, I got to talk to her!
She read my shirt: "'Whoa! It's like I'm in a comic book.'" She loved it! I told her all about Threadless and said that there a lot of Threadless shirts in the Bay Area; I could guarantee that she would see more Threadless shirts. She loved mine, though; she wanted it. Unfortunately, it was sold out. Unlike her CD and comic! She had a CD and comic? The things you learn at conventions.
I told her that I had watched Farscape a few years ago and I'd thought she was great in it, especially the physicality of her acting. She acted with her whole body, and I appreciated when actors do that. I hadn't seen her in anything else, though. She said she'd just signed up for a new Australian series, but she'd also done some Sci-Fi Channel Original Movies.
"Oh, I love those!" I said.
She looked at me quizzically.
"They're always fun," I clarified, acknowledging their lack of quality. "Which is why I figure you guys do them." I asked her what it was called.
"That sounds like a Sci-Fi Channel Original Movie," I said. "Do they know what 'quantum' means? Do they realize that would be a very small apocalypse?"
"Like poof! and it's over," said Gigi, making a little poof! gesture.
So Gigi was Australian and adorable, but I wasn't going to pay to take a picture with her. You can just imagine it.
In the corner of the hall was where Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher were set up. I caught some glimpses of Carrie Fisher but never saw Mark Hamill. There was a lot of security.
I strolled along and heard talk that Adam West was around! So look, TV's Adam West!
Can you dig that 5x zoom?
On my way to the exit, I saw that, yes, Charlotte Stewart was there again! I walked up to her table. "I met you last year with Seanan," I said, and she feigned remembrance (or maybe it was real, who knows). I was excited to see her this time because I had been watching Twin Peaks and had been looking for her. I'd just seen her in a recent episode. She mentioned one scene, but that wasn't it; I finally remembered what the scene was, and she knew what I was talking about. It was further along in the series than what she'd been thinking of. I said it was a strange show; it hadn't started out that strange, but then it got much stranger. She told me that David Lynch kind of left in the second season, and the writers then tried to "write Lynch," and you can't write Lynch. It made sense since that's sort of what I had heard about the two seasons, but I'll get more into that when I finish the series and post about it.
I made my way to Esplanade, but I kept encountering photo ops. For instance, this one's for roxybisquaint:
And then there were these guys:
At first, all I saw were the R2 units moving around and beeping, and I was all, "WTF? What are they doing here? How are they moving around? WHAT IS GOING ON??" And then I saw the guys with remote controls.
I barely made it into the Watchmen panel; there were only a handful of empty seats left. What the hell? It hadn't been this bad last year. Because we'd been in Hall A, which was way fucking bigger! Why the hell would they have the shit in Esplanade? Grr.
Zack Snyder came out, and he was pretty funny. He seemed like a fun guy to hang out with. He told us how he'd ended up attached to the film: he'd gotten a call that went, "We've got this script called Watchmen. We think it's based on a graphic novel?" The original script needed to go, though; it ended with Dan taking out the villain by ramming into said villain with his Owlship and delivering a catchphrase afterward.
He also related an awesome anecdote about Jackie Earl Haley, who filmed one of the scenes with Rorschach and his therapist in his kitchen and sent the DVD to Zack. After which Zack couldn't really consider anyone else. He showed it to a bunch of people until Jackie was all, "Uh, don't do that."
Zack called the movie a depression-era film since we would get more movie for our money. You can go to the theatre and get two hours of movie all the time, but he would throw in an extra forty minutes free! He also had a director's cut that was twenty minutes longer and restored some scenes and plot points he hated to cut (he revealed one thing he had to cut, and damn, it's sort of a minor thing but kind of important!); if the movie did well, he wanted to do a limited theatrical release of his cut in the summer. The studio had asked him to cut out some of the violence and blue nudity, but he didn't think we'd feel cheated out of either of those things when we saw the film. And of course, there was Tales of the Black Freighter, which he'd gotten to do as an animated feature—he'd been talking to press for ages and started out explaining what Tales of the Black Freighter was before realizing that all of us were well aware. And in the fall, there would be an EVEN MORE SPECIAL version of the movie that was the director's cut plus the Tales of the Black Freighter integrated into it, the three-and-a-half-hour cut he'd wanted to do from the beginning, I think. (What was neat to hear, though, is that the animated movie also includes the scenes of the newsstand people talking; he'd gotten an extra day of filming to do those.)
He also spoiled that Billy Crudup was there. It was amusing.
AND THEN HE SHOWED US THE FIRST TWENTY MINUTES OF THE MOVIE.
We kept clapping, thinking it was over, and it kept going! And it looks really good, you guys! Yes, the fights are going to have a lot of ridiculous slo-mo, but it looks like a very intelligent movie that's designed to please fanboys and critics alike. We'll love all the little touches, but those touches are used to add to the movie as a whole. And the opening credits are used as a great prologue/backstory set to "The Times They Are a-Changin'." And Rorschach's voice actually sort of works (and the actual movie has the original "whores and politicians" version of the line).
Then we got a bonus Rorschach scene. Everyone loves Rorschach!
AND THEN LIKE THE WHOLE CAST CAME OUT. PLUS DAVE GIBBONS.
And for the Jeffrey Dean Morgan fans, I tried out my 20x digital zoom:
But sometimes it's just easier to take pictures of the big screen.
And now I'll do Malin Akerman! Because she's pretty and came dressed in a hot leather outfit.
So what did we learn from the Q&A? Well, everyone thought the movie was AWESOME (seriously, that word was used like a dozen times in the first three questions). Someone asked if the cast had any scenes they really enjoyed doing and some they were dreading and were glad to get over with. JDM made the obvious joke about what scene he loved doing (sorry, trying to stay unspoilery if you haven't read the book!). (Zack: "And you seemed like such a nice guy on Grey's Anatomy!") He then clarified that he was being sarcastic. He said it was hard to find the heart in his character since he did such despicable things, whereas he thought Dan, Patrick Wilson's character, had the most heart. This may have been another question.
(Trivia: young Rorschach is played by one of Zack Snyder's six kids!)
Someone asked JDM if he would ever get a role in which he didn't die. He responded, "This dying thing is working out pretty good for me, I don't know!"
Batman was in line! With a cowl and everything! Batman stepped up to the mike and said, "I wanted to say that the costumes are awesome." And we all cracked up.
Zack: "You would know!"
He asked about Ozymandias' nipples, and Zack said that there were a lot of cultural references sprinkled throughout the film. I forget what he actually said, but he seemed to start out as if he were going to say something profound and then just said "stuff" or "things" or something and commented on the fact that we thought he was going to go somewhere more interesting, but no.
Dave Gibbons said seeing the movie was really like seeing his images come to life, which is he probably contractually obligated to say, but it sounded sincere.
One guy asked the age-old question, "What advice would you give to young filmmakers blah blah blah?"
Zack said stuff about...stuff. Doing what you believe in or something. I don't know, he didn't think it was helpful, but whatever he said, the guy appreciated it.
That was supposed to be the last question, but wait!! Because I then witnessed one of the coolest things I'd ever seen at a con, which was a deaf girl signing her comment. I had a very good view of it, and it was just so neat to watch and hear. The interpreter spoke for her; she wanted to thank him on behalf of the deaf community for creating such a beautiful, visually rich film that they could enjoy on those merits. And Malin, you're beautiful, and also Patrick. She was looking forward to seeing it with captions. (Hooooly crap, she can't, uh, lip-read Rorschach.)
I jetted out of the panel to the floor to see if Felicia Day was still at the Browncoats Booth, but I ran into those Sesame Street guys whose names I don't remember!
It came out blurry, so I tried to get another one, which also came out blurry...but kind of awesome?
Also, I randomly came across this woman:
It's Mo Mellady, the voice of Erin Esurance! I had wondered what she looked like. She does not look like a pink-haired secret agent, unfortunately. My illusions are shattered! Next to her table was E.G. Daily, the voice of Tommy on Rugrats, among others.
The Felicia Day line stretched around the corner, and she was only supposed to be there till 1. And she was going to stay till 2...except the line would cut off a few people ahead of me. Balls. I could see her, though! There she was!
I called allsunday for lunch plans, and she and Hope met me at the Browncoats Booth. We made our way out of Moscone to the Jack in the Box on Mission...THAT WAS NOT THERE WTF. I always went there! I had gone there for years! IT WAS GONE. FUCK YOU, RECESSION.
Instead, we went down to the Westfield food court and had burgers. My ginger-apple chutney was more of a waste-of-my-money chutney.
We rushed back to Moscone for the Star Trek panel only to discover that the room was pretty much full and the line stretched outside to Folsom and it was unlikely that anyone else would get in. Goddammit. It turns out we missed J.J. Abrams and Zachary Quinto, among others.
But this gave me time to wander the floor a bit and look for Adam Baldwin, whom I found while on the phone with miniglik. I waited in line as he took picture after picture with a thumbs-up pose. I had brought my Firefly and Chuck DVDs to have signed, but it would cost $20. Which, fuck that. I could buy new DVDs with $20, for God's sake. I was only not going to pay $5 for a picture—although I may have considered it if I weren't going to be in the press room tomorrow and might could wrangle a picture that way.
Instead, when I got up to Mr. Adam Baldwin, I pulled out a printout of this blog comment and told him I had a message for him from Elizabeth Kretchmer regarding his high school reunion. At first, he seemed a little confused and/or scared, saying that he wouldn't go to his high school reunion. But then he looked closer or realized something and asked if I was going to respond to this woman. "Liz Kretchmer, right?" He said Liz and not Elizabeth, which made me think he knew who she was, although the way he said it made it sound like she was some fake personality that his friends use to fuck with him. He told me tell her that his friend Tom Drieser (sp?) told him never to go to a high school reunion because everyone's old and something something I forget. "Tell her I didn't graduate high school!" he said. (IMDb claims that he did graduate high school, or at least go to high school...and, in fact, the high school mentioned in the blog comment.)
So that was my strange encounter with Adam Baldwin. I told him I'd see him tomorrow in the press room. Later, I tried taking a stealth picture of him, and he totally noticed. It's that spy training!
I still had more time to wander the floor, which meant I could run across a frickin' Transformer!
I...now have a tradition of taking pictures of black kids with dudes in plastic suits?
I wandered the Artists Alley and discovered that my good buddy David Mack was indeed there! I don't think he remembered me, but I told him I hadn't gotten around to reading Kabuki from the beginning but I had really loved the issues he had given me to read last year. "They inspired me to write," I said. "Or well, I didn't actually do the writing part, but they made me want to write." He was glad they'd had such an impact on me. I love David Mack; he's so nice. I asked when Kabuki was projected to end, and he said he'd been writing it for 15 years, so he didn't know! I asked him about the collaboration with Bendis he'd mentioned the year before, and he said he was writing a story with Bendis that was a Daredevil story set ten years in the future, sort of like a Dark Knight Returns for Daredevil. Awesome!
I checked the Browncoats Booth around 3:20 to see if the line had started forming, and indeed it had! It was already longer than I expected, but I quickly took my place knowing it would be much longer by the time Felicia was scheduled to get there at 4. She actually got there around 3:45 and got to signing early, which was good. I chatted with my linemates.
There were only a few people ahead of me when I got a text from paraleipsis that she was on the floor for the Felicia Day signing as well! I thought she was already in line, so I called her back to offer to let her join me because she likely wouldn't get to see Felicia if she'd just arrived. I hoped no one would mind? I kept moving up, and she wasn't answering, and then I was too close and didn't want to cause any shenanigans.
I had been wondering who the Asian woman standing by Felicia was, and she identified her as Kim Evey, her producer. "Oh, you're Kim Evey!" I said. "I have some friends who really love the Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show." I did not mention that I saw one episode and was very confused.
Then it was my turn! To meet Felicia Day! Who is probably my biggest celebrity crush right now! It was my goal not to melt into a puddle of goo, and to my surprise, I did not, nor did I die of a fatal arrhythmia.
Instead, I shook her hand—she was wearing cool little wrist thingies—and said, "Like many people, I'm your friend on Facebook."
"I don't want to make you feel common!" she responded, which was sweet.
I told her I'd sent her a message on Facebook, and she said she gets 200 of those a day, so she was sorry for not responding. Unlike MySpace stuff, which she just deletes, she actually tries to keep up with Facebook ("Facebook is a bastard," she said). I knew she sometimes responded in her Facebook status threads, so I did know she actually kept up with it to some extent. I mentioned that I had recommended she check out City Lights the last time she was in SF.
"That was nice of you!" she said. She'd really liked it. Good, I had hoped so!
I asked her if she had any time to do a short interview, and she said she had no time today, and she was catching her flight home directly afterward; she'd feel bad spending any time on press when there were all the people in line. I asked her if I could message her some questions on Facebook, and she said that was fine, or I could go through the website. I said I'd do that.
I had given her my Guild and Dr. Horrible DVDs to sign, and she asked if I wanted her to sign them to me. I said yes, and she checked my badge and wrote a little "To Sunil" with a heart. A HEART!!!11 ...Because she is a girl.
I told her I loved The Guild and had converted several people—INCLUDING YOU GUYS, RIGHT? WATCH THE GUILD. As I told her, it gets funnier every time I watch it.
I asked for a picture, and I could get one FOR FREE. Suck on that, Adam Baldwin.
I wasn't sure if it was blurry or not, so I had the girl with my camera to take one with flash too. Felicia said that would make her the whitest girl in the room (and thus not good wife material, sadly).
I rushed back to Esplanade, hoping to make the Terminator Salvation panel. Thankfully, I saw a moving line, even though I had to go around a couple corners to find the end of the line. But I got in! The Up! panel was ending. I moved a couple rows up after some girl vacated her seat. Come on, girl, you like animated movies but not killer robots? Get your priorities straight.
The moderator tried to Applause-o-Meter Watchmen vs. Star Trek vs. Up. Up made a strong showing, but Watchmen and Star Trek sounded tied, with the latter appearing to have a surprising advantage. He was excited about all three, but he was also excited about Terminator, directed by...McG!
Now, I will tell you this right off: if you ever see a panel with McG on it, go to it. That man is...a hoot. He loves being excited, and he loves exciting people! He pulled out all the old tricks—"Are you guys excited?" "Wooo!" "Oh, come on, that's it?" "WOOOOO!!!!11"—and added some new ones, which I'll get to. He jumped onto the table at some point. He has a tradition of calling Christian Bale—"Because that fucker never wants to come to these things"—and he got his voicemail, so he left a message saying that he was in SF, and he wanted him to hear how we felt about him being in the Terminator movie: "WOOOOOOOOO!!!!1111" (I am on Christian Bale's voicemail!) He ended with "You're fucking dead to me."
He wanted to show us this new fucking trailer that they called the anti-trailer because it focused on story and character; it would be attached to Watchmen, which he was really excited about seeing. But he wanted to bring out the fucking cast so they could see it with us. He called out Bryce Dallas Howard and Common and Moon Bloodgood and Anton Yelchin.
And then, new trailer! Which used "The Day the World Went Away," which is like my least favorite song off that album, but props for the NIN! The trailer was pretty sweet and promised lots of killer robot action...except every time John Connor yells, I flash to "SHUT THE FUCK UP!" (The moderator did ask McG to address the issue before we hit Q&A, and McG's response was, "What don't you FUCKING UNDERSTAND?")
After the trailer, McG pointed to some fan in the audience and was all, "You, get on the stage." As the guy walked into the light, McG exclaimed, "It's you!"
The guy did an okay Schwarzenegger voice. "You're in the movie now," said McG. And...the guy took a chair. I'd never seen anything like it before. miniglik says that guy was also at Comic-Con, which is why McG recognized him.
And in today's adventures in Bryce Dallas Howard Is Pretty...
McG also showed us a couple unfinished scenes where some of the special effects were still in early stage and you could still see the wires on people being blown away by explosions (spoiler warning, there are explosions in the movie?). He said that he would take our feedback with him, that we were part of the moviemaking process. I must say that despite some of his oddball behavior, he was very sincere and serious when it came to moviemaking and the fans. He was grateful that we had taken our time to come see this stuff. He was making this movie to honor the other
More in line was the audience poll on whether or not to include Moon Bloodgood's boobs in the movie.
"Who doesn't want to see Moon's boobs in the movie?" he asked. There were a handful of female voices.
"Who wants to see Moon's boobs in the movie?" he asked. Cheers! I abstained. I couldn't imagine how awkward that must have been for her, although she seemed okay with it.
People lined up for Q&A. "You, in the yellow beanie, get on the stage," said McG. The dude was...weird. "I'm representing the '80s," he said. And then he joined the panelists. I had no idea whether this was planned or not.
There were quite a few questions for Common; I guess he is popular? He seemed very appreciative of the opportunity to work with these actors. He also made a point that McG expounded on, that Skynet didn't care what color you were or what religion you were or whatever; it wanted to kill all humans. Which made all those distinction not matter anymore; everyone had to fight the machines together. McG thought it was represented in the diverse cast. "We have Common, Moon; Anton's gay..." (Which seemed like news to Anton. Hee.) He also touted Kate Connor as a strong, empowered female character typical of James Cameron movies.
One guy randomly asked what it was like to make the movie during the election and whether that inspired him in any way. I think McG's response was wrapped into the above.
One guy asked how hardcore fans who could not live with a Terminator movie that didn't include Arnold Schwarzenegger would be appeased. McG tiptoed around the answer, pointing out that the movie was about the inception of the T-800s, and the most iconic and recognizable T-800 model was shaped like our governor. "So I guess I'm answering your question by not answering it." Which implied the presence of a cameo but did not confirm it.
McG wanted to answer more questions, but first he wanted to show us that fucking trailer again because it was so great! And so he did, but then there was no more time for questions.
I had a little time before the 100 Bullets panel, so I stopped by the G4 booth and talked to Chris Gore, whom I knew from the TV. I heard him deliver to his friend the following tidbit of wisdom: "Not giving a shit is a cologne that attracts the vagina." I asked him if he'd seen Watchmen. He snapped and pointed at me with excitement before responding: "No." He was going to see it on Tuesday with a friend and then Thursday with a girl (so he could pay less attention to the movie). I asked him if he went to the panel. He said that instead he did something he liked to call Rock and Roll Shopping, which was to get really drunk and then go buy stuff. Or something. Then he had to leave to go meet a girl; it was nice talking to us.
As I entered Room 103, I saw a very amusing juxtaposition of shirts that I felt I needed to share with you all:
100 Bullets panel! Brian Azzarello and Dave Johnson! I sat in the front row.
It was pretty interesting to sit in on. The genesis for the story actually came from someone who cut Brian off in traffic one day. Brian was all, "I want to kill that guy!" And his friend said, "Would you do it if you could get away with it?" And so, as Brian put it, he owes his entire career to some asshole who cut him off.
There was a lot of talk about how the comic came to be and how Dave Johnson got involved (because the guy who was going to be assigned to do it was lazy).
Brian Azzarello seems completely confident in his story and his characters. He had everything planned out. He doesn't regret anything he did. He doesn't find any of his own characters hard to write. But he doesn't seem full of himself or anything; it's almost as if he can't conceive of writing any other way. That he thinks that's just how writing is and should be.
The moderator made a case for 100 Bullets being the closest thing to a Great American Novel that we have.
I asked a plot-related question about something I wasn't quite sure about, and he asked the audience to give me the answer, which was what I suspected but wasn't sure from the dialogue. He said he didn't want to answer it because he hoped someone got it. I also asked him what the Trust does, exactly, and I don't think I was quite clear what I was looking for because he answered with the same general ideas that I'd gotten from the comic.
Dave's favorite character to draw, unsurprisingly, is Megan, who is "sex on a stick." Brian mentioned a particularly hot Megan cover. But he did find it harder to draw covers for characters drawn by only one other person (Risso). With Superman, he knew many people had drawn Superman, so he felt fine doing it his way, but when you only have one specific interpretation to go off, you have to struggle between replicating it and veering too far from it.
The guy behind me had an awesome Trust tattoo.
Unfortunately, I missed all dinner plans, but I got Jack in the Box when I came home. Oh snap, recession.
In nine hours, I'm going to be in the press room! EXCITING.