Saturday, October 27, 2012

San Diego Comic Fest - What I thought.

Thanks to Mark Evanier, I'm going to add this link to a video on the 1st San Diego Comic Fest which was held last weekend.  What you see in the video will give you a good feeling of what the convention was like and some of the folks who spent time there.

As I have said before, while my first 'convention' experience was a small one held in a high school in the Ocean Beach community of San Diego, about two months later I found myself at the El Cortez Hotel with hundreds of other fans for the 1975 SDCC.  In some ways those two very different experiences match the difference between what the current SDCC is to what was held at the Town & Country Hotel and Convention Center the past weekend. 

The utter size and overwhelming experience of SDCC is hard to imagine for anyone who has not gone to one.  I've been to dozens of cons around the country the past few decades but even the larger ones in NY, Philadelphia and Chicago could not match what you get when you enter the SDCC as it is now.  The sounds, sights, cos-players, famous actors and all the media crammed into that building for four-days is just way too much for me now.  I think my experience this year on Sunday was enough to prove that I am not able to deal with these events very well. I'm pretty sure that the one-day pass I already have for 2013 (Friday) will be even more tiring and may be the last time I go through the hassle and aggravation of even trying to get a ticket.

As Mark says in his post, Comic Fest was more about the feelings and nostalgia of those El Cortez days than a recreation of that era.  While those early SDCC's were smaller they were still all about the future of comics, film and entertainment.  Fans wanted to see the hot new talent, get the new titles and find out what the publishers were going to bring out in the coming year.  If there were panels on the Golden Age (and a number of the folks who created those books were still active at the time), more were about the current crop of creators or those trying to break in.

The contemporary SDCC continues that, with those panels that do deal with the older stuff becoming a smaller part of the overall picture.  While Comic Con has always been about more than comics, the modern event really is about the entertainment media beyond the four-color pages that fewer and fewer seem to care about.

For me Comic Fest was a chance to see some of the folks who made my early convention experiences so special.  It was the opportunity to hear others talk about what those events meant to them and how special they were.  While there was some sadness when people talked about those who were no longer with us, there were also a lot of laughs when those still here told stories of their lost friends.

Panels covered the anniversaries of BLADE RUNNER, ROBOCOP and STORM TROOPERS.  Creators talked about working on the 'underground' comix that had to be bought in headshops, adult stores and small bookstores in college communities.  People who had not seen each other in decades were reunited on stage or in the halls, some discovered things that had happened years before that they had never known about.  While some friendships were renewed, some old animosities were also brought out into the open.

Bottom line is I'm really glad that I went.  It was fun and I had some laughs, which is what you really want from any convention.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

WALKING DEAD - New Season & other stuff

Hope you have caught the first episode of WALKING DEAD this past weekend, or recorded it and already seen it.  I'm going to publish some Spoilers so if you haven't watched it you might want to skip this for a while.

In a fashion, the series is coming back around to where the comic series was a few years ago.  Months have passed since the previous episode, with Lori (Booo!!) very preggers and still whining about one thing or another.  The rest of Rick's group seems to be coming to grips with the situation, with even Carl showing that he can take down the undead in the same ruthless fashion as the rest.  His first scenes with him shooting a walker and then taking some cans of dog food are telling.  Carl has matured and obviously has gone beyond the "Carl, stay in the house" routine he found himself in previously.  This is the Carl that fans of the book have come to know, there are only some moments when he can be a kid with the situation that surrounds him.

In the book the discovery of the prison brought about a shift in the dynamics of the group.  As the series has already made some changes, it remains to be seen what characters (if any) that are introduced among the surviving prisoners will bond with Rick's group.  We only see some of the prisoners in the final scene of the first episode, so they have not been introduced.  Teasers for the second episode seem to indicate that things may take a ugly turn pretty quickly.

We also get to see Michonne (one of the best and favorite characters in the comic) demonstrating why she will probably be just as popular in the series.  She and Andrea are separated from the main group and it will be interesting to see how they finally join up.  As the "Governor" and the community of Woodbury have not been introduced yet, it may be that the pair meets up with that group first.  However it works out I'm psyched about this season.

This weekend I'm going to be heading down to San Diego for the first SD Comic Fest.  This new gathering was conceived and planned by some of the same folks to started the original San Diego Comic Con back in the early '70s.  The idea is that this will be a smaller gathering and similar in feel to those first few cons held at the El Cortez Hotel and other locations.  No flashy displays by the big companies, no major stars pushing their latest product, just fans and pros getting together to talk about comics and 'the old days'.  I hope to have some photos and some things to talk about regarding the show next week.

Ta ta for now!