August 5th, 2007


Comic-Con Report, volume 6 FINAL

Some booth in the event hall was giving out big, round cardboard shields to promote the 300 DVD release, and I saw these shields all over the place at and around the Comic-Con. Some companies have learned that a smart way to promote their products is to give lots of people enormous freebies they have to carry around town--I saw a lot of huge, cloth Smallville bags, and big yellow Dark Horse bags.

Whenever someone with a 300 shield got up to ask Bill Corbett, Kevin Murphy, and Mike Nelson a question, Corbett insisted they yell "Sparta" as loud as they could before they were allowed to ask their question (there were only two such yells, both of which were a little weak). The three guys were asked what their favourite television shows were. Kevin Murphy said Arrested Development, Corbett concurred, and Mike Nelson said the Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes (I was the only one in the room who applauded for that one).

The Film Crew panel ended at seven o'clock, and it was the latest I'd ever stayed at the Comic-Con. I received a call from my cousin Courtney and I learned she and Susan were in line for the masquerade ball. I told them I was tired and was going home . . . so that covers Saturday.

Sunday, the last day of the Con, is always a little sad, not only because it's the last day, but also because it's shorter and there's a whole lot less going on. My sister, Chelsea, went with me that day because the previous day she'd acquired for herself a "Professional" badge. Which is a funny story;

Chelsea had been hired, along with a hundred fifty-nine other girls, to dress like Alice from the Resident Evil movies, wearing red dresses, fishnet tights, Doc Martens boots, and what my sister described as "really bad brown wigs." The girls walked the Con together and were instructed not to smile at anyone or talk to anyone--which made my sister feel bad when one guy approached her and tried to flirt with her.

As Chelsea told me this, I remembered a guy on the trolley Saturday night complaining to his friend about how "the hundred girls dressed the same--in fishnets--all went up the escalator at the same time and created even more of a bottleneck when people had to stop and take pictures of them."

Apparently, no-one knew what they were supposed to be and Chelsea told me she'd heard a few people speculating that they were simply all part of the same class on a field trip.

"Yeah, maybe the streetwalker's school of etiquette," I said.

So my sister and the hundred fifty-nine other girls found themselves backstage Saturday in Hall H, where Chelsea found herself very close to Gwyneth Paltrow, Edward Norton, Robert Downey Junior, and Josh Hartnett even stopped to speak to her, saying, "I wish I'd worn my red dress."

Chelsea was also close to Ali Larter, who must wear some heavy foundation because Chelsea said her face looked like "a baseball mitt." But she said Liv Tyler was absolutely beautiful.

The idea was that the hundred sixty Alices were supposed to go onstage followed by Milla Jovovich to give the audience some kind of "Who's the Real Alice?" puzzle. Only Milla Jovovich accidentally ran out onstage first and Chelsea said all the Sony people standing nearby smacked their foreheads in frustration. So Chelsea never got to go onstage.

But just before she was supposed to, one of the girls' minders helpfully offered to "take those badges now." Chelsea and her friend Flora hid theirs in their boots because, as my sister observed, "that's what big Doc Martens are for."

So I showed up to the event hall with my sister on Sunday morning and wandered a bit (we got there a little early and the guards weren't letting anyone in without professional badges until ten, but Chelsea opted to wait for me). I actually bought something on Thursday, which I just about never do at Comic-Con; Slave Labour was selling these one dollar packages of three comics selected completely at random. The package was brown and covered the comics completely, so there was no way of knowing what you were getting until after you'd purchased the package, which I thought was a really good idea. I still haven't gotten around to reading those comics, though . . . Why doesn't Slave Labour publish more colour comics? Aren't they a big enough company yet? It's the only reason I haven't submitted my comic to them. They work with Disney, for gods' sakes, you'd think they'd be in the money now.

My sister bought herself a Jack Sparrow action figure and we visited Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean display, which was actually pretty cool--a big, fake cave people queued up to enter, and inside was a dark, lantern lit tunnel with original costumes from the movie in display cases. Mostly they were Singaporean pirate costumes, but they were all very intricate and beautiful. One of Keira Knightley's Singaporean costumes was particularly nice looking.

After this, we went upstairs and watched an episode of Azumanga Daioh, which drew a pretty big crowd. Before that, there were significantly fewer people in the room as we watched an episode of a series called Super Gals, which I'd never heard of but enjoyed quite a bit. It's genuine shojo, which I so rarely get from Tim, my regular anime supplier, and very funny. Though looking at the Wikipedia entry, I see the series references a rather disturbing practice in Japan called enjo kosai, wherein older Japanese businessmen legally purchase sex from high school girls. It's apparently not technically considered prostitution but, as Roger Ebert noted in his review of Memoirs of a Geisha, "Here is a useful rule: Anyone who is 'not technically a prostitute' is a prostitute."

Chelsea and I thought about seeing Nicolas Cage and his brother trying to sell their new comic book, but decided to just go home instead.

And so I say farewell to another Comic-Con . . .
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