Friday, July 21st: I arrive, a bit hungover, at the con and head straight to the end of the Who Wants To Be A Superhero panel. I really wanted to see the whole thing and hear about the show. Just for the pure kitsch of it all. Plus, all of the contestants were there in costume. I had been in touch with one in particular, Tonatzin Mondragon aka Lemuria. We had been trying to plan an interview at the con. As the panel ends, I see her in the front row and introduce myself.
"Hey, I'm Jimmy Aquino from Comic News Insider. We've been emailing." She either recognized me from our MySpace page or just my name. She replied something like, "Great to meet you!" Of course, all I heard was, "I'm hot! Look at me!" She explained how it was a big press day and they'd be all over,but we'd set up an interview later. I'd find her at a signing or something. Gave her my card and watched her walk away. For hours.
I head over to the autograph hall and see some of the old TV and movie stars. And there he stood. FLASH....AHHHAAAHHH! HE'LL SAVE EVERYONE OF US! Sam Jones. Flash Gordon. Sitting next to him was the lovely Melody Anderson ("Dale Arden") whom I met and chatted with at the NYC Comic-Con. I had to purchase a picture to get a picture taken with him. All good and fine. It's a living. Though, he was playing the salesman. "You know, for just $20 more, you can get a picture with both me and Melody!" I explained that I met her already and have pics. He kept pushing as Melody sat at the table screaming her lines from the movie, "Go, Flash, Go!" But I held my ground! Take that, Flash! For a minute there, I thought he was gonna break out the Bore Worms. I escaped unscathed and ran back into the convention floor.
I had told Joe about meeting Rosario Dawson the previous day and thought we'd swing by her booth again. Just to say "Hi" and see if she had time for a quick interview. Saw her boy, Jason Lewis, whom I am now finding out he had a major role on Sex and the City. He and I chat a bit and I introduce him to Joe. Rosario sees me and comes over. And yes, she agrees to a quick interview! She's bubbly and fun and really smart. We had a blast! That interview is on the recent Episode 47 of our podcast.
We run around some more and then hit dinner at The Strip Club. Yeah, we like it. That's what was playing on one of the video screens at the bar. A silhouette of a girl dancing naked. I never left the bar. That damn truffle macaroni and cheese was some good eating though! I'm craving it now. I wonder if I can have our cute waitress, Lauren, come deliver it to me personally. Hmmmm.....
The Eisner Awards were that night as well. They are the Academy Awards of the comic book industry. We didn't go. We went last year and it was more boring than an old fat dog in church on a Sunday morning. We did hear later that my boy, Cassaday, won Best Penciller/Inker for the 3rd year in a row! He and Joss Whedon also won Best Continuing Series for Astonishing X-Men. Congrats guys!
Of course, we run over to the Hyatt dinner. There was much traffic all over downtown. As we were walking over, some random woman passes by me, looks me straight in the eye and says, "So, did you find the ice?". Bewildered, I just decided to answer with a "Yes." Maybe I was supposed to answer in code. Something like, "A blue panda walks the moon naked." Then she would have given me some special package. Curses! I missed my secret spy moment! We get to the Hyatt and it's packed! I find the crew that I had been hanging with. Layman and Baron. Great guys and we were having a blast. Jenny shows up and we run into John McCrea. He's a well known comic book artist and a funny dude! He's worked on a ton of books. I heard him talking about one of them. A book called Dicks. About 2 bumbling private detectives in Ireland. Irreverent and gross and hilarious! Anyway, I hear him and ask. "Are you talking about Dicks? I LOVE Dicks!" McCrea and his friend start cracking up and he says, "That's why we named it that." Realizing what I sounded like, we continued coming up with more ways to misinterpret the title. "I could devour Dicks for hours!" Or "For a good time, there's nothing like Dicks!" Yeah, we're children. Get over it. Cassaday shows up after a late dinner meeting and a few of us end up in a friend's room.
Word of advice. Never pass out at a party in a room full of artists. Especially if Sharpies are present. This guy got off lucky. He was half asleep/half aware. We'd yell stuff at him and he'd randomly answer. But,never opened his eyes up. This went on for quite awhile. Any time there was a lull in conversation, we'd yell at him. Then, we started plotting ways to mess with him. Best plot I came up with was to roll him into the elevator. But, we figured he'd wake up. So, some of us started putting straws and crap in his hair. Finally, he jumps up and grabs the last person to drop something in his hair by the legs. It all happened so fast! I don't even think he realized what he was doing. Like he was sleep walking. He kind of wakes up, gently drops the person on the bed next to all of us sitting there. He goes to the bathroom and then leaves. Never to be seen again. We were all afraid to leave. Thinking he was waiting to ambush us at the elevator. Eventually, we figured that was a good point to call it a night since it was 5 a.m. So, we did.
Saturday, July 22nd: I arrive around 10 a.m. and head straight for the Lost panel in Room 20. But, the line was super long as you can see. They had already let in hundreds and we're slowly letting in the rest. They cut the line off about 100 people in front of me. Curses! I missed some good stuff. For you Lost fans, go to Jay & Jack's site. They have a vidcast of some of it. Funny stuff.
Upset, I head over to the big 6500 seat Hall H. I was able to catch the end of the 300 panel. It's the movie version of the comic book by Frank Miller. It looked awesome. I moved up front and got pretty close for the next panel. Grind House. Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's double feature homage to 70's slasher/horror genre films. Rodriguez had started shooting and showed some of his footage. Fuckin' awesome shit!
Rose McGowan with a machine gun leg. Need I say more? Yeah,she and Marley Shelton, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and Rosario Dawson are all in it. Yes, I have a ton of shots of Rose in the photo albums. She purty. Me likey.
Next up was Kevin Smith's panel. One of my favorites! However, about 30 minutes left of the Grind House panel, a gentleman who works for Comic-Con gets on the mic. He says Kevin is stuck in traffic,but is on his way. I worry because his panel was from 1-2:30 and we had an interview lined up at 2:35. Grind House goes over time to help out a bit. Around 1:30, the same guy announces that he had just talked to Kevin and he was still far away. Not sure if he'd make it in time and maybe they'd reschedule. Defeated, I give up and leave around 2 p.m.
I run around and get to the interview spot a bit early. Jay and Jack of the previously mentioned fan Lost podcast find me and we all finally meet up. We had done an interview with them a couple of weeks before after lending them our Michael Emerson interview. Great guys and really funny! They hung out a bit and watched us do our interview with Blair Butler.
Queen of Geek on G4's Attack of the Show. Blair was awesome! Really knows her comic book stuff! And, she purty. We have been chatting and she will start doing a regular monthly segment on our show. Maybe twice a month. We'll see. She's gonna try to give our podcast a shout out on the show some time soon. Fingers crossed! After the interview, I run over to catch the Veronica Mars panel. Yeah, I'm a big dork. I'M AT COMIC-CON FOR PETE'S SAKE! You haven't figured that out yet? Unfortunately, I can't stay for the whole panel. Well, not too unfortunately.
Cassaday had lined up an interview with Joss Whedon after the 2 of them had finished their autograph signing. Visibly exhausted, Joss graciously takes us into the Marvel room with John and gave us a great interview! John joined us as well and we had a fun time. It was quite loud and we felt like we had to scream at times. Here I was. Sitting with one of my writer/director idols. I had a slew of questions to ask and tried not to ask things he always gets asked. Yet at times, I just went blank. Guess I was nervous and all. He, being Joss! He joked a lot and it was just really chill. Look for that interview in the next week or 2!
We were a bit tired and decided to head back to the hotel to chill. I wanted to get back in time to watch the Masquerade. All of the people dressed up. However, I passed out for a couple of hours and didn't head back til later. All good. Joe dropped me off at the Hyatt and a few of the California Browncoats met up with me. The rest of the crew was at the Hilton bar, so we walked over there. I met several of the SoCal and San Francisco Browncoats. Great crew and they really made me feel welcome. We hung a bit and I dragged a few of them back over to the Hyatt with me. Melissa, Louise, Lynn, James, Arielle, Kim, and a few others joined in the madness that was the Hyatt. It looked like things were heading to a close and people started heading out. I shoulda known better! We head up to one room party. It's pretty low key, but quite a few big wigs in the biz are there. We end up leaving and heading to our old hot spot. The same room party we had been in the past few nights. This time, it was swinging! Shortly after, it was busted. But, us lucky few got to stay and hang. Yes, once again. Til really late in the morning. More bourbon than blood in me, I decide to cab it back to the ghetto.
...to be continued.