San Diego Comic-Con 09 has come and gone. Just like Supergirl did on Friday night in my room. Heyo! It was my busiest year ever as I was inundated with press requests from movie and TV companies. Strangely, not from comic book companies except maybe 1. And they wonder why comics are getting pushed out. Sure, they don't have the money like the big studios do, but let's get that press out there to a broader audience. I know I only have a lowly podcast called Comic News Insider, but if many major studios want me sitting in on their panels or interviewing their stars, why not comic book companies? I'm one of the ones who is sad to see the comics getting shoved aside for Hollywood biz. Yet, I enjoy the Hollywood stuff as well. Except I hate how H'wood is bringing shows/movies that don't belong. Catch 22 and all that rot.
I told you about my Tuesday, when I landed. Let's just do it all linear like so you can keep up. Say word?
Wednesday, 7/22: A bit of a relaxing day before the madness of Preview night. Fans and pros alike were starting to pour into the city in droves of thousands. Yes, thousands! I finish working on my schedule for the week and head over to the convention, henceforth to be known as "con", to pick up my press badge. As expected, the line is ridiculously long. But, seems to be moving along okay. I'm in line for about 5 minutes when someone calls and I don't recognize the number. "Jimmy? This is Felicia Day." HOLY CRAP! Felicia Day just called me! We had an interview scheduled at 5pm, so while excited to hear from her I feared she was calling to cancel. Nope! She just wanted to confirm where/when. Sweet. Moments after I hang up, my roommate for the show, mad UK writer Tony Lee, sees me and ushers me over to get in. I was nervous because I was in line and didn't want to lose my place. He talks my way through the "Elite" security guards and I waltz past everyone over to pick up my badge in minutes! That Tony Lee, bless him for his swift talking ways. Soon, it was Felicia Day time.
Felicia is just as lovely in person as you think. Kind, smart, funny and so purty! I've interviewed many a famous person, and as you know I have many friends of some celebrity, yet I felt a bit nervous around Felicia. I talked so fast and nervously. Even mispronouncing a character name from her web series, The Guild. Still, I felt the interview went really well. We chatted for about 30 minutes and seemed to have a bit of fun. I'm not sure of when the interview will go up as we have so many to go through. Rest assured, I will let you know here and through my various social networking sites. (Thanks to Melissa for taking the pictures!)
Post interview, the floor opens up early for Preview Night. Supposedly, a less crowded night and only for 4 day ticket holders. It was barely less crowded! I walked the entire floor just to see where everything is located. At one point, I walked through Artist Alley and a majority of the tables were empty. Come on, artists! I know it's preview night, but you should still be there to hawk your wares.
I run around the floor and run into Blair Butler from G4TV. As you may or may not know, she used to come on the podcast on occasion but her schedule has been so crazy. We planned an interview with her later in the week. She called me across the room and we chatted for a bit. Loves me some Blair. Always so sweet.
I also finally met publisher extraordinaire, Jennifer de Guzman, of Slave Labor Graphics. She had sent me some copies of Fat Chunk Volume 2: Zombies, but I was already in San Diego. So she let me grab a copy to give to Blair Butler later.
As I was leaving the con, I was able to finally meet my new CNI correspondent, Maria Bernal-Silva. She was helping out with covering of panels and doing interviews. She and her boyfriend were very cool and we planned on covering a lot for the week.
Post walk through it was on with the dinner and the drinking. Met up with friends and met some new ones as well. As per usual, we ended up at the Hyatt where I met James Moran, one of the writers of Torchwood. We chatted a bit about the show and the recent horrible experience he had with fan reaction. Felt bad for the guy. Such a talent and because of it, idiot fans threaten him and are rude to him because he was involved in killing off a character in a TV show. A FUCKING TV SHOW PEOPLE. Sheesh. More drinks and off to the secret spot to eat with Templesmith and friends. Them hot cakes was good eatin'!
Thursday, 7/23: I started a bit later since I was out and up so late. I had a Robot Chicken roundtable style press conference in the early afternoon. It was sparsely populated with about 4 or 5 other reporters. Attending were creators/voice over artists/actors Seth Green, Breckin Meyer, Matt Senreich, Tom Root and Doug Goldstein. I recorded the entire thing and got many a question in. Including some from Twitter. We'll probably release that as a CNI One-Shot! type show all to it's own. Really fun time as it felt like we were just hanging out and chatting with the guys.
Back to the floor for a bit. I finally got to meet Brea Grant ("Daphne" in Heroes) as she was at the IDW booth with her brother, Zane, trading their zombie inspired cd's for other stuff. I gave them a copy of Fat Chunk Volume 2: Zombies. You know, the book I wrote 6 pages in! We chatted a bit and planned on an interview later in the week. As loyal CNI listeners know, we had Brea on the show many months ago when she was still on Heroes. We kept in touch via Twitter over the months so it was nice to put physical face to name. I met Zane at New York Comic-Con, so already knew him. Speaking of interviews, I check my email to see that Nickelodoen had cancelled my SpongeBob Squarepants cast interviews. But, then I also got an email confirming my BBC Doctor Who interviews! To make up for it, Nickelodeon promised to name a new character on Spongebob after me. Jimmy the Happy Shark! Hey, it could happen.
Soon, it was time for the podcasting panel. Consisting of myself, Ron Richards (iFanboy), Brian "Pants" Christman (Comic Geek Speak), Charlie LaGreca (Indie Spinner Rack), Bob Bretall (Comic Book Page) and bum rushing the panel at the 11th hour, Ian Levenstein (Comic Timing). The panel started off a bit rough as Ron had one of the publishers from Two Morrows publishing come up to promote the recent Podcast Companion book they put out. I ranted about this book on the show about how it was biased and didn't really represent the community. Apparently, others agreed as the poor guy came up to promote and made the mistake of saying something like, "This book represents everyone on this panel". And a few of the others NOT represented piped in saying they weren't. I had mentioned to Ron previously that this might be a bad idea having him come up, but I said I'd keep my mouth shut. For the most part, I did, but as I said, everyone else seemed to agree with my thoughts. That aside, we continued on with the panel. It was a bit informal and we just started out with questions from the audience and then with each other. It went pretty swimmingly as we all get along well. Hopefully, we were entertaining to the pretty sizeable audience in attendance. WHERE WERE YOU?!!
Ran into my bud, Jon Hoche and his sister, Jen and we walked the floor a bit. We met up with Cass and Layman for a little steak dinner at Morton's. Maria and her boyfriend, Chris, joined us as well. Good times and good eatin'! A few of us hit the CBLDF party on the roof of the Westgate hotel. All kinds of swanky and really fun. Met up with Templesmith, Nikki Cook, Molly Crabapple, Ben McCool, Heidi MacDonald, Darick Robertson, Nick Barrucci, and many others. Pretty lowkey, but fun. Off to the Hyatt where I got to hang with Brea Grant and her brother Zane. With them, was their friend, Stacey Storey. Whom I recognized but wasn't sure from where. I realized after the fact that she had started following me on Twitter (probably via Brea and Zane) and I looked her up. She be purty. Former Miss Alaska and all that. And she's an actress as well. But mostly, very sweet and lovely to converse. Also ran into Deric Hughes (he of Living in Infamy and now Warehouse 13 writing fame) whom I've known for a few years. You think I know everyone? Talk to him! At one point, some douchebag decided to start climbing the rail-like things near the bar right near where Stacey was sitting. He fell/jumped down and a fight almost started. I ran over to see if Stacey was okay and thankfully, she didn't get hit. Idiots. Get some drink in them and suddenly they act stupid. Or they're already stupid and alcohol just adds to the dumb factor.
After more libations, it was off to the hotel by 4am or so.
Friday, 7/24: My busiest day by far. I had possibly triple booked interviews. I ran over to the G4 booth to see if Olivia Munn was free. Sure enough, I got about 10 minutes with her and we are new best friends! Wait til you hear our interview. She has one crazy one liner that still has me dying in laughter. After Olivia, I had to rush back to the room and for some alone time. No, wait...I mean...I was off to the Radical Publishing roundtable consisting of Nick Simmons (Yes, Gene Simmons' son), Steve Niles, Jim Steranko, Jimmy Palmiotti, Rick Remender, Arthur Suydam and others. I was mislead in the emails saying I'd get one on ones with Nick and Gene. Nick is doing a comic for them and Gene is...well...just Gene. Alas, no one on ones and I had to rush off to another interview. (For the record, we've had all of the comic folks on the panel on the show, except Steranko, so the Simmons boys were the only ones I was going to one on one.)
I rush over to the Westin for the Angel of Death roundtable. Angel of Death is the new hit web series starring stuntwoman Zoe Bell in her first major lead as an actress. Penned by comic book writer Ed Brubaker and also starring Ted Raimi and Doug Jones. It was held in the presidential suite and done quite casually. Again, sparsely populated by reporters. I was joined by a guy from the Chicago Tribune and a woman from a Variety outlet paper. That's it. They even joked that they'd just let me do the talking as I said I had seen it, loved it, loved Zoe and knew Brubaker. The roundtable starts. It's Brubaker and Doug Jones on the couch. Ted Raimi to the left. And director Paul Etheredge with producer John Norris to the right of me. Zoe Bell was upstairs doing camera interviews and would join us later. I started everything off and sure enough, it felt like I was moderating things. The other 2 reporters didn't seem to mind as they realized I knew the subject well. Zoe soon joins us and we all chat for about 40 minutes or so. I was able to grab Zoe for a little one on one for about 7 minutes. Just as adorable and fun in person as you'd think. Yet, she can still kick your ass!
Due to the lateness and location of the Angel of Death interview, I had to miss the Spartacus one over at the Hilton Bayfront. I didn't miss the irony that I missed something starring Lucy Lawless for something starring Zoe Bell.
I rushed over to the con to get to the Dollhouse press room in time. I was able to get some pictures of Joss Whedon and Eliza Dushku as well as get a question in during an impromptu roundtable. Yes, recorded! Off to the panel where we were shown the unaired 13th episode of Dollhouse starring Felicia Day. Man, was that intense! Let's hope season 2 kicks in like this and there will be no fear of cancellations. During the panel, Joss finally announced that my best pal, John Cassaday, would be directing an episode for season 2! I was feeling all proud of my friend and we did a little fist bump when it was announced.
I rushed out of the Dollhouse panel to a Marvel animation panel. They were taking Whedon/Cassaday's Astonishing X-Men and adding motion. It was much better than previous motion comics I have seen, so I'm very much looking forward to it.
Unfortunately, I missed out on meeting/interviewing Robert Englund for his new project due to the Dollhouse panel. I probably would have had nightmares anyway. Get it? Robert Englund? Nightmares? Ah, never mind! I also had to postpone chatting with Blair Butler earlier and caught her at the G4 booth. Alas, not on mic and it looked like once again, we wouldn't be able to do the interview. Funny, we always chat at cons a lot but never on mic. I did get her a copy of Fat Chunk 2 though!
I went back to chill a bit and met NYC friend Patrick Garrigan and his girl, Salli Melfi. Patrick was there working a bit. We had a little BBQ and then hit the Hyatt. The Boresners...uh..I mean The Eisners were that evening but I had no desire to attend. Though I hear they made it a little more enticing this year with new location.
Hung out with so many peoples and we ran around from the Top of the Hyatt to the 2 bars downstairs. At one point, we decided I should take Salli's last name and become Jimmy Melfi. Jimmy Melfi is the wanna be mobster who never quite made it into the mob because he's not as badass as he thinks he is. He runs a card game in the back, but it's not poker. It's Go Fish. His threats are, "Ohhh! Watch it or I might pull out your hangnail." Or "Take it easy. Or I'll go in to punch you but stop at the last minute just to see if you flinch!" Oh, Jimmy Melfi, you got us through hours of the night.
As the evening progressed, Eisner winners were flooding in left and right. It was great to see Comic Book Tattoo win for best anthology. Editor Rantz Hoseley kicked ass on that. It was an anthology full of over 100 cartoonists. I did think it was cute that many of those artists went around saying, "I won an Eisner!" Technically, yeah...I guess you did, but it was really the anthology as a whole, kiddies!
Saturday, 7/25:This was gonna be a rough day having only slept 4 hours. I was getting up early to meet my bud, Michael Emerson ("Ben Linus" on Lost), so I could get into the Lost panel. We weren't sure how this was going to work as it was in Hall H. The biggest room there. I knew the talent arrived in the back so I walked over there roughly around the time (about 9:30 a.m.) he thought they'd be arriving. I had good time mojo as I walked around back just as the van with the cast was pulling up! Michael sees me and I tell the guard I'm with them who just lets me through. I immediately meet Nestor Carbonell, Josh Holloway and Jorge Garcia. Showrunners Damon Lindeloff and Carlton Cuse were also there. We shared the elevator up and I had a nice chat with Nestor. We awaited in the green room where I chatted with Nestor and his wife a bit more then they had to run off to rehearse some bits they were doing for the panel. I noticed that Dominic Monaghan was there. Surprise guest! I kept my tweet mouth shut though so as not to spoil. Soon, it was time to go down to the panel and I walked down with the cast and was escorted to the VIP area with others. The panel was hilarious with some funny sketches mixed in between Q & A's. I recorded it and will put it up as a special show either this week or next. Shortly after the panel, I wasn't sure how I'd get backstage to Michael as they didn't have any wristbands for me. I was able to talk my way back and went back upstairs with the cast. Hung in the green room a bit chatting with Michael and others. A guard mentioned that I should really try to get a wristband as they might kick me out of the green room. I hang there a bit and head over to the press room. I didn't realize they had already started so I missed out on some roundtable action. Curses! I did get lots of pictures and managed to catch the end of the Jorge Garcia roundtable. And got a little blurb from Nestor as well as a question answered by Josh. Some jackass with a video camera bamboozled Josh. He had a newspaper in his hand about some immigrants being murdered and asked Josh, "Some immigrants were murdered the other day. What do you have to say about it?" Jackass. Where were the "Elite" guards to escort this dick out?
In the green room, celebs were in and out. Jimmy Fallon, James Purefoy, Woody Harrelson, Mila Kunis, and many others. Really kinda fun. Saw Fallon talk to Michael and say how he's his favorite guest! Proud friend moment for sure.
I walk out of the green room again to get some more pics and was about to head out. So decided to run back in to say bye to Michael. The same guard that had forewarned me about not having a wristband said he couldn't let me in even though I was in and out for hours. Some lady on SDCC staff got really rude with me. I was calmly explaining that I was just saying bye to my friend whom I pointed at and could clearly see. She didn't know who he was and kept saying, "You need to leave or we'll have to escort you out." I said I just wanted to say bye and would be out in a minute. She rudely says, "Call him on the phone." FUCK YOU! I walked out looking for the PR person from ABC but decided to try the other door where I saw him standing. I walked past the guard and right to him. HAHAHA. Take that rude SDCC lady! Said my good-bye and left.
Next up was the BBC Doctor Who panel at the Marriot. There were about 16 reporters and they split us into 2 tables. No pictures allowed. Weird, I though. But whatever. David Tennant, Russell T. Davies, Julie Gardner and Euros Lyn were present. First, my table had Tennant and Gardner whom we all chatted with for about 20 minutes. I got a few questions in and it was really fun. I've got a bit of a man crush on Tennant, so I may have been caught looking dreamily into his eyes. Next up was Davies and Lyn. Russell answered a lot of questions about the recent (and awesome) Torchwood series. And dismissed fan furor over recent events. Again, got a few questions in. I got to chat with Tennant a bit after and managed not to suddenly turn gay and swoon over him. (Alas, no pictures were allowed.)
Next, I ran over to meet up with Brea and Zane Grant in the Marriot bar area. We casually chatted about their upcoming zombie comic book from IDW called We Will Bury You. Lots of fun and I also was able to talk to Brea about her recent run on Heroes. We made plans to meet up for the various parties later and I was off to chill a bit before dinner. I met Emerson for dinner at The Ivy and was joined by a couple of other friends. Good times but we all had to rush off to parties of our own. The big Paul Pope DJed (well for an hour) party was starting at 9. We met up with Brea and Zane and some others including the always fun Jen Grunwald of Marvel comics. The party was slow to start so Brea took us over to the Heroes party. I think I got in a red carpet shot with her! Look for it! We hung a bit and it was back over to the other party that was finally getting swinging. I had a chance to bounce out with Brea (she had one extra pass) to the Radical party with Gene Simmons and others, but Jen really wanted to go, so I let her. You owe me, Jen!! We ended up hanging for awhile and had a blast. Great to see my bud, Paul, on the wheels of steel. We met up with Brea, Templesmith and others at the Hyatt for more hanging. Brea is so durn cool and fun. We had some nice chats throughout the evening.
Late in the evening, we were hanging outside and witnessed Thomas Jane, cigar in mouth, go to the side of the parking garage at the Hyatt and whip it out to pee. I wonder if it was a publicity stunt for his new HBO show, Hung?
Sunday, 7/26: I was way tired on Sunday and it showed in my voice and interviews later. Apologies all!
I met Emerson for lunch on the Ivy rooftop before he had to take off back to NYC. We recorded a little bit as well to get his perspective of the whole she-bang. It was a bit overwhelming, as I thought it would be. But, it was fun watching his reaction to the crowd. I also had several proud friend moments when I saw the throngs of folks snapping pictures away. Seriously, he's all famous and shit now!
After that, I ran over to meet up with Ben McCool to talk about his upcoming project, Choker. Always fun to chat with Ben, it was nice to have him on talking his first creator owned work. A couple of drinks later, I hit the con floor. Ran into Templesmith and we sat and did an impromptu interview for about 15 minutes or so. We got a bit debaucherous and silly, but hey...it's what we do. I walked the floor one final time with loyal CNI listener, Michael Mielczarek, who was here all the way from Australia. Apologies for not grabbing a drink after. I so needed a disco nap.
Low key dinner and drinks. Dead Dog party. Final Hyatt time. Great hanging with so many friends including the SF crew of Melissa, Kim, Louise, Christina, and others. Convention friends like Andie Tong, Tim Bradstreet, and new friends Maria Bernal-Silva (new CNI roving reporter) and Ming Doyle (upcoming artist and the cat's meow). Fun times with everyone though. Only a small minor incident or 2 that tried to sour my experience, but it didn't work. Many thanks to Elsa for picking me up at the airport and taking me to In N Out. Mad thanks to all of the PR who accommodated me with interviews. And just thanks to good friends for good times. CNI will have LOTS of coverage over the next couple of weeks. So stay tuned!
Great con overall! As per usual, most of the "Elite" guards didn't know what they were doing and many were just plain d-bags. But, still managed to have fun on the floor and at the show. So there!
Each year, we always hear how much San Diego hates Comic-Con. Yet, talking to a bunch of locals, it seemed opposite. Our bartender at the Hilton Gaslamp was telling us how they look forward to it every year and the negativity was not from the service industry employees but probably from people who want to come into the area for other business but can't find parking or can't stand the crowds, etc. It was nice to hear this as I'd hate to think we are unwelcome.
Til next nerd prom....