A Comically Good Time

Sept. 25 is National Comic Book Day. So to honor this geeky holiday, I thought, "why not share about the one and only time I attended SDCC?"

San Diego Comic Con, or just Comic Con, has grown in the past decade as THE place to premiere and tease blockbusters like The Avengers or unexpected runaway hits like Fox's Sleepy Hollow. But the multi-day conference, is, at its origin, about comics, their creators, and artists. 

And the summer before my senior year of college, my best friend and I decided to venture to San Diego and attend the 4 day convention. 

It was a few years before superhero movies really took off. Iron Man had just come out to massive success, and hype for Iron Man 2 was already building. I recall a big rumor that Robert Downey Jr. was gonna stop by SDCC. 

SDCC was at a nexis of hitting the mainstream and becoming more commercial than comic. This was the first year Twilight (New Moon to be precise) was at Comic Con. Right alongside the debut of James Cameron's Avatar. And that's an interesting mix: sparkly vampire loving tweens and X-Men "House of M" obsessed geeks. 

But what where the highlights of my first and only comic con? Aside from sitting outside in the heat for 4 hours to get into Hall H? Below are my top five moments from SDCC 2009: 

  1. Avatar - James Cameron showed clips from the movie he'd been trying to make for 20yrs+. And I admit, while I'm not a fan of the movie (it's too much blue aliens mixed with a little Pocahontas + Fern Gully for me) it was amazing to hear Cameron talk about the CGI & VFX process. And listening to Zoe Saldana talk about all the movement training they did to "unlearn" human mannerisms and be more alien was super interesting.
  2. Terry Gilliam - the director was talking about his film, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (which was also one of Heath Ledger's last films). The Monty-Python famed animator was fascinating to listen to, especially when he talked about eating all the Hershey Kisses in the green room before his panel.

  3. Bryan Lee O'Malley, Scott Pilgrim - Edgar Wright's adaptation of the comic series was about to come out, but O'Malley was there to promote the series and the final book that was dropping later that year. It was a small talk, in one of the tiny rooms, but it was great to see and hear from the creator of a comic series I really liked.

  4. James Jean - the artist and illustrator definitely got a session based of his cover work for Fables. But he only touched briefly on those comic covers, because he really wanted to talk about his art outside of comics. Which was fine with me ... I like learning about artistic processes and works; and I got a set of notecards which I still send to friends with little, "thinking of you" notes. 

  5. David Tennant - It was the actor's final year as The Doctor in Doctor Who. Admittedly, I stood in line for this panel for like, 2 hours by myself. By best friend choose to sleep in. It was amazing seeing the end of a fandom I was obsessed with come to close. Plus I got to sit through the Torchwood panel too. 

BONUS Perhaps the best part of the whole convention for me and my friend was Ray Bradbury. The infamous scifi author attended pretty much every Comic Con since its conception. His biographer was there to help promote his life, plus the comic book adaptation of  Fahrenheit 451 (which yes, I do own. Purchased at Columbus's Laughing Ogre). Bradbury shared about the moon landing and how he was called to several news station to talk about the momentous moment. He also stressed the importance of elementary school teaching, which was moving to hear him plead about the necessity of teaching children. 

Oh! and the whole panel got invited to his birthday party the following week. 

 

Photo taken by my best friend
Comic book being read in the photo: The Unwritten (Vertigo). Written by Mike Carey, Art by Peter Gross