Sunday, February 08, 2009

More Photos

Year Four: Done

Another year of the NY ComicCon down, and now starts the long wait until October 2010. I've still got some notes to go through before sealing the NYCC file, including plenty of photos, and some reviews that will be on soon.

Thanks for reading!
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Fringe is Not An Easy Title For Puns

They all turned out for the Fringe panel, including a far more than capacity crowd, and exec producer Jeff Pinkner, along with actors Anna Torv, Kirk Acevado, Blair Brown, Lance Reddick, Jasika Nicole, Josh Jackson and John Noble. I admit, I've never watched the show (I have enough serial dramas to follow) but after seeing the recap reel shown here, I may have to check it out.

The panel didn't spill many secrets, other than the presence of a visual clue in each episode that foretells the next show's subject, and the fact that the bumpers have a code that reveals the show's secrets. Instead, it focused more on the actors' experiences, like Jackson's flowchart of the series plot or Reddick's personally touching his set (which is the biggest of the cast, in case you were wondering.) The most interesting item involved the character of the Observer (whom they got on the sidelines of the recent Giants play-offs game (much to Jackson's chagrin, as he sat in the nosebleeds.)) Apparently Fox tried really hard to get the character onto the platform for President Obama's inauguration. Also, there's other Observers, one of which will be seen soon.

The first third of the next episode was shown, and yeah, I definitely have to check this show out.

A favorite part for non-Fringe followers: a guy in the audience kept yelling out Mighty Ducks references, and Jackson played along. I don't think he's the greatest actor, but he seems like a good guy in real life.
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Kids Day

I'm not particularly comfortable seeing women in next to nothing and little kids sharing the same convention floor (and even less comfortable with the two mixing, like the six-year-old girl in fishnets or the little boy posing with an amateur porn star in a Wonder Woman costume.) But if you get past that, the experience must be pretty cool for the kids in attendance, with a special room for them, featuring kid-friendly events, and even booths catering to youngsters, like Fox Home Entertainment's, which was doing kid's hair to look like the star of their upcoming Dragonball movie.

It will still be a long time before I bring my daughter.
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What I Learned from Joss W.

"Friday is Killday": When asked about how he decides to kill characters.

"Locations are the new special effects": Joss' wife's thought after watching Slumdog Millionaire

"I'm a genius": Joss' joking explanation when asked why people are so willing to work with him
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Inside the Dollhouse

Joss Wheadon (I'm pretty sure I spelled that wrong) stopped by with the first third of the premiere episode of his soon-to-air series Dollhouse. It (and especially Eliza Dushku) looks pretty nice, as we got to see her character Echo, a high-priced callgirl, on a job, and the process she undergoes following said job, along with a scene that sets up the gist of the story. It's essentially setting up as a cop chasing a case that's far beyond his scope, and it seems there will be some changes in Echo's life.

The main room was packed with fans of the mercurial creator's prior series, who gave a great primer on the creation of the show
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Chuck vs. NY ComicCon

Execs Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak were joined by series star Yvonne Strahovski for a panel Sunday, which followed a rather extensive reel of never-before-seen footage from the second half of the current season, loaded with spoilers of what's coming up, including more (inappropriate) romance at the Buy More, some guest appearances by comedy and sci-fi icons and more revelations about Chuck and Ellie's dad.

The room was packed beyond capacity, likely to check out the lovely Aussie Strahovski (who lost geek cred for saying she didn't get the show's pop-culture references,) and the crowd was definitely entertained by the funny trio, though the constant requests and invitations during the Q&A session got a bit annoying (and led to the new catch-phrase "Throw it up!")

Among the topics touched upon were the effect of the economy on Buy More (something we'll see coming up, guest casting (Fedak lives to cast Star Trek actors), Jeff and Lester's band "Jeffster," and the introduction of new spies in the lives of Chuck and company, including a British agent who takes a shining to our favorite lady agent.
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The Diversity of Nerds

Here's my "The More You Know" Post: Say what you will about the people who attend comic conventions, but they have to be the most diverse group of people ever to assemble under one roof. If there's a color of skin, it's here. If there's a gender, it's here. If there's a social class, sexual orientation or age, it's here. It's the feel-good element of this freak show.
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Back for Day Three

Heading back to the city for the last day of NY ComicCon until October of 2010 (Boy that's a long time.) Today is Kids Day, so we'll get the unusual combination of naughty nurses, costumed geeks and impressionable children. We also get a few of the weekend's biggest panels, including Chuck, Dollhouse and Fringe. Should be a good time and hopefully we'll get some good scoops.
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Saturday, February 07, 2009

Some Photos from ComicCon

Krod Mandoon (Not an Ethnic Meal Break)

Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire is a "workplace" comedy series coming up on Comedy Central, that is a bit like Robin Hood: Men in Tights, but with a stricter story and less parody. Chris Hardwick of G4 did a great job moderating (he really should be on TV more often,) as two of the execs and two of the stars answered questions, including Sean Maguire, who is making up for the horrible "Meet the Spartans" movie. Unfortunately, the wonderful Matt Lucas (Little Britain,) who plays the key baddie in the show, wasn't in attendance, but Maguire does a pretty good imitation (of co-star Kevin Hart and Marty McFly also,) and is really pretty quick on the draw.

The story about how Lucas became a part of the show was especially a crowd pleaser, as he sort of fell in their laps. "We got Matt Lucas to tape an audition." "Wow!...Who's Matt Lucas?" Seriously, this might have been the most entertaining panel all weekend.
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Summit Brings Us Knowing & The Hurt Locker

The participation was light this time, but the movies certainly piqued my curiosity.

Knowing has been a movie I've been interested in since Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko) was attached, and in seeing the trailer and two scenes selected by director Alex Proyas (who couldn't make it due to post-production,) it probably is better Kelly didn't make this movie. The story of a dad who finds a note in a time capsule that predicted every catastrophe in the 50 years since it was buried, and a few more to come, was probably too "big" an action film for Kelly at this point in his career. That said, I don't know how well it will do, because the topic (global disasters) and the terrifying way they are presented is probably just too harrowing for most people, especially NY'ers. It's just relentless in how destructive the events are and how detailed the events are depicted.

The Hurt Locker is similarly intense and similarly possibly too raw, as it depicts a bomb squad working in what looks like Iraq. The 12 minutes of footage shown nearly made me crap myself. It definitely doesn't look like a feel-good movie. Per one of the stars who did a Q&A, it's not an Iraq movie, but a movie about guys with an interesting job.
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Dead Like Me: The Movie

Four of the cast, including charasmatic Callum Blue and grown-up Sarah Wynter, and two of the producers appeared at ComicCon to promote the soon to be released DVD movie before a packed room. Among the tidbits during this remembrance of the late, beloved series are the return of Dolores and Crystal from the series, but one gets the feeling that Blue could have appeared and just sat there and much of the crowd would have been happy.
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Wolverine and the X-Men DVD Update

The show's already been picked up for a second season, and the first volume comes out on DVD on April 21st. The word volume isn't promising in any way, but there's your update.
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Super Hero Squad

After watching the first trailer, with a theme song from the lead singer of Nerf Herder, it feels a bit like the Marvel version of Powerpuff Girls, just a bit more anime. It feels like there's a great deal of fan service in the inclusion of many lesser-known characters, but the lighthearted tone might rub the fanboys the wrong way. We didn't get to see any plot, but the tone is obvious: goofy fun.

We also got to see the world premiere of the fourth episode of the upcoming NickToons show Iron Man: Armored Adventures, which features a young Iron Man (like school-age.) Rock band Rooney did an excellent theme song, the animation looks pretty sweet (almost anime like,) and the story is hardly kiddie, mixing action and a sense of humor that's well written (one Star Trek joke is particularly hilarious.)
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Make My Animation Marvel

Why they would schedule Robot Chicken and Marvel Animation panels, two topics with certain crossover in audience, for the same time is certainly questionable. I've chosen the Marvel panel, mainly because I haven't seen most of what their showing (and the Robot Chicken drawing power of Seth Green has resulted in a ridiculous crowd (and some fire-code defying blockages.)

The panel, hosted by executives from Marvel Animation, kicked off with info on the ridiculous success of the new NickToons series Wolverine and the X-Men (over 1000% ratings improvement) and the new Hulk vs. DVD. A glance over the new BET series, Black Panther, based on Reggie Hudlin's story and John Romita Jr's art, is followed by what could be either a huge failure or massive win: Marvel Super Hero Squad, which airs this fall.

Bringing together all the Marvel characters in super-deformed designs (almost Kirby-esque in a way,) it's a comedy action series for the entire family
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McG on Sarah Connor and Arnold T-800

When asked about the presence of the two popular characters, McG played it coy, talking about Sarah's importance to the mythology and technical attempts to get the original Arnold (not the Arnold of today), so chances are good we'll see something of each in T:S.
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Saturday the 7th

We got a peak at the beginning of the new Friday the 13th, and it's some scary stuff. If they can keep up this pace doe a whole film, people will end up passing out in the theater.
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We have a (New) Winner

Anchor Bay will be theatrically releasing the film Grace, about a woman with an usual child. Just take a look at the poster, which is a piece of marketing genius (and which unfortunately will not be the theatrical poster due to MPAA restrictions.) But even better is the swag they distributed: a baby bottle. Twisted, but great.
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McG on Terminator: Salvation

Director McG talked a lot about his new Terminator film, and his experience talking with James Cameron about the movie, specifically how Cameron would neither approve or trash the idea. McG is pretty good at talking up the film with an amusing, potty-mouthed way of telling his stories, while praising fellow filmmakers Spike Jonze and Zach Snyder. I don't know if it's a new item, but McG said that Danny Elfman is doing the score for T:S.

At one point, McG called Christian Bale at home, but got his wife, who thanked the crowd for their enthusiasm. After that, he unveiled the world premiere of the unfinished trailer (yelling as the lights went down "It better be loud.") Have to say, it looks pretty fantastic, like a mix of a war movie and Transformers, done inside the Terminator mythology.

Funny moment: the mic gave some feedback, and someone in the crowd yelled "That's F'n unprofessional!" His response: "I don't get it" with a smile. Funnier moment: McG puts three fans on the panel to back him up. Funniest moment: McG berates a woman who asks about the Bale rant, Bale-style. Good stuff.
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Gibbons on Watchmen

On the ending: It's the same, but different. But don't expect a squid.

On the possibility of a sequel: If one happens, Gibbons and Snyder will have nothing to do with it. He hopes they don't even think about it, because it's a complete story, not just characters.

On previous attempts: Gibbons talked a bit about Joel Silver's idea of having Arnold Schwartzenegger as Dr. Manhattan, and Terry Gilliams' interest (or as Gibbons' mom put it, "The Monty Python man is going to make a movie from your comic book. That ought to be funny."
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Who Watches the Watchmen. We're Watching the Watchmen

The first big panel of the day is the Warner Brothers presentation of Watchmen, Friday the 13th, and Terminator: Salvation. But of course, the big draw is Watchmen, of which we got to check out the first 18 minutes, plus a scene from the film that's never before been shown to anyone not involved with the film. After an intro by Dave Gibbons, the well-known opening scene, the titles and the follow-up unreeled. The opening felt a bit over-done after years of reading it on a static page, but the titles brilliantly lay out the alternate reality of the film via still photos done in motion (just wait til yopu see it.) The follow-up scene shows just how faithful Zach Snyder has been, looking like the graphic novel come to life. The additional scene, which I won't spoil, is amazing, and gives great hope for the final film.
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Day Two

The tickets for today and the weekend have sold out, and from the looks of things, every ticketholder is in attendance. There's a lot of interesting panels today to check out, so hopefully I'll have some cool stuff to share.

Here's video of the flow of people heading toward the convention. I tried to come up with some witty variation of Trail of Tears, but failed. Sorry.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Takashi Miike's Spy Kids

The man behind Ichi the Killer and Sukiyaki Western Django is delivering a blow-out kids action film with plenty of giant robot battling. The movie stars Sho Sakurai, a gigantic star in Japan, and apparently here too, as he had people gathering 30 deep just to see him walk in the room. Think about this: he neither signed anything, nor posed for pictures, yet drew a crowd bigger than anyone else at the show.
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Little Plastic Scientists

Continuing the science theme, Mattel is offering up some really nice Ghostbusters figures in the fall of '09. They'll come in 6 and 12 inch versions, and the sculpting work is impressive.
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Sexy Science

Though the reps didn't seem to know a lot about it, Cinemax's "Forbidden Science" series looks interesting for those into adult sci-fi, and the audience at ComicCon is the right target for the show. The booth featured a quartet of "cloning pods" with wearable screens allowing you to immerse yourself in a promo. I just don't know if I'd want to pop those earbuds in after a few hundred conventioneers. Or even 10.
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And the award for oddest swag...

Goes to Fox Home Entertainment, who promoted the new Dead Like Me movie DVD with dirty foam toilet seats (fans of the show understand why.) The fact that it's easily wearable and undeniably weird made it an excellent idea, as no one who saw it will forget it.
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Heading Back Home

I had planned to stay late tonight, but after striking out on the Yatterman screening (more on that later) and getting a "I need you home" call, I'm going to miss out on the late-night Wonder Woman DVD panel. But I'll be back in the morning for more, and have a few things left to post about tonight.
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It's Meerkat Manor Mixed with 300

If that doesn't do it for you, perhaps the attached photo will.

Dark Days in Monkey City premieres Feb. 24th on the Animal Channel.
Check it out here:

Ghostbusters on Wii

I didn't get to play it, but watched someone demo the new Ghostbusters game for the Wii (the XBox and PS3 are playable here) and it looks pretty impressive. I was watching the game played on PS3 and Wii, and otuside of the level of detail, they aren't too far off each other. Considering that, the Wii looks like far more fun, as you can control the stream more realistically and can throw your traps, not just push buttons.
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Taking a Lunch Break

Back with more later
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Hands-On: House of the Dead: Overkill (Wii)

I thought MadWorld would be the Sega game I enjoyed most at ComicCon, but HOTD:Overkill is (pun intended) a blast. The on-rails shooter is a prequel to the HOTD series, and has a distinct Grind House feel, right down to film scratches and dirt in the image. The play is simple, as expected, but with varying types of zombie attacks and an awesome atmosphere, it's a lot of fun to play.
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Hands-On: MadWorld (Wii)

This game is as fun as you'd hoped, and the black and white art style doesn't take away from the game play at all. If anything, it enhances it, as the indie-comic style lends itself to the twisted sense of humor. This is probably as adult as the Wii will ever get, with ultraviolence and more hardcore swearing than you've probably heard in a game. And yes, it's been confirmed, that is Greg Proops' voice.
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Hands On: GTA: Chinatown Wars (DS)

I got to spend a little time with the newest entry in the GTA series (these demo DS stands aren't made for tall people,) and the appeal of portable gabgbanging is obvious. Aside from the nice cel-shaded art, the game feels like GTA (just a smaller version.) Whether you'll want to put in the time slaving over these small screens though is a personal thing though.
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Hands-On: Tenchu Shadow Assassins (Wii)

Just played a demo here, and damn it is enjoyable to kill people quietly with the Wii controllers. But the graphics looked like ass on a big screen. Maybe they didn't hook it up right. The stealth moves with the Wii feel right though.
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Sensory Overload

There's just so much going on, I can't even keep up. More to come.
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"The Japanese Shaun of the Dead"

Toykyo Zombies came out a few years ago in Japan, mixing Kung Fu and Zombies. Now, Anchor Bay is releasing it in America, with a new "sillier" dub, done ala "MXC," direct to DVD in April. Fear not though, because the original subtitles will also be included.
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The Ink-(or Pixel)-Stained Wretches

For the press to get in, you must enter "The Waiting Area," a pile of humanity not unlike Woodstock '99, just with a touch less dirt and a touch more Battlestar Galactica t-shirts. Fun.
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It's Already a Madhouse

The show doesn't open until 1 and its already insane here.
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Irony Lives

On the left: Sign says "VIP Experience - No Need to wait on Line!"

On the right...

(This may not really be irony, but it's still early.)
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Better Off Ted

I should know better after they killed off my beloved Pushing Daisies, but ABC looks to have a pretty interesting new show on their hands with Better Off Ted, a series about product development, that seems to have a really off-beat sense of humor. I will be guardedly curious.
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Chinatown Wars at NYCC

There's plenty of demo stands for the new GTA game, which is certain to be a hot spot this weekend.
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Mixing with the Straights

One of favorite parts of the NY ComicCon is that it normally shares the building with another show with an audience that doesn't mix. This year, it's the nicely contrasting Travel Show. Watch as travel agents and cosplayers mingle...

The Gateway to Geekdom

Same place as last year, but it looks a little less flashy. The economy probably.
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The Main Room

This is where the big panels are going to be held, like Sunday's Dollhouse and Fringe panels.
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You Always Know When ComicCon is in Town

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Heading to NYC

It's been a while since I last grabbed the train into the city. So long, they had time to build a new overpass, it seems.

That it's dark in the picture is the biggest issue with a February show date (which won't be an issue anymore, as the show is moving to October for 2010.) It is crazy cold out (for NY) and the walk from MSG to the comiccon will be a bitch.
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Thursday, February 05, 2009

Year Four on Friday

Back for a fourth year, I'll be covering the NY ComicCon starting tomorrow with my traditional live-blog style and plenty of pictures to check out. This year, it's a bit earlier in the year, so it should be ridiculously cold, but I've got an improved camera phone and lots of interesting panels to check out.