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Friday, January 05, 2007

San Diego Comic-Con International Report #5 : Programming Day Three

Poison Ivy

In this 5th San Diego Comicon report, I will talk about the programming that I attended on Saturday.

I was advised by a more experienced con-goer (JT Waldman) to skip whatever morning session I was interested in and get in line early for the ever-popular Simpsons panel, as it's usually one of the ones that attracts so many people that they fill up the room and the doors get closed to those who are too far back in line.

I did go to the line for the Lost session. After explaining the Bookcrossing concept to those within earshot, I gave my Lost paperback to the person closest to me who held his (or was it hers?) hand up.

I then went to the Exhibit Hall, figuring I could score some more swag, ask for more autographs and sketches, and still make it to the Simpsons panel lineup in plenty of time. Well, we all know what they say about the best-laid plans. The lineup to get in was the largest I'd seen at the convention thus far (but not the biggest that I would see). Nonetheless, I somehow got in and the session started later than planned.

It was cool to see the Simpsons creators up on stage and I got to ask my 2 questions. There were unfortunately others in the audience who had questions that remained unanswered (almost making me feel guilty for asking 2 instead of 1 --- I said almost).

Unlike some of the ridiculous questions asked (which the crew handled well, as one would expect them to), my questions were short, to-the-point and relevant.

Q1 : Will the Simpsons be coming back to Canada?
A1 : No. We don't want to offend Canadians. I didn't buy that. The episode where they came to Canada got them front-page attention on the Toronto Sun's TV Guide. I never heard of any Canadians who were offended ; not surprising since the Canucks (or at least former Canucks) who write for the show knew what they were doing.

Q2: Will the original "Simpsons" shorts that were on the "Tracey Ullman Show" ever get put on DVD?
Q2: No. We're going to release them but are thinking of the best way to do it. Maybe via cell phone downloads.

The audience thrilled to the screening of rough scenes from the 2007 Simpsons movie. Now, everyone who's screening cartoons at the Con describes their clips as rough, but these really were - black-&-white and I don't think the pencils were even inked. I won't bother repeating what is in them, since some jerks disobeyed the "no recording" rule, snuck video on their cell phones and posted them online.

Immediately afterward, I went to the "draw to be in line for signing by the Simpsons artists, which included the famous Matt Groening, of course. I admit I cheated ; I glanced in the bag of tickets to see where one of the "Bart bills" was and then just pretended to look away when it was my turn to reach in.

Then, I rushed over to Hall H to go see Kevin Smith. Some sci-fi authors were on stage, so we waited. I happened to be sitting near a guy wearing a yarmulke, so I tactfully (I think) gave him one of my fliers for the next day's "Jewish Side of Comics" panel. I don't know if he actually attended or not.

As it turned out, Kevin never made it to the session he was scheduled for. One of the female stars of his new movie Clerks II was there and she tried to entertain the audience, doing her own Q-&-A. Towards the end, someone asked if she had Kevin's cell number. When she admitted that she did, she was asked to call it and put the phone up to the mike. Kevin apologized, said he was late getting there from an interview due to traffic and that there would be a "make-up" Q-&-A in the afternoon.

I think that about that time, I handed off my 2 comic strip paperbacks (obtained at the Bookcrossing convention in Toronto) to someone outside of the room where the National Cartoonists Society panel was going to start. I asked the Comic-Con volunteer to leave them on the seats before the next session started. These 2 comic strip paperback collections were the only ones to date that have been journaled since I bookcrossed them at the CCI. One of the books was by Dan Piraro, who was in attendance at that session.

If I recall correctly, I then had to go to the Simpsons artists autograph section and use my "Bart buck" to meet Matt Groening and get him to sign my TV Guide, sign my Love Is Hell book and do a sketch for me. He wouldn't do Rabbi Krustofksy (not one of the one's he's done lately, therefore hard to visualize), but I got a nice Bart sketch.

I caught just a smidge of the annual "Oddball Comics" session and then made a dash for the Sony Presents panel which gave the audience a first look at Spiderman 3 and Ghost Rider. Nicholas Cage was there and he had a lotteried autographing session that day.

Alas, that was the lineup which had the greatest number of people waiting in line that I had seen during the Con. My hope was that I would at least get into the Kevin Smith Q-&-A "makeup" session that followed immediately afterwards in that same ballroom. Though with the number of people waiting for that, I wasn't 100% sure I would get into that either.

As it turned out, I did get into that panel, but didn't get to ask my question (which I intended to ask in a faux Canadian accent) about whether he might write one of the Degrassi graphic novels since he likes to write comics and likes the show (which he has appeared on). I guess that was karma, since I asked 2 questions at the Simpsons session.

Kevin was amazing! Funny, charming, intelligent and very respectful of his audience, no matter how foolish they sounded (one guy admitted that he was kicked out of Kevin's forum for using a nasty word). Kevin always addressed the questioner as "Sir" or "Ma'am". I'd say that the funniest part was when he was talking to a deaf guy through a signing interpreter. He also brought along co-star Jason Mewes, whom he told us was off of the wagon.

At the end of the session, we received free promotional "Team Blaze" baseball caps, left over from the previous panel.

I ended the Comic-Con day by attending the Masquerade, presided over by (once again) Phil Foglio. That guy does get around. Once again, I got great seats by having my "professional" badge. The costumes and the presentations of them went the gamut from cute to inventive. All-in-all, quite entertaining.

There was even Jewish content. Matt Bixler, dressed as "Ragman, DC's Jewish superhero" (costume designed by Maggie Smith) came onto the stage to the tune of "Havah Nagilah" and won in the category "Best DC Costume". That earnmed him $300. A list of all the winners is at


San Diego Comic-Con International Report #4 : Programming Day Two

In this 4th San Diego Comicon report, I will talk about the programming that I attended on Friday.

I started off the day by attending the session called "The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation". Unfortunately, Ernie Colon (who worked on the 9/11 Report adaptation, as well as on the current Mendy and the Golem series) was unable to attend as he had intended to. Something that was not mentioned during the panel was that Slate would be presenting the entire content of the publication online for free. It may be viewed by going to

Next, it was off to the Family Guy / Americxan Dad session. Sinmce it started at 11:00 - and since the 9/11 session didn't end until 11:30 - I missed quite a bit of it. However, I was able to pick up a complimentary promotional keychain (American Dad on one side, Family Guy on the other) and was able to see clips from a forthcoming episode of AD and FG. It was fun!

A half-hour later was the "Who Wants to Be a Superhero?" session, which I did not attend. Below is the description of the session (from CCI's website) :

SCI FI Channel has joined forces with Nash Entertainment (Meet My Folks, For Love or Money, Who Wants to Marry My Dad?) and legendary comic book creator Stan Lee (Spider-Man, Hulk, The Fantastic Four, X-Men), to present an all-new competition reality series that challenges a lucky few to create their very own superhero and reward the winner with the best reality competition prize yet: immortality! All contestants need is an original idea, a killer costume, and some real superhero mojo. The winner walks away with his or her superhero character immortalized in a new comic book from Dark Horse Comics created by Stan Lee himself! The winning superhero will also be featured in an original SCI FI Channel movie. Get a sneak peak at Who Wants to be a Superhero? before its premiere on Thursday, July 27 at 9/8C! Panelists include Stan Lee, star/executive producer; Scott Satin, executive producer; and cast members Fat Momma, Cell Phone Girl, Major Victory, and Ty'Veculus. Room 6B

Given that description - and considering what else was going on elsewhere in the Convention Center at the time - you can understand why I didn't feel compelled to attend the WWtBaS session. I mean, I would feel compelled to attend it if one of the contestants was --- oh, I don't know --- pitching a Jewish superhero. But we know that such a pitch would be highly unlikely, right? RIGHT?!!!

Well, it turns out my assumption was wrong,

Fortunately, at least 2 other bloggers in the blogosphere have reported on the proposal called "Iron Enforcer".

Steven I. Weiss at Canonist writes :

In particular, for those of a Jewish bent, the Iron Enforcer, with a chai earring the size of a baby’s fist, seems to be the latest coming of the Golem, at least as far as brainpower is concerned. Indeed, besides being pectorally-challenged, Iron Enforcer comes across as quite the dolt. In the first episode, you can see the the gears in his head churning as he explains his gun to his fellow wannabes, asserting it’s “the most high-tech weapon…[pause to think]…to date.”

Of course, where else would an ignoramus superhero Jew focus his energies other than Israel? After explaining how he’s the perfect killer, he tells his fellow competitors “after I leave this house, I’m off to the Middle East.”
So, seeing as our guy has already put himself on Stan Lee’s bad side, the only question is what it’ll actually take for him to get booted off the show. My bet: the elderly comics star leans over his desk, removes his spectacles, looks Iron Enforcer up and down, and declares: “Too Jewish.”

From Eli's

Personally - I'm rooting for the totally buff, no nonsense anti-hero, Iron Enforcer. I think he's Jewish. He's got a "chai" earring, carries a massive gun, and wants to impose peace on the Middle East. Groovy.

My bext partial session attendance was the one where Neil Gaiman was in attendance. He was promoting a film adaptation of his comic series Stardust and I got to see a trailer for it, which looks quite good. I also passed off a Gaiman collection of short stories, which I had partially read (I very much enjoyed the wedding story and the old-lady-finds-Holy-Grail one was cute) as part of my international Bookcrossing effort.

I also dropped in on David Boreranaz's session, where he was promoting his current series "Bones", which I've never watched. The promotional clips looked intriguing, though. I enjoyed his work on "Angel" and "Buffy" as the brooding "vampire with a soul" and left a copy of a large-format Toronto Star "Starweek" TV guide with him on the cover. Maybe someone in that room will get it signed. I didn't stay long when I realized that I'd misplaced my comics wantlist (which I did end up finding ; it was at the last booth where I'd purchased comics).

Later in the day, I enjoyed learning about the "Masters of American Comics" exhibition, which is currently at 2 museums, one of them being the Jewish Museum in NY. I was among audience members who were disappointed to learn that Art Spiegelman was pulling out of the Jewish Museum show. I gave one of my business cards to someone in the audience who worked at a Jewish organization who seemed interested in the idea of a Jewish comics exhibition. It was nice to see the reproductions of material that will be in the exhibit, which was projected onto a screen for us to view during the panel.

I had intended to attend the Klingon Lifestyle Presentation, but instead decided to wait in line with my wife for the doors to open for the annual Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards. We weren't presenter/sponsor level "VIP", but as a presenter ("professional") I was allowed to sit in the first group of rows for the audience, just past the round tables that were set aside for the true VIPs (and my wife had such a pass, too). So, it was nice to get seats so close to the front. It was also nice to not wait as long in line as the "regular" attendees and to get to partake of the food tables (though my wife is convinced that it was the pizza that made her feel sick the following day).

As it turned out, I sat close enough to the Two Morrows table that Danny Fingeroth saw & recognized me and called me over. Even though I didn't recognize him right away, he kindly gave me a copy of his latest issue of Write Now magazine.

As for the awards show, not much to tell really. Host Bill Morrison did a great job and you can see the winners list at the Newsarama site. Noteworthy for the fans of Jewish comics is that The Rabbi's Cat did win in 1 of the 2 categories it was nominated for (Best U.S. Edition of Foreign Material) and PVP, which earlier this had a strip with the punch line "Superman is a Jewish conspiracy to convince Christians that Jesus was gay." won in the category Best Digital Comic. It was cool to see how elated Scott Kurtz was to get such recognition. Ironically, it had the sarcastic secondary punchline "Wow! We got another Eisner nomination in the making with this strip."

Phoenix and Storm