Sunday, April 12, 2015

Con-Man: WonderCon 2015 Saturday

A little late but here comes my wrap up of Saturday at WonderCon this year. Last year Saturday was packed, like felt similar to San Diego packed. With organizers expecting 60,000 attendees this year I was prepared for the crush but honestly it wasn't too bad. The first panel I wanted to check out started at 10:00AM, same time the exhibit hall was supposed to open, but by the time I got there at 9:45, everything was flowing. In a new development, turnstiles and gates were installed outside the convention center so the religious protestor types couldn't mingle too much with attendees. I wonder what their schedule is like, I mean there's crowded sports events every weekend, do they show up to those?   

Superman: The Richard Donner Years Celebrity Super Reunion kicked things off with a massive guest list that included actors Margot Kidder, Valerie Perrine, Diane Sherry, Marc McClure, Jack O'Halloran and Aaron Smolinksi. Sarah Douglas got a flat tire on her way while producer Ilya Salkind was running late and eventually missed the panel. CapedWonder founder and Superman expert Jim Bowers co-hosted and there were several behind the scenes photographs projected to go with the panel. Apparently a book is in the works so I'll be sure to keep my eye out for it. Much love was directed to Donner for making the crew like family during their years together and for being an excellent director who handled each actor individually. Kidder was told to cut loose while Superman Christopher Reeve needed more precise direction which Donner provided. A great story came up when Marlon Brando thought the crew could use a rest but the producers balked at the cost it would take to do so. When pressed for the day to day cost of the shoot, one of the producers answered $350,000 to which Brando said he'd pay. Not sure if that day off actually happened...It was a great panel made even better by a video of Donner who couldn't attend because of Easter weekend and family commitments. A very heartfelt tribute to the films, cast and crew, Donner is always the man.

I wanted to check out Capcom's panel but it was filled and a line had already formed for the session afterwards featuring some podcasting type. That is one of the frustrating parts of these big shows, you never what kind of crowd is going to show up for a panel and then you get people just waiting through one for another. Anywho, some more walking around the floor followed and it wasn't too bad. Maybe the aisles were bigger so there was only congestion in a few spots. Walking around Artist Alley I spotted Captain America and Silver Surfer artist Ron Lim as well as his 90's Marvel mate Rob Liefield. Lim is one of my favorites as I grew up on his Cap work, I wish he would sell some postcards, buttons or some kind of swag so I could support him. Maybe I'll commission a full on Cap sketch to go with the quick freebie he did for me at another show. It was time for Warner Brothers' panel in the arena. Last year WB, Fox and Universal trotted out the likes of Bill Paxton, Gareth Edwards, Simon Kinberg, Gary Oldman, Andy Serkis and Luc Besson but this year film was way subdued with only WB showing Mad Max clips and San Andreas. The Mad Max scenes and trailers look great though; visual, violent and a bit weird. San Andreas director Brad Peyton and lovely co-stars Alexandra Daddario and Carla Gugino were on hand to discuss the film but energy was really lacking. The trio talked about a lot of the practical f/x employed but watching the clips it still looks like a CGI fest and I can't say I'm all that pumped for the flick. Just me? Afterwards we met up with The Arnold Fans maestro Randy who was in town for WonderCon and a fan meetup. It was great to chat with him and here's hoping we collaborate on something in the future.

The bar at the Hilton was SLAMMED so we headed to the Marriott for some snacks and dranks. A couple of whiskey gingers, mac n' cheese and a burger later we were energized to hit the floor again. We checked out Inside The Writers' Room, a panel assembling scribes from shows like Hannibal, The Big Bang Theory, Terminator, The Flash and Firefly. It was an informative session talking about what exactly is a writer's room, how it's good to either know what you want or what you don't want, having to recast actors, writing for certain actors, feeding you formulaic stories without making you feel it's not (cough, Mad Men, cough) and whatnot. We snuck out towards the end to check out Tarzan, John Carter, Doc Savage, The Shadow and Alley Oop: The Martian Legion Arrives! A look at the work of Edgar Rice Burrough's and a new book featuring his most famous creations along with other popular pulp heroes. Burrough's set up shop outside Los Angeles and the town of Tarzana was born. The ranch is now an archive as Burrough's threw nothing out, including a letter from Theodore Roosevelt denying Burrough's membership to The Rough Riders! Several Burrough's projects are in the works as the Tarzan live action movie is in post production, a TV mini-series is in development and a new novel by comic book distributor Jake "Buddy" Saunders is ready for release that teams up John Carter and Tarzan with The Shadow and Doc Savage?!

Even more walking around and we hit up some dolla, dolla bins, ya'll where I picked up some awesome Wonder Man, Incredible Hulk, Sgt. Rock and The Shadow comics. Also got one of those little Mystery Sci-Fi figures looking for The Rocketeer but got a frigging E.T., Damme it! Better luck was had with some Avengers mini bobble heads where we got Captain America, naturally, cause I'm charmed. A fun but tiring day, apparently we walked about 7 miles, phew!

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