Friday, July 10, 2015

Con-Man: San Diego '15 Friday

Phew, another fun yet long and crazy day at San Diego Comic-Con 2015! Checked out the floor and found some amazing Predator themed Mini-Mates where you can get plastic versions of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny Glover and Carl Weathers as Dutch, Harrigan and Dillon respectively. Crappily, they were coming soon and not yet available...It was off to the 75th Anniversary of The Shadow and Doc Savage with artist/publisher Anthony Tollin and writer/producer Michael Uslan. The duo discussed their early encounters with Shadow and Savage and how the two pulp heroes have influenced their lives and careers since. Tollin's Sanctum Publishing has republished nearly 200 Shadow novels and almost as many of Savage. Uslan's first writing job at DC Comics came when The Shadow was canceled but retroactively revived after final sales numbers came in. With no script, Uslan saw his opportunity and pitched a Shadow tale that saw him fighting smugglers using barrels going over Niagara Falls to move drugs across country lines. The two also discussed just how much Batman ripped off The Shadow in the 30's as writers back then thought comic books and pulps were so disposable they figured no one would notice. An attendee was dressed in a terrific Shadow costume that looked straight from the 1994 flick while the Shane Black scripted Doc Savage in development was teased and producer Uslan was visibly excited at the progress. As an added bonus, we got a copy of some collected The Shadow stories along with new issues of the Doc Savage/Shadow/The Avenger team up Justice, Inc. from Dynamite that Uslan is a writer on.

Next it was time for From Novel to Comic to Film: Turning Books into Other Forms of Pop Culture that had a stacked panel including author Hugh Howey, comic book writer and artist Jimmy Palmiotti, Guardians of the Galaxy co-writer Nicole Perlman, Book of Eli scribe Gary Whitta and literary agent Kristin Nelson. This was a fun and very informative panel as everyone was very versed in the comic book, novel and movie worlds. Lots of talk about studios being risk adverse and everything needing to be based on something existing and successful. Mention of defunct Radical Entertainment where writers could pay to have their scripts turned into comic books and plunked into stores in order to use to pitch to studios. The most famous result being the high watt yet uneven Cowboys and Aliens. Surprisingly, no mention of Whitta's work on upcoming Star Wars flick Rogue One but I did snag a copy of his first novel, Abomination. The panel reiterated writing whatever because you want to, not because you think it will sell to Hollywood. In a bit of insider sharing, apparently Los Angeles comic stores Meltdown and Golden Apple organize their titles by what has been optioned and what hasn't so producers can find properties faster. Howey is in the midst of a career high with Wool becoming an international best seller that's been optioned by Fox and Sand that will hopefully become a TV series. Some interesting talk about translating a property for the media and not being shackled to the source material finding success with Game of Thrones veering from the novels or lackluster with too faithful Watchmen or in Palmiotti's Jonah Hex case, 100 + issues a not a thing made it to the screen. Hollywood!

Again I meant to tackle more panels but ended up walking around the floor and going over to schedule my annual volunteer shift of directing traffic at 6:00 AM. After a little break at the Comic-Con'do, it was back to the show for the best time to walk the exhibition floor, the final hour before closing. It's empty so you can see everything and get to what you want. Well except Funko who closed their booth early because they sent their staff to work an event...great business plan...And MTV who had a shaved headed Manu Bennett signing to promote new show The Shannara Chronicles. I ran into artist and now friend of Dammaged Goods William Stout and checked out more great art, statues and comics. Fox was hosting a game show on the floor asking if you could Beat the Geek at movie trivia. After answering a few questions from the sidelines contestants couldn't, I was put in for Cult Classics, not knowing Edward Scissorhands and Fight Club trivia but winning out thanks to my knowledge of Speed and Commando! My prize? My choice of digital download of several Fox titles, I picked Aliens. Because you know, James Cameron, Michael Biehn, Bill Paxton and Lance Henriksen! After dinner plans fell through I walked over to Petco Park where an interactive zone with Peanuts and Point Break were set up among others and a zombie themed run had taken over the stadium. Up several blocks was Skeletor's Lair Pop Up Shop from Mattel with Convention exclusives like tee shirts, Chia Pets, figures and more. The place was decked out with Skeletor art, felt like villain wall paper and a bust of Battlecat!

It's an early morning tomorrow filled with volunteering, more floor walking and panels so no partying tonight. Have fun and see you Saturday!

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