Friday, July 10, 2015

Con-Man: San Diego '15 Thursday

After getting in most of my floor walking Wednesday at Preview Night, there was no rush to get over to the show today. After a little spell walking on the comic side of the exhibition floor I headed up to the first panel of the day, Peanuts 65th Anniversary! It was more a tribute to Charles M. Schulz with representatives from the museum up north and several artists inspired by the man. Of course it was a love and appreciation fest with the artists discussing Schulz's simple and economic style being one of the most difficult to emulate. Apparently, Schulz's famous squiggly line style came after he got on heart medication so it became even harder to copy. Of course The Peanuts gang is still firmly in our mind with a new movie on the way, holiday specials on every year, MetLife ads, etc. A limited series comic book based on Snoopy's Red Baron adventures is due out in September and looks like a lot of fun.

Then it was over to Bringing Toys to Life in Video Games: He-Man and G.I. Joe Complete the Toy Soldiers: War Chest, an action/strategy game coming out in August that pits armies from the Dark Lords, etc against 80's favorites G.I. Joe, Masters of the Universe and just announced Cobra and Assassin's Creed! Like Toy Story meets Warcraft, gameplay looked like a lot of fun as you're on a play set in a child's room. Controlling armies you can play as the hero Duke or He-Man. Joe historian and Hasbro exec Derryl DePriest, Mattel Director Mark Morse and game producer Josh Mast talked about the evolution of the title and translating the figures to the digitized world. As a Joe aficionado, DePriest asked for some broken thumbs and various fan favorite vehicles, sticker decals and the like. While He-Man was originally going to be based on the 1982 figure but if you'll remember, only had 5 points of articulation so they used a newer model in order to provide extra animation and movement. In a nice touch, you call down upgrades and support like Battle Cat or a new tank and it drops in it's original packaging box. There was some fun trivia (Duke was the first mail order figure available, "Let the power return" signals the transition from He-Man to Prince Adam, etc.) and Toy Soldiers looks like a good time.

I was late so of course Jim Lee's panel was fully booked but I just wandered over to see his former protege Humberto Ramos' Spotlight panel. To start, the Spider-Man, Impulse, Crimson and Out There artist/creator was awarded with Comic-Con International's Inkpot Award which identifies individual contributions to the worlds of comics, science fictoin/fantasy, film, etc. It was a stacked guest list to help Ramos including Jimmy Palmiotti and writer extraordinaire Mark Waid who helped start the dialog. Ramos always loved Spider-Man and got into the business by submitting his work and going to conventions for portfolio reviews. A still prominent artist told him to give up and now they share panels at shows, so eat that, douche! Industry stalwarts Tom Brevoort and Walt Simonson were early supporters, telling Ramos he had something special and to keep working. My favorite Ramos work came from his stint at the creator owned Cliffhanger label in the 2000's where high schoolers vs demons book Out There ran for 20 some issues. Asked about his contemporaries Joe Madureira and J. Scott Campbell who had trouble shipping books in a timely manner while Ramos put out two books, Ramos felt they owed it to the audience to finish their story and wrapped up first series Crimson. Unlike Joe Mad's fun but perpetually late Battle Chasers which went on hiatus and never returned. Everyone on the panel more or less described Ramos as the nicest guy in the world which was more difficult than succeeding. Ramos was humble, funny and thoughtful throughout so his success is well deserved.

There were several more panels I meant to check out but got caught up reuniting with friends and colleagues like #ActionMovieBro David J. Moore. While I'm here for fun, David has work to do and just came from interviewing Wesley Snipes, promoting new NBC show, The Player. It's a very rare thing when you can discuss hardly known action movies at a rapid fire pace. Was looking forward to checking out Miami Vice 30th Anniversary Retrospective but I totally forgot my badge coming back to the show and opted to go to Happy Hour with some cosplayers instead. Later that night it was time to support the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund at their welcome party. Was a nice shindig at the Westgate's old school hotel where we had some delicious Incredible Hulk cocktails. Our pedicab driver told us about a semi-hidden bar on our way that was Alice in Wonderland themed complete with trick entry. We made it though and continued the Con-ebration. It's been a really fun year and it's not even time for Friday! See ya at the show!

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